LG 360 Cam Review: A Hassle-Free Way to Take 360-Degree Videos
• Delivers on 360-degree video and image capability
• Relatively user-friendly
• Configuration is tied to app
• Takes too long to start up
• Poor image quality in low light
360-degree videos are becoming increasingly popular, having taken the viewer experience to a whole new level. These videos allow viewers to pan about and take a look at the surroundings of the camera for themselves. For example, if you’ve ever wondered what the view of a fighter pilot is like as he flies a jet, you can now find out.
If you think that’s cool, then we have some good news for you. With the new LG 360 Cam, you can take videos like that yourself (perhaps just not in the cockpit of a fighter jet). But before you place an order for one, we suggest reading this review so you know what lies in store.
What is the LG 360 Cam?
Basically, the 360 Cam is a portable device that features two 13 MP cameras (with fish-eye lens) pointing in opposite directions, enabling it to capture a full spherical 360-degree image. This is very similar to the Ricoh Theta S but with 2K video resolution, the 360 Cam comes up on top.
The LG 360 Cam features a very simple and sleek design. It only has two buttons, one turns the device on/off and the other controls the shutter. Of course the lack of control buttons means it relies heavily on the smartphone app, which we will discuss later. The cam also comes with a slide-on protective case that doubles up as a grip. The LG 360 Cam features a couple of LED lights on its side that signal whether it is set to the 180 or 360-degree mode. This may be a little unnecessary, considering the information could simply be displayed on the app. Overall though, we are pleased with the fuss-free design.
As I mentioned earlier, the 360 Cam relies heavily on a smartphone app. It takes some getting used to but is generally user-friendly. The only gripe I had about the smartphone app was how long it took to connect to the camera. So if you’re waiting for a specific moment to capture an image or video, we suggest pairing the devices in advance. Of course, this means extra battery consumption.
To see how the 360 Cam performed I tried it out in a few conditions, including indoor and outdoor. I found that it excelled when there was enough light, so it’s perfect if you’re looking to take outdoor videos during the day. Below is an example of a video I took at MBS at around 5.30pm.
In the following video, you’ll see that the 360 Cam also performs rather well in bright settings indoors. In this one, the accommodating people at Sen of Japan allow me to intrude on the very intricate sushi-making process to speak to Chef Hiro.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the 360 Cam tends to struggle in low-light conditions. Thanks to Casio, a few of us from the August Man team got to catch professional mixed-martial artists pummel each other to the ground at ONE Championship’s recent event “Ascent to Power”. I brought the 360 Cam along because it was the perfect opportunity to capture videos in low-light conditions indoors. As you’ll see, the image quality leaves much to be desired. Even close by, most objects turned out very blurry in the video. LG certainly needs to work on this in future versions.
As far as video sharing goes, when you upload your videos to YouTube they are automatically detected as spherical. So, after a period of rendering (depending on the length of your video), viewers will be able to enjoy your 360-degree videos. You can also share your captures directly on Facebook, although the rendering process may take a tad longer.
Right now the 360 Cam is a great novelty tech gadget to have. For its price range (398 on its own and 298 when bundled with the LG G5), I’d say it is a pretty affordable purchase too. However if you are very particular about image quality, you may be better off waiting for future versions. With its foot in the door where 360 cameras are concerned, you can expect LG come up with improved designs soon.
Edit: An earlier version of this article mentioned that sharing on Facebook is not yet available. We have since verified that Facebook will auto-detect your 360-degree video as spherical and render it as such.