Samsung Gear 360 Virtual Reality Camera Launches Today, Standalone VR Headset Incoming

The window of opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the virtual reality movement from the content creation side is right now, but not everyone has suitcases full of cash to invest in pricey VR camera arrays. That's okay because Samsung's Gear 360 is now on sale in select countries, and it costs far less than Facebook's $30,000 Surround 360 platform or HTC's $5,000 Omni camera.

Samsung delivered the news this morning during a keynote presentation at its Developers Conference in San Francisco. The Gear 360 is now available for purchase online in South Korea for 399,300 Korean Won (around $350 in U.S. currency) and will head to hundreds of store shelves in May. It's also available in Europe for 350 euros. Oddly enough, Samsung didn't say when the Gear 360 will head to other regions, though it did confirm that the U.S. is on the select list of launch countries—boo!

Samsung Gear 360

Gear 360 is a sphere shaped camera that's a little bigger than a golf ball. It has dual F/2.0 fisheye lenses, both with 15-megapixel sensors, to capture 360-degree content in up to 4K Ultra HD (3840x1920) resolution at 30 frames per second. You can also snap 30-megapixel still photos with the Gear 360, and/or shoot 180-degree wide-angle video and images by using just one side of the camera.

Due to its small size and lightweight design (it weighs a mere 153 grams), Samsung is pushing the portability angle. The Gear 360 is also dust and splash resistant, making it well suited for adventures in the outdoors, whether it's a camping trip or a day at the beach. It has a microSD card slot that supports memory cards up to 128GB for up to 140 minutes of recording.

Samsung is positioning itself to dominate the low-cost VR market. The Gear 360 is one of the least expensive VR cameras available (albeit in select countries at the moment), and its Gear VR headset is also a cheap alternative to systems like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The caveat is compatibility—the Gear 360 is only compatible with certain Samsung smartphones, specifically the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy 6 Plus, Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge, and Galaxy 6.