Samsung Gear 360 2017: Introduction
It’s seen a pretty substantial facelift, with the old chunky golf ball and tripod setup replaced with a far simpler, handheld shape. That ball on top is considerably smaller and the built in handle makes one-handed 360-degree live streams easy.
This big changes in design makes way more sense than its predecessor. Last year’s was a little too bulky to carry and didn't offer the same ease of use and flexibility. This new and improved molded grip is much more appealing, fitting snug in your palm with the sizeable record button sitting naturally under your thumb, big plus.
However, it's not the most sturdy design and does struggle to stand up on its own, Samsung have address this issue by attaching a rubber ring via lanyard which to be honest feels more like a afterthought than as asset. For assured use a tripod would be a better idea.
4K 360-degree live stream
The new Gear 360 is treated to 4K 360-degree video recording at 4,096 x 2,048 – a small improvement on last year’s model. Fifteen-megapixel stills are also on the cards via those dual 8.4-megapixel fish-eye lenses. Proper support for 360-degree video live streams is now available and for future use essential.
Streaming via Facebook, YouTube and Samsung’s own VR platform, Samsung says this feature is vitally important for the integration of the VR revolution into our normal day-to-day video use. Samsung's desire to integrate devices now extends to opening up its Gear 360 compatibility to non Samsung Galaxy smartphones too.
Last year’s Gear 360 could only be used with the higher range of Galaxy smartphones. However, Samsung have said that the 360 will work with a wider range of Samsung handsets, most notably its mid-range Galaxy A lineup. iPhone compatibility, as well as Windows and Mac support, is also coming soon, an exciting and much welcomed change.
Similarities between this year’s Gear 360 and its predecessor are still clear to see. There’s still microSD storage – as pictured above – and there’s a tiny display telling you which mode you’ve selected, as well as its battery status. But there’s no removable battery this year which is disappoitning.
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This year’s Gear 360 has some exciting changes. It’s far more portable, records at a higher resolution, and keeping up with trend towards 360 live video action. However, no removable battery, is a little annoying, but the other changes that have been made are positive changes and really do make a difference to everyday usage.