Blurring the lines between beginning and end, Kaiser Baas are complimenting their VR-X Headset with a new 360-degree camera. Called the X360, it’s a dual lens device designed to take photos and videos for you to explore. Unfortunately, the versatility and confidence embodied by its design ends up being a little let down by the results of the camera itself.
A compact black box with a small black-and-white LED screen on top, the X360 is made of a spongy rubber-like material but it feels solid enough when gripped. It’s notable that despite the $399 pricetag, it feels far from fragile.
Fitted with dual lenses, it uses two 4MP cameras to take panoramic video footage at a resolution of 1920×960 pixels and photos at almost double that. It also arrives with a pair of nifty accessories: the first being a carry-bag for the device and the second being a flexible tripod.
While the initial assembly of the tripod proved somewhat unintuitive, once assembled the construction proved one of strongest aspects of the X360 package. It’s lightweight, easy to adjust and provides all-around-great support for the camera itself.
You can even configure the tripod with alternate cameras, using they have a compatible nook in their design. Frustratingly, there’s no way to attach or fit the tripod in the carry case so you’ll have to work out some other place to store it when not in use.
Once you’ve snapped it all together, controlling the camera X360 is relatively straightforward – maybe even a little rudimentary. There are three buttons on roof of the device that you can use to control it, as well as a flap that can be unfurled to reveal a power port and slot for a memory card.
The X360’s 1500mAh Li-Battery will get you around eighty-minutes of footage, assuming you own a big enough MicroSD card (the camera supports cards of up to 32GB).
The X360 itself is integrated into the Kaiser Baas app (available on PC, iOS and Android platforms). It’s easy enough to connect to the camera and stream footage to your phone but there’s not a lot of room for customisation. You can’t really mess with the settings of the camera – it’s locked at 30FPS for video and the two preset resolutions.
The only feature you can really play with is white balance, which can be toggled between auto, daylight, cloudy, fluorescent and incandescent modes. In short: it never feels like you are working in harmony with the camera, only finding ways to make it work to your needs.
In terms of the results, the X360’s low megapixel count more or less speaks for itself. There’s a sharp drop in detail for anything further away than a meter or so. Video content looks slightly better than stills, but not hugely. Even then, the low framerate and mediocore audio quality left us unimpressed.
Still, the app provides plenty of useful toggles for rewatching or viewing 360-degree content. Even if, unlike other X360 cameras, there’s no built-in functions you can use to post your footage online to Facebook or Youtube. It’ll have to be uploaded manually.
In addition, even small distances can mess with your smartphones’ connection to the camera. Multiple times during testing we received an error message about SD card space, only for the issue to be a lost connection. Suffice to say, you have to stick close to get the most out of the camera.
The price and picture quality being what it is, I find it hard to recommend the X360 too strongly. Though the camera’s cubic design and obsidian aesthetic definitely lends it a strong first impression and the pair of accessories it comes with are a nice addition, when it comes to actual photographic results, it fails to deliver.
Even if you’re looking for a cheap and dirty entry point into the world of 360-degree photography, there are better entry points than this.