You might have seen the new craze to hit YouTube and other social media websites lately, and that is 360° videos! Yes, full panoramic three hundred and sixty degrees viewing, where you can change your viewpoint either by titling your mobile devices or using cursors. For example, the 360 degree video below is of a US navy team (not created by this camera), the Blue Angels, taking off and doing some acrobatics. You can move the view to almost anywhere you want!
These types of videos are made using 360° cameras, which until now, were very expensive. Enter China and now thankfully, you can own a 360° camera for less than $100 (the camera retails for $99 on the official website, but the limited time deal which we review here is actually for $79 including free shipping to anywhere in the world!)
SOOCOO is a brand of Shenzhen Anytek Information Technology Ltd, A Chinese company, now a multinational, which made a name for itself in 2009 by producing quality black boxes for cars. They entered the US market in 2013 and have made quite a name for themselves.
We recently came across their latest product, the CUBE360, a mini sports action camera that can capture full 360-degree panoramas, like the video above. The best thing? After a 30% discount, its even cheaper than a normal GoPro! As the name suggests, it’s a tiny camera in shape of a yellow (currently the only color available) cube and it only weights around 80 grams [0.2 lbs]. Well, it is not exactly a cube, but a cute cuboid. The dimensions are 43mm x 43mm x 53mm [that’s roughly 1.7 inches x 1.7 inches x 2 inches]. For comparison purposes, see below, the length of an Apple iWatch’s face is 42mm.
Having a decent battery of 1300mAh, on a full charge, it can continuously record a video for 3 hours without WiFi. If WiFi is on, then the battery will only last 90 minutes on a non stop record. It comes with a built in memory of 32gb, whereas it also has an option for an additional microSD card. The recording quality is good, but not exactly great. It can record 28 frames per second at 1280*1024. That’s like 720p on YouTube, not true HD (which is 1080p). We did feel that the quality wasn’t great in sub-optimal lighting conditions, a problem with most digital cameras (apart from the high-end models), but considering the fact that we were getting a true 360 degree camera for less than $70, it is an excellent bargain.
There are multiple shooting modes such as Panorama, Hemispherical, Circular or Segmentation, which can be controlled from your mobile or computer via WiFi. To edit or upload the videos made by CUBE 360 camera, you can also download the free accompanying app for Apple (iOS) or Android (sorry Windows Mobile users, they don’t seem to have plans to support your platform).
The CUBE360° comes with a lot of accessories which outdoor or sports enthusiasts will find useful, along with a matching pouch and a USB charging cable, the same one used by most smartphones.
Overall, we found the camera to be very exciting, a good bang for the buck and easy to use. However, we felt some improvements could be made in image quality and battery timings. Plus, we need more colors! Like, how about a blue one pictured below?