Samsung has a second gen 360-degree camera, the Gear 360 (2017) and it looks a doozy.
The device has been redesigned so you can grip the body while filming, and not rely on a tripod. Its dual fisheye lenses shoot a slightly higher 'True 4K' resolution video than the original: 4096 x 2048 versus last year's 3840 x 1920. As for stills, the Gear 360 (2017) can capture up to 15MP 360 images, down from 25.9MP.
Big test: 360-degree cameras reviewed and rated
The big new feature, though, is livestreaming. It's something lots of Gear 360 users have been asking for and the camera arrives with support for live broadcasting to YouTube, Facebook and Samsung VR. That's its new video & experience platform, which was also announced alongside a new Galaxy S8-matching Gear VR finish and Samsung Connect, a smart home app.
In order to livestream, the Gear 360 (2017) has to be synced to a compatible Samsung phone or computer - there's both Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi/ Wi-Fi Direct onboard. As well as livestreaming, the connected 360 cam will also let you do direct uploads to social networks.
Sure, professional VR content creators will want to edit what they've shot but we assume Samsung's real time stitching is good enough for amateurs. This could make a big impact in getting hours and hours of user-created 360 video onto these platforms.
An all-round upgrade
We got some hands on time with the new Gear 360 and we like the new placement of the buttons for power, record, which are probably now even more beginner-friendly. It's easier too to see the small display for shooting options as you film and there's still lights to indicate when you're live - pretty sure I accidentally livestreamed my face while snapping it.
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In terms of other specs the two lenses are f2.2 and both shoot 4K 180 degree video at up to 24fps. The Gear 360 (2017) is powered by two 8.4MP CMOS sensors and you can switch between dual and single lens modes. Shooting modes include: video, photo, timelapse video, looping video and landscape HDR.
As for other differences, the Gear 360 (2017) is taller but otherwise more compact in both dimensions (100.6 x 46.3 x 45.1 mm). It's lighter too at 130g next to the Gear 360's 153g and IP53 water and dust resistant. There's also a slightly smaller battery inside - 1, 160mAh this time.
It's compatible with the new Galaxy S8 & S8+ as well as S7, S6, A7 series Samsung smartphones running Android 5.0 or later, iPhone 6 and 7 series phones running iOS 10+ plus Windows and Mac.
We've no word on price or availability yet. The original Gear 360 was at launch, dropping considerably since.
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