After a series of interesting, if not high-performing, 360 cameras, Insta360 has knocked it out of the park with the One X. Finally matching some excellent hardware with their excellent software, the One X is one of the best 360 cameras you can buy.
The design and build quality
At 115g (0.25lbs), the Insta360 ONE X is a little bigger than its older cousin with its added LCD screen that allows you to change settings without having to use the app. However, this doesn’t make much of a difference when it comes to how easy it is to maneuver.
The tasteful yet inconspicuous body of the device is made mostly out of sturdy plastic which means it’s very lightweight and convenient to carry around. Two buttons are located below the screen which lets you access the menu. It’s effortless to hold and isn’t slippery.
You don’t want to drop this device. Insta360 offers a clear waterproof case that could protect it from accidents. This also allows you to take it on a dive for up to 30 meters deep.
The latched battery compartment is located on the right side. Yes, another significant improvement is that this model has a removable battery. Built-in batteries tend to run out quicker. This way, extra batteries become handy for uninterrupted use.
They also created its own custom “Invisible Selfie Stick” feature which you can easily edit out afterward with the app. Recorded videos look magical and surreal with this aspect turned on as it’s really like having a flying drone following you around.
Video and photo quality
An action camera can get away with slightly blurry, noisy image quality – it’s the price you pay for its compactness, sturdiness and general go-anywhere flexibility – but the One X manages to deliver pretty impressive results, not to mention near-seamless stitching of its two cameras’ separate results. You can even record video in a flat log mode for post-production colour grading.
Sure, there’s purple fringing around areas of high contrast, there’s lots of noise in low light situations and colours are not the brightest, but given the setup of ultra wide-angle lenses and small sensors, it was always going to be a trade-off between convenience and quality in which convenience wins out.
There are a lot of decisions to make before you start filming with the One X. Want 5.7K or 3K resolution footage? Since the latter boasts 100fps slo-mo, you have to make a call on whether to trade-down on the resolution to trade-up on that special effect.
Operating the One X is easy, though one issue we did have was the on/off button, which is all too easy to accidentally press when handling the One X. In terms of hardware, the only other issue is battery life. In our tests, the battery lasted about 60 minutes with Wi-Fi on, which means it must be more efficient than the GoPro Fusion, which has a battery life only very slightly longer despite having a much larger battery.
As the special effects suggest, the real choices are made once you’ve captured the raw 360° footage. During our review there was no working desktop software for video (it was in beta testing, and coming soon, though the old Insta360 One software handles photos), so we had to rely only on the app. It’s full-featured and lets you complete all the advanced tasks, but editing video does mean physically transferring it, either over WiFi (takes an age, runs down the battery) or via a supplied cable for Android or iPhone (which takes ages, and also runs down the battery).
Compact and lightweight
Feature-packed, user-friendly app
Superb image stabilisation
Wide range of optional accessories
Decent image quality
Not waterproof as standard
Requires a companion smartphone
Older smartphones will struggle to handle hi-res files
Insta360 has made 360 photo and video more accessible by not putting the focus on 360 degree output. At Banggood.com this device is sold for $384 and will be delivered to you anywhere you are in the world.
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