Virtual reality glasses are becoming increasingly popular. There are many options, from cheap cardboard glasses for smartphones and Gear VR solutions to high-end products like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Of course, the difference between the different models is quite significant, but there are common: without a corresponding use of the content of such little points. New panoramic camera Samsung Gear 360 solves the problem of content creation – at least partially. Small ball is equipped with two cameras, with it you can take pictures and video. All the details you will find out in our review.
The first distinctive feature, you will learn more in the time of purchase. Price Gear 360 is 29.990 rubles in Russian or 349 euros in Europe, which is very expensive toy in front of us. Moreover, using the camera, you can only pair with five smartphones. Compatible Galaxy S6 and S7, the two respective versions edge and Galaxy S6 edge +. That is, you will not only have to pay more than for the same camera LG 360 Cam, and a list of compatible smartphones are much shorter.
Fixing pan at 360 degrees with the help of two cameras was made possible by optics “fish-eye”. Each sensor covers 180 ° on each side, for the unification of the panorama software meets. Using only two cameras, of course, reduces the cost. But this approach affects the image quality.
Objects at a distance of up to one meter are distorted to some extent because of the wide-angle lens, as in the union of the two images are observed errors.
Technical specifications were not a surprise. Each camera is based on a sensor with a resolution of 15 megapixels and F2.0 aperture. For the processing of information used 1GB memory and DRIMe5s chip that was used in the camera Samsung NX500. Built-in memory for storing pictures and videos are not provided, but the supports microSD cards with a capacity up to 200 GB, preferably with high bandwidth.
Status information, including battery charge mode is selected and the remaining space in the memory card is displayed on 0.5 “PMOLED display with a resolution of 72 x 32 pixels from the top chamber. The connection is made to a smart phone via Bluetooth 4.1 or WiFi 802.11ac, can be used to interface NFC.
The camera has dimensions of 66,7 x 56,2 x 60,0 mm and weight is 145 grams, the body protected from dust and moisture (certified IP53). Removable battery has a capacity of 1,350 mAh, the camera built-in gyroscope and accelerometer, to charge the provided micro-USB interface. Bottom Samsung added a threaded hole for attaching a tripod, small tripod just supplied.
After the initial setup Gear 360 possible two scenarios work self chamber and through the application Gear 360. In the latter case, the interface is divided into two areas: the previously recorded content and a “live” view. You can switch between four modes (photo, video, cyclic video, time lapse), and between the two cameras – front, rear or both. You can also modify several parameters that affect the picture quality.
If you do not want to control the camera from your smartphone, you can switch between the modes, start and stop recording button Gear 360. LED indicates the current status and active camera.
The picture quality much should not be expected, the specifications promise more than they can give Gear 360. Panorama 360 degrees under good lighting sufficient for snapshots, but in the video noticeably quite a lot of noise and artifacts. Recent most actively manifest themselves when the camera movement – that Samsung is logical is not recommended. In addition, often the pictures are blurry, subtle hues and brightness gradients almost completely lost.
If we confine ourselves only one sensor, the situation is no better. The fact that the resolution is not simply halved. In mode two cameras for video and photos are available 3.840 x 1.920 pixels and 7.776 x 3.888 pixels (30 MP), respectively. In single mode, the resolution is reduced to 2.560 x 1.440 and 3.072 x 1.728 pixels (5 MB). However, work with one sensor – rather an exception, because the strength of the Gear 360 are just two cameras.
If you are going to take 360 Gear on a long trip, you should take care of the second battery or an external battery. Samsung indicates battery life in a range between 140 and 160 minutes (photo / video), but in our tests we have received only 100-120 minutes. The battery life will be even lower, if the camera is a long time in standby mode. An hour before the critical battery level of the camera began to issue warnings.
When working with your smartphone have to put up with the limitations of technology. Photos and videos can be viewed immediately after stopping the shooting, but the data will first be transferred to a smartphone – in the case of video on the transfer process can take a long time. But this does not mean that the footage will be stored on your phone. To save you must click the “Save” button. At least you can simultaneously transmit and store more photos.
The application is available Gear 360 basic video editing functions and photo processing. If you need advanced editing functions, the Samsung offers application Gear 360 Action Director, which can be downloaded on the website. The possibility of mounting applications will be enough for most fans.
After shooting, you can view content and share clips across different services. From popular services support is limited to YouTube and Facebook, where 360 ° videos are played correctly with the navigation options. There are some other services, also correctly identifies content.
But the best view content in glasses VR, such as the Samsung Gear VR. Especially good sense of presence and volume is created on the videos – if the camera Gear 360 is properly positioned during shooting.
Samsung does not recommend you to capture images when the camera is moving, but if you do go to such a step, during playback may occur side effects in the form of “motion sickness” and headaches. Although they encountered when playing other content in VR glasses.
It is unlikely that Samsung Gear 360 cameras will be sold like hotcakes. The reason is not only that the market is not much compatible smartphones. The point is to show the content in the best conditions needed glasses Gear VR, which is not at all. In addition, if you want to join the world of 360 °, we have to spend: Galaxy S6 will cost 400 euros or 32,990 rubles for the Gear VR will have to pay another 80 euros, or by 6.5 thousand rubles, finally, Gear 360 camera will cost. 350 euros or 29.990 rubles in Russia. It is unlikely that many users will want to spend on the entire set of a round sum.
Especially if it’s high quality requirements. For major applications recording quality is too low, even to fans it may seem insufficient. A somewhat different impression when using a compatible smartphone and points VR. But in this case would still have to decide themselves whether justifies spending 30 thousand. Rubles? Of course, Gear 360 is an unusual gadget, able to surprise users. But like any toy camera with shooting 360 ° can quickly get bored, after which it will gather dust in the closet. Pleasure you can get away from the camera, you should understand the basics of the application, as well as to consider the location of the camera to get the best results.
The second major drawback besides the quality of the survey concerns applications. It reacts slowly and “retarding”, data transfer takes a long time, too. Hopefully, over time, the software will be improved.
It seems to us, the camera has become a 360 Gear for Samsung trial balloon. Perhaps the second generation of cameras will provide better results.