360fly 4K review: A good 360 action cam backed by an excellent app

Worth noting, too, is the camera has built-in GPS, an altimeter and an accelerometer. The plan is to eventually make this data available to overlay on your videos.

To give others the full 360-degree playback experience, you can share to 360fly's site, YouTube or Facebook straight from the app. Uploading to 360fly offers the best image quality because the other two end up compressing the files that adds artifacts to the original video. The video above is one I edited in less than five minutes with the mobile app once I downloaded the video to my phone. The YouTube clip below is essentially the same video, though I edited with the 360fly Director desktop software. Both are exported at a resolution of 3,840x1,920 pixels.

The desktop editor isn't quite as easy to use and doesn't have all the features of the mobile app, but it's still good for creating quick movies. It does allow you to merge clips from from different recordings, which is something the app can't do.

Video from consumer 360 cams to date hasn't been great. The 360fly 4K is good for the category and certainly better than its HD predecessor. The fact is most people get lost in exploring the video to care too much about the quality unless it's genuinely bad, which it isn't here.

The biggest issue I have is the purple fringing around subjects in high-contrast areas. In the clip above it's most visible around my head and shoulders and in the windows of the buildings and around the buildings themselves. On a smartphone screen it's not as easy to see unless you zoom in, but blown up on a computer display it's visible and, at least for me, distracting. Even more than the image softness around the bottom of the picture. The blown-out highlights are rough to watch, too, but it's to be expected with the vast contrast difference between the buildings and the sky.

Audio captured more than a couple feet from the camera sounds low and muffled, which is likely because of the waterproof design. There are no ports of any kind on the device, so there is no adding an external mic. If loud, clear audio is a must-have, consider this a deal breaker.

The camera can also be used to live stream 360-degree video via streaming service Livit. Just install Livit's app and connect your smartphone to the camera. In the Livit app there's a little fly icon that you just need to tap and it should start streaming, assuming you've got a decent mobile broadband connection. You'll have to keep your phone close to the camera to keep a strong connection and it's not great for battery life, but it works.

Speaking of battery life, the built-in battery lasts for about 1.5 hours of straight recording to the camera's internal 64GB of storage that holds up to three hours of 4K-resolution video. To charge and transfer images there's a PowerCradle, a small round dock that magnetically attaches to the camera's bottom. It uses a Micro-USB cable for connecting to a computer or charger. It's nice, but it also means you can't charge or transfer without it.

The 360fly 4K is just all-around a better camera than the original, and its excellent mobile app is a definite plus compared to competing cameras. You'll just have to be forgiving of its image quality.

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