Samsung wants you to create VR content, with its new Gear 360 camera

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Alongside its new generation Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge flagship smartphones, Samsung dropped the ball on a nifty little device. A 360-degree camera aptly called the Gear 360. A year or so has passed since its partnership with Oculus Rift (now a Facebook company) to develop its own Gear VR headset. However, it looks like the Korea tech giant wants consumers to not just consumer 360 and VR content, but also to create their own.

Think of the Gear 360 as the GoPro for 360 video. The eye ball-like camera is essentially two cameras on opposing ends working together to create a seamless 360 still image or video. Each camera has a 195-degree f/2.0 Bright Lens with 15MP CMOS sensors – in tandem, capable of capturing up to 30MP stills or 3,840 x 1920 pixel resolution videos.

Gear 360

What goes around comes around

Design-wise, it’s…well, round and white with a pretty clean and minimalist design all-round. There’s a record button and a 0.5-inch 72x72p PMOLED display up top, and a Menu/Bluetooth as well as Back/Power button on the side. On the opposite side, there’s a flap that hides the microSD slot, micro-USB port and 1,350mAh battery.

Gear 360

It’s rated IP53 for dust- and water-resistance so you can rest assured it will work fine when splashed with water. Don’t submerge it in water though.

Gear 360 Gear 360

The device weighs just 153g and comes with a built-in, removable tripod. As it uses a standard camera tripod mount, it’s compatible with other camera accessories including tripods, monopods, Gorilla pods and more.

Gear 360

So how does this thing work?

Firstly, you’ll need to install the Gear 360 Manager app on the latest Galaxy smartphones – including the new Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. You can also install the Gear 360 ActionDirector software on your PC.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 launch

Pair with the Gear 360 via Bluetooth, then use Wi-Fi Direct to transform your phone into a viewfinder. For easy pairing, there’s also NFC built-in. That’s about it! There are finer controls for your shots, no different from your standard smartphone camera app. The cool thing about it is that you can shoot VR stills or video, or simply use a single camera to a more conventional picture.

Gear 360 footage is fully compatible with YouTube, Facebook and Google Street View.

Gear VR

The dawn of VR

With Samsung’s current portfolio of devices including its excellent Galaxy flagship smartphones and the Gear VR headset, the Gear 360 makes perfect sense. As interest in VR spikes (there’s already 1 million hour VR watched on Gear VR, evidently), consumers may be ready to take a dive on creating VR, without having to buy a pricey professional rig.

The Gear 360 is likely to be one of the front runners to push mass adoption of VR content creation tools and services.

On a personal front, I think it’s timely that consumer level 360 cameras are making its way into the market, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

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Mark Zuckerberg @ Samsung Unpacked

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg talks VR at the Samsung Unpacked event in Barcelona

Learn more about the Galaxy S7 edge here:

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