Hands On: Samsung’s Odyssey Ark Is a Curved Monster of a Gaming Monitor – PCMag

At 2022’s CES, Samsung stood tall—especially in portrait mode!—among display makers thanks to the Odyssey Ark, a beast of a monitor that drew more than its share of eyeballs. Positioned as the world’s first 55-inch, 4K curved gaming screen with a 165Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time (Samsung loves its firsts), the $3,499.99-MSRP Ark was a sight to behold, but it dropped out of sight after that. Until today.

Samsung stopped by New York City ahead of its semi-annual Samsung Unpacked event and invited PCMag to get some hands-on time with what promises to be one of the hottest gaming monitors of the year. It’ll certainly be the tallest, once you rotate it. (More about that in a moment.)


Behold the Mighty Arc of the Ark

Curved monitors have grown in popularity in the gaming space. However, many models don’t hit the super-fast refresh rates that esports aficionados yearn for. And now that the next generation of home consoles is breaking through the 60-frame-per-second (fps) ceiling, addressing frame rates on gaming displays has never been more critical. The Odyssey Ark sets the bar high, with a peak 165Hz refresh rate, a remarkable target for a screen of this size. (Also, the 4K native resolution is true to the typical 3,840 by 2,160 pixels.)

Instead of an OLED display, Samsung opts for its proprietary Quantum Matrix Technology Mini LED technology, ensuring precise lighting expressions and detailed HDR control for superior picture quality. What Samsung calls a Neural Quantum Processor Ultra acts as the brain of the operation. An in-display image processor, it ostensibly enhances visual detail and helps in the upscaling of content to up to 4K resolution.

As for the connectivity, there’s a bunch for multiple device inputs. Four HDMI 2.1 ports are included, and the panel is backed by support for AMD FreeSync Premium, designed to eliminate choppiness, screen lag, and image tearing when used with a compliant Radeon GPU.


Microsoft Flight Simulator in landscape mode on the Ark
(Credit: Molly Flores)

The 4K display’s 1,000mm curve is delicate, as big curved panels go. (The 1,000mm measure, also expressed in monitor lingo as “1000R,” is the radius measurement of a circle that would be created by a hypothetical ring of these monitors placed edge to edge. The lower the millimeter count, the tighter the curve is.) The panel offers a ton of screen real estate, and you’ll find that many of the bells and whistles you’d find in Samsung’s TVs—as well as its gaming monitors—are found here. That includes the Samsung Gaming Hub, the all-in-one streaming platform from which gamers can stream their favorite titles from popular streaming services like Xbox Game Pass and Nvidia GeForce Now, and less popular ones like Google Stadia.

If you’re used to a multi-display setup for productivity work or monitoring multiple windows at once, the Ark is equipped to handle all that on just one panel. Its big feature for facilitating this is Multi View, which allows multiple windows to be displayed at one time, and makes them easy to manipulate.

With Multi View, you can adjust, pull, and stretch each window size between 55 and 27 inches, change the window position at will, and even switch the window ratio between 16:9, 21:9, and 32:9. So, you might pull up your game in one window, a YouTube video in another, and your favorite PCMag review in still another, mixing and matching as you see fit.

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Source: https://www.pcmag.com/news/hands-on-samsungs-odyssey-ark-is-a-curved-monster-of-a-gaming-monitor

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