One of the most important pieces of hardware to your gaming enjoyment is your monitor. A good monitor helps create an immersive experience by being fast, bright, having good color reproduction, and great viewing angles. Today I’ll be reviewing the Samsung Odyssey Ark gaming monitor. This monitor takes everything that makes a fantastic gaming monitor to the next level. In this review I’ll discuss the unboxing experience, connectivity, ergonomics, performance, software features, and share my final thoughts.
Samsung Odyssey Ark specs
Unboxing the Samsung Odyssey Ark
Off the bat the total package weight of the Samsung Odyssey Ark is a hefty 53.8kg (118 lbs). The box itself is large enough that it takes two people to transport the Ark. Once you get the box in your desired location the unboxing is easy and intuitive. Unboxing the Ark is similar to unboxing a modern TV. As long as the correct side is up, the box easily slides off to reveal the Ark and accessories. The monitor stand on its own is about 20kg (44 lbs) and comes in two pieces that need to be assembled. After that the 21kg (46 lbs) monitor clips onto the stand with relative ease.
Samsung’s instruction guide suggests that two people are needed to move and lift the monitor onto a desk. Given the weight of this monitor and stand, having another person help you is definitely advisable. I did the entire unboxing and set-up myself which took a total of 15-20 minutes.
The Ark has a wide range of connection options
The Samsung Odyssey Ark comes with plenty of connection options. Almost all of the connectivity is done through a separate connection hub which Samsung calls the One Connect. The One Connect has 4x HDMI, 1x optical out, 2x USB-A, and 1x ethernet jack. On the monitor itself there is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB-C port for peripherals or to connect the Ark Dial.
If you don’t want to use an ethernet cable, the Ark can also be connected to the internet using its built-in WiFi.
Easy to adjust monitor stand
Given the weight and size of the Samsung Odyssey Ark I’m surprised at just how easy it is to make adjustments. The monitor arm is capable of tilting up, down, left, and right. You can also adjust the monitor height and rotate the monitor 90 degrees into portrait mode, or as Samsung calls it “Cockpit mode”. The only adjustment that I would’ve liked to see is the ability to swivel the Ark left and right.
In my testing making adjustments didn’t require any more effort than making adjustments to smaller computer monitors. This was a pleasant surprise for me, like I mentioned earlier the monitor and stand are heavy. Somehow Samsung was able to design the monitor stand to be sturdy but at the same time allow for almost effortless adjustments.
The Ark has an immersive panel design
The panel of the Samsung Odyssey Ark is a VA panel with a 1000R curve. This panel has a 4k resolution (3840 x 2160p) and is HDR10+ compatible. Samsung’s use of a VA panel is great for gamers, VA panels are known for their higher refresh rates, greater brightness, and better viewing angles.
Samsung also used their Quantum Mini-LED technology in the Ark’s panel. This means that the panel is able to become incredibly bright (2000 nits) all while maintaining it’s vibrant colours.
Dual controllers for all your needs
The Samsung Odyssey Ark comes with two remotes. You can use either remote to control basic functions on the Ark such as volume, screen settings, and power. Where they differ is in their dedicated functionality. The regular remote looks exactly like the remotes that are included with Samsung’s TVs. As you guessed, this remote is used for smart TV functions. The second remote is the Samsung Ark Dial. This remote is aimed towards use while you’re playing games or working. The Ark Dial allows you to adjust your screen size, control gaming functionality, and multi windows.
If you look closely both remotes have built in solar panels. As someone who has an army of spare remote batteries on stand by love this design decision. As a user this means that I don’t have to worry about swapping out batteries or looking for specific battery sizes.
Intense surround sound speakers with great bass
The Samsung Odyssey Ark comes with built in speakers that sound incredible. There are a total of 6 speakers, one is located on each corner of the screen, and there are 2 subwoofers in the middle of the monitor. These speakers support directional audio and are compatible with Dolby Atmos for complete immersion while gaming and watching movies. The bass from the Ark is strong enough that I can feel the vibrations on my desk and on the floor.
Gaming on the Samsung Odyssey Ark
Watching movies and playing games on the Samsung Odyssey Ark is nothing short of amazing. The Ark’s strong 1000R curve feels like the monitor reaches around you resulting in most of your field of view being taken up by the Ark. Adding in surround sound from each corner of the screen gives a whole new level of immersion when playing games and watching movies.
The Ark is also compatible with FreeSync Premium Pro. This means that the Ark is able to match the FPS that are produced by your GPU. Combined with its 1ms response time, the Ark creates a fast and smooth gaming experience.
During my testing I played Titanfall 2 and had a blast. In parts of the game you pilot a 20ft tall robot. The Ark’s curve is such that it makes you feel like you’re really sitting in the cockpit of a giant robot. As you walk around the surround sound and the vibrations from the bass add another layer of realness to the game.
The Ark also comes with LEDs located on the back of the monitor. Samsung calls these LEDs Eclipse Lighting. These LEDs can be set to different RGB behaviours, my favourite setting was the Eclipse Sync. This allowed the LEDs to change colour according to what’s on the screen. While playing games and watching movies it was cool to see the LED’s illuminate the wall with the same colours as what was on the screen.
Overall, the Ark brings a lot of welcome features designed to enhance your gaming and media experience.
The Ark is packed full of great software
Samsung packed the Odyssey Ark full of software features making this an amazing all round monitor. On a high level the features can be broken down into productivity and entertainment
The Ark’s 4k resolution alone makes it a fantastic productivity tool. Samsung found a way to take this a step further by including a feature called Multiview that allows you to split the screen into multiple virtual monitors. This means that the monitor can have multiple windows from HDMI or wireless sources. In practice this means that you can have your computer, phone, and the Ark’s applications displaying on the screen at the same time.
In landscape mode you can split the monitor up to 4 separate windows. When in Cockpit mode you can split the monitor into 3 separate horizontal windows. The Ark also has a feature called Flex Move Screen that allows you to adjust the size of individual windows allowing you to make them larger or smaller.
The entertainment apps are what you’d expect to find on a Samsung smart TV. There are apps such as Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, etc. and there are other features such as Ambient. In Ambient you can purchase NFT’s or other art that turns the Ark into a dynamic picture frame.
The Ark also has a central gaming hub. Here you can access streaming games through platforms like Google Stadia, Utomik, and Xbox.
The Samsung Odyssey Ark is in a league of its own
The Samsung Odyssey Ark is a gaming monitor in a league of its own. It’s 1000R curve, fast refresh rate, surround sound speakers, and feature packed software make this a fantastic all in one device. Even when I wasn’t gaming or doing work I found myself preferring to watch media on the Ark instead of my TV. If you’re in the market for a new gaming monitor and you have the space for this 55” monitor, I highly encourage you to check out the Samsung Odyssey Ark. If you’d like to see what other gaming accessories and peripherals Samsung has to offer you can check them out here.