You might be wondering what is this Samsung Gear 360 doing here in my dev blog, well first I just want to share my experience on being one of the first in New Zealand to try it out and second there is a big possibility that this device will be used in my future projects.
Yes you seen that right, this device will be used as a part of a project that we are currently under discussion at my workplace. Like most companies you need to innovate and I guess like what Zuckerberg said that VR devices would be the next big platform so were jumping the bandwagon and be the early adopters of this technology. I know you might be thinking VR is just a hype but come to think of it there are many uses for it mainly in gaming but there are a lot of application for it and one of this is what we are brewing up. Having said that we met with Samsung to discuss our needs and they gladly demoed this device along with the latest iteration of the Samsung Gear VR.
This was my second time seeing this device but on the first time I did not have the luxury of playing with it, today was different as I was able to try it out. At first I asked whether I can install the camera add-on on my phone sadly I can’t as it is not for public use at the moment so I tried it on their demo Samsung Galaxy S7, the video recording was smooth as well as the playback, there were 4 modes one of it was the usual 360 video, another was the time-lapse, single camera mode and I forgot the other.
The device does the stitching for you so when you record you don’t have to stitch it using an expensive software, the camera records it as stitched. One thing I noticed though that the stitching is not well made on this demo unit as it was the early stages and needed some lens alignment, but Samsung said that rest assured on the commercial version it will be all perfect like their demo movies that they made. The software to edit it comes free with the device and they say it is as easy as using the iMovie for Mac so you don’t need a professional video editor to do the job, I did not see the software as it is a top secret at the moment but they showed us some screenshots.
The device itself was really well made, while it looked plasticky from far when I held it you can feel that quality, its heavy, there are no loose parts and the glass of the lens was just amazing. That two bulbous lenses are full glass and not plastic, both taking 195 degrees so it overlaps 15 degrees on each side to do the stitching. The tripod that it came with and the selfie stick was feeling premium as well there is some good resistance when you fold them and open.
The device is waterproof and dust proof you can also take it underwater using an underwater case. It is mountable in a normal tripod and they said it is also compatible with GoPro mounts.
Specs wise it is very decent, both cameras are 15 Megapixels producing and output of 25.9 Megapixels, aperture is f2.0 so you can take good videos in the dark. It does 30 FPS, not sure about other frame rates but that was the specs I was told. Battery is decent, it uses 1,350 mAH lithium-ion battery which they say can last for up to two hours of continuous recording, we also asked if you can plug its USB when its nearly draining and replace the battery sadly it is not yet supported, hopefully a firmware update can fix that in the future because it can hold as much 128GB microSD card so in reality it can shoot around 7 hours of footage in its highest resolution using MP4 format.
Connectivity to the device is initially done via Bluetooth and when it identifies and performs the handshake WiFi direct will then take over. Devices compatible are Samsung Galaxy S6 and above but the recommend Samsung Galaxy S7 due to its processing power.
Overall I liked it, its a good device, well built and easy to use. There are competitors out there but they are all expensive like the GoPro 360 rig as it uses multiple GoPro cameras. This one according to Samsung will be sold in a nearly GoPro price which is NZ$ 650.00 which is roughly around US$ 450.00 so I reckon it will sell like pancakes when they start selling it commercially by May 2016 here in New Zealand.
For more information on this device and see some sample photos and videos then visit their official site at http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear-360/.