Samsung’s first Gear 360 video digicam was a promising product, however one which fell wanting expectations in real-world use. Regardless of capturing fairly respectable 360-degree video, it was hampered by restricted smartphone compatibility and shoddy software program help. Samsung took be aware of criticisms when creating the 2017 version of the Gear 360 ($229.99). In some methods it delivers, with help for iPhones and Mac computer systems, although we did expertise some severe bugs with the iOS app. In case you use a Samsung telephone, the Gear 360 is the most effective 360 digicam you should buy, however in the event you plan on utilizing it with an iPhone, you need to wait till Samsung fixes the iOS expertise. The Gear 360 would probably be our Editors’ Selection if the iPhone app labored properly.
The original Gear 360 was a fist-sized globe with a tripod mount. This one has a smaller digicam globe, set atop a finger-length stalk that accommodates the battery. It measures three.9 by 1.eight by 1.eight inches (HWD) and weighs four.6 ounces. A rubbery ring may be positioned across the base to maintain it in place, the place the previous digicam would have rolled away with out a tripod. There’s additionally a typical tripod socket, so you need to use the help of your liking—a GorillaPod or different help with versatile legs is an effective match, as it can allow you to connect the digicam to locations the place a standard tripod would not have a leg to face on.
The digicam is IP53 rain resistant, however not waterproof. It prices and syncs by way of a USB-C port, and data to a microSD reminiscence card. The battery is sealed in, however you need to use it whereas it is plugged in and charging. In our exams the battery was good for 90 minutes of recording in 4K, however you’ll be able to count on longer use in the event you go for a decrease decision—about two hours when taking pictures in 2K. Wi-fi file transfers additionally take a toll. Transferring a seven-minute clip dropped the battery by about 15 % and took 25 minutes.
You should utilize the digicam with out an app. It has a small monochrome info LCD that exhibits the present taking pictures mode, in addition to Menu, Energy/Again, and File buttons. It is easy sufficient to start out and cease video with File, and you’ll change between picture and video modes utilizing the bodily controls. Pairing the Gear together with your telephone will get you a Reside View feed, in addition to extra sturdy controls, together with publicity and white steadiness.
The 2 lenses are nearer collectively on the brand new mannequin, lowering stitching issues, and so they document four,096-by-2,048 4K video at 24 frames per second; no different body charge choices can be found at full decision. At Samsung’s HQ in Korea, product technique VP Robert Kim stated that the corporate is specializing in the 360 being a video reasonably than a nonetheless digicam, so the 2 picture sensors have dropped from 15 megapixels every to eight.four megapixels every, producing 15-megapixel, 360-degree nonetheless pictures.
Samsung has additionally added stay streaming to the 360. The digicam would not stay stream instantly, however it’ll relay by way of the Gear 360 app on a telephone to stream to Fb Reside or YouTube. Reside streaming requires a Samsung telephone operating Nougat—it labored tremendous on a Galaxy S7—or a pc operating the dekstop software program with the Gear linked by way of USB. You possibly can’t stream utilizing earlier variations of Android or iOS.
The brand new Gear 360 is appropriate with Galaxy S6 or later flagship Samsung telephones, the Galaxy A5 and A7, latest
The Android companion app is stable, a lot better than what we noticed with the primary Gear 360. The digicam nonetheless data in H.265 format, which enjoys higher help as we speak than it did a 12 months in the past, however if you switch video to your telephone it is routinely stitched and transformed to the better-supported H.264 format, all at full decision. The truth that you’ll be able to work with full high quality video in your telephone is an enormous plus, and in contrast to the unique Gear 360, we did not expertise any overheating points when transferring prolonged clips.
The iOS app, alternatively, is a catastrophe. You are capable of view the feed and management the digicam with out concern, and transferring images to your telephone works. However I used to be unable to get any of my video clips to switch, even very brief clips lower than 15 seconds in size. The video switch appeared to go tremendous, shifting the progress bar to in regards to the 30 % mark, however the lengthier stitching course of crashed again and again, on each my iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2, at in regards to the 40 % mark. I attempted transferring a number of totally different movies, together with clips began utilizing the iPhone app itself, to make sure it wasn’t a difficulty with a single video file. The app crashed each time, and I needed to energy cycle the Gear 360 to reconnect it to the iOS gadget utilizing Wi-Fi after every crash. Based mostly on studies I’ve seen in Apple’s App Retailer, I am not the one one experiencing this concern.
