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This fun, quirky action camera delivers 360 degree view, but it's no GoPro

With the QooCam 360, you can shoot from both front and rear cameras simultaneously. Plus: video quality and stabilization are outstanding. So why am I not happy with this action camera?
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The QooCam 360 action camera.

The QooCam 360 looks like a solid, pro-quality camera -- but looks can be deceiving.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The QooCam 360 action camera is available on Amazon for $305.
  • The video quality and stabilization are outstanding.
  • There's no way to film without the fisheye look and the micro SD card is a challenge to remove.

I love a good action camera. For years, I used a GoPro for mountain bike footage and even (after some serious tweaking of the configurations) used it to film my early vlog entries and even tutorials. 

The problem with most action cameras is the dreaded fisheye look. With GoPro, you can get rid of fisheye (with some work) and the footage is usable for just about anything. Other action cams don't bother with options to shrug off the fisheye look and (from my perspective) that's a shame.

Such is the case with the QooCam 360 action camera. I've dug into the very limited documentation and there's no way (that I could find) to not film in fisheye mode. However, the QooCam 360 action camera does have a trick up its sleeve that many other action cameras might not. With this camera, you can shoot from both the front-facing and rear-facing cameras simultaneously. And it's a lot of fun.

This action camera is a quirky but fun camera that creates unique perspectives for your action shots.

Imagine cruising through your favorite mountain bike trail or down your favorite slope with a camera attached to your helmet or handlebars that not only shows what you're seeing but -- at the same time -- the joy (or fear) registering on your face.

As I said, it's a lot of fun.

But it's not perfect. You can't do away with the fisheye look and you even have to deal with seeing the edges of the lens cover in the footage. That's fine, as you can always turn to your favorite video editing software (I use Final Cut Pro) to crop and adjust. But because of that, you'll need to have experience with such software to pull it off.

According to QooCam, there's the QooCam Studio or QooCam app, which uses optical flow to stitch fisheye videos and images from the QooCam and QooCam8K to output the stitched panoramic video and images. Unfortunately, I could not find a download link for QooCam Studio and the QooCam app doesn't support the 360 Action Cam. That's too bad because it would have been nice to see what the apps can do to automatically stitch the side-by-side video together.

Oh, well. It seems you can't have it all with any one action camera.

The specs

  • Uses two ultra-wide-angle fisheye lenses to capture 360-degree footage.
  • Can record in 5.7K/62MP.
  • Can take photos or videos.
  • Wide F1.6 aperture and two 1/1.55" sensors with 2um pixel size.
  • Six-axis gyroscope for stabilization.
  • Can function in 32°F to 104°F.
  • The touchscreen makes navigating the menu and seeing what you're filming very easy.

My experience

As you might expect, a lesser-known brand of action camera won't have nearly the support for third-party add-ons. And because the QooCam 360 doesn't include any mounting options (beyond a standard-sized threaded attachment fitting at the bottom of the camera), you're going to have to get creative to find a way to mount it.

I did a few quick tests of the QooCam 360 and found it to take decent-quality video, even in lower-light situations. It's not going to blow you away but with good lighting, the footage could easily be used in pro-quality videos (so long as you can crop and stitch with your default video editing software).

The dual fisheye views of the QooCam 360.

Me and my cat, Bigen, are not quite ready for our closeups.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Beyond the inability to get rid of the fisheye look, the biggest problem I had with the QooCam 360 is that it's heavy. Because of that, you might have trouble keeping it steady on whatever mounting system you cobble together. Another issue I had was removing the micro SD card. You have two choices: Use a pair of tweezers, or let the spring rocket the card out of the device, hoping you'll be able to catch it. I lost an SD card using the "rocket" method.

The QooCam 360 battery/micro SD card compartment.

Accessing the battery and microSD card slot compartment is much easier than removing the card itself.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

ZDNET buying advice

At this price, I honestly have trouble recommending the QooCam 360 action camera. Yes, it's fun to see both front and back views simultaneously, but for roughly the same price, you can get a GoPro Hero 12 Black with more accessories, better support, and much better quality footage. No, the GoPro might not have the fun 360 aspect but I believe that gimmick will quickly wear off and give way to frustration with this camera.

Also: Is GoPro still the best action camera? Well, it depends

I've used enough GoPros over the years and I would select any one of them over the QooCam 360 any day.

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