The Ark is successfully a curved TV masquerading as a monitor.

It’s quick and brilliant, but its multiview options could also be equally interesting to you

Samsung’s Odyssey Ark had a stealthy presence at CES 2022, however the curved 55-inch gaming monitor-meets-TV is almost able to launch. It’s popping out in mid-September for $3,499.99, with reservations for preorders beginning in the present day. I bought to check out a prototype of the Odyssey Ark with a batch of PC video games. Surprise: gaming with my face three toes away from a 55-inch 4K show with 165Hz refresh charge is superior. But I used to be equally impressed with the bounty of options that the Ark can ship.

The Ark represents Samsung’s most aggressive play at distinguishing itself as a maker of gaming shows. The 55-inch 1000R curvature is, in fact, one strategy to go about protruding. It can simply be rotated to be used in portrait mode with as much as three video sources. The different main approach is with some sensible TV performance, namely the Samsung Gaming Hub that allows for cloud streaming by way of Xbox Game Pass, Google Stadia, and Amazon Luna. Like the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor that I reviewed, it runs on Samsung’s Tizen OS — in case you need to use some streaming apps like YouTube or Apple TV Plus.

Given its excessive value, there’s an excellent likelihood that you just’ll need to do extra than simply recreation on the Ark. This display screen is large enough to accommodate a number of use instances directly with ease. Building upon the usual picture-in-picture (PIP) mode supplied by many TVs and a few screens, the Ark consists of sturdy display screen manipulation settings that allow you to go from fundamental (stack 4 home windows, two by two) to extra area of interest (set one enter to be 32:9, with one conventional 16:9 enter above it). The potentialities, whereas not endlessly configurable, appear ripe for some attention-grabbing use instances should you’re the kind who likes to tweak settings. And that’s earlier than you flip the Ark sideways into cockpit mode.

Doing so requires you to tilt the show upward, elevate it to the best setting that its massive, minimalist, height-adjustable stand will permit, then flip it 90 levels counterclockwise. I used to be anxious that it’d be a two-person job, however I used to be capable of do it myself with out a lot hassle. What’s cool is that rotating the display screen will auto-rotate your supply’s image, too. With the Ark oriented like this, you may view as much as three screens stacked vertically or stretch one from high to backside in case your recreation helps it. In cockpit mode, it type of appears to be like just like the Ark is a wave that’s about to crash on high of you. Samsung’s Owen Sexton advised me in the course of the demo that the Ark can be wall-mountable and can embody a VESA mount.

The Ark’s mount permits it to be rotated 90 levels right into a “cockpit mode.”

Despite Samsung’s promotion of the Ark closely favoring exhibiting it within the cockpit mode, I most popular gaming in panorama mode with a single supply taking over the whole display screen. Using multiview mode is nice, although whether or not in portrait or panorama mode, the curvature of the display screen could make every slice of the display screen tackle a slight keystone impact, the place some corners look skewed. That could break the immersion for gaming, nevertheless it must be tremendous for different duties. If I had been utilizing the Ark for work, I’d possible choose utilizing it in cockpit mode. Similar to the thought behind the 16:18 side ratio LG DualUp, it’s simpler to rapidly see a number of home windows by simply shifting my head up and down as a substitute of facet to facet like I’ve to with a number of screens or an ultrawide.

Samsung consists of two remotes with the Ark, one being a typical distant to deal with the fundamental capabilities and one other extra concerned possibility known as the Ark dial. It’s a standalone command heart that places the Ark’s major capabilities (energy, quantity, enter choose, and recreation bar) on massive buttons. There’s a rotatable dial and a directional pad inside it to extra rapidly modify settings. There’s even a photo voltaic panel to recharge it, so that you don’t have to ever plug it in.

I ought to observe that neither distant appeared to make it elegant to navigate the monitor’s myriad menus and settings. There’s a particular studying curve to discovering the settings you’re searching for, and a big a part of my demo was simply making an attempt — and typically failing — to go the place I wished to.

The Ark’s dial distant means you by no means need to fiddle with a joystick on the show itself to regulate settings.

The Ark, like Samsung’s different high-end gaming screens, is a melding of its greatest TV panel know-how with options that players with deep pockets will possible take pleasure in, like HDR, VRR, and 4 HDMI 2.1 ports (although, curiously, no DisplayPort). It has Samsung’s quantum Mini LED backlighting that it claims is able to as much as 1,500 nits at peak brightness, and the corporate claims that it’s the primary 55-inch 4K panel that helps 165Hz refresh charge.

This show has a 1000R curve, and it’s each bizarre and funky to see the curve come again for a panel that appears a lot like a TV. The curve’s scoop isn’t as deep because the Odyssey Neo G9’s 1800R curvature (to every their very own, however I believe the 1000R is the candy spot when it comes to simply having the ability to see the whole lot on the display screen with out peripheral element dropping by the wayside).

In my temporary time with the Ark, enjoying video games like Doom Eternal and Forza Horizon 5 appeared like superb showcases for the way brilliant and quick this show can go. No complaints there. Its 16:9 side ratio meant that the image didn’t exhibit visible warping across the edges as we saw on Samsung’s 32:9 aspect ratio Odyssey G9 and Neo G9. However, I wasn’t as flabbergasted by the distinction in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator as I hoped to be. With the Ark’s curve and the QLED display screen, I used to be anticipating to be kind of sucked in with immersion. Though, the truth that I didn’t really feel that approach might be on account of some components, like the extreme brightness of the room, the visible mode of the Ark not being tuned correctly for gaming, or maybe that the tuning on this prototype unit isn’t fairly completed.

The Ark offers an immersive gaming expertise with out the warping you typically see on ultrawide screens.

All stated, the Ark expertise feels polished, however there have been another quirks on this prototype. When a Samsung consultant was strolling me by means of the image resizing options, some tutorial pop-ups wouldn’t disappear. The crew stated this was a identified prerelease situation. Also, a sliver of the highest bezel didn’t need to stay seated, letting a smidge of backlight peek out. When I pressed down on the bezel, the sunshine leakage went away, nevertheless it got here again shortly after I launched it. Perhaps it’s a difficulty with glue or one other downside altogether. Hopefully, that’s not current in transport items.

The Ark looks like a identified amount on its face, however there’s one thing about it that feels distinctive. It packs spectacular gaming monitor specs right into a design that’s, by all accounts apart from the stand, an old-school curved TV. Given that it packs in some sensible options, like cloud recreation streaming and sensible TV apps, the Ark might be an important match for somebody who needs to go all-out — each when it comes to measurement and its $3,499.99 value. I’m virtually extra excited with the concept that it’s an indication that a few of these options may come to cheaper Samsung gaming shows within the close to future.

Photography by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

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