In recent years there has been a gigantic surge in popularity for virtual reality. Games and videos made in 360 are becoming increasingly sought after at an alarming rate and companies are having a difficult time keeping up with both customer demand and their competitors. In this market, one camera is standing out and really making a name for itself. The LG G5 “Friend” 360 Cam is a compact and affordable camera that allows the everyday patron to capture a true glimpse into their world that can be turned into an interactive memory for enjoyment over years to come.
Manufactured by LG, this camera has been given the nickname “Friend” because it was launched as a companion product to the LG G5 smart phone and the LG 360 VR Headset and currently has a market value of $200. That price tag makes the camera absolutely perfect for any person, whether they want it to capture a really cool photo in a stadium or to record their hike through the mountains, that wants to get involved with 360 filming and shooting. It may not be the preferred choice for a professional photographer looking for high end capture quality but anything short of that and it makes a perfect match. The true target market for this product, however, is share-a-holics. Those individuals whose presence is never missed on social media sites. The reason for this will be explained below during the review of its hardware, software, and features.
Let’s first talk about the physical specifications of LG 360 Cam:
— The cameras dimensions are 3.82in x 0.98in x 1.57in which make it very portable.
— The camera weighs in at 2.65oz, making it roughly 1/6th of a pound, so it very light which adds further to its portability.
— It uses two 13MP sensors that are paired with two 200 degree wide-angle lenses, allowing it to capture both pictures and 2K video in 360 degrees.
§ The maximum video resolution that can be recorded is 2560×1280 at 30fps
§ The maximum photo resolution that can be captured with is 5660×2830 at 16M
— Possesses three built in microphones that are placed at key locations around the camera that record in 5.1-channel surround sound.
— The device has an internal 9-axis sensor
§ 3-axis gyroscope that provides stability when you are recording video.
§ 3-axis accelerometer that helps counter motion blur when moving the position of the camera.
§ 3-axis magnetometer that allows the device to maintain its own general orientation.
— It has a built in 1,200mAh capacity battery that will last for approximately one hour recording video when fully charged. The battery takes roughly 120 minutes to charge if you use the charger that it comes with and is not removable.
— The camera has no onboard memory so you must acquire a micro SD. The device will support up to 2TB of storage space. It will not boot up if no memory is installed.
— The charging and data transferring port is a USB 2.0 Type-C and is protected by a small rubber flap at the bottom of the device.
— Possesses the adapters necessary to connect through both Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) and via Bluetooth (V4.1) allowing you even more options.
— The external design is made of a combination of aluminum, rubber, and medium quality plastics, so it is moderately durable.
All in all, this LG 360 cam is quite a bargain for the price. What it lacks in certain aspects it makes up for in others. An example of this is that it has an astounding capacity for upgradable memory that, to some, will counter the fact that is does not have a swappable battery. Another example is the video quality, though it may not be as high as some of its competing products this device will automatically stitch together your 360 photos and recording, which I will go over below, saving you a lot of time and hassle.
Now let us get into the software aspect of the device:— First things first, the LG 360 Cam is 100% compatible with windows, android, and apple operating systems, having apps for mobile devices and desktops.
— The device saves videos in MP4 and photos in JPEG, so though you cannot do too much editing wise, they are ready to use immediately.
— The mobile apps offer complete and extensive control over the settings of the device, such as using it to capture panoramas instead of full 360, from a remote location.
— The mobile apps are really well made and very simple to use.
— The software will automatically stitch your videos and photos together into the 360 format with no help needed from the operator. Creating nearly seamless 2K media files.
— One of the biggest key features is that you can upload your awesome new recordings or images directly to a multitude of social media sites, including YouTube360, straight from the app on the go.
— The produced media is compatible directly with YouTube360 Google Street View
— The media is also ready to be used by the LG VR Headset, or other compatible virtual reality devices, for a full reliving of your digital memory.
Not only is the hardware impressive, but it has the software to back it up, again proving that it really is a great device and could be the bang for your buck. To go back to the point mentioned earlier, this device is perfect for everyone in everyday use, whether you are one of those share-a-holics or a dad wanting to capture your sons first bike ride. Then to talk about how it balances itself out again, the media captured may not be highly editable due to the capture format, but most would agree it makes up for that deficit by stitching the videos and photos into a final 360 product for you, not to mention its ease of upload.
Now we have already discussed some of the pros and cons of the LG 360 Cam and how they tend to balance each other out in the end but let us take a more in depth into what most people would see as the ups and downs.
- Small and easy to bring with you
- Automatically saves pictures and videos in a usable 360 format, it stitches together for you.
- Great sound capture because of its three microphones
- Is rather affordable in comparison to other 360 cameras currently on the market
- Can upload directly to social media from the app
- The spherical images are supported by Google Photos, Facebook, and Google Streetview
- Can even use the app to take 180 panorama shots
- Expandable memory
- Image quality is lacking when compared to its competitors
- Not the most visually pleasing exterior
- Though it can be used without a phone, it is not recommended because you need the app to truly control all the functions of this camera
- Low light images will usually end up rather noisy
- Non-removable battery.
- Produced media is not highly editable.
In summary, the LG G5 “Friend” 360 Cam is an affordable and well balanced device that is perfect for everyday use by everyday people. The question of whether or not this device is worth buying is really up to you and what you are looking to get out of a 360 camera. Though I believe that it is a great starter device to use an introduction to world of VR recording and is really laying some strong groundwork for VR cameras that will be following in its footsteps in the future.