LG has made a big bang with the launch of the LG G5 at Mobile World Congress 2016. Among the LG Friends - a range of devices designed to work seamlessly with the new LG G5 - is the LG 360 Cam.
LG is following the likes of Nikon and Kodak of embracing the growing trend in VR content consumption. With a VR headset also announced for the LG G5, launching a simple camera makes perfect sense as it means anyone can be a VR content creator.
We had the chance to play with a pre-production model at the launch.
LG 360 Cam design
LG described the LG 360 Cam as being a "lipstick" design. It's a little chunky for lipstick, but it's basically a flattened cylindrical design, with a cover that slips over the top for convenient protection of the massive lenses. The LG 360 Cam measures 30 x 97 x 25mm and weighs 72g, so it's highly portable.
There are two cameras on-board, set back-to-back, each capable of capturing 180-degrees and combined will give you the full 360 degrees of capture.
The format is good, because the 360 Cam has enough space to let you hold it, as well as featuring a standard tripod screw in the base, meaning you'll have plenty of mounting options.
There is no display, naturally, as control is via your smartphone, but the 360 Cam will work completely independently. There's a large button on one side that will enable video or photo capture with a long or short press, as well as other buttons to switch from 180 to 360 degree capture.
LG 360 Cam specs and hardware
The are two 13-megapixel cameras mounted back-to-back on the LG 360 Cam. Each has a lens offering a 200-degree field of view, meaning that each side can capture 180-degrees. When used together, these are stitched for the full 360 view. The camera is capable of capturing up to 2k quality video content.
The LG 360 Cam connects using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and viewing, previewing and settings controls mostly takes place via the connected smartphone app.
There's a 1200mAh internal battery, meaning the LG 360 Cam can capture up to 70 minutes of video. There's also a microSD card slot in the base of the camera for recording your content.
There are three mics on the 360 Cam offering directional capture. That means that sounds that come from behind will then come from behind when you're viewing using a VR headset, for example.
LG 360 Cam: Making VR capture easy
LG's message with the 360 Cam is that this is about having fun. It's a camera that's designed to be simple to use and to complement the LG G5. Technically, we're sure you could use it with other smartphones too, but it's been optimised for a seamless experience with the G5 and we found it very easy to pair and set to task.
We were using a pre-production device with pre-production software and weren't allowed to take any footage away to examine or to share, but it certainly makes 360 video capture very easy. You simply hit the button, and it's happening.
The smartphone app gives you camera controls, as well as a preview so you can see what the camera sees and make sure you have the right settings. You can also view the content you capture from 360 Cam, either directly on the display of your smartphone by moving it around, or through the 360 VR headset that LG has also announced.
LG says that the 360 Cam is fully compatible with YouTube 360 video and Google Street View, so it will be easy enough to share the VR adventures you capture.
There's a lot more on the experience side of things that we're yet to discover, but LG looks to be making VR easy with its new 360 Cam. We managed to capture and view content really quickly and easily and that's the important point.