LG 360 VR lenses

Mobile World Congress

LG's "Friends" concept extends to more than just the swappable Hi-Fi and camera control modules — you can also pair it up with a handheld 360-degree camera and a lightweight VR visor: the LG 360 CAM and the LG 360 VR.

LG 360 CAM

Both a compact consumer-grade takes on concepts that others have taken to professional — and expensive — extremes. The 360 CAM is a little compact bit roughly the size of your fingers curled up into a fist. It features a pair of 13MP sensors under 180-degree lenses, recoding onto a microSD card in the base (it also has a USB-C port and tripod mount).

Combined, those two sensors allow the user to capture images or video in full 360-degrees. Click the shutter button for photos, click and hold for video. It also has three microphones for recording directional audio. LG's clear that this is a casual camera and that you can expect roughly smartphone-quality video out of it, and it's set up with the LG G5's Friends Manager and 360 CAM apps to send those photos up to Google Street View and video to YouTube 360.

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LG 360 VR

Speaking of YouTube 360, there's also the LG 360 VR, the most consumer-friendly take on VR we've seen yet. Think of it as essentially a Google Cardboard module, but with its own built-in screens (a pair of 1.88-inch 960x720 displays). It's easily the most compact VR headset we've seen, measuring roughly 2 inches tall and deep (and of course as wide as a typcal human head), with a pair of lenses inside set over the screens to ensure that the video is properly fed to your eyeballs.

Unlike the VR headsets we've seen from Oculus and HTC, the LG 360 VR is incredibly lightweight (roughly 1/4 their weight at 100g) and connects over USB-C. Currently it only works with the LG G5 (all processing is done on the phone), though they did work with Google's Cardboard team to make it a reality — as such it supports all the things that Cardboard supports, including YouTube 360. It also has a headphone jack for outputting audio to your headphones, though you can also use a Bluetooth pair connected to your phone.

LG's touting the 360 VR as something that you could carry around for when you want to watch movies or play games while on the go, saying they expect people to actually use it on subways, airplanes, and similar forms of transportation.

What's not known about either the 360 VR or the 360 CAM is a release date or pricing, and that will certainly impact our verdict on whether or not they're worthy buys. If they're affordable for the average consumer then they might be things worth considering, maybe even game changers for the 360 degree video space.