Computer monitors. Just when I thought I’d seen ’em all, I realised I ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Before I walked into the room to experience the Samsung Odyssey Ark 55-inch for the first time, I knew the gist of what I was in for. But somehow nothing could have prepared me for this incredible behemoth of a monitor.
The Odyssey Ark is a premium gaming monitor that boasts a TV-like experience but with all the features you wish you had in a computer monitor. It has a 55-inch 1000R curved display at a 16:9 ratio, which means you can display up to five different ‘screens’ or streams of content at a time when in landscape mode. There’s also the insane ability for the Ark to rotate into a portrait orientation for up to three different streams of content. The idea is that the screen is large enough to totally engulf you in your content or games from either orientation, which is why Samsung calls it ‘your personal gaming theatre’. It’s on the seriously premium end of the spectrum of Samsung’s computer monitor range, and this is because it combines features from both Samsung’s premium TVs and computer monitors. Most notably Samsung’s Neural Quantum Processor Ultra, HDR+ support, Dolby Atmos audio, and the matte, antiglare display seen on the Frame TV. I have to say the display looks fantastic, and offers great viewing angles, even up close.
Funnily enough, I found the Odyssey Ark especially appealing for its ability to offer awesome multi-tasking and cable management capabilities. If you think about it, a lot of gamers have setups which involve multiple screens so they can take on more than one task at once – watching videos, reading emails and instant messaging all while gaming. And this usually means there will be a bunch of cables hanging from the desk. With the Odyssey Ark you have one singular cable that runs out of the back of the device and goes into Samsung’s ‘One Connect Box’, where you can attach all of your cables.
The remotes – yes plural – are what make this monitor even more of a delight to use. Usually when you need to change display settings on a monitor you have to awkwardly reach around the back of the screen and fiddle with buttons that you can’t always see. The Odyssey Ark comes with a typical Samsung TV remote plus a new secondary remote called the ‘Ark Dial’. As well as the usual buttons such as power, source and return, there’s a tactile dial that allows you to precisely shrink, enlarge and move around your on-screen content. It’s great that you’re not forced to always use the entirety of the 55-inch real estate.
Unlike most monitors, which either have no built-in speakers or woeful built-in speakers, there’s a speaker on every corner of the Odyssey Ark, plus 2.2.2 channel sound system and two woofers in the middle for deeper bass. It also supports Dolby Atmos, offering insanely rich and encapsulating audio. It’s the best I’ve ever heard on a monitor. If you plan to game without headphones or watch any content on this thing, you can expect a seriously great audio experience.
Is it worth it?
This monitor is so insanely unique. Although it looks like a curved TV on a desk, a lot of TVs are unable to replicate its 165Hz refresh rate and 1ms (millisecond) response time. So, for some people, it will be seen as the ultimate big-screen gaming monitor, while others will be interested in its multi-tasking aspects.
The size of the monitor is certainly something you need to get used to. It feels too big at first and I found that not all games are suited to take advantage of the entire screen; in fact it sometimes feels like a disadvantage.
However, it’s ability to be so versatile with orientation, display size and the number of screens – or windows – displayed within the 55 inches is what makes this set-up seriously useful. Currently it retails at a huge $3499, but you can justify that somewhat to yourself if you compare it to buying two high-end monitors. If you are interested in purchasing one of these babies, make sure you catch it on sale for Black Friday!