Tech Review: New Samsung Gear 360 Camera

Point and shoot - it used to be that easy.  Now, it's even easier.  There's no reason to point anymore.  360 degree cameras are the hot gadget right now.  They take a picture that captures everything.  Up, down, left, right... everything!  Samsung is back with version 2 of their Gear 360 camera.  I took it for a test and found out that it is definitely better than their first version and possibly the best affordable 360 camera available right now.

Hardware

The first Gear 360 looked like a ball with a little tripod that attached to the bottom.  I didn't love that design.  It was too complicated.  Samsung sorted that out with a much refined and more simple design with version 2.  It looks like a little robot with a big round head.  You have a fisheye lens on each side.  There is a power and menu button on the side of that "head."  On the stem you'll find the record/shutter button, a small display as well as the memory card slot and USB-C port.  It's pretty much what you would expect from a 360 camera in a sleek Samsung plastic shell.  The Gear 360 also offers a standard screw-in tripod mount on the bottom.

Quality

The biggest difference with the new Gear 360 is that is shoots 4K video.  This is important because you're often only looking at a small portion of the total video capture.  Resolution is more important than ever when shooting 360 video.  You can judge for yourself, here's a video I shot with the Gear 360.

You can also take 360 still photos.  They can be viewed in 360 like this:

Or you can create fun flattened images - I specifically like the little big world look!

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P.S. - my head is not really that large!

We'll do it LIVE!

One of the best features of the new Gear 360 is that you can stream live from the camera, through your phone to Youtube and Facebook in 360 degrees!  You've seen those 360 degree videos in your Facebook feed but imagine if it was live.  That's exactly what you get.  In my testing, setup was super simple and it worked exactly as promised.  I couldn't figure out how to get it work with my Facebook "Page" but it worked great with my personal Facebook account.

Conclusion

Best 360 camera yet?  I think that's fair.  The 360 camera market is evolving by the month and Samsung did a great job of taking their original Gear 360 and kicking it up a notch.  Other cameras from LG (review here) and Ricoh (review here) do a solid job but I think Samsung nailed the combination of features and simplicity.  Best of all, the $230 price tag makes it pretty affordable.