The Giroptic 360cam — one of the few cameras to capture a nearly complete spherical image — records video from three sensors and stitches them together in-camera, eliminating a time-consuming step. This camera is also water- and drop-resistant, and has a removable base that can be swapped out for different accessories. However, although the Giroptic 360cam's video quality is good, it's not the best.
The pear-shaped Giroptic is the funkiest-shaped of all the 360-degree cams I tested — and that's saying something. At the top are three lenses; the bottom third of the camera, where it flares out, is detachable, so you can replace the battery and microSD card, as well as attach different accessories.
The camera has a black rubber coating, and can survive being dunked in water up to 30 feet deep for 30 minutes. On the bottom is a traditional tripod screw mount. At 8 ounces, the camera's heft is definitely noticeable, but that's the price you pay for a rugged camera.
MORE: Best 360 Cameras
Instead of an LCD display, the Giroptic has a series of LEDs that display messages saying things such as whether the camera is on or off, and what mode it's in (Video, Photo, Burst). The LEDs get the job done, but they are hard to read in direct sunlight.
Two small buttons let you switch between modes, and start and stop recording. You can't adjust any settings this way; you'll have to use the smartphone app for that.
The Giroptic shoots at a resolution of 2048 x 1040, and in general, the quality was good in my tests.
However, the Giroptic had trouble stitching together the images from all three of its cameras, especially where they converged overhead. You can see it in the video I shot of the suspension cables of the George Washington Bridge.
It comes close to capturing a full 360 degrees in every direction — 360 x 300. That's a wider range than the Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K and the 360fly 4K could manage, but those two cameras took far sharper video.
After describing the issue to Giroptic, a company representative reviewed my video, and explained that the stitching problems could be due to misaligned camera lenses. The company will examine my review unit, and send me another sample to test; after I have tested the second sample, I will update this review, and reserve the right to change the rating.
Still, one of the nice things about Giroptic's camera is that it stitches the three video images and makes them ready for YouTube right in the camera itself. Kodak's camera requires you to download videos to a PC first and prepare them there.
The Giroptic's battery lasted about an hour — about the same length as the Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K. Unlike the 360fly 4K's battery, the Giroptic's battery is removable, so you can have a spare at the ready. I also like that Giroptic includes a second battery with the camera.
App and Sharing
Similar to the apps for the 360-degree cameras, Giroptic's mobile app lets you see a live feed from the camera, start and stop recording, activate image stabilization, and adjust a few other settings.
But it's fairly limited — you can't, for example, change the video resolution. The app also lets you upload videos to a number of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Plus, it's smart enough to know which sites accept certain image formats.
A "Best of" section lets you view professional videos and photos taken with the Giroptic. It was a nice way to transport me away to other parts of the world, however briefly.
Giroptic also makes two other attachments for the bottom: The Ethernet Adapter ($270) has an Ethernet port (which also supplies power) and an audio-in port. That lets you get better sound, making it great for capturing things like concerts. The Light Bulb Adapter ($79) lets you screw the Giroptic into a traditional light socket and use it as a 360-degree security camera.
The Giroptic 360cam lacks the multitude of mounts and cases available with Kodak's camera, so you won't be able to take it scuba diving, for instance. But its standard tripod mount lets you connect it to pretty much any GoPro accessory.
While Giroptic's image quality isn't as good as Kodak's or 360fly's, the 360cam does capture a full 360 degrees of video. It's also more durable — and works with more smartphones — than the Samsung Gear 360. Although it's more expensive than LG's 360 camera ($199), the Giroptic's videos looked better, and it is more versatile and resistant to the elements. Ultimately, the Giroptic isn't the best any one thing, but it does everything pretty well.