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  • Soon Kai Hong

Samsung Odyssey Ark Review: 55-Inches Of Productivity

This is the Samsung Odyssey Ark and as you can tell, it’s a pretty insane curved gaming screen with over the top specs and a crazy design. Samsung touts this as the new frontier in gaming and to a certain extent, we do agree. But in our opinion, this makes for a far better productivity monitor as compared to gaming.

First up, we have to talk about specs and there’s quite a lot of that here. For a monitor, this is a staggering 55-inches and offers 4K resolution running up to 165Hz with 1ms (GTG) response time. It’ll also cover way above 100% sRGB and up to 95% DCI-P3 with a typical brightness of 600 nits and a max peak brightness of 1000. All of that is mostly thanks to the use of Quantum Mini-LED of the VA variety. Additionally, you get HDR10+ support which is equivalent to HDR1000 with over 1000 zones (1056) for local dimming and even FreeSync Premium Pro.

As for inputs, most of them will be found in the very familiar Samsung One Connect box that’s borrowed from their line of TVs. A single cable connects the box to the monitor itself and the box will feature 4 HDMI 2.1 inputs, with one of them supporting eArc, alongside RJ45 Ethernet, Optical audio and a USB 3 upstream.

But perhaps the most prominent is that aggressive curve of a 1000R. Now in contrast, most other monitors will feature a curve of either 1500R or 1800R or even 2300R. If you’re wondering what they mean, well, if you take a monitor that has a 1800R curve and you were to place them in a row to form a circle, the resulting radius of that circle would be 1.8 metres.. So if you were to take the multiple Odyssey Arks and do the same, the resulting radius would be just a metre. In essence, the lower the number, the more aggressive the curve and that’s what you can evidently see here with this very monitor.

Whether you like it or not, it is a distinct and unique feature and just sitting at a reasonable distance away from the monitor, you still feel the edges of the monitor wrapping near your peripheral vision. It really makes for a unique experience unlike any other especially when you’re gaming using the full 55-inches.

Games of the first person variety such as Valorant or Halo Infinite really felt that much more immersive in more ways than one. When you’re sitting at just the right distance, it really does give you an elevated experience with that natural peripheral vision. With a powerful rig, you’ll also be able to make full use of the 165Hz refresh rate and really reap the benefits of the Odyssey Ark, which also helps to reduce any form of eye fatigue or stress to the minimum. Or if you have an AMD system, you can also make use of FreeSync Premium Pro to similar effect.

On the other hand, if you want to relax and kick back a little. Just connect a controller of your choice and fire up a game like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and be really immersed in the world which can be further enhanced with the help of HDR. Not to mention, the sound system that’s built right into the Odyssey Ark itself is pretty impressive.

We’re looking at 4 corner speakers and 2 central woofers, which produce a total of 60W with a 2.2.2 channel setup further supplemented with the inclusion of Dolby Atmos. Games, movies, or just plain music, it will perform admirably and we daresay if you’re short on desk space, you don’t need dedicated speakers at all.

But now, not everybody has the space to use all 55-inches of this display at the desk. Well there’s this function called Flex Move Screen which allows you to change the effective screen size anywhere from the full 55-inches, down to a much more standard 27-inches and it’s pretty intuitive. You can even move the screen position and change the aspect ratio should you so desire. One cool easter egg is also the fact that the background graphics that cover the unused space is actually tied to the colours that are on your active display, so it’ll change accordingly depending on the situation.

Now this function can be accessed by toggling through the menu using the joystick on the bottom of the monitor, using the remote control or by using the Ark Dial. Which, speaking of, the Ark Dial gives you quick access to a variety of important functions such as the Flex Move Screen, Quick Settings, the Game Bar and more.

The Game Bar in particular might probably be your most used function as it gives you a quick glance of the most important settings such as the Response Time, the Game Picture, Refresh Rate, HDR and much more. Either by using the remote control or the Ark Dial, you’ll be able to easily choose and toggle such settings on the fly.

From a purely gaming centric standpoint, the Odyssey Ark is a pretty fantastic monitor, offering 4K resolution with high refresh rate and many other well appreciated features. The end result is a superb gaming experience unlike any other. Depending on the type of games you like to play, this might be the ultimate monitor for you. But that’s not all, there’s more to this monitor than just gaming and we daresay it’s even better when you’re not gaming. If you’ve yet to notice, the Odyssey Ark actually runs on the same OS as used in the Samsung TVs which means you get built-in apps such as YouTube, Spotify, Twitch and much more, just like you would with one of Samsung TVs.

This plays really nice with arguably one of the best features which is Multi-View and just like its name implies, you get a plethora of different layouts. You can choose to have two displays side by side like a dual monitor setup, a full display with a smaller display in the corner via picture in picture, a variety of larger main display with smaller secondary displays on the side or go all out with a quad display setup.

So whichever you choose, you can have your PC as one display, perhaps the YouTube app as the other or Spotify or the built-in browser and much more. Essentially, this allows you to kind of multitask and be able to enjoy the benefits of a multi-monitor setup, but all of that on just one single large display.

The only caveat and biggest disappointment we have with how Samsung has implemented this however, is the fact that no matter which layout you choose, you can only have one external input. The rest of the inputs come from the built-in apps on the Odyssey Ark itself. So if you were thinking of plugging in your PC and your laptop, no dice. Or perhaps your PC and your console, like a Switch and have them both output display, no dice.

Samsung, if you’re watching, please include this function in a future update or something. We’re pretty sure this is entirely doable. But in any case, we’re not done here.

You’ve probably seen it but despite this being a 55-inch monitor, you can actually rotate the entire display a full 90 degrees and use it in portrait mode. Samsung calls this Cockpit Mode and the moment we sat down in front of it in this very mode, we instantly understood why, for you now have a display that literally towers over you, bathing you in light. And even in this mode, you can still tit and pivot the display slightly to match your specific seating posture.

Now at this point, you can also utilize Multi-View and have up to 3 displays stacked on top of one another and sure, if that’s your jam, go for it. But in our opinion, utilizing the entire display as one huge external monitor with your PC is the best way to do things, especially with Windows 11. Because with Windows 11, you can simply drag and drop your windows into the specific corners or points and create your own multi-view layout consisting of different windows or applications within your system itself.

This way, you can multitask even better thanks to the fact that it’s a single system, and you’re literally using the Odyssey Ark as if you have three 16:9 monitors stacked on top of one another.

It’s quite the amazing experience and we actually feel that this use case makes much more sense given the design of this monitor. In our instance, we could be writing a script on the bottom window, have a reference page like a product page on a website on the window above, and right at the very top where you rarely need to take a look, would be our folders and documents. All of that at a single glance and if you need drag and drop things around, it’s really easy.

And yeah, that’s pretty much it. This is a really unique monitor unlike any other and while it’s great for gaming, it’s honestly much more awesome for productivity. With all that said however, you’re going to be paying quite the premium price. This will set you back at least 3,499.99 USD or 4,999 SGD.

Without a doubt, that’s pricey and arguably, you’re getting less for your money when using Multi-View since despite having the same amount of displays per se, you aren’t getting the same amount of resolution.

But despite that, we’ve to say that we kind of like this monitor. It’s not perfect for sure, but it is without a doubt unique. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into if you’re looking at getting one.

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