Samsung’s Gear 360 is a really nice piece of kit, and it was all announced today at Mobile World Congress 2016. Samsung’s Unpacked event was full of awesome announcements, like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, but the real focus seemed to be on VR and 360-degree viewing. Everything from the stage to the presentation was designed in a fully spherical fashion, and the box-like stage was visible from all angles as the seating arrangement suggested. We got our hands on the Gear 360 camera at MWC, but weren’t able to take it on a test run just yet, and while the camera sounds cool and all on paper it’s not until you see it in action to realize the true potential of the camera.
During the press conference Samsung showed a few clips of 360-degree videos shot with the Gear 360, but for some reason they didn’t move the videos around to show what the camera actually captured. Thankfully all those videos have been made available on Samsung’s official YouTube account, and you’ve got to see them to understand exactly how they work. 360-degree cameras are nothing new, but one from a manufacturer as big as Samsung hasn’t really been seen just yet. Pair this with the compatibility with Samsung’s latest Galaxy smartphones and the assumed affordable price of the Gear 360 on launch and you’ll have an idea of what this means for VR video.
Since this is 360-degree video you’ll need to make sure you actually move the screen around a bit when viewing. If you’ve got YouTube on a Samsung phone on a GearVR, another type of VR headset or just watching it in plain old 2D you’ll need to give it a little push around to see the whole picture. This sort of manual movement makes the video more engrossing for certain activities, and gives users a new view of what’s going on in the scene at hand. Stitching seems to be nearly nonexistent too depending on the lighting conditions, and while it’s more obvious on the football video it’s almost invisible in the other two. Quite possibly the most magical video is the skiing one though, where a Gear 360 is strapped to the helmet of a skiier going down the side of a snowy mountain.