Samsung is solidifying its entry into the virtual reality sector with the release of a new camera called the Samsung Gear 360. The device is a sphere-shaped unit that allows owners to shoot and capture 360-degree photos and videos. Through this offering, the tech brand hopes to boost VR content generation, which may help bolster the use of its other VR products, such as the iconic Oculus-powered headset.
“Samsung continues to push the boundaries of the mobile experience to extend beyond the smartphone. Following last year’s Gear VR release, Gear 360 continues to push the limits on immersive content — providing a visual experience that makes capturing and sharing life’s moments even easier,” said DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics.
The camera is equipped with a dual f/2.0 fisheye lens and 15-megapixel image sensors. Through the feature, users have the option of capturing footage in high resolution (3840 x 1920), 360-video format. When it comes to still images, the unit can shoot at 30 megapixels. The device is flexible in shooting at 180 degrees for focused shots. To accomplish this, all you have to do is use one of the two cameras. To ensure quality shots under low light conditions, engineers included support for Bright Lens 2.0 aperture.
Other notable specs include the following:
- DRIMe5s image processor
- 1GB of RAM
- MicroSD card (Up to 128GB)
- .05-inch PMOLED display
- Accelerometer and gyro sensors
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz)
- Removable 1350mAh battery
To cater to multiple shooting styles, the camera comes with a small tripod. Individuals have the option to use it as a traditional stand on a flat, sturdy surface or as a makeshift handle (when folded). The device is also water and dust resistant, and comes with an IP53 approval rating for extreme environments.
Out of the Box Smartphone Compatibility
Ultimately, the Samsung Gear 360 is designed to be used out of the box with minimal configuration, making it appealing for novice users and early adopters with limited experience in handling VR cameras. Furthermore, it is compatible with the following Samsung phones: Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S6. Using the camera with a compatible smartphone lets you manage content seamlessly across different gadgets. From your mobile device, you can also push videos and images to social media or to the cloud for storage.
Samsung has yet to release an official price for the VR camera. Initially, VRFocus spotted a $99 price tag for the unit from the Samsung website. That listing was removed shortly after it generated buzz around the tech community. A second price listing appeared from B&H Photo Video with a price point of $399.99. This puts the device in the premium VR category, along with 60fly ($399.99) and Ricoh Theta S ($349.95). Based on the shooter’s features, the second price listing is probably more accurate than the first. The Gear 360 will be available in the second quarter of 2016. Other companies that are releasing similar VR cameras this year include Kodak, Nikon, LG, Vuze and Bublcam.