Alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, the Korean company used its latest 'Unpacked' event to show off a couple of other nifty products. There’s the slightly updated Gear VR with its touch remote, and a brand-new take on the Gear 360 camera that launched last year.
The 360 camera should launch in late April with the phones; no price has yet been confirmed.
• New design
• 4K 360 recording
• Live 360 streaming
• Built-in grip
Last year’s Gear 360 was a circular, golf ball-type camera, but the updated version has a far more traditional design. Instead of having a removable tripod that fits to the base of the device, it’s now built into the camera, making it much easier to hold for extended periods of time.
It also makes for a ridiculously cute, dinky device that looks almost like a cartoon character. It’s light and pocketable, something the previous iteration wasn't as a result of its bulbous shape.
The headline feature in this latest iteration is full 4K 360-degree video capture, thanks to the dual f/2.2 8.4-megapixel lenses that stick out either side of the camera.
I didn’t have the opportunity to actually view anything shot with the camera, so it’s really too early to say how much of an improvement it is over the original. The added resolution should help when viewing back footage through a headset, though.
There’s an easy to hit record button right in the middle, along with a Back and Menu button on the side. It’s really easy to set up and use, and feels like something you could bung in your pocket before a day out.
As you’d expect, there’s heavy integration with other Samsung products. You can now livestream footage directly from the camera through your phone and onto Facebook, and everything you shoot can easily be viewed in virtual reality on the Gear VR.
It’s a tight ecosystem that makes things very straightforward. You’ll also be able to share your videos with other social networks and sites, such as YouTube.
There’s Bluetooth and NFC for connecting and transferring content to your Samsung phone, a microSD card slot for storage and a USB-C port for juicing it up.
The Gear 360 is a niche product, and one that's unlikely to get a lot of people excited. Yet it’s a cute little camera that’s not only pocket-friendly but also pretty powerful. The 4K 360 recording could lead to some impressive results, and the tight integration with both the Gear VR and Samsung’s phones could make it the perfect companion.