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360fly ups the ante on its 360-degree camera with 4K and live-streaming

When it launched, the 360fly stood out in the 360-degree camera race by introducing a single-lens option at an affordable price. Now, the company is adding both 4K and live-streaming with the new 360fly 4K.

The 360fly 4K was officially released today across the U.S. and will be available internationally soon, including Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Latin America, Canada, South Africa, and China. Introduced earlier this year at CES, the camera offers almost four times the resolution of the original 360fly HD. A 64GB internal memory upgrade helps to store the larger 4K files.

While the jump in resolution is big, the panoramic camera also now offers real-time live-streaming using the Periscope-esque Livit mobile app.

The camera also includes a 360-degree time-lapse video mode. A built-in GPS, altimeter, and accelerometer tracks your location, altitude, and speed of the action, respectively, and even overlays that telemetry data into the content with a third-party app.

With the one-button start, the 360fly operates much like the simplicity of a GoPro. The camera is waterproof down to 30 feet and has a battery that lasts an hour and a half. But, like the original, the camera doesn’t capture a completely spherical field of view.

The 4K version will also be more accessible than the first, hitting big-box stores like Best Buy and Target as early as today.

“Since day one, it has been our goal to bring 360-degree video to the masses and democratize virtual reality through innovative products that are easily accessible and competitively priced,” said 360fly CEO Peter Adderton. “The more advanced features and image quality of our 4K camera raise the bar and provide a compelling production vehicle, whether the need is personal or professional.”

The 360fly 4K will be priced at $500 – a $100 premium over the original. While the previous 360fly may have been unique in 2014, several 360-degree cameras have emerged that could give it some serious competition, including ones from Samsung, LG, Nikon, and Ricoh. But from the sample videos on the 360fly website, the picture quality doesn’t look too bad – considering it’s using just one lens – so it may be able to hold its own just fine.