VR (virtual reality) headsets are the latest hot trend in wearable tech, and Samsung is at its second iteration with the Gear VR (name?). As a result, we saw many 360 cameras at CES last month, so now people can easily make their own 360 degrees movies to view in their VR headset.
Today, Samsung launched its ultra-compact and ultra-light 360 camera, the Gear 360. Despite its feather weight of 145 grams, the Gear 360 packs serious features. The rounded little shooter boasts 2 fish-eye 195 degrees lenses with a f2.0 aperture, two microphones – one on each side – and a universal tripod mount at the bottom, for the tiny tripod that comes out of the box or the upcoming Samsung accessories.
The four shooting modes are operated via three buttons and a tiny display at the top. From there, you can select Video Looping, Video, Photo and Time Lapse modes. In Photo Mode, you can capture 30 megapixels images, while the Video Mode allows for sub-UHD (3840×1920) recording at 30 fps.
The video quality looked very impressive when we tested it, and we’d love to look at the fine details on a computer screen. We can’t wait to compare it with other VR options.
To access the micro USB connector, the removable battery and the micro SD slot you have to open the bay on the side.
The Gear 360 is a standalone camera, however, you can pair it with the Samsung Galaxy S7 to see the scene you are shooting. The sub UHD video, a.k.a. “almost 4K”, is recorded locally on the MicroSD in the camera. During the demo, Samsung showed how the 360 videos are stitched locally in the Gear 360 within seconds and shared to social networks via WiFi-direct using the Samsung Galaxy S7."THE GEAR 360 FEELS LIKE A GOPRO ON STEROIDS"
According to Samsung, with a 128 GB MicroSD card you can shoot a maximum of 7 hours of video (depending on resolution), however, the battery lasts only for 2 hours. In case you plan to go shooting for a full day outdoors, I guess that you can buy 3 extra batteries. The Gear 360 is IP53 splash resistant, thus you cannot shoot under water, however it is fine for skiing or snowboarding. Samsung will offer a waterproof case later this year. Learn how to read IP ratings.
The Gear 360 feels like a GoPro on steroids and it will be available Q2 2016, no word on pricing, however, Samsung told us that the price tag will be similar to the Gear VR.