Huawei are all about phones and seem to be doing a pretty good job with them. The whole company is based around providing a great user experience for their users. This year they announced alongside the Mate 10 variants a 360 degree camera. Little fuss was made of it and I’m not sure why.
I’ve never used a 360 degree camera before so this was a whole new experience to me. The EnVizion 360 camera comes as a free gift with the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro while stocks last. I’m currently reviewing the Mate 10 Pro so I reached out to Huawei to check out the entire Mate 10 package. The pre-production camera I received came with entirely Chinese instructions but Huawei inform me that the free Aussie cameras will be packed in a stylish box with English instructions (hint: you don’t really need them).
Read on to hear how I fared with the Huawei EnVizion 360 camera (aside from have to take a deep breath before talking about its name each time).
What is it?
The EnVizion 360 Camera is a 360-degree camera accessory with two 13MP sensors that gives a 360 degree viewing angle. It can take pictures with a 5,326 x 2,688 resolution and record video at 1,920 x 960 pixels at 30 frames per second.
What is impressive about it is its size. It is around 3.5cm x 3.5cm x 2.5cm in size, weighs just 30 grams and attaches to your phone via the USB-C port at the bottom of your phone. The USB-C port slots in easily — if only all accessories came with USB-C connections. It receives power from your phone and all the processing is performed on your phone, not in the camera.
The design is sleek with the two wide angled cameras surrounded by slick shiny metal of various colours (mine is silver).
How easy is it to use?
The Chinese instructions gave me a good opportunity to test out the translation app that Huawei have packed into the Mate 10 Pro. It seemed to work but still made no sense so I had a crack myself.
The instructions had a QR code (everything in China has a QR code on it) in it. This led to the Huawei 360 camera app which coincidentally is also available on the Play Store. I would trust the Play Store more than anywhere else.
Installed the app, gave it the requisite permissions and then it told me to plug the camera in. Plugged in and it was ready to go.
The camera is controlled from the phone obviously so if you do not have a tripod you are going get your mug into the picture front and centre. This differs from the standalone 3D/360 degree cameras where they are still controlled from your phone but remotely. They do not have any physical connection to the phone usually. When the phone was attached to the tripod the camera sits horizontal but still results in a correct image although the image below looks strange in the software we are using to render them. On the phone in the Huawei viewer it looked great.
The 360 Camera app is easy to use and yet still has all the features the average Joe or Jill could ask for.
The settings are basic and there wasn’t much I needed to change. I did add a timer to all my photos so I could at least have semi-still photo but I stuck with the standard resolution for both the photos and video. You can see the rest of the settings below.
After taking the photos you can view them in different formats including fisheye, perspective, crystal ball and asteroid. The images can also be made into gifs or a flat pano image. To navigate each image you can use either your finger to slide the image, the gyroscope so turning the phone rotates through the image or your favourite VR viewer.
What would a review of a camera be without a sample of images it can produce? The images seem as good (or bad?) as many others I have seen from similar cameras but remember this is an accessory, not a stand alone camera. The images lack the detail you would see in a usual smartphone camera but these images are not designed with that detail in mind.
Do I really need another tech accessory?
I never thought I needed a 360 degree camera but after using one my answer is emphatically yes.
For people house hunting or in the process of designing a new house it is nearly essential. I was able to take it around to the different rooms in the display home and snap off a picture and get a look at the entire room in a single shot rather than a multitude of images per room (I did forget to take my Gorillapod with me so unfortunately you’ll have to put up with my ugly mug in the images).
This Huawei camera is a no brainier – it’s free while stock lasts with any Mate 10 or Mate 10 Pro purchase but if you are interested in taking some cool images, creating 3D content or house hunting then you will find a 3D camera very useful. If you have a phone other than a Mate 10 Pro fear not, this camera will work with any Android phone with a USB-C port and running Android version 6.0 and above.
While the Huawei EnVizion 360 Camera is valued at $179 for a limited time it is free with every purchase of a Mate 10 or Mate 10 Pro so it really is a no brainer. Get a high-end flagship for a decent price and get a decent 360 degree camera thrown in with it.
The quality isn’t the greatest but from what I have seen of other 360 degree cameras it is seemingly par for the course unless you spend a fortune. If you have a chance to try out a 3D camera I highly recommend you give it a crack and if you are buying a house, building a house or just redecorating your current house you must definitely buy one.
The EnVizion 360 Camera by Huawei and its software are easy to use and a lot of fun. I am loving this one and can safely say I can now see why Dan simply had to try every single 3D/360 degree camera around.
Huawei has allowed Ausdroid to retain the camera.