Samsung Gear 360 2017 Review

Image of the samsung gear 360 2017 camera model thumb

The Samsung Gear 360 2017 is the latest 360 camera from Samsung. They fixed a few issues from last years model, added a few more options and made it easier to hold and use.

Samsung Gear 360 2017 Review

There are many features, options and different resolutions to test and report on. I will be going over everything in a deep hands on review to make sure you know exactly what you will be getting in this package.

Unboxing

Image of the samsung gear 360 2017 camera model packaging

The box that holds the Samsung Gear 360 2017 is actually a lot smaller than the original Samsung Gear 360 2016 version of the camera. It might be a small package but it has everything you need to get up and running. The only thing that is missing is a micro SD card, which are pretty cheap to pick up at any camera or electronic store.

Image of the samsung gear 360 2017 camera model open box

The design of the Samsung Gear 360 2017 is really nice, they decided to make it have more of a long neck or handle that users can hold on to. If you remember the original Samsung Gear 360 2016 camera model it was just a large circular device with two lenses, it wasn’t easy to hold on to unless you had a mini tripod. This years is different and is a lot easier to use and manipulate.

Included in the box is the Gear 360 camera, USB Cable (USB Type-C), strap, pouch and a quick start guide.

Design and workflow

This years Samsung Gear 360 camera model is a little bit more user friendly and easier to carry. They have re-designed the old Samsung Gear 360 2016 camera model and made it more of a handheld device. It is easier to place into your pocket and easier to hold onto while recording video or taking photographs. I think the new design is a great step in the right direction, now if they could only reduce the bulkiness of the camera and make it more like a Ricoh Theta S or LG 360 Cam, then it would be perfect.

Like the older 2016 model, the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera model has a nice LCD screen display on the front of the 360 camera. It is very easy to read and use. Having a crisp easy to see and use LCD screen with icons on it is very helpful for the end user.

Image of the samsung gear 360 2017 camera model lcd screen

Similar to the older 2016 model, the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera model has a main select button. This button is used for the camera shutter to start taking a picture or start recording video. This is one of the main buttons you will be using throughout the process of owning this device.

Image of the samsung gear 360 2017 camera model select button

To go through all the menu items available you need to click on the menu button which is on the side of the 360 camera. This will enable you to open up traverse the menus and settings options. To either go into further settings or select them you need to click the select button below the camera lens in the middle of the device. If you want to go back out of a specific settings or menu item, then click on the back button below the menu button.

Image of the samsung gear 360 2017 camera model power button

Traversing through the menu items can be a little tricky at first, but once you get a hold of what each button does it is pretty easy. The back button below the menu button allows you to back out of the last option selected. So if you dive deep into the settings and want to get out, then just click on the back button a few times until you find where you want to go.

Image of the samsung gear 360 2017 camera model power side button

Battery

The battery is a built into the camera device and its size is 1160 mAh.

Battery Tests

Using a 64GB Lexar professional speed microSD card I am going to test recording video at different resolutions to answer a few questions.

  1. How long of video can we record before we run out of batteries?
  2. Will the camera fill up the 64GB before the battery drains to zero percent?
  3. Lastly I want to test to see if the camera overheats and automatically shuts off before either running out of battery life or storage space.

Estimated Space for 64 GB microSD card

  • 21,000 15MP panoramic images
  • 4 hours 42 minutes of video at 4096 x 2048 @ 24fps
  • 5 hours 38 minutes of video at 2880 x 1440 @ 30fps
  • 4 hours 42 minuites of video at 2560 x 1280 @ 60fps

During my battery test I was testing recording 360 video at 4096 x 2048 @ 24fps. While doing so I got about 23 minuets of video and got to  72% Battery life before the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera stopped recording. The reason was because it was overheating.  I got three videos recorded before it stopped from overheating, the lengths were 8:26 (1.9GB), 8:26 (1.91GB), 6:17 (1.42GB) for a total of 23 minutes and 9 seconds (total size of 5.24GB) before overheating.

