Screen Size: 55 inches
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Refresh Rate: 165 Hz
Inputs: HDMI, USB-A, 3.5 mm audio
Dimensions: 46.3 x 43.0 x 15.0 inches
Weight: 91.5 pounds
The Samsung Odyssey Ark is a gaming monitor that feels like less than the sum of its parts. With a 55-inch screen, full 4K resolution, a 165 Hz refresh rate, plenty of apps and competent speakers, the Odyssey Ark might seem like the perfect centerpiece for a living room PC gaming setup.
Use the device for long enough, though, and you’ll start to see the cracks. The curved screen means there’s only one good viewing angle, so using it as a living room TV in a shared household is impractical. At the same time, you can’t sit too close, as the horizontal configuration won’t fit comfortably within your field of view, and the vertical configuration will strain your neck. The myriad menu options don’t play nicely with the limited remote control, and a lot of non-gaming content simply doesn’t look that good.
On the other hand, the Odyssey Ark does a fantastic job with both PC and console games, and there simply aren’t many gaming monitors in this size category. While our Samsung Odyssey Ark review can’t wholeheartedly recommend the product, we can’t dismiss it out of hand, either — but only if you’re willing to drop a hefty $3,500 for the privilege.
Samsung Odyssey Ark review: Design
The first thing you should know about the Samsung Odyssey Ark is that, as far as we can tell, it is the only 55-inch 4K curved gaming monitor on the market. Gigabyte (opens in new tab) has a 55-inch flatscreen monitor; Dell (opens in new tab) has a 55-inch productivity monitor; LG (opens in new tab) has an ultrawide 49-inch curved gaming monitor. But if you want what the Odyssey Ark has on offer, there’s only one way to get it.
I do have to give Samsung credit for being the first company to fill this particular niche in the gaming space. Taken on its own merits, there’s also a lot to like about the Odyssey Ark’s appearance. It has a nearly bezel-less black chassis with a sturdy stand, and a discrete box with all the ports you need. This way, you won’t have to contort yourself behind the TV every time you want to hook up a new system. You can also rotate the screen to a fully vertical configuration — and while a warning label suggests that you should ask a partner for help, it’s easy enough for a single person to do.
Behind the TV, however, things get a little messier. There’s a panel that’s supposed to hide the connection between the TV and the ports box, but once you take it off, it’s nearly impossible to maneuver back on again. During our testing, it fell off constantly, no matter how securely we thought we’d latched it back into place.
Furthermore, the ports themselves are a bit of a mixed bag. You get four HDMI 2.1 ports, only one of which is HDMI Arc, as well as an optical audio port, an Ethernet port, two USB-A ports and one USB-B port. You’ll also find a 3.5 mm audio jack and a USB-C port on the back of the TV itself, but reaching them is pretty inconvenient. The Odyssey Ark doesn’t have a single DisplayPort, however, which is a shocking omission in a $3,500 gaming monitor.
Samsung Odyssey Ark review: Screen
The Samsung Odyssey Ark’s screen sounds great on paper, and often looks great in practice. Generally speaking, I found that the display was excellent for games, tolerable for productivity tasks and disappointing for other kinds of multimedia. Here’s how it stacks up against two other living room gaming monitors, the Acer Predator CG437K and the Asus ROG Swift OLED PG42UQ (not yet reviewed):
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Brightness (nits)||sRGB Spectrum (%)||Delta-E|
|Samsung Odyssey Ark (Standard)||637||148||0.23|
|Samsung Odyssey Ark (Game Mode HDR)||1,282||148||0.26|
|Acer Predator CG437K (Standard)||700||146||0.31|
|Acer Predator CG437K (HDR)||869||146||0.31|
|Asus ROG Swift OLED PG42UQ (Default)||96||164||0.26|
|Asus ROG Swift OLED PG42UQ (sRGB)||104||122||0.23|
While the numbers vary from mode to mode, it’s safe to say that the Odyssey Ark can be much brighter than its competitors, and the color spectrum is both rich and accurate. The PSG42UQ runs a bit darker and the colors are a bit richer, but that’s also to be expected with an OLED screen.
In fact, it’s worth noting the fact that while the Odyssey Ark is one of the most expensive gaming monitors you can buy, you'll be getting a quantum mini-LED screen, not an OLED one. Comparing and contrasting the two technologies in great detail is somewhat beyond the scope of this review, but while LED screens can be brighter, OLED screens can still achieve deeper blacks and more accurate colors. The difference is only worth noting here because you could get a 55-inch OLED TV for approximately one-third of the price of this display.
As for how the Odyssey Ark looks, it depends almost entirely on what you’re using it for. We’ll touch more on gaming performance in the next section, but everything I played looked absolutely gorgeous, from the vibrant yellows and whites of Final Fantasy XIV’s bustling cities, to the deep blues and reds of the Nine Worlds in God of War Ragnarök. Likewise, Web browsers, word processors and chat apps on Windows 10 all looked fine.
