Insta360 X3 Action Cam Uses 5.7K 360 Video, AI Smarts to Get All the Social Shots
This is a single-lens action cam, a dual-lens 360 camera and a whole lot of fun.
Joshua GoldmanManaging Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
ExpertiseLaptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and dronesCredentials
More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
The Insta360 X3 is more of everything we liked about its predecessor, the One X2. The X3 is a small, waterproof 360 camera that creates immersive 360 videos and photos. But it can also be used as a single-lens action cam. Or you can use its powerful processing, clever accessories and its mobile editing tools to create clips ready for whatever social sharing site you choose. It's a lot of camera for $450 (£460, AU$800).
Insta360 might not be as recognizable a name as GoPro but the company continues to push what's possible with its camera technologies and artificial intelligence. Earlier this year it released its second modular action cam, the Insta360 One RS, and followed it with a 360 module for that camera co-engineered with Leica. In August, Insta360 released the Link Webcam, its first webcam, and earned an Editors' Choice award from my colleague Lori Grunin. The X3 fits perfectly in the lineup with its combination of great hardware and software.
Physically, the X3 doesn't look too different from the One X2. Well, except for the large 2.3-inch touch display. The X2 has a tiny circular touchscreen like one you'd find on a smartwatch. It's better than nothing but let's just say it made navigating camera settings and framing shots challenging. The larger screen of the X3 makes everything much easier.
Behind each of the camera's f1.9 6.7mm lenses (35mm equivalent) is a new 1/2-inch sensor capable of capturing 360 video at 4K at 60 frames per second or 5.7K at 30fps and 72-megapixel photos. The 360 video means you can easily cut it with the mobile app to fit your needs: 16:9 for YouTube, 9:16 for TikTok or 4:5 for Instagram. You can also shoot with just one lens at a time at 4K at 30fps or 1080p, 2.7K or 3.6K at up to 60fps. A button on the bottom right below the screen switches between dual-lens mode or single-lens mode, letting you choose the front or back lens. You can't jump between the two single lenses while recording, though.
All the modes
It's great that Insta360 makes it possible to capture single-lens 4K video with the X3 but really it's all the content you can create with the dual-lens design and Insta360's AI and mobile app that are above and beyond. For example, there's a new Me mode that keeps the focus on you whether you're skateboarding, skiing or simply walking down the street.
To use Me mode, put the X3 on one of the company's invisible selfie sticks and start shooting. When you're done, the mobile app will instantly remove the stick and pan the video automatically to keep you framed in the center. It only records up to 1080p at 60fps, but you never have to worry about being in the shot while you land a trick.
Other new options include 360 Active HDR which mitigates motion blur while improving strong shadows and highlights, 8K timelapse videos, prerecording and loop recording to make sure you never miss a shot and 4K Bullet Time, to slow down the action while the camera rotates around you.
Insta360's invisible selfie sticks also make it possible to reproduce the look of a drone video, especially if you go withthe extended edition that reaches 9.8 feet (3 meters). There are a handful of other helpful accessories like a microSD card reader that plugs right into an iPhone or Android device, a mic adapter and an invisible cold shoe. Combine them with Insta360's Shot Lab tutorials and even beginners won't have trouble creating shareable content.
We've just started testing the Insta360 X3 and we'll be back with a full review and let you know if it fully lives up to its promise.