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Samsung Odyssey Ark hands-on review: Extra in the best way possible

Here's what it's like using Samsung's spectacle of a 55-inch curved gaming monitor

Samsung Odyssey Ark
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The Samsung Odyssey Ark is not just a gaming monitor — it’s a personal theater, with ambitious multitasking modes and other dedicated features. Here’s our hands-on impressions of this 55-inch rotating behemoth of a display.

Pros

  • +

    Show-stopping display

  • +

    Smooth gameplay and good sound in initial demo

  • +

    Easy-to-rotate screen

  • +

    Neat multitasking interface

Cons

  • -

    Learning curve with Ark dial

Samsung Odyssey Ark specs

Screen Size: 55 inches
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
Refresh Rate: 165Hz
HDR: HDR 10+, HDR 10+ Gaming
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Ports: 4 HDMI 2.1
Speakers: 60W 2.2.2 channel
Dimensions (w/o stand): 46.25 x 27.75 x 9.91 inches
Weight (w/o stand): 46.5 pounds

The Samsung Odyssey Ark is a total spectacle. From its 55-inch, 1000R curved screen and multitasking menus, to its integrated lighting and dedicated control pad, it’s the most maxed-out gaming monitor we’ve ever seen. Did we mention that it rotates?

Pitched as a “personal gaming theater,” the Samsung Odyssey Ark ($3,499) recreates an entire desk setup with all its bells and whistles. While the device is perhaps a bit flashy for a work monitor, you can certainly use it to manage projects. It’s also essentially a smart TV, so you can stream your favorite shows. Or, you can game, work and watch simultaneously, thanks to the Odyssey Ark's flexible multitasking interface.

Especially in its vertical orientation, dubbed “Cockpit Mode” the Samsung Odyssey Ark is a towering and totally immersive presence. We know “immersive” is a word thrown around a lot in gaming circles, but the Odyssey Ark might just be the new gold standard for large-format monitors and one of the best gaming monitors for those who can afford it.

Samsung Odyssey Ark price and availability

Samsung Odyssey Ark

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Odyssey Ark is available for pre-order now and costs $3,499. It will become available in September 2022.

Though it’s true that the market for high-priced gaming monitors is growing, the Ark falls in “splurge” territory. The Alienware 34 QD-OLED gaming monitor ($1,299) and 43-inch Acer Predator CG437K ($1,599) are the closest competitors that come to mind,

Samsung Odyssey Ark design and display

Given its size, the Odyssey Ark could be mistaken for a curved TV at a glance (in the horizontal orientation, that is.) Yet details such as the 1000R curve, integrated light bars on the back and sizable central stand give off a sophisticated spaceship vibe. 

Samsung Odyssey Ark

(Image credit: Future)

The magic happens when you rotate the display to the vertical orientation. I thought I would struggle to turn the screen — at 5’4”, I could hardly reach the top of it — but moving it felt surprisingly smooth. I wanted to be delicate with it, but at no point did Ark feel anything short of sturdy. It was clearly meant to handle switching between both configurations. 

Samsung Odyssey Ark

(Image credit: Future)

Meanwhile, the all-matte display is supposed to help with glare, so you won’t see your face reflected back during your game. With a large screen like this, there’s certainly more space for glare to occur, but the display warded off distracting ambient lights in my hands-on session.

Samsung Odyssey Ark interface and navigation

When I wasn’t entranced by the Odyssey Ark itself, my attention fell to the monitor’s desktop control panel. Called the Ark Dial, this notepad-sized remote is meant to sit next to your mouse or keyboard, and operate the monitor’s many features. It features a physical dial with an ultra-satisfying clicking mechanism, as well as a solar panel for charging. The Ark also comes with a version of the Eco Remote native to Samsung's 2022 TV lineup, but the dial is pretty crucial to the experience.

Samsung Odyssey Ark

(Image credit: Future)

That experience does take some getting used to, though. There’s going to be a learning curve for navigating the Odyssey Ark and all of its features via dial. I started to get the hang of it after about 20 minutes, but I sensed it would take a few days to memorize the dial’s various functions.

Samsung Odyssey Ark

(Image credit: Future)

The dial has two special features, beyond general navigation: Changing your input screen size and curating your Multi View layout. If you’re using a single app or input, you can adjust the viewing size down to 27-inches, for example, if you want to be able to see your entire game in a narrow field of vision. With Multi View, you can create a few different multi-input layouts and save your favorites for easy access.

Samsung Odyssey Ark

(Image credit: Future)

The example that Samsung reps set up for my demonstration was playing Flight Simulator on the Xbox Series X console in a large window, with a YouTube playthrough video and a Wikipedia page on the Pyramids of Giza in two smaller windows. In vertical orientation, each window stacked on top of each other like a sandwich. Multi View is compatible with gaming inputs, screen mirroring and most built-in Samsung apps, letting you consume or participate in different kinds of media at once.

Samsung Odyssey Ark

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Odyssey Ark performance 

We plan to run our usual sets of monitor tests to see how the Odyssey Ark performs compared to Samsung’s other gaming monitors. We'll also measure it against the Alienware 34 mentioned above, and perhaps the Sony InZone M9. But based on specs and my hands-on, we already have a sense of the Samsung Odyssey Ark's performance.

Samsung Odyssey Ark

(Image credit: Future)

The Odyssey Ark is powered by Samsung’s neural quantum processor ultra. This should power AI upscaling, object area detection, understanding of contrast, complex depth of field and more. Paired with a Quantum Mini LED 4K screen at 165Hz promising 1ms lag, users can expect cinematic and responsive gaming on this giant, all-encompassing screen. I played Flight Simulator and Forza Horizon 5, and felt a bit hypnotized by the degree of immersion. Not only that, but my whip in Forza drove smoothly, even on sharp turns.

Samsung Odyssey Ark

(Image credit: Future)

Forza also gave me a chance to gauge the monitor's audio. The Odyssey Ark packs four speakers in each corner and two woofers in the center, supporting Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound feature that I’ve become familiar with from testing TVs. The car’s engines sounded distinct — with the angle and size of the curved display, the sound seemed to have a direct line to my ears. Of course, you could pair a Bluetooth headset or connect a source to a Bluetooth speaker. I didn’t get the chance to try it out, but you should also be able to hear sound from up to two inputs at once as well. 

Samsung Odyssey Ark outlook

The Samsung Odyssey Ark is extra in the best way possible. Do you need it as part of a high-end gaming setup? Definitely not, especially for the $3,499 price. You could get at least two GeForce RTX 3090 Ti graphics cards for that. But after sitting down in front of the Odyssey Ark, it was hard to walk away. The massive screen, smooth rotation and multitasking features make for a consolidated entertainment experience unlike anything else I’ve used before.

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.