In addition to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, Samsung also announced an extra-special accessory at its Unpacked event. The Gear 360 is Samsung's first action camera, and not content to compete with GoPro and other conventional models, the company designed a camera that records video in 360 degrees at once. This is achieved with a ball-like body design and two sensors, each paired to a fish eye lens that captures 180 degrees of action. The camera and Samsung's software then stitches the video together for easy 360-degree presentations and VR playback.
The Gear 360 isn't the first 360-degree camera on the market, but with Samsung's marketing muscle behind it (not to mention integration with the company's smartphones), it could become the most popular. All the expected bells and whistles are included: users can pair a Galaxy phone for an easy remote controller and viewfinder, or simply connect the camera to a Wi-Fi network and transfer stills and video to a local computer. The ball design is 66mm across at its thickest point, a little smaller than a tennis ball, and it weighs just 152 grams. Both the battery and the MicroSD storage can be swapped out.
Both lenses are 15MP and can record in single mode or 360-degree mode, and stills are no problem as well. The camera records at a maximum resolution of 3840x1920 (which is equal to 4K with a bit of a letterbox) and an F/2.0 aperture. The body is designed to be used freehand, with a tripod mount, or with one of the ubiquitous "action" camera mounts for sports footage. The Gear 360 should be able to take at least a bit of a beating, too: Samsung says it's resistant to dust and water, though an exact Ingress Protection rating wasn't mentioned.
The Gear 360 will hit the market sometime in the second quarter of 2016. There's no word on a price.
BARCELONA – February 21, 2016 – Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd today announced the Samsung Gear 360, a 360-degree camera that lets consumers easily create, view and share their favorite experiences through video and still image content. Gear 360 is designed for travel, festive gatherings and every activity in between to provide an all-encompassing visual experience. The new camera leverages the best of the Samsung Galaxy experience so users can become the creator of their own virtual reality content to enjoy through Gear VR.
“Samsung continues to push the boundaries of the mobile experience to extend beyond the smartphone,” said DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “On the heels of 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.”
Compact Design with High Performance for Every Activity
Samsung Gear 360 is equipped with dual fisheye lenses, which both have 15 megapixel image sensors, giving users the ability to capture high-resolution (3840x1920) 360-degree video that also supports 30 megapixel still images. Users are also able to shoot 180-degree wide angle video and images with only using one side of the camera lens. Built for any time of day, Gear 360 offers Bright Lens F2.0, which creates high resolution images even in low-light conditions, where users can create full panoramic videos.
With a light and compact, spherical shaped design, Gear 360 maximizes portability to film on the go or for indoor activities. Gear 360 features a user-friendly tripod and is also compatible with a wider selection of accessories and mounts currently available on the market.
The Galaxy Experience
Samsung continues to push the boundaries of hardware, software and services to create devices that are designed to improve how consumers connect, share, organize and get more out of life. The company is redefining what is possible, beyond the limits of today’s technology, by introducing a constellation of seamless mobile experiences.
When Gear 360 is synced with a Samsung smartphone, users will be able to preview content in real time when recording. Also, Gear 360 will automatically bring up filmed content for users to view and save on their smartphone or to upload and share directly on social channels including Google Street View. For a real 360 viewing experience, users can simply watch self-created content through Gear VR. All these features will be available through a dedicated mobile application for download from Galaxy Apps, Google Play and PC software for more in-depth editing capabilities.
Gear 360 is compatible with select Samsung smartphones including the newly released Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S6.