Currently testing the recharge time and the total battery life for video recording.

Main Features

Menu Options

The main options available to be selected are Settings, Video, Photo, Time lapse, Video looping and Landscape HDR.

Inside of Settings you have the options for Switch Lens, Mode settings, Timer, Auto power off after, Volume, Format and  About device.  Switch lens allows you to change the lens mode to single or dual. Mode settings. Lets take a look inside Mode settings first and see what options we have available.

Mode Settings

Enable you to change many values for each shooting mode. As you can see above you go through many options including : Video size, Photo size, Time lapse video size, Time lapse video interval, video looping size, video loop recording time and landscape HDR size.

Video Size – This option enables you to select the video resolution and the frames per second for your single or dual lens videos. Both the single and dual lens options have different options which are listed farther below. It is a nice feature in case you want to record in a specific resolution or specific frame rate like for slow motion video footage.

Photo Size – This option enables you to select what photo size you want to be shooting at. A larger megapixel setting means you get a higher resolution image.

Time Lapse Video Size – You have multiple options to record at higher resolutions or lower resolutions. All the options available only shoot @ 10fps.

Time Lapse Video Interval – This is the option to select how often to take a picture during the time lapse, there are only a few intervals for this option. You can see all the values below in both the dual lens and single lens modes.

Video Looping Size – This is the option to select the video resolution of the video looping recording option. There are only two options available one for each lens mode.

Landscape HDR Size – This is the option to select the panoramic image resolution for a HDR landscape photo. There are only two options available one for each lens mode.

Switch Lens Mode

Like most 360 cameras the Samsung Gear 360 2017 has the option to use either dual lenses or use only one at a time. You can select both the front lens only, the back lens only or dual lens. If you select single over the dual, you get unique mode settings. Here are the options available for both dual lens mode and single lens mode.

Dual lens mode

Video Size Options – 2560 x 1280 @ 30fps, 1920 x 960 @ 30fps, 1440 x 720 @ 120fps, 4096 x 2048 @ 24fps, 2880 x 1440 @ 30fps, 2560 x 1280 @ 60fps

Photo Size Options – 15M

Time Lapse Video Size – 2560 x 1280 @ 10fps, 1920 x 960 @ 10fps, 4096 x 2048 @ 10fps

Time Lapse Video Interval – 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds

Video Looping Size – 2560 x 1280 @ 30fps

Video loop recording time – 5, 30 minutes or Maximum

Landscape HDR Size – 15M

Single lens mode

Video Size Options – 1920 x 1080 @ 30fps, 1280 x 720 @ 30fps, 1920 x 1080 @ 60fps

Photos Size Options – 3M

Time Lapse Video Size – 1920 x 1080 @ 10fps, 1280 x 720 @ 10fps

Time Lapse Video Interval – 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds

Video LoopingSize – 1920 x 1080 @ 30fps

Video loop recording time – 5, 30 minutes or Maximum

Landscape HDR Size – 3M

Timer

The timer feature enables you to set up the shot and run and hide to stay out of the picture. This is helpful if you do not have a Smart Phone that is compatible with the Mobile App.

Photo Quality

At 15 megapixel the resulting panoramic photographs get a great 5792 x 2896 pixels. The photo quality of the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera is pretty good compared to its competitors.

Low Light Photos

The Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera does a pretty good job with low lighting photography. Right out of the box it beats the Insta360 Air, LG 360 Cam and the Garmin Virb 360 for low light photography situations.  Here are a few panoramic photo examples of low, medium and high amounts of light being taken on the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera.

Low

Medium

High

Other Photos

Test Photo 1


Test Photo 2


Test Photo 3


Test Photo 4

Video Quality

If you plan on recording for long periods of time just know that the maximum size of each video that the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera length is 8 minutes and 26 seconds. So if you plan on recording for longer than 9 minutes then expect to be doing some post production editing to attach all the videos together.