But for whatever reason, the screen just does not handle video well. The blues, reds and purples of a 4K coral reef video on YouTube looked blurry and constantly bled into each other. The text on live TV channels looked similarly fuzzy.
The Odyssey Ark doesn’t display streaming video nearly as well as a comparable TV — and that’s a problem, since the curved screen makes it harder to watch than a traditional TV, anyway. While attempting to watch programs with my coworkers, we quickly noticed that only one of us could get a good view of the screen, by sitting directly in front of it. Anyone off to the side had to contend with the curve, which makes the Odyssey Ark a tough sell for anyone who doesn’t live alone.
Samsung Odyssey Ark review: Performance
With 4K resolution, a 165 Hz refresh rate and HDR capabilities, it’s perhaps not shocking that games look absolutely spectacular on the Samsung Odyssey Ark. I tested the display with a variety of titles on both PC and PS5, including Nioh Remastered, Age of Empires IV, Doom Eternal and more. In every case, the screen easily facilitated fast frame rates and gorgeous graphics. I was especially impressed with Nioh’s 120 fps mode, as the Odyssey Ark rendered my samurai swordfights with incredible fluidity.
The one thing that stood out in every game, however, was just how rich the colors looked. From the muted greens and fiery reds of Doom Eternal’s rocky hellscapes, to the lush greens and blues of Age of Empires’ medieval towns, every game I tested was a joy to look at. The sharp, crisp 4K graphics didn’t hurt, either.
My only real issue was how the Odyssey Ark handled streaming video, as discussed above. While it’s a secondary feature in a gaming monitor, any TV worth its salt should be able to display beautiful videos. If it can’t, that’s a problem, especially on a model that’s supposed to act as the centerpiece in a living room.
By the same token, as a living room peripheral, the Odyssey Ark needs better speakers than the average gaming monitor. To the device’s credit, it sounds quite good, whether you’re gaming, watching TV or listening to music. The speakers produce loud, clear, nuanced sound, and you can easily adjust the volume with an included remote control. These might actually be the best speakers I’ve ever heard in a gaming monitor — but for the price, I suppose they should be.
Samsung Odyssey Ark review: Interface
Using the Samsung Odyssey Ark is a confusing experience. With myriad menus, you can tweak and fine-tune hundreds of different options, from frame rate, to color temperature, to picture-by-picture displays and more. The issue is that actually navigating through all of these options is a tremendous pain, and Samsung doesn’t give you good tools for the job.
First off, the Odyssey Ark seems to run on a Tizen OS, similar to many of the company’s smart TVs. You can download apps, launch an Internet browser, and scroll through streaming channels. It’s a little bare-bones, but it works well enough, and I didn’t have any trouble finding the apps I needed, from YouTube to Xbox Game Pass. Issues crop up when you start connecting your own devices, though.
It’s impossible to discuss the Odyssey Ark’s interface without also discussing the two implements you’ll use to navigate it: a remote control and the Ark Dial. The remote is woefully incomplete, with a handful of navigation buttons, a volume dial, a channel dial and four dedicated buttons for services such as Netflix and Disney Plus. One thing I noticed right away is that the remote doesn’t actually have an “inputs” button, instead requiring you to jump through about three different menus if you want to switch between, say, a PC and a PS5. It’s a convoluted, tiresome experience.
Instead, Samsung expects you to use a much larger, stranger remote called the Ark Dial. This big rectangular device resembles a digital audio converter for a high-end headset, and lets you fine-tune video settings, such as refresh rate and color options, on the fly. It’s also the only way to change inputs easily. Having to use two different remote controls is an unnecessary complication, and the Ark Dial is, at best, just a slightly faster way to get through the Odyssey Ark’s many, many menus.
While we can’t discuss every menu feature in this review, it is worth at least mentioning the monitor’s novel Multi View features, which let you put screens side by side in a horizontal configuration, or stack them in a vertical configuration. The Multi View feature is, in a word, tedious.
It technically works, and you can indeed play a game in one screen while streaming a YouTube video in another. But the feeds load slowly, and they’re a pain to maneuver or delete once you have them in place. They’re also extremely prone to malfunction. Once, both of my Multi View screens turned into pure visual noise; more than once, I just got a black screen instead.
Samsung Odyssey Ark review: Verdict
If you want a 55-inch 4K curved gaming monitor, and will accept absolutely no substitutes, then you’ll want the Samsung Odyssey Ark. It’s a one-of-a-kind product, and that alone is interesting in a sea of interchangeable displays. If you’re not married to that particular design, though, the Odyssey Ark comes with too many caveats to recommend. Even if you can stomach the exorbitant price, the curved design limits how many people can watch it, and the device feels far more cumbersome to use than it should.
To be fair, though, the Odyssey Ark is an absolutely gorgeous display for any kind of video game, and that’s the most important thing a gaming monitor can offer. If you want to set up your PC in the living room and need the fastest response time possible, give the Odyssey Ark a look. Otherwise, it might be worth looking into one of the best OLED TVs.