• Resolution: 12.2MP
  • Zoom Range: 18mm fixed focus
  • Display: LCD
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Storage: MicroSD
  • Pros:
  • Nice 360 degree shots in various lighting conditions
  • Cons:
  • Only works with Samsung smartphones

360 Photos Are Here To Stay

Samsung is not a stranger when it comes to cameras. The Korean tech giant has dabbled in making them before, and their smartphone camera tech is widely considered to be some of the best in the industry. This time around, Samsung is looking to tap into the 360-degree camera market with their own offering, the Samsung Gear 360.

Clad in a black and white polycarbonate chassis, the Gear 360 houses two fisheye camera lenses with an aperture of f2.0 that captures bright and vibrant images regardless of lighting conditions. Setup is a straightforward affair, but do note that using the Gear 360 requires the use of a Samsung device, as the Gear 360 app needed to operate the camera from your mobile device is only officially available on the Samsung app store.

As far as features go, the Gear 360 allows you to capture 360 photos, or opt between the front or back lenses to capture an ultra wide-angle 180 degree panoramic shot using either the front of rear lens, both of which are indicated by LEDs, so you know which side of the camera you need to face to capture the shots.

Storage on the Gear 360 uses a MicroSD card, and an LCD panel at the top shows you how many shots you have left before you run out of space. Typically, one 360 photo eats up about 25MB of space, which means you do need a card with a lot of storage space if you intend on taking a lot of shots.

Using the Gear 360 is simple. After it’s turned on, just press the red button on top of the camera, hold it up (we recommend a monopod) and it will capture the photo after the timer runs down. You can even record videos with the Gear 360, but in our opinion, the quality of these videos aren’t as good as the photos.

Using the Gear 360 app, you can transfer these photos from the camera to your phone, and view images in their full 360 glory, as well as upload it to Facebook where there is a 360 photo function where you can share your images with your friends.

As far as battery life is concerned, throughout our two weeks with it, we only had to leave the Gear 360 charged overnight once, and it did not run out of juice even once, and we did take a fair amount of photos with the device.

CHIP CONCLUDE: The Samsung Gear 360 is a pretty fun camera to use, and comes in at a time when 360 cameras are starting to show promise.

(previously published in issue November 2016)