World’s smallest VR camera today: Is Lyfie truly easy to use?
LyfieEye is a spherical 360° camcorder that plugs directly into your Android smartphone, designed by Taiwanese engineers in the U.S. It weighs 14.7 g only and it claims to be the world’s smallest and lightest VR camera. The team aims to redefine the limit to the size of 360 camera. We are very curious to know whether Lyfie has lived up to their expectation.
Depending on the version and accessories, LyfieEye’s price ranges from 89 dollars to 200 dollars. The basic product set includes a LyfieEye, a LyfieU2C converter, and a storage bag. The upgraded product set includes more accessories like Lyfielink. In their promotion video, they demonstrate that Lyfielink can connect LyfieEye to the USB port of DJI drones and shoot VR videos from above.
LyfieEye is somewhat similar to MADV Mini, a Panoramic Camera we reviewed before. LyfieEye only has two parts: the lens and the connector. The main body uses engineering plastic, and the outer layer is covered with black rubber to protect the lens. It can give some protection when falling. Though small and light, LyfieEye is designed to be intricate and detailed.
There is fisheye lens each sticking out from the top and the bottom. If we view the lens under the sun, we can tell that it has some plating to protect the lens. But the lens is still relatively easy to become a collector of fingerprints and dust. Extremely tidy and meticulous users may need to wipe it quite often.
The craft and material are satisfactory but give no surprise. The 360 camera price is reasonable for its design.
Specifications of the 360 Camera
LyfieEye’s basic specifications have no advantages over other mainstream VR cameras. However, we cannot ask for more at this price range. Its affordability is the greatest advantage.
The highest resolution for videos and pictures is 2880 X 1440 pixels. Because the size of the camera is small, the corresponding COMS is also small. Hence the picture quality is not bad in bright light conditions; whereas the result is not so satisfactory in dim-lit or high contrasting light environments. Although the resolution is not high, the picture quality at the center is beyond our expectation. Because fisheye lens gives a characteristic convex appearance which is non-rectilinear, the picture quality at the edges is relatively worse and the purple fringing is larger. We recommend shooting pictures with the main object at the center.
Surprisingly, the low resolution comes with an advantage. Through the plug-in connector, you don’t have to wait for devices to pair and download your content. You can share your photos immediately once you record them from your smartphone.
LyfieEye works with its App, LyfieView200, available for download at Google Play. It currently only supports Android systems (the camera does not have ios lighting connector as well.) The App is organized and easy to use but lacks a sense of design and thus hard to remember.
There are three shooting modes to choose from: photo, video ,and Livestream. You can preview it anytime while shooting. Once you have finished snapping pictures or recording videos, the App offers some viewing modes like little planet and mirror ball mode. You can also plug it in cardboard to view the content. The App also has built-in filters that allow for easy manipulation of the photo and set the initial angle. Meanwhile, the filters also facilitate simple editing of videos. Once you’ve finished editing, you can one-tap share your 360 panoramas or videos to Facebook and YouTube. The App will automatically compress your work to match the requirements of social media platforms. It will also add metadata for social media to identify quickly.
Besides LyfieView200, the team has also developed LyfieRoam and LyfieStroll. These two Apps use satellite mapping and deep learning technologies to create virtual reality images and AR audio experiences. As for now, the Apps are still young and the functionality is relatively crude. We expect the team to develop more exciting ways to play around with Lyfie.
If you are new to the field of 360° content making, want to have a taste of VR experience and a strong need for portability and instant sharing, LyfieEye is not a bad choice. If you have high requirements for photo/video quality, we recommend you to look into other professional cameras.
See also 360 camrea review :