Video cameras like the GoPro series give sports enthusiasts an opportunity to catch themselves in action. Unfortunately they only capture a limited field of view. The V.360 by VSN Mobil on the other hand captures 1080p video and images in a full horizontal 360° panoramic view without the need for image stitching. They were kind enough to send us one and we put it through its paces in our V.360 review.
The V.360 features:
- 4K/16 Megapixel Imager with 1/2.3 image sensor size
- up to 6480x1080HD/30fps video quality
- up to 6480x1080HD 8MP image quality
- Snapdragon 800 2.3 GHz Quad-core processor
- IP67 compliant
- WiFi Access Point, Bluetooth 4.0
- GPS, barometer, altimeter, accelerometer
- microSD card support up to 128GB
The V.360 has an interesting design. The camera portion is mounted above a cylinder which houses the battery, microSD card slot, and USB 3.0 connection. The camera lens housing slopes outwards and is capped by a black piece which contains a bubble level so you know if the device is level or not. The bottom of the camera features a tripod mount that should fit most tradition camera tripods. When not using the mount, the camera is comfortable to hold due to its shape and it’s easy to hold it without getting your hand in the way of the camera lens area.
The bottom seals nice and tight, and is a bit difficult to get off but I suppose that’s good considering it’s supposed to be waterproof as well. The device is manufactured to meet military specifications for shock, vibration, and dust and is IP67 compliant for water resistance for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter, and feels solid enough and like it would survive a crash or being dropped just fine. GPS, accelerometer, altimeter, and barometer sensors are also included for capturing your location, speed, altitude, and atmospheric pressure when recording video.
The V.360 includes a cylindrical shaped remote for powering it on, taking a picture, and starting or stopping video recording. It also ships with a USB cable, power adapter, rechargeable battery, flat adhesive mount, GoPro Adapter, remote control, silicone sleeve, and microfiber pouch.
The V.360 unit works by itself with the included remote, or for maximum functionality you can download the V.360 app for Android and iOS devices. Once installed, you can pair your phone with the V.360 via Bluetooth which will allow you to modify various settings, see the remaining battery life, number of pictures left, take a picture, or start and stop video recording. You can also connect to the camera’s internal WiFi network which will allow you to also view the photos and videos you’ve taken, and use the unit as a room monitor, etc.
The Android app worked well and connected to the camera without any issues every time it was used. In addition to Video and Photo modes, the app also allows you to put the camera in Burst or Time-Lapse mode, and even has a Surveillance feature in which you can set the camera to take videos or pictures when it detects audio or motion.
In order to truly appreciate the 360° view of the videos you record, you’ll have to download an app for your Windows computer. The app allows you to view your videos and pan left and right while watching them, and also allows you to add some basic effects like sepia toning or black and white conversions to your videos. It would be nice if the desktop app also allowed you to trim clips, but this can be done using a program like Adobe Premiere Pro or the Android or iOS V.360 app.
When capturing moments you want to share with others, image quality is very important. Unfortunately the V.360 doesn’t perform well taking still images, especially indoor images. Given that the device has a Surveillance feature, I would have thought indoor images would be better quality than they were. At first I thought I didn’t have it set up right, but upon confirming that I was indeed using the highest quality settings (6480 x 1080) and then comparing with some of the samples images on the website, the quality simply isn’t there.
The video quality on the other hand was a bit better, but still not spectacular and doesn’t appear crisp and clear like a 1080p video should. Another thing to note is that while the field of view does capture 360° horizontally, the vertical field of view that it captures is only 60°, and it really shows in recorded videos and images. Without using the companion phone app it’s tough to line up the device properly. When I mounted it on my snowboard for example, I was only able to get from the snowboard up to just under my knee. If I was to mount it on my helmet, you’d only really see everything above my 6′ height. The best way to capture the best horizontal field of view would be to hold the camera, but in my opinion that defeats the purpose somewhat and I know that I personally don’t want to be holding on to something while I’m going down the slopes.
At maximum recording resolution you can expect that you will use about 10GB of space per hour of video recording.
The video below gives you an idea of the field of view and recording quality of the V.360.
Sound is also important to video capture, especially in a stand alone unit that you’d be taking on the road, when hitting the slopes, or surfing up and down the coast. Even though it sports dual microphones to capture stereo sound, the sound capture is somewhat inconsistent. Most of the time the sound capture on the V.360 isn’t too bad however I did notice on one test drive that while I had the radio in my vehicle up quite loud, it was a bit soft and tinny sounding in the video playback.
The V.360 comes with a 2610mAh Li-ion battery, and when fully charged holds its charge quite well. For one stretch of time, I didn’t use it for 2 weeks and it still had 93% battery life left. While being used, the V.360 used about 45% battery in an hour of use, so unfortunately you’ll only get a couple hours of video recording on a single charge which isn’t much when spending the day on the slopes or out biking.
As mentioned above, the V.360 comes with a flat adhesive mount, GoPro Adapter, and silicone sleeve in the box. The silicone sleeve fits snugly over the bottom of the device and presumably offers extra protection when used in the water. Unfortunately with the sleeve on the V.360, the camera doesn’t reach far enough to connect to the flat mount that is also included. As far as the mount goes, the backing is 3M VHB tape which should stick well to anything. However, when attached to a warm dry snowboard and left overnight, the mount fell off after about 10 minutes at the ski hill in temperatures around 0C/32F so if you’re looking to attach it using the included flat mount you may want to look at some other method rather than relying on the included adhesive.
The V.360 isn’t cheap, and will set you back around $450. With newer products just around the corner that capture horizontal and vertical 360° video and images for slightly more, it’s hard to justify the price for a camera which captures a limited field of view.
While the concept of 360° video and images appeals to sports enthusiasts, unfortunately the V.360 falls short. The lack of image and video quality and the limited vertical field of view just doesn’t quite hit the mark in capturing what you want in the quality you want. The build quality and functionality – especially when used with the companion mobile app – was great though, and hopefully the next iteration of the V.360 will up the camera specs and field of view capture for better quality recording.
*We were sent a demo unit of the V.360 from VSN Mobil for the purposes of this review.
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