Here are a few updates to the 2017 Samsung Gear 360:
– First, the shipping date has been moved back (but it’s now available at Saturn stores in Germany!)
– Second, it is now available for a lower price on eBay.
– Third, I made new 360 video comparisons on a Gear VR, which more clearly show the improvement of the 2017 Gear 360 over the original.
First, according to the German Samsung site, the shipping date has been moved from April 18 to April 28, almost exactly one year since the launch of the original Gear 360 (which was on April 29). The listed price of €249 hasn’t changed:
The US Samsung site still does not show the 2017 Gear 360, and it hasn’t shown up at Amazon US or B&H Photo yet. It is beginning to look likely that other regions may see the Gear 360 first, which was the case with the original Gear 360. The original Gear 360 was released first in Korea and Singapore, then in parts of the EU. The US was one of the last to receive the original Gear 360.
UPDATE: reader Philipp Hesse reports that the Gear 360 is now available at Saturn stores in Germany! Thanks for the tip, Philipp!
Speaking of availability, the price for a 2017 Gear 360 on eBay is slowly decreasing from competition among resellers. The lowest price I’ve seen thus far is just slightly under $300 with free shipping. This will likely keep declining until it’s closer to the expected $249 MSRP unless it is sold out. (Note: the original Gear 360 sold out within hours of becoming available).
At least some of these resellers appear to have stock in hand. One of them posted the retail packaging:
Meanwhile, I have been doing some more comparisons between the 2017 Gear 360 and the original Gear 360. This time, instead of comparing samples uploaded to YouTube, I viewed the original files on a Samsung Gear VR, then took screen captures of the view on a Gear VR. Here is how they look, with the 2017 on the left and the original on the right (click on them to see the full size).
Here are my own observations:
– The original Gear 360 samples consistently show slightly higher contrast than the 2017.
– Although the original Gear 360 samples might look ‘sharper’ due to the higher macro contrast, actually the 2017 has more detail than the original. This is most noticeable on the barks of the trees, which have more pronounced texture on the 2017 Gear 360 (click to see the full size).
– In the second comparison set (me holding the camera), the detail between the two is similar. I believe this is because the 2017 Gear 360 has more noticeable softening at the edges of the lens (near the stitch line) compared to the original Gear 360. In the second set, I was holding both cameras with the lens facing horizontally (one toward the sky and the other toward the water), therefore this view shows the weakest parts of the 2017 Gear 360. The weakness at the edges of the lens offsets the higher resolution from the 2017 Gear 360, which is why I think they look like they have similar detail in this view.
I will be keeping you updated as I receive more news on the 2017 Gear 360!
Photo and video comparison between 2017 Gear 360 and original Gear 360
Photo comparison between 2017 Gear 360 and Ricoh Theta
Hands-on first impressions of the 2017 Gear 360: everything I know so far