Samsung helped kick off Mobile World Congress in style on Sunday with the announcement of a new, consumer-friendly 360-degree camera.
Dubbed the Gear 360, the camera is designed for consumers who want to capture 360-degree video and photos. The Gear 360 is by no means the first 360-degree camera to enter the consumer market, but it's part of a growing number of devices designed to give new experiences to consumers. More importantly, it's a way for those interested in virtual reality to create their own environments to explore.
Here's everything you should know about the new Samsung Gear 360:
Design: The Gear 360 comes with a rather interesting design. The device essentially looks like an eyeball with two cameras to snap photos or capture video. The dual-lensed sphere is surprisingly small and comes with a tiny tripod. In addition, there's a panel on the side of Samsung's Gear 360 for users to input a microSD card for storage. Inside, Samsung has also bundled a battery, so the camera won't need to be tethered to capture content.
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Cameras: The Gear 360 features two 15-megapixel cameras. Those cameras are designed with fisheye lenses, allowing users to capture videos and stills at a full 180 degrees each. According to Samsung, the cameras can capture 360-degree video in 3,840-by-1,920 resolution. Still shots come in at a whopping 30 megapixels, allowing for exceedingly large photos. The cameras can also be used both during the day and at night, Samsung says, as well as both inside and outside.
Storage: There is no onboard storage in the Gear 360. Instead, Samsung has a slot built into the device that supports microSD storage cards. However, Samsung says that those microSD cards must have a capacity of 128GB or fewer in order to work with the Gear 360.
Display: Interestingly, Samsung has included a small, 0.5-inch display in the Gear 360. That said, Samsung hasn't shared many details on that feature.
Device Compatibility: Samsung is keeping the Gear 360's key features in-house. The device is compatible with Samsung's newly-announced Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge as well as the company's last generation of smartphones, including the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5. Furthermore, because the camera is designed with virtual reality in mind, it also works with Samsung's virtual reality headset, the Gear VR.
That compatibility is important. When the Gear 360 is connected to one of Samsung's smartphones, users can preview content in real time, and video can be saved to the handset. That content can also be shared on social services.
For more on 360-degree cameras, watch:
Availability and Pricing: So far, Samsung is keeping key details about pricing and availability close to the vest. As of this writing, Samsung has not said how much the Gear 360 will cost, only noting it will be available starting in the second quarter "in select countries."
Competition: The Gear 360 isn't the only 360-degree camera on the market. Indeed, there are an increasing number of devices attempting to appeal to 360-degree videographers. A company named Bubl, for instance, offers the $799 Bublcam. Kodak also sells a 360-degree camera, called the Kodak SP360 for around $290. Ricoh, a company that is perhaps best known for its office hardware, sells a 360-degree camera known as the Theta for $350.