The $ 299 Iqui is the opposite of what I'm used to from a 360-degree camera. It was developed by Ricoh spinoff Vecnos and the team that created the first consumer 360 camera, the Ricoh Theta. You can see that the DNA of the camera in the Iqui (pronounced ee-kwee) and what made the Theta 2013 special is what makes the Iqui unique in 2020: Simplicity.

The original theta was essentially a 360-degree snapshot camera. You turned it on, pressed the shutter button, and created a spherical image once you swept it through the mobile or desktop app. Back then you couldn't directly share the pictures on social media and honestly you still can't really. The Theta developed to a more powerful platform for 360 content creation while the Iqui tries to recapture the snapshot feel of the original. International pricing is not currently available, but $ 299 converts to GBP 230 or AU $ 410.

It has more lenses but is actually smaller

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The theta used two large lenses to create spherical images. It was compact and you could put it in your pocket, but it was thick and heavy and you knew it was there. The Iqui has four lenses – three on the outside and one on top – and is basically the size of a thick sharpie marker. You can easily slip it in your pocket or wallet.

The Iqui has three buttons: power, capture mode (photos or videos) and a shutter button. Turning it on will allow you to take a photo or record up to 30 seconds of video, although video isn't really the point. At least not in the traditional sense.



It's made for social

The idea is that you take a photo and then transfer it to your phone using the Iquispin app (all 360 photos will work with the app if you want to try it out). Once in the app, there is a choice of templates that will turn your 360-degree photo into an 8-14 second MP4 video. Basically, the photo is animated using twists, turns, and other movements to give you an overview of everything and everyone in the photo. The clips are small and long and are a common file type that can be shared on any social platform.

Pairing with your phone is a breeze

Any obstacle to the use of such a product poses an imminent danger of getting into a drawer. Pairing is certainly a common barrier that comes up. For example, GoPro struggled for a while to make connecting the cameras to your phone easier. Now just tap your phone's screen a few more times. Vecnos is already there with the Iqui.

You turn on the camera, open the app, bring the camera near your phone, tap Connect in the app, and you're done. The app allows you to download the data stored on the camera to your device for editing (and by editing I mean applying a template) and then sharing your clip. The rendering is quick and if you like what you see you can quickly export the images for sharing. You can also use the app to control the camera remotely.

The biggest hurdle is the price

I like 360 ​​photos and videos, but I have no interest in editing them. I would use a camera like the Vecnos Iqui, just like my children. It's like the 360 ​​equivalent of an instant camera: it's simple and straightforward with a shareable result that's different from a simple snap on your phone. And I haven't even used all of the features as they won't be available until after an app update in October. If the Iqui is available on October 1, it will cost $ 299, and a travel expense report will give you an additional $ 98 when it arrives in November.


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