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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Learn more about the Galaxy S7 edge here:
- [MWC2016] Samsung sets the bar sky high with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge
- Samsung Galaxy S7 hands-on: The best Android smartphone gets better
- 7 reasons why the Samsung Galaxy S7 should be your next smartphone
- 20% off with Samsung Galaxy S7 edge pre-order on 7 March 2016
- Galaxy S7 edge pre-orders sell out, Samsung extends to 2,000 more
- Pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge with Maxis and get a free Gear S2 Classic
- Lee Kwang Soo has lost his edge. Can you help him find it?
- Buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge from U Mobile and get a free Gear VR
- Lee Kwang Soo puts fans at the edge of frenzy at Samsung Galaxy S7 edge launch in Malaysia
- Samsung introduces Galaxy Butler Service