10 May 2018

REVIEW: Wunder360 C1

The big picture

We're no strangers to 360 cameras here; those weird, multi-lens things that film in a sphere all around, all at one. We've reviewed a few now, most notably this one from Kodak PixPro, but we've noticed something. 360 cameras tend to be box-like, chunky, and not all that easy to hold. That is why this little beauty was so refreshing. We check out the Wunder360 C1 360 and VR camera (and let you know how you can get 10% of your own).

Just as with other 360 cams we've seen, the Wunder360 C1 features two separate lenses pointing in opposite directions. Each of these sensors picks up just over half of the total scenic environment, so when combined digitally (live, inside the cam, unlike this tricky set up) you see a complete sphere. Where the C1 is different is that it boasts a hand-pleasing form factor with the lenses above the main body of the cam. And yes, it is almost exactly the same shape and size as the Samsung Galaxy Gear 360. You're not imagining it.

Those senors work together to create large images and video footage, 4096x2048 for pics, and 3040x1520 for vids. The standard frame rate for video capture is 30fps, although there is also an option to increase that to 60, but with a drop in resolution. You can also snap time lapses, burst shots, continuous shots, and control it all remotely via the smartphone app thanks to the built-in WiFi.

On that note, iOS users can expect a lot more value for their money when it comes to the app, than Androiders will. At time of review, several important features were missing from the Android app; most importantly the ability of remove that bloody logo from the centre of all photos. On a 'droid phone we also couldn't make use of the image tracking and stabilisation abilities, where you can set the Wunder360 C1 recording at any angle, and then edit the footage later to track an individual. Wunder360 did assure us that updates for the Google platform were on the way, however.

That said, on both iOS and Android the process of taking a 360 photo or video was easy and quick -possibly easier than any other 360 cam we've reviewed. With the power on, you simply hit the mode button to select photo, video, time lapse etc., then press the record button to start. You don't need a phone to be wirelessly connected to use it, although being able to use the app as a remote was useful, especially to get rid of the weird 'arm-in-shot' look that tends to ruin 360 photos.

In the app you can also very easily manipulate the image or video, changing it from 'magic' (using your finger to swipe around), to fish-eye, and the all important tiny planet mode. We do love a good tiny planet. You can then either export this to your phone, email it, tweet it, or share via Facebook, right from the app. 

But... some of you may have noticed that this is not a video review, despite this product being a camera. The reason why we decided to write it up, instead of posting to YouTube, is because the exported video files aren't the most recognisable and easy to use with standard VR editing programmes. Try as we might, we couldn't get the files to work with the many VR editing programmes we found, and that may be because, like the iON 360 U, the designers have intended this to appeal to the quick-sharing generation, not the photographers and videographers amongst us. So if you want to show off a 360 vid on Facebook, go for it; if you're making a professional VR experience, perhaps not.

That said, the photos are quite crisp and clear, while the video captured is smooth and detailed... enough. The quality can't quite match that of the Kodak PixPro 4KVR360, and when footage is played back in VR mode with the phone in a headset (twin image, with gyro activated) you really do notice a blurriness to the environment. Watching everything back on your phone, tablet, or laptop, however, looks great.

So although Android users will, currently, get less use from it than their iPhone owning friends, the Wunder360 C1 offers a lot to go on here - both as a novel way to upload cool images to Facebook, and as as way to start a career in virtual reality content creation. And hey, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than most other 360 cameras. Bonus.

Also... get 10% by shopping via these links: 

In Europe €189 at shopeu.wunder360.com

In the US $159 at shopus.wunder360.com

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