A glimpse is enough to see significant differences between Samsung’s new Gear 360, announced alongside the Galaxy S8, and last year’s model. The old one was built to have a processor and battery between the lenses so you could mount the camera just about anywhere, while the new one was built to hold it like most other 360 cameras in the world today. This difference is significant in terms of usability, but what else is different about the two cameras?

Here’s a quick look at how things have improved from generation to generation in the Gear 360 line.

More than specifications

gear 360

Anyone familiar with the original Gear 360 will look at this new model and be a little suspicious that this is actually an upgrade, and it has a lot to do with the spec sheet. The older version of this camera has twice the megapixels to work with, shoots at a wider aperture, and offers a slightly larger battery for video recording. That’s all the damage.

category Gear 360 (2016) Gear 360 (2017)
The size 60.1mm x 66.7mm 100.6mm x 45.1mm
The weight 152g 130g
aperture F/2.0 F/2.2
Still image resolution 30MP (2x 15MP sensors) 15MP (2x 8.4MP sensors)
Video resolution (dual lens) 3840 x 2160 (24 fps) 4096 x 2048 (24 fps)
Video resolution (single lens) 2560×1440 (24fps) 1920 x 1080 (60 fps)
External storage MicroSD (up to 200 GB) MicroSD (up to 256 GB)
battery 1350mAh 1160mAh
wireless 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac (2.5 GHz / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.1, NFC 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac (2.5 GHz / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.1
Charger Micro USB (USB 2.0) USB-C (USB 2.0)

So this new camera has a smaller battery, no NFC, and takes photos with less detail and resolution? This is much more than in practice. The biggest «feature» of this new Gear 360 is the loss of more than 20mm between the two sensors. This reduction makes it much easier to stitch images and videos, which means the camera itself can take more realistic 360-degree photos. Even with twice as many pixels to capture, the previous Gear 360 often looked distorted when the two halves of an image were stitched together. This smaller body makes it easier to take better photos, and as we know from smartphones, more megapixels doesn’t mean a better picture.

The lack of NFC on the new model is kind of a bummer if you use the feature a lot on your phone, but the truth is that Samsung has already done a great job of making it easy to connect to the Gear 360 from within the app. It wasn’t worth the extra space it took up inside the body of this camera. Removing this feature probably helped a bit with battery life as well — not that you’ll notice a huge difference in performance between the two products. The only thing you’ll probably notice here is the USB-C port, which will let you plug the cable straight into your phone if your camera needs a little topping up.