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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.