Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Samsung's $3,499 Odyssey Ark gaming monitor is a sight to behold
The Odyssey Ark, which was originally teased at CES, takes the 1000R curved monitor form factor and blows it up to a size that makes you feel like you're sitting inside the game. It's available now to pre-order.
When Samsung showed off its forthcoming monitor lineup at this past Consumer Electronics Show, one model loomed large (literally) over just about everything else announced. The 55-inch Odyssey Ark promised to replace multi-monitor setups with a single, ultra-flexible display that could do everything from producing multiple virtual monitors for productivity tasks to serving as a single, massively immersive display for gaming of any kind.
Now that Samsung has finally taken the wraps off this juggernaut of a monitor, we can see that its specs have the muscle to back up all of the varied use cases Samsung expects it to excel at:
Quantum Mini LED with local dimming
Yes (HDR 2000)
3,840 x 2160
Adaptive sync support
FreeSync Premium Pro
While all of the above stats place this among the best gaming monitors on the market from a mathematical perspective, Samsung hopes that the display's unique size and curvature will make it a unique entry in the space.
The Odyssey Ark's ability to fill the viewer's entire field of vision is further enhanced by what Samsung is calling Cockpit Mode, a feature of the unit's height-adjustable stand that allows it to be rotated horizontally or vertically to best suit that in-the-game immersion we keep referencing.
The built-in Sound Dome Technology attempts to put the cherry on top of that immersion by using the monitor's array of four mid-range speakers (one located at each corner) to create the sensation of sound coming from all around the user. This is helped along by support for AI Sound Booster and Dolby Atmos technologies, as well as two central woofers for bass notes as low as 45Hz.
Of course, none of this technology will matter if you're dealing with stuttering gameplay or pixelated visuals. To this end, Samsung tapped AMD for its FreeSync Premium Pro technology, which smooths out the frames as they're loaded onto the 4K display by dynamically compensating for fluctuations in the attached PC's graphical output (where supported). Samsung notes that the 165Hz refresh rate will also help provide smooth visuals for competitive shooters and other fast-paced titles.
Access to those titles might not even require a PC if you're using the Odyssey Ark. The monitor's built-in Samsung Gaming Hub is designed to be a one-stop platform through which players can access a slew of game streaming options, including Xbox, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, Google Stadia, Utomik, and Amazon Luna.
When you run out of game time and need to get back to work, Samsung hopes you'll use the included Ark Dial controller to unlock the monitor's various customization options. Among those are:
Flex Move Screen - A mode that allows users to create virtual displays between 27 and 55 inches, with the ability to change their aspect ratio (16:9, 21:9, and 32:9 are all supported).
Multi-View - The Odyssey Ark can support up to four of the aforementioned virtual displays at once while in landscape (horizontal) mode or three while in portrait (vertical) mode.
Game Bar - An on-screen status bar designed to provide at-a-glance info on stats gamers care about most, like the current state of the display's FPS (Frames Per Second), HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode, and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) status. Users can also use Game Bar to adjust the display's Quick Settings, which can instantly tailor its settings to the task at hand.
Samsung has opened pre-orders for the display now at its online shop. As you'd expect from a display this large and unique, you'll need to open your wallets wide for the $3,500 sticker price. But, if you pre-order the display, Samsung will knock $100 off of that to help you afford this desk-dominating monster.