Samsung showed off their new 360-degree camera at MWC along with the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The goal of this spherical device is to make the entry into VR content creation more accessible. The same way Samsung made VR headsets more obtainable with the $99 price tag. We were able to take a look at the Gear 360 (or was it looking at us?).
The Gear 360 looks like HAL and the alien ships from War of the Worlds had a baby. It’s essentially an eye on a tripod. On opposite sides of the sphere are two cameras with f2.0 aperture and 195-degrees of vision. The 15-degrees of overlap is what blends the footage into a seamless 360-degrees. The resulting images are 30MP, and the video comes out at 3840×1920.
The physical size of the Gear 360 is amazingly small. The eye itself is a little bigger than a golf ball, and it can be detached from the tripod. The whole thing only weighs 153 grams. On one side is a menu and back button. The other side has a flap that can be opened to reveal the microSD card slot (up to 200GB), charging port, and the battery. It’s pretty amazing what Samsung has packed into this tiny ball.
The real magic happens in the companion app that only works on the Galaxy S7 right now. In the app you can view live footage from the Gear 360 and pan around to explore. It’s really cool to be able to plop this tiny eye down somewhere and be able to view the entire area wireless from your phone. The companion app also allows you to do some basic video editing, and switch between the dual cameras if you just want one side.
Samsung says the companion app will be compatible with select Samsung smartphones, but there’s no word on whether it will work with other devices. If they truly want to push more VR content into the world, we hope they open it up to all devices. A tiny 360-degree camera like this could be an amazing device if it’s priced right and works with all phones. The Gear 360 will be available in Q2 of this year. No pricing information has been shared.
Is this something you would be interested in buying? We love the possibilities of a pocketable 360-degree camera. There’s nothing quite like putting on a VR headset and feeling like you’re in a completely different place. Why settle for looking at old photos when you could virtually go back in time and experience the memories as if you were there again?