60-fps video? 4K video? That’s so five minutes ago, man. This year it’s all about 360-degree video. So of course, of course, Samsung has a camera to sell you. It’s not like they’re going to see an upcoming electronics category and decide not to produce a product.
The Gear 360 pairs a couple of cameras with 195-degree fisheye lenses on either end of a sphere about the size and weight of a billiard ball. It stitches these together into a single 360-degree photo at 30 megapixels, or a nearly-but-not-quite 4K video. Doing the photo and video stitching on your phone will require a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge—Samsung says they need the H.265 support and processing power to do it quickly. You can also look through the camera on your phone, and pan around in real time. If you have a Gear VR headset, you can use that to look around in real-time (or enjoy your pre-recorded videos).
Open the side hatch and you’ll find a microSD card slot, so you can take your raw photos and video over to your PC if you want to edit it there. The battery is removable, too, and should last up to four hours.
The camera is supposed to ship in the second quarter of 2016, but there’s no firm release date nor price yet. Samsung assured me that the whole point of this product is to keep the price low and democratize VR content creation while not sacrificing quality—that’s why there aren’t some more desirable features (like more cameras for less distortion or even 3D video).