Samsung Gear 360 Review

A while ago, I wrote about Samsung coming out with their very first 360 degree action camera. After introducing their amazing VR glasses, they finally released the Samsung Gear 360. It makes sense, as the Gear 360 let’s you create your own 360 degree videos that you can later watch through the glasses. Pretty smart in my opinion. The main concern I have is the video quality. I have reviewed quite a bit of 360 degree cameras before and their quality has been quite disappointing. I have huge hopes for the Samsung Gear 360 as it costs around $300 and supports 4K resolution.

Technical Specification

  • Dimensions: 66.7×60.1×56.3mm / 2.6×2.4×2.2″
  • Weight: 152g / 5.4oz
  • Video resolutions: 4K 30fps (Dual camera); 1440p 30fps (Single camera)
  • Photo: 30MP
  • Modes: Video, Photo, Time-Lapse, Looping video
  • Features: WiFi, Bluetooth, 360 degree video, Gyro, NFC, Dust & Splash proof
  • Ports: MicroUSB, MicroSD
  • Memory: MicroSD card Class 10 up to 128GB
  • Battery life: 1 hour 30 minutes of 4K at 30fps
  • Compatibility: Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, Note5, S7, S7 edge with the Samsung Gear 360 Manager app, PCs with the Gear 360 ActionDirector software
  • Price: $299

In The Box

  • Samsung Gear 360
  • Pouch, strap, tripod, microfiber cloth
  • MicroUSB cable

Design & Accessories

The Samsung Gear 360 has a unique sphere design which actually makes sense. It’s basically the size of a tennis ball with 2 lenses sticking out. Both of the two lenses have a 195 degree field of view. When you record with both of them together, you actually get the 360 degree video. Surprisingly, the lenses actually have a direction as well. On top of the camera, you will find a small LCD screen and record button. The lens that is nearest to the LCD is actually the front side. The LCD, while small, is actually pretty good. It displays battery life, Bluetooth, remaining storage capacity and the mode you are shooting with.

On the right and left side you will find small pinholes that are actually microphones. The left side has also got a button for Bluetooth/Menu and Power/Back. The right side holds a compartment for the battery, microSD card and a microUSB port. I actually really like that you can change the battery. It’s a huge plus over the Ricoh Theta SC model. It also means that you’ll be able to record for a longer time.

Samsung Gear 360 review

Compared to Ricoh, which has the slim camera design, I actually really like that Samsung has gone with the more robust sphere look. While it is bigger and heavier, it feels more solid and packs more hardware. Because of that, Samsung has included a small tripod that is attached to the Samsung Gear 360. It’s really amazing as you can use it as a handle to hold onto while recording with the camera. It’s kind of impossible to hold onto the sphere while recording as your hand will be covering like half of the footage. The tripod also gives you the option to just place it anywhere and let you record from a distance.

The tripod is the only accessory that has been created for the camera. You can also get like a GoPro adapter with a tripod thread. This way you can use other mounting options to attach it to walls and other surfaces as well. Sadly there is no waterproof case though, so no diving with it! The camera’s body is actually dust and splash proof so you don’t have to worry too much about rain. Always a good idea to keep it dry though.

Video & Features

The Samsung Gear 360 is the only $300 camera that can capture 4K 360 degree videos. Now that is pretty amazing. It records 4K at 30fps which is good enough for everything. I mean most hollywood movies are recorded in 24fps so it’s fine. Also the only reason to use higher fps is if you are going to be recording some crazy high speed videos on a motorbike. That’s kind of hard to pull off anyways so the 4K 30fps is fine.

I’m actually quite surprised how good the video quality is. Of course there is some blur around the edges. But in the center, the footage is clear and pretty sharp. Even the colors are well balanced. Of course the quality isn’t as good as on a best action camera but for 360 degree videos at the moment, it’s amazing. Definitely the best 360 degree video quality in the $300 range.

So as I mentioned in the technical specification, the Samsung Gear 360 can be used to capture both 360 degree and normal videos. When recording in normal, the max resolution will be 1440p (2560 x 1440). You can also create time-lapse footage, which is pretty cool.

The biggest downside of the Samsung Gear 360 is the compatibility. While you can record with it, despite what phone you got, you need a Samsung phone to connect it via Bluetooth. The following phones are compatible with the camera: Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, Note5, S7, S7 edge. You need to get the Samsung Gear 360 Manager app. Sadly, the app isn’t available for any other phone/device. If you want to import the videos onto PC then you are going to need to get the Gear 360 ActionDirector program. It can also be used to edit the videos so it’s actually a pretty good piece of software.

Gear 360 ActionDirector

Conclusion

The Samsung Gear 360 is definitely the best 360 degree camera in the $300 range. It has the best design, features and most importantly video quality. My only problem with the camera is that you need certain Samsung devices to sync them via Bluetooth or WiFi. So obviously, the Samsung Gear 360 is amazing if you have one of the compatible devices.

And even if you don’t, it is still an amazing 360 degree camera. But you need to pay in mind that you can’t connect it to your phone. So if that is really important to you, then you might want to look for something else.

7.6 Total Score

Design
9
Build Quality
9.5
Video Quality
7.5
Features
7
Accessories
5
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