The Odyssey Ark is "the world’s first 55-inch, 4K curved gaming screen with 165Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time," according to Samsung. It's also a gaming monitor that's perfect for the solo gamer looking for a personal gaming getaway.
The Odyssey Ark first made its presence known at CES 2022, but this was the first time I got to see it up close. And, man, this thing is intimidating. I've seen large format displays before there's something about the curvature at this size that feels like it's enveloping you more than any semi-enclosed workstation could.
I got a chance to spend some time with the Odyssey Ark a few weeks ago at a Samsung press event in New York City. The first impression is that this thing is an absolute beast. Because you have to sit fairly close to it to get the most out of it, it's easy to become fully sucked in whatever game you're playing.
I spent about 90 minutes playing games like DOOM (2018), Forza Horizon, and Microsoft Flight Sim. An hour was enough for me because if I spent any more time playing Doom, the Odyssey Ark was actually starting to look like a portal into Hell, which is a compliment.
The Samsung rep stressed that the Odyssey Ark is about a more personal immersive experience. Because of the curved nature of the screen, the Odyssey Ark is best enjoyed by one person sitting at the center at a pretty close distance. This isn't something you could realistically put in your living room and have a bunch of buddies over and watch the game since the viewing angles aren't the best. Plus switching from Cockpit Mode back to horizontal mode felt unwieldy since it requires a little muscle to lift and turn the thing.
If it becomes too much, you can shrink the screen size to 27 inches using the fancy Ark dial wireless remote and a more standard TV remote. This way, you don't have to have your eyes dart around too much when playing a shooter and play games at a size easier on the eyes. More importantly, you can do this without reaching behind or under this giant display.
The massive display even rotates into a portrait mode which Samsung calls Cockpit Mode. The idea is that you stack up to three different displays on top of each other. So you could have a game, YouTube, and Discord all going on simultaneously with audio sources coming out of two places. It looks very sci-fi and overwhelming at first, but I can see some folks really getting into this and using the Ark as a very expensive second screen.
For productivity's sake, it might be easier to just work from your PC desktop and mess around with your size windows than fiddle with the display's built-in apps. Though, I didn't have much time to test that theory. I couldn't imagine trying to work on a screen this big without thinking I was going to be pulled into a blank page of a Word doc aka a writer's nightmare.
Everything is connected through Samsung's One Connect Box, which plugs a single cable to the Ark. It has 4 HDMI 2.1 ports, so you'll be able to plug in the latest game consoles and GPUs and get the best frame rate they can support at 4K.
It includes all the features and apps you'll find on current Samsung TVs, so it's like you're getting a hybrid of a gaming monitor and TV. But it's really for the gamer who has an elaborate cockpit set up for games like Forza, Elite: Dangerous, and MS Flight Simulator, who, instead of paying for 2-3 ultrawide displays, can buy this single display for roughly the same price.
Speaking of price, having your own personal gaming fortress of solitude isn't going to come cheap. The Odyssey Ark is going to retail for $3,500. Still want that second, or even third, one?
Samsung is currently taking reservations to pre-order the Odyssey Ark on its website. Anyone that reserves the Ark right will get $100 slashed off the price when pre-orders open, and expect to receive the massive curved gaming screen in early September. Oh, and yeah, we will definitely be reviewing this lovely monstrosity when it becomes available to us.