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Samsung Gear 360 hands-on, first impressions

Samsung’s Gear 360, originally started out as “Project Beyond”, is aimed at the general consumer market to jumpstart content creation for the VR world. In a way, the Gear 360 is paving the way for Samsung’s smartphones and the Gear VR to be a standard fare for consumers.

The Gear 360 reminds us of the X-Mini speakers or one of those small Sony SRS-BTV5 NFC speakers with a built-in foldable tripod at the bottom so you can let it stand freely or hold it firmly when taking shots.

There is a small LED display at the top end along with a small power button that shows device status like battery life indicator, shooting mode, SD card capacity. The side has a flip cover to expose the microSD card slot, the removable battery pack and the microUSB charging port.

There are two fish-eye cameras sitting back to back against each other to take two 180-degree shots to complete the 360 view with a combined resolution of 30-megapixels. The lens has an f2.0 aperture so it can take good low-light images and videos. We’ve seen several sample clips and they looked very good, crips and smooth.

The body is dust and water resistant only (IP53) which means it is fairly protected from dust particles but water resistance is only applicable to light shower, spills or rain and is not meant to be submerged. However, if you want to take it underwater, there is a separate water protective housing available (sold separately).

The camera has several shooting modes – still, video, time lapse and looping video — and can use either a single lens or both lenses depending on the mode. Control and preview of the photos and videos are done thru NFC/WiFi on selected Samusng handsets (Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge/Edge+, Note 5).

You will also need the Smaung Gear VR to enjoy the final VR output of the Gear 360. Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, also showed up during the launch to announce that the social emdia site is bringing dynamic 360 video streaming via Gear VR. This could mean that, in the future, content created by the Gear 360 can be uploaded to Facebook and be viewed by everyone using the Gear VR.

Here’s a really quick hands-on video of the Gear 360:

Samsung Gear 360 specs:
0.5-inch PMOLED display @ 72×32 pixels
microSD card slot up to 128GB
2 x 15MP fisheye CMOS cameras
Video @ 3840×1920, 30 fps
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi Direct
Bluetooth 4.1
USB 2.0
IP53 Dust and Water Resistance
66.7 x 56.2 x 60 mm (dimensions)
153 grams (weight)

Samsung Philippine sis loking at a June 2016 release of the Gear 360 in the Philippines but they did not indicate the retail price yet.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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