Alongside the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung unleashed a rather surprising new product at MWC in Barcelona – the Gear 360.
No, this isn’t a new wearable looking to go head-to-head with the Moto 360, but a cute little spherical camera that will snap 360-degree photos and videos, providing an easy platform on which to share them with others.
1) It’s cute, compact and oh-so-round
The Gear 360 is a ridiculously sweet-looking camera, with a bright white spherical design that looks almost like a tiny robot – think BB-8 from Star Wars – with an eye staring back at you. It’s light too, although completely the wrong shape for slinging into your pocket.
It comes with a tripod, so you can pop it down on a tablet and record without fear of it rolling around.
Buttons are kept to a minimum. There's a big record button on the top, with a further two buttons on the side for selecting which mode you want to use.
There's a removable battery, plus a slot for a microSD card.
2) Plenty of tech inside
The Gear 360 is made up of two 16-megapixel fish-eye lenses, one on each end of the camera. Both have an f/2.0 aperture and are capable of capturing stills and videos. NFC is included for making an easy connection to your phone.
3) Works in conjunction with Gear VR
The only footage of the Gear 360 I was shown during the demo was inside a Gear VR headset. The two products are designed to work together, so you can show off your recordings and 360-degree snaps right inside the VR headset.
The quality looked pretty good, although I’ll need to spend longer with the device to determine just how good.
4) Built for easy sharing
The Gear 360's coolest feature is just how easy it aims to makes sharing your captured footage. From the app, you can share straight to Facebook and YouTube – both of which support 360 videos – and even Google’s Street View.
Providing a hassle-free way of actually doing something with the captured footage is the key here, and it could be the reason the Gear 360 succeeds.
The dual fish-eye lenses helps to capture 360-degree footage
There's NFC for making a fast connection between the camera and your phone
The buttons are kept to a minimum, with only one on top for recording and one on either side for selecting the mode in which you want to shoot
It works with the Gear VR, so you can view your 360-degree videos and pictures
So far Samsung hasn't announced any pricing or release date information for the Gear 360, but hopefully it will be coming soon.
Samsung’s Gear 360 is a simple product, but it’s this approach that could make it a winner. Giving people an easy platform to shoot and share 360 videos certainly is an enticing prospect.
Plus, it’s compact and looks really quite cute. I’ll have to use it for longer to really test the camera’s abilities, but first impressions are good.