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Samsung Gear 360 Now Shoots 4K, Has Better Design

We were big fans of Samsung's first 360-degree camera, but has some issues with its compatibility (it only worked with Samsung smartphones) and its design (it required a selfie stick). With the second version of the Gear 360, Samsung appears to have addressed both of those problems, and improved the quality of video, too.

Design-wise, the new Gear 360 has a small handle below its bulbous top; a large record button on the handle allows you to start and stop recordings.

Up top, two 8.4-MP cameras record video at up to 4096 x 2048 at 24 frames per second, and take 15MP stills. That's an improvement over the original, which captured video at 3840 x 1920p. Additionally, users will also be able to live-stream video at 2K.

Even more importantly, the Gear 360 will work with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and later — including the just-announced Galaxy S8 — as well as the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, and 7 Plus. Despite the competition between Samsung and Apple, making this camera compatible with iOS will definitely increase its popularity.

Like the original, the new Gear 360 connects to a smartphone via Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.1, though it also has a USB Type-C port so you can attach it directly to a PC or Mac. It's water and dust resistant, so it'll survive a splash, but not much more. Also like the first Gear 360, this one has a microSD card slot, as well as an internal battery.

While longer at 3.9 inches (because of the handle), the new Gear 360 is slightly less bulbous than the original, with a diameter of about 1.8 inches (compared to 2.2-2.4 inches for the first Gear 360). It's also lighter, at 4.6 ounces.

The Gear 360 will be available for pre-order on March 30, and will go on sale on April 21.

Mike Prospero

Michael A. Prospero is the deputy editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing the smart home, drones, and fitness/wearables categories. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine or some other cooking gadget.