360-degree camera gets facelift with full 4K shooting and greater compatibility

Samsung has announced a new version of its Gear 360 – a 360-degree camera that has a refined design for easier use and the addition of 4K shooting. The news comes a mere six months since the launch of the original Gear 360 which captured 3840×1920 footage at 30fps, whereas the updated camera delivers full 4K (4096×2048) resolution videos at 24fps.

Probably the two other standout improvements in the Gear 360 (2017) are its ability to additionally pair with iPhones (6S or newer models, running iOS 10 or later) and its 2K live streaming capabilities. Users will be able to live stream 2K video directly to Facebook, YouTube and Samsung VR when paired with any compatible smartphone.

New sensors
To facilitate the aforementioned changes Samsung has switched from 15 megapixel sensors to 8.4 Megapixel sensors on both of the unit’s f/2.2 dual fisheye lenses. This has resulted in a decrease in still photo quality from 30 megapixels with the original Gear 360 down to 15 megapixel stills with the latest version of the camera.

The Gear 360 also features a new design, with a built-in handle beneath the dual-lens sphere. The handle, which holds the slightly smaller battery (1160 mAh versus 1,350mAh), has allowed Samsung to reduce the camera body from 60mm wide to just 45mm wide.

Modes, effects and filters
Whether creating a 360-degree video or still images Gear 360 users can access various viewing modes, editing tools and photo effects and filters to create customised content. Users can also effortlessly convert 360 videos into standard formats for easy-to-share content. Recording is to a microSD card (up to 256GB).

Expanded compatibility
The 2017 edition of the Gear 360 is compatible with Samsung devices including the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy Note5, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017). As mentioned above the Gear 360 also offers greater compatibility with iOS devices including the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE, as well as Windows and Mac computers.

Gear VR browser
Samsung also announced the launch of a new Gear VR web browser – the Oculus Browser (Samsung partners with Oculus on its VR headset) is now available for the Gear VR. The app lets you search the web from within your headset, and displays all video, images and text from search engines, websites and social media channels in a similar manner to that of a desktop.

Price & availability
The UK pricing for the new Samsung Gear 360 is likely to be around the £200 mark with a launch date rumoured to be in late April.