The draw back to shifting 4K, 360-degree video to your telephone is its measurement. Stitched video boasts a powerful 60Mbps bit charge, however that additionally means you are going to spend about 450MB of storage for each minute of video you retailer in your telephone. And phone-based workflow will not be sensible in the event you personal a telephone with solely 16GB of cupboard space. For extra severe video work, you will wish to use the desktop stitching instruments.
And fortunately the desktop software program is quite a bit higher than it was once. I put in the Gear 360 app on my MacBook Professional. You might want to enter the digicam serial quantity to activate it, however when you do you’ll stream stay video to YouTube, Faceook, or to a Gear VR headset, and import and sew video and pictures from the Gear’s reminiscence card.
Importing and stitching video can also be improved. It takes some time—a 12-second clip requires about two and a half minutes to sew collectively utilizing a 2.8GHz Core i5 CPU from 2014. I might count on a more recent, sooner laptop computer to chop that point down. The dekstop app would not have any enhancing instruments, however as soon as you’ve got acquired video stitched you’ll be able to edit clips utilizing Premiere Professional CC or your most popular video enhancing suite.
Video and Picture High quality
The video from the brand new Gear 360 has extra pixels, however not by an enormous margin. The primary Gear 360 captured video at three,840 by 1,920; this one ups the decision to four,096 by 2,048, a couple of 13-percent improve. However with spherical video, the place every part is stretched out to cowl a navigable 360-degree body, each additional pixel helps.
At full decision you are locked into 24fps seize, which is good if you need your footage to have a cinematic look. However it’s not nice in the event you’re an motion sports activities junkie, as extra frames are higher for sports activities movies. A 60fps seize charge delivers smoother, crisper movement, and may be slowed down for fluid half-speed playback.
Reside streaming is finished at a a lot lesser high quality, 1,920 by 960 at 15fps, so count on mushy outcomes. However that is the value you pay for real-time stitching and broadcast.
Quicker seize charges can be found at decrease resolutions—you’ll be able to shoot at 30fps at 2,800 by 1,440, at 30 or 60fps at 2,560 by 1,280, at 30fps at 1,920 by 960, and at 120fps at 1,440 by 720. Oddly, 24fps seize is just accessible on the most decision.
The Gear 360 additionally units itself other than the gang by permitting conventional, flat 16:9 footage at 1080p utilizing both of its lenses. That is one thing the $500 Nkon KeyMission 360 would not allow you to do. You possibly can shoot at 30 or 60fps at 1080p, and at 30fps at 720p. Once more, 24fps is not accessible with single-lens seize.
So far as video high quality goes, it is barely stronger than what you get with the primary Gear 360 or the Nikon KM360, however not considerably so. Particulars are decently crisp up shut, though distant topics are a bit blurred. That is par for the course with the beyond-ultra-wide scope of a 360-degree digicam.
There are some points inherent within the format, together with publicity variations beween the 2 lenses—level one on the solar and you will get a flare in half your video, and visual seams at very shut distances. However you’ll be able to modify your framing and digicam positioning to sidestep these. Chromatic aberation is pretty properly managed; we have seen severe purple fringing round tree branches in different cameras, however it’s not overt right here. We would liken the standard to a 720p 16:9 video. We’ll want to attend for 8K 360-degree cameras, that are on the horizon, to web considerably higher high quality.
Picture decision has dropped from 25MP to 15.7MP. It is a massive drop, however since you will be viewing pictures on a display reasonably than making prints, it isn’t an enormous deal. Like most cameras with small picture sensors, the Gear delivers images which might be on par with what you get from a flagship smartphone digicam. Picture high quality is strongest when topics are nearer to the lens—the ultra-wide nature of the digicam means distant topics aren’t going to look nice, no matter what number of pixels are behind the glass. HDR picture seize can also be an choice, as is time-lapse recording.
The brand new Gear 360 is a stable, reasonably priced piece of that’s hampered by restricted Android help and an iPhone app that crashes when performing very primary performance. Its video is the most effective we have seen from a 360-degree digicam priced for shoppers, and it is available in at lower than half the price of the Nikon KeyMission 360. It would not have in-camera stitching just like the Nikon, neither is it submersible, so there are some trade-offs. If Samsung improves the iOS app we’ll give the Gear one other look, however for now we’re withholding Editors’ Selection marks. In case you personal a Samsung Android telephone, nevertheless, that is the most effective 360 digicam you will discover wherever close to this worth level.