Samsung Odyssey Ark review

This enormous 55" gaming monitor sports a 4K resolution, a multi-zone backlight for stunning HDR and a 165Hz refresh rate, along with a sky-high price.

Samsung Odyssey Ark with remote

Our Verdict

81%

Incredible design and performance, but with a few frustrating shortcomings and a vast price.

The Samsung Odyssey Ark (LS55BG970NUXXU) is a behemoth of a 55″ gaming monitor, deploying a 1000R curve and 4K resolution to deliver incredible immersion. On the inside, the Ark uses 1,056 Quantum Mini LEDs for its backlight, and its VA panel also supports AMD FreeSync Premium Pro at 165Hz.

What’s more, the panel runs in 21:9 or 32:9 aspect ratios, as well as its default 16:9, and you can shrink the display area if you want to sit closer to it. It also has every notable smart TV app, alongside Nvidia GeForce Now and Xbox game streaming, while the remote control and wheel-based Ark Dial make navigation simple.

That’s great versatility, although Samsung’s Multi View mode is inconsistent. It lets gamers deploy four sources in landscape orientation and three in portrait view. It’s easy to configure and useful for gaming with streams or comms tools. Sadly, though, it only supports single HDMI inputs, its windows run at 120Hz and most mainstream apps aren’t supported.

The windows aren’t sharp either. In landscape mode they run at 1080p, but in portrait mode they struggle at 1,280 x 720. At least you’ll get good audio – the four speakers and two subwoofers deliver well-balanced sound with loads of volume and thumping bass.

This 41.5kg unit also needs two people to maneuver, and at 379mm deep it’s far larger than most screens and TVs. Build quality is impeccable, though, and there are loads of stand adjustment options. You don’t have to fumble around the back for ports either, because Samsung’s One Connect box includes four HDMI 2.1 sockets and transmits signals to the Ark via one cable. It’s intuitive, but its 100Mbps Ethernet, Wi-Fi 5 and USB 2 connection all disappoint.

Image quality is better. The Ark’s black point of 0.02cd/m2 pairs with a factory brightness of 90cd/m2 for an incredible contrast ratio of 4,500:1, and that level was retained at the screen’s SDR peak brightness of 742nits. The Delta E of 2.29 and color temperature of 6,536K are good, and the Ark rendered 99.5 percent and 91.6 percent of the sRGB and DCI-P3 gamuts with huge volume.

Those results mean games look bright and bold with deep, dark black levels. Switch to HDR mode and the Samsung’s peak brightness level goes up to 1,226nits with a contrast level of 61,300:1, thanks to those Quantum Mini LEDs that form the multi-point backlight, making for fantastic HDR performance. Proper OLED TVs are even better in this regard, but the Ark still has great HDR image quality.

Meanwhile, the 165Hz refresh rate is ideal for single-player games and mainstream esports, and performance is good – games are crisp and smooth with minor ghosting. Samsung claims a 1ms grey-to-grey response time, but the Ark doesn’t match that – in the display’s Standard mode its average hit 7.97ms, and that figure only improved to 7.57ms in the Faster overdrive setting. That’s fine for mainstream gaming, but not for fast-paced, twitchy esports.

Samsung Odyssey Ark pros and cons

Pros

  • Incredible, immersive design
  • Great image quality
  • Loads of adjustment
  • Powerful speakers

Cons

  • HDR could be even better
  • Some underwhelming features
  • Hugely expensive

Samsung Odyssey Ark specs

The Samsung Odyssey Ark specs list is:

Screen size 55″
Resolution 3,840 x 2,160
Panel technology VA
Maximum refresh rate 165Hz
Stated response time 1ms
Max brightness 400cd/m² SDR, 2000cd/m² HDR
Backlight zones 1
Stated contrast ratio 1,000,000:1
Adaptive sync AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, Nvidia G-Sync compatible
Display inputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 2 x HDMI 2
Audio Headphone out, 4 x speakers, 2 x subwoofers
Stand adjustment Height, pivot, tilt
Extras 100 x 100mm VESA mount, 1 x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x USB 2, One Connect box, 100Mbps Ethernet, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.2

Samsung Odyssey Ark price

The Samsung Odyssey Ark price is $2,600, making it a crazy expensive gaming monitor, with it more than double the price of of most competing 55in TVs.

Price: Expect to pay $2600 (£2600)

Samsung Odyssey Ark review conclusion

The Ark’s colors, contrast and form factor make games look incredible. Samsung’s panel impresses with its speakers, smart TV options and adjustment, but it suffers due to its size, misfiring extra options and cost. At this price, you could get better quality from a flagship OLED TV at the expense of refresh rate and the curve.

If you want a huge display for all your entertainment needs, though, the Ark succeeds in most key departments – for a huge price. The Ark’s stunning combination of screen size and performance means it earns a place on our best gaming monitor list.