The Samsung Odyssey Ark monitor is incredible, but it has one serious flaw

By TechThop Team

Posted on: 16 Aug, 2022

The Samsung Odyssey Ark monitor is finally coming - in fact, you can reserve a unit now for early September. I was floored when I saw the display at CES, and I was equally as impressed when I saw it again. Then I tried using it with Windows.

In 2022, Ark will be one of the most anticipated monitors thanks to its ability to stack several windows either horizontally or vertically. It is questionable whether that is feasible with a Windows or Mac computer, especially since Samsung is charging more for the Ark than it has ever charged for a gaming monitor before.

It's important to set the scene before discussing Windows and MacOS's limitations. It's a pretty unique product, the Ark.

It's really what it's trying to achieve, so I'm calling it an Omni-Screen. Samsung is targeting a similar purpose with the 55-inch display as with the Odyssey G9 Neo. Samsung Multi-View allows you to move and resize windows around the screen, allowing the Ark to replace several monitors with a single display.

It consists of a wireless Ark dial as the linchpin. It's the Ark's command hub, where you can resize your windows or access Multi-View to see several apps at once. The monitor even allows you to save three layouts for quick reference, and you can turn on dynamic backgrounds to fill the dead space. As soon as the monitor is rotated vertically, all of your apps automatically adjust.

In Samsung's latest TV OS, you can stream pretty much any app you want, browse the web, and even access the Samsung Gaming Hub, which has apps such as Stadia, GeForce Now, and Game Pass. The other HDMI 2.1 ports are more than enough to connect all of your consoles and gaming PCs.

The monitor sounded perfect to me at CES, and I had the same impression. It's a little bit different in reality, though. Mixing apps and sources is great, but Ark becomes less practical if you're mostly multitasking with your computer.

My question about the Ark's dynamics was simple: 'It's a screen.' Samsung responded by saying that it's neither a TV nor a monitor. However, the Ark works best when you utilize Samsung's TV operating system and multiple sources rather than relying solely on a single one, leveraging its included apps and multiple sources.

A lot can be done with Ark, including stacking three 27-inch screens and resizing screens from 16:9 to 21:9 or even 32:9. On the 55-inch display, you can also resize windows down to 27 inches. It's only possible if you're using Samsung's apps.

Neither Windows nor MacOS can be changed, but this issue sure takes the shine off a screen that's supposed to replace several disparate monitors. Further, it isn't possible to use multiple cables from the PC to treat them as separate sources. PCs and Macs get the same feed. That's all.

The display comes with a remote, so it's reasonable to run Netflix and a game or web browser at the same time. The main drawback is controlling apps with the Ark dial or remote, such as the web browser.

It is possible to control these apps using a keyboard and mouse using Bluetooth, but then you need two connections on your peripherals synced to your computer and monitor. It's just a lot of manual work.

As true as it is, the Odyssey Ark solves a similar problem as the Odyssey G9 Neo, but in a very different way. The 32:9 aspect ratio of the G9 means you have lots of horizontal screen real estate to play with, and both Windows and MacOS are easy to use. It's the vertical flip on Ark that throws this system off.

The Odyssey Ark still impresses despite some practical issues. Samsung was able to get this display working in the first place, and the panel quality is in line with the highest-end gaming monitors available today. The contrast ratio is 1,000,000:1, and peak brightness is 2,000 nits, so this is the cream of the crop.

The price Samsung is asking for the Ark should also be considered. The unit is on reserve now for $3,500, and it will be available in early September. At $1,200, it's even more expensive than Samsung's 8K QLED TVs and the Odyssey G9 Neo. It is clear to Samsung that the Ark is a unique product.

The Ark definitely has its advantages. In case you own several media devices and wish to mix and match apps on one display, it could be your only screen. The Ark isn't nearly as useful or practical as the 32:9 Odyssey G9 Neo, so the outrageous price is hard to swallow.

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