Samsung announced quite a few new products and ideas at this year’s Mobile World Congress, and many of them focused on virtual reality and its effect on the world of entertainment. Consuming VR is one thing though, and producing content for it is a completely different thing altogether. That’s part of why Samsung announced the Gear 360, a handheld camera that’s designed to capture 360-degree video of your world and the things you do in it. While social media and YouTube have brought the power of making your own videos and other content easy, VR content hasn’t been quite as accessible simply because there’s not really been any affordable hardware to make it with.
We got out hands on the Gear 360 in Barcelona and it’s a pretty magnificent little piece of technology. Looking sort of like a mashup between a webcam and a video game turret tripod (think Portal), the Gear 360 is a small camera that’s super light at 115 grams, and fits well in the hand thanks to the folding tripod at the base. Since this tripod can fold up or out it can be handheld or placed on a flat surface to record, capturing all the action around it simultaneously in almost 4K resolution at 30FPS. This type of high quality video is powered by dual 15-megapixel cameras on either side of the unit, each featuring a fisheye lens to capture as much action around as possible.
On one side you’ll find a flap concealing the removable battery, while up top sits a record button and a tiny 0.5-inch display. This display gives recording time, battery life and the status of the camera itself, and since it records everything around it you won’t have to worry about setting up the shot just right or seeing what’s going on before hitting record. Off to the side is an NFC pairing module, various microphones situated throughout the chassis for directional audio recording, and even a menu and back button on the other side for simple navigation. This is a sleek little unit that’s more impressive in person for sure, and if you’ve got one of Samsung’s chosen few Galaxy phones that are compatible with it and a Gear VR, you’ll be enjoying that content in no time. We didn’t get to take it to the Swiss Alps like Samsung did though, so be sure to check out Samsung’s videos taken with the Gear 360.