As anyone who's spent any time on Facebook knows, 360-degree videos are becoming more popular. Samsung is making it easier than ever to shoot those videos yourself with the new Gear 360.
The Gear 360 will retail for $229. The previous generation of the Gear 360 originally retailed for about $350 so this model, despite being a bit more powerful, offers a substantial price drop. The previous model can now be found online for much cheaper, but this new version does offer slightly improved specs and a smaller frame, which makes it a more portable device.
Samsung's decision to lower the price by more than $100 seems to be a smart move. Despite the popularity of 360-degree videos, the cameras designed for shooting them aren't generating a lot of hype. It remains to be seen whether or not the Samsung Gear 360 will be a success.
Based on what we know, it appears to be a good 360-degree camera, but it is unclear whether or not there is a big enough market for such devices.
The newest version of the Gear 360 is a bit of a mixed bag. There are several improvements, but also a few steps back.
The Gear 360 is equipped with two CMOS 8.4-megapixel fish-eye cameras. The device shoots MP4 (H.265) videos with a 4,096 x 2,048 resolution at 24 fps. The video quality has gone from "near 4K" to "true 4K," though live-streaming is locked at 2K. Still photographs remain at 15 megapixels.
In terms of memory, the Gear 360 will support microSD cards up to 256 GB so storage shouldn't be a problem.
Given the device's portable nature, durability is an important fact to consider. While we don't know how drop-resistant the Gear 360 is, we can confirm that it is IP53 certified as dust and water resistant. Keep in mind that this does not mean it is waterproof. If you drop this in a lake or swimming pool then it will be toast, but it can survive light spray.
One thing that we can't complain about is the Gear 360's connectivity. In addition to the expected Wi-Fi and USB Type-C support, the camera will also feature Bluetooth connectivity.
Alas, there is one area where the new Gear 360 is outclassed by its predecessor and that is the battery. The 2016 model featured a 1,350 mAh battery whereas the new version will come with a 1,160 mAh battery. This was likely done in the name of portability, but it does mean the 2016 model lasts longer before needing a charge.
It is in the area of design that we see the real difference between these two cameras. The 2016 model was a large ball that sat on three legs. While this design was stable, it was also difficult to hold or fit into your pocket. The new model features a handle that makes it much easier to hold and slip into a pocket.
The previous version of the Gear 360 was only compatible with Samsung's smartphones, but the newest model will also work on the iPhone.
The Gear 360 will launch on May 25 in the United States and will be available from most major retailers as well as online outlets.
If you're interested in the both the Gear 360 and Galaxy S8 or S8+ then Samsung is offering a nice deal where you can get the Gear 360 for $49. In order to qualify for that deal, you'll need to buy both the phone and the camera within the promo period of May 25 to June 19.
Eric Brackett Tech Times editor Eric Brackett is a tech junkie and a gamer, covering science and technology. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter for updates and his random thoughts on the latest trends in gaming, tech, and comic books.