Low Light Video

Below are a few 360 video examples of low, medium and high amounts of light being recorded on the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera.

Low

Medium

High

Other Videos

Below are the two video tests I do with all 360 cameras. Two different videos one inside and one outside to see the differences as well as be able to compare with all other cameras.

Video Test 1

Video Test 2

Mobile App

Currently I do not have the correct smart phone to test out the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera models Mobile App.

Compatible Devices for the Mobile App : Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6edge+, Galaxy Note5, iPhone7, iPhone 7+, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S+, iPhone SE.

Stitching Software

Software is compatible on Windows and Mac.

If you have the older Samsung Gear 360 2016 camera, then you are used to the Samsung Gear 360 Action Director app, but this year they have new software for the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera model. It is simply called the Gear 360 App and is available for download on both Windows and Mac. The software must be activated with either a Samsung Gear 360 2016 camera or Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera’s serial number which can be found on the device, manual or original box.

Importing Files

Importing files into the Gear 360 software is very easy to do, you can either drag and drop the files directly into the list view on the left side of the screen or you can use the add button or the menu item file->import.

Image of the import button for gear 360 softwareImage of the import menu item for gear 360 software

Sharing Files

Through the Geaer 360 software you can share to multiple online platforms. Using the share button found in the top right corner, you can a Upload Settings window which enables a dropdown for your social network choosing. With videos you can share directly to YouTube, Facebook and Samsung VR’s sharing platforms.

Image of sharing video social platforms on gear 360 software

But when sharing panoramic images through the software, you only get Facebook as a selection to share on.

Image of the share photo selection screen on gear 360 software

Automatic Stitching of Files

If you go to the main menu you will find the ‘preferences’ menu item. Here in the preferences window you will find the location for the automatically stitched photos and videos are stored in the a default saving folder. I would suggest changing this location to where you would want all your automatically stitched photos and video to be stored.

Image of the default saving folder for the gear 360 software

The saving folder is where all the stitched media is located at, you can change the location by clicking on the browse button. Everything that is unstitched that you either drag n drop or import manually into the program will automatically be stitched with the injected file located at the saving folder.

Here is an example of some unstitched images for the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera.

Image of the pre imported images from geaer 360

After importing them into the software and waiting for them to completely load and process, I can easily now just go to my saving folder and view all the injected files to now share online to whatever sharing platform that I want.

Image of the auto export gear 360 images into the default saving folder

Obviously larger videos will take longer to process and complete the stitching process, but you can follow the completion rate on the left side of the main list in the software.

Image of the gear 360 software processing the video

If you still use the older Samsung Gear 360 2016 camera, you can always use the older Action Director app instead. You can find the old Action Director App on Samsung’s Website.

Errors, Issues and Complaints

During my battery test I was testing recording 360 video at 4096 x 2048 @ 24fps. While doing so I got about 25 minutes of video and got to  72% Battery life before the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera stopped recording. The reason was because it was overheating. So now both the Samsung Gear 360 2016 camera model and 2017 camera model have the same issues of overheating when recording video for too long.

Samsung Gear 360 2017 Review – Final Thoughts

Overall the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera model is a nice upgrade from the 2016 camera model. The design is a whole lot better than the original 2016 camera model, because now you can easily hold the camera and record with one hand.

The photo and video quality have seemed to be similar as the Samsung Gear 360 2016 camera model. So there wasn’t a drastic upgrade in photo or video quality.

Both camera models seem to still have the over heating issue, which is very disappointing. Both cameras are still locked within their own Samsung model phones for the Mobile Application. So both are not features of the camera.

The one thing that is surprising, is the price of the Samsung Gear 360 2017 camera model has drastically been reduced ever since its release. Because Samsung is flooding the market with the 2017 camera model, it should be easy to find a new or like new camera model for cheap.