In this review, I will be looking at the Acer Holo 360 camera. Since getting in to virtual reality, I have become interested in 360-degree pictures and videos. You can take 360 photos using a smart phone but it requires you to take multiple shots and then they are stitched together by the app. This works ok but its slow, requires everybody in the photo to stay put and does not work for video.
This is where the Acer Holo 360 comes in. It is an Android powered camera with two 16MP fish eye lenses on it (one on the rear, one on the rear) and it uses them to create 360-degree photos and videos. You can stream them in real time to places like Facebook and YouTube or look at them later on a phone, tablet, PC or in virtual reality.
First, let’s look at the spec.
- 2 x 16MP camera
- SIM card slot of 4G/LTE data
- 3 inch screen
- Android 6.1.1
- 4k videos
- 6.9K photos
- MicroSD card slot
The camera is slightly smaller than a traditional smart phone and a little thicker (4.3 x 0.5 x 2.3). It is perfect for carrying around with you, and the 3-inch screen is clear and big enough so you can view your pictures and videos on the device.
Taking 360-degree photos
The UI is a simplified version of Android (the standard Android UI is available if you prefer) so it is simple to take photos and videos, just tap the button on screen. Once you have taken a photo or video and before you can view then on an external device you have to prepare the images. For a photo this is pretty quick, for a video it takes a lot longer. It can take some time to convert a long video, a 10-second video takes about one and a half minutes to render so if you make a long videos you are going to be waiting some time for the final output. The good news is you do not need any additional software to view or render the video.
Live Streaming and Windows Mixed Reality
Once you get the final output, you can upload it to your choice of location. As Android based and has the Google Play Store on it, you can install any available service. You can upload directly to YouTube, Facebook, OneDrive and other services that have an Android app. You can live stream to Facebook and Youtube.
When it comes to viewing the photos one of the best way to view them is a Windows Mixed Reality headset where you can view the photos and videos in full immersive virtual reality. It is a great way to view the content and it puts you right in the middle of the action. You can view them via the 360 viewer on Facebook and YouTube or use the built in Microsoft Photos app, you can also use a 3rd party app like Tubecast VR. The images look a little grainy when viewing in VR, they look a lot sharper on small screen.
You can also view the content on a smart phone, tablet and PC.
Overall, I really like the Acer Holo 360 but I do have a couple of issues with it. The main issue is the lack of tripod mount, so there is no way to use it without holding it. I would have loved to mount it on a tripod and take some longer videos. The other issue is that you end up in every photo and video. For many that will not be an issue but I really wanted a way to capture the landscape without my ugly mung right in the middle! A tripod mount and a timer delay could fix this but that isn’t an option with this model.
Therefore, for £299 you have a device that you can use to live steam 360 content and capture 360 photos and videos for later. It’s small, light and very simple to use. Put a data SIM in and you can stream from anywhere. If you are into 360 images and videos you should checkout this device. It also comes with a handy case and wrist strap.
Here is my video review of the Acer Holo 360 camera where I look at how it works and viewing the content in Windows Mixed Reality.
Acer Holo 360 video review:
Here is a clip recorded on the Acer Holo 360:
Go to 3:26 in the video to see them in Windows Mixed Reality.
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.