Samsung ARK is a monitor madness rotating cockpit – and I want one now

The line between televisions and monitors is blurring. And Samsung wants to do away with that line entirely with the Odyssey ARK gaming monitor.

It’s a 55 inch OLED screen that looks like a TV and a monitor at the same time. Also – yes, it’s a curved screen that rotates vertically. I had the chance to try the screen at CES 2022, and it’s as wild as Samsung claims it is.

Why ARK is more than a famous TV

There has been a struggle between televisions and monitors over the past few years. TVs are getting better, with displays like the LG C1 offering variable refresh rate and Samsung’s Newly announced QD-OLED TV bringing 144Hz to the living room.

On the other side, we see more monitors that look like televisions. Last year’s 55-inch Alienware OLED gaming monitor is one example, and at this year’s CES we saw large-format OLED monitors from Asus and Acer, among others.

I have looked at the 55 inch gaming monitors that have come out in the past couple of years. These are just TVs, usually with a few feet on each side and ports that look and feel like on a TV.

While it’s mostly semantics, ARK isn’t just a TV. It comes with an adjustable stand. This allows you to swivel and tilt, which you won’t find on TVs masquerading as gaming monitors, but it also allows you to adjust the height.

Samsung ARK gaming monitor.Jacob Roach / Digital trends

Your eyes are not fooling you. This is a 55 inch curved OLED monitor positioned vertically. This is the view from the cockpit, where the display extends high above your head, and it’s remarkable to see in person.

Samsung has demonstrated this with three 16: 9 streams. It might sound like a lot, but I could reasonably play on the bottom screen without any issues. You might have a hard time finding three windows to stack, but when they’re all there, the ARK looks great.

Samsung ARK control dial.Jacob Roach / Digital trends

It’s a crazy display on its own, but the command dial is what makes the monitor work. It’s wireless and lets you quickly switch between different windows. It’s not definitive, but from what Samsung showed me, the dial looked great. None of the settings were buried in complex menus. It was all one or two button presses away.

Will anyone actually use it?

Samsung ARK gaming monitor.Jacob Roach / Digital trends

It’s a question you can ask many CES products. ARK doesn’t immediately seem useful, but the vertical orientation might have legs for specific applications in the future. This is the cockpit view, and my mind immediately turned to the game.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is an obvious application, but I could imagine it in games like Star Wars: Squadrons and darling indie Cloudpunk, too much. Normally you wouldn’t play in cockpit view like you would with an ultra-wide monitor. But for specific titles, ARK could be great.

ARK also supports Samsung Multi View, so you can stream video to the top while you work or use the bottom half for a console while the top half has your streaming rig. LG Recently announced DualUp has a similar idea.

The vertical orientation is impressive, but it’s important to remember that this is still a 55-inch 16: 9 screen. Unlike the DualUp, you can just use it in the horizontal orientation, and the ARK is awesome that way.

In fact, the vertical orientation is not what impressed me the most. With the control wheel, you can instantly resize the screen to common screen sizes, change the resolution, and critically change the aspect ratio.

You can switch between 16: 9, ultra-wide 21: 9, and super-ultra-wide 49: 9 in seconds. Want to make a nickname Odyssey Neo G9? No problem. And when the bottom is occupied by an ultra-wide or super-ultra-wide window, you can always fill the top with other windows.

Bring TVs and monitors together

Samsung ARK gaming monitor.Jacob Roach / Digital trends

The Samsung ARK is a gadget. The vertical orientation is cool, sure, but there aren’t any games that support this kind of aspect ratio, and I imagine most people will use the monitor in the horizontal orientation.

It’s a gadget, but the ARK itself is not a gadget. It brings together the format of the OLED gaming TVs we’ve seen over the past couple of years with the features and ergonomics of a monitor. Don’t take this lightly – it looks like the ultimate gaming monitor.

Of course, there are still some question marks. Samsung isn’t ready to talk about specs outside of the ones I’ve mentioned. We’re still waiting for HDR, brightness, refresh rate – I could go on. I can’t imagine they are going to disappoint, however, given how much else the ARK has going on.

I saw a dozen or more monitors at CES this year. The Samsung ARK is the only one I plan to buy when it comes out. It’s impressive.

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