Shenzhen-based Insta360 makes pretty. Its latest Insta360 Evo is no different, but with a clever twist.
Instead of being a just a 360-degree camera, the Evo's default mode places both cameras side by side to take 3D pictures. To convert it into a 3D camera, you just need to unlock the catch and fold it, turning it into a cube-shaped 360 camera.
It's clever and I loved the design, as it adds versatility to what would normally just be a 3D camera, as well as take advantage of Insta360's capabilities in 360 shooting.
The Evo shoots at up to 5.7K at 30 frames per second with its f/2.2 dual cameras. Other shooting modes are also available, such as 4K at 30 or 50fps, or 3,008x1,504 pixels at 100fps. It can also take 18-megapixel photos. There's built-in six-axis gyroscopic stabilization and it uses Insta360's software-based FlowState stabilization for super smooth video.
I've been giving the camera a spin over a few days, and came away impressed. You can also share 3D vidoes to Facebook
But even then, unless you're a pro at the cross-eyed technique for viewing 3D images, it's hard to view the images in three dimensions without a Google Cardboard, an Oculus Go or a Samsung Gear VR. HTC Vive Focus support will be added soon.
If you're viewing the 3D images on a phone, Insta360 has come up with a cool solution called HoloFrame. It's a transparent $30 iPhone case that you pop over the display. The Insta360 app than uses eye-tracking technology to display a 3D image, with the phone case helping convert the screen to 3D.
It's currently available for the iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR, with versions for the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, S9+ and Note 8 coming soon.
It sounds great, and the good news is that it works. While earlier firmware had issues with video playback, in particularly objects doubling up on the screen even after calibration, a new update fixes all of these problems and delivers quite a perfect experience that wowed me. HoloFrame is a clever yet simple way to add 3D viewing to a normal phone,. You can also use Google Cardboard to watch 3D videos and photos.
Retailing at $420 and available to order now, the Insta360 is lots of fun if you're looking to try something different with 3D, while still shooting 360-degree video and pictures.
Originally published March 14
Updates, 21 March 03:30 a.m.: Added new impressions of HoloFrame.
- Photo resolution: 18 megapixels
- Video: 5,760x2,880-pixel resolution at 30fps, 3,840x1,920 at 50fps, 3,840x1,920 at 30fps, 3,008x1, 504 at 100fps
- Weight: 113g
- Battery: 1,200-mAh
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE