Together with its new flagship phones Galaxy S7 and S7 edge Samsung has announced the Galaxy Gear 360 camera at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Gear 360 is a ball-shaped device that uses two 15MP cameras with F2.0 fisheye-lenses to record 30MP spherical still images or 360-degree video with a resolution of 3840 x 1920 pixels. Alternatively, you can use only a single camera module to record 180-degree images or video. Battery life is still somewhat a limiting factor though. The Gear 360 camera is good for 30 minutes of video recording at full resolution. At 2560 x 1280 pixels this increases to 100 minutes.
The Gear 360's plastic body is splash-proof but not fully water-proof of shock-resistant. Rather than replacing an action cam, it's intended for use on travels, during social gatherings and similar occasions. It comes with a mini-tripod but thanks to a standard tripod mount can be connected to most camera supports.
The Gear 360 has built-in buttons and a tiny LCD display for stand-alone operation but is best controlled through the dedicated Gear 360 app. It allows you to preview content in real time on the smartphone screen via a Wi-Fi connection. The camera has a microSD memory card slot but with the app recorded content can also be saved on the phone for viewing, trimming and sharing. Of course it's also possible to view the Gear camera's 360-degree content on the the Gear VR, Samsung's VR headset which launched last year. Currently the Gear 360 is only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S6.
The Galaxy Gear 360 camera will be available starting Q2 2016.
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