Wednesday, March 29, 2017

11 differences between the 2017 Samsung Gear 360 and the original Gear 360, plus a hands-on video

photo by Etienne Leroy
UPDATED!  See below re stitching

The 2017 Samsung Gear 360 is quite different from the original Gear 360.  Here are 10 11 differences between them, plus a hands-on video of the new Gear 360:
photo by Etienne Leroy

1.  Compatibility.
The original Gear 360 was designed only for high-end Samsung phones (Samsung S6 and above).  The new Gear 360 is compatible with a wider range of phones:
- the latest iPhones (iPhone 6S and above, including iPhone SE, running iOS 10)
- some lower-end Samsung phones, including the A5 and A7
- possibly other Android phones (on Android 7.0).

2.  Live streaming; resolution is limited to 1920 x 960.
The biggest new feature of the Gear 360 is wireless livestreaming.  This can be through a smartphone or a PC.  The resolution is limited to 1920 x 960.  We'll just have to see how it compares to the Insta360 Air and Insta360 Nano.

3. Much smaller and lighter than the current Gear 360.
As you can see from the photo above, the 2017 Gear 360 is much smaller than the current Gear 360.  Among other things, the smaller distance between its lenses should enable the Gear 360 to have lower parallax stitching error.

The 2017 Gear 360 is also a little lighter at 130 grams versus 153 grams for the previous Gear 360.

photo by Etienne Leroy
4. Slightly higher video resolution, at a slightly slower frame rate.
Both Gear 360s have a 4k resolution.  However, the 2017 Gear 360 has a slightly higher resolution of 4096 x 2048 versus the previous Gear 360 which had a resolution of 3840 x 1920.  The difference is probably not noticeable to most people.

While the 2017 Gear 360 has a higher resolution, its frame rate is lower at 24fps versus 30fps for the old Gear 360.  The Gear 360's 24fps frame rate is the same as that of the Nikon Keymission 360 and Orbit 360 (when stitched on a desktop).

photo by Etienne Leroy

5. Much lower photo resolution than the current Gear 360.
The 2017 Gear 360's photo resolution is 15mp (5472 x 2736), only half of the old Gear 360's 30mp (7776 x 3888).  The sensor is only 8.4 megapixels, versus the old Gear 360, which had 15mp sensors.  It remains to be seen whether the ultimate image quality of the 2017 Gear 360 is better, worse, or the same as that of the current one.

6.  Potentially shorter battery life.
The 2017 Gear 360 has a smaller capacity battery (contrary to what I expected) with only 1160 mAh versus the previous one which had 1350 mAh.

7.  Longer recording time.
The previous Gear 360 could record for only about 25 minutes before overheating.  As predicted, the 2017 Gear 360 is less susceptible to overheating and can record up to 130 minutes (at 2560 x 1280 30fps resolution).

8.  Larger Micro SD card capacity.
256 GB versus 128 GB for the old one.  This complements the longer recording time.

9.  More ergonomic design.
The previous Gear 360 was hard to hold because the lenses covered most of the body.  Any time you held it, you were likely to touch the lenses and put your fingerprints on it.  The 2017 Gear 360 has a built in handle as its body, making it much easier to hold.

10. USB Type C.
The previous Gear 360 used a Micro USB cable.  The 2017 Gear 360 uses USB Type C cables.

11.  Better stitching
The current Gear 360 has very good stitching, but the 2017 Gear 360 has even better stitching (see here).  The current Gear 360's stitching is smooth, but there is often a difference in the color and/or exposure between the lenses.  The 2017 Gear 360 doesn't have such a problem, and early samples posted by some users show perfect stitching.

Here is a video showing the new Gear 360:

Other issues:
- HDR:  In the current Gear 360, there is an "HDR" mode but all it does is lift shadows.  It does not take multiple exposures.  The 2017 Gear 360 has both HDR and "Landscape HDR."   The latter may mean a true multiple exposure HDR mode.
- Price and availability: Samsung has only said that it would be released in the Spring, and did not give a price.  I speculate it will be similar to the current reduced price of the Samsung Gear 360, i.e., $250 to $300.

The official specifications are here.  Thank you very much to Rich for bringing this official specs to my attention.

Here are sample videos from the 2017 Gear 360.

Special thanks also to Etienne Leroy of V360 for sharing photos and the video of the new Gear 360.  V360 is the first 360 video editing app for Android (and iOS in the future) and enables you to combine several 360 videos into a montage, with background music and other effects (see more info here).  V360 is free to download from the Google Play Store.

Why the 2017 Gear 360 could become the most popular 360 camera
Sample 360 videos and a 360 livestream from the 2017 Gear 360


  1. Anyone else feel like the thing is a wash in terms of improvements? Got to wait to see reults now.

  2. Personally, I consider it a 'bust', rather than a wash. I don't see any 'improvements' that would make me go out and buy it, compared to the original.

    1. I don't own the original yet, but my 360 needs tend to require long run times. That's a plus for me, but other than that, yeah, I don't exactly see much reason to spend $300 vs $160 for the old model overall.

  3. I'll wait until I see reviews to decide if I want this, but I agree that it doesn't seem to be an improvement overall, especially if you've already got the 'old' 360 and have gotten it to work for you. For example, after buying the remote/tripod/mount kit from Samsung and modifying a 3rd party case, I've now got a solution where I can hold the camera without smudging the lens, can take a photo/video without pulling out my phone, and can edit video (now that I installed Windows on my Mac). Basically, I've gotten around most of the issues the new version fixes. I'm not fond of 24fps on the new one. However, if by some miracle they've improved the clarity of photos/videos in non-bright-sunlight conditions, I'll strongly consider it. If I didn't already have the current model, I'd get this instead of going through the hoops I went through, but I've already done all that now.

    1. Hi Joe. I think it depends on what use you have in mind. If you're a prosumer or professional, this seems like a step backward with the lower resolution photos (unless the actual image quality is better). If you're a casual user or consumer, then I think this camera is an improvement in terms of ease of use and convenience.

      Best regards,

    2. I agree with you Joe for the most part, but I have to say, NOT having 24p on the original always bummed me out, I prefer that to 30p any day, but to each his own.

  4. Considering that they'll probably sell this version at the original price of the old Gear 360, is it worth still getting the old Gear 360, if it dropped down as low as $99 at some retailers? I do like the livestream feature, but we're talking $250 more for that.

    1. Hi Beyond. Good news is that it's $250.

      I don't know re photo quality, but in terms of video quality the new one seems significantly better. I will do a side by side comparison when I receive it.

      Best regards,


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