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Insta360 X3 review

The X3 delivers really beautiful, sharp and clean video. It is capable of shooting 360-degree video with a resolution of 5.7K at 30 frames per second (fps) or 4K at up to 60 fps.

Insta360 sees this as today’s equivalent of a “point and shoot” camera except with this camera, you can shoot first and then point, converting your 360-degree video or photos into regular “flat” videos and photos that show any the part of the scene you want. The X3 is the latest iteration of Insta360’s ONE X line of handheld devices, although this time around, the “ONE” is missing from the name.

Insta360 also makes ONE R and ONE RS modular cameras using similar technology but in a different form factor, as well as a range of more advanced professional 360 VR cameras at a different price point. So what is its place in the world of video? Firstly, this is one of the best 360 cameras you can get right now, but a 360 camera like this is also an intriguing option when choosing the best camera for video in general.

Its 4K single-lens mode adds versatility and makes it an interesting alternative to the best action cameras, and it’s arguably one of the best cameras for vlogging if you like the close-up shooting style and can do without interchangeable lenses. Below the screen are buttons for starting and stopping recordings, as well as switching between 360 and single-lens modes. On the right side are two additional buttons for turning the camera on and off, as well as opening a menu for quickly switching between customizable presets.

Design

The upgrades to the X3 are immediately noticeable as it now features a large, beautiful 2.29-inch touchscreen on the back. The older X2 camera implements a tiny round display which, while very interesting and convenient, is very hard to go back to after using the X3’s display. Navigating menus, changing settings and modes, and reviewing footage is made much easier thanks to the large touch screen. The upgrades to the X3 are immediately noticeable as it now features a large, beautiful 2.29-inch touchscreen on the back.

The older X2 camera implements a tiny round display which, while very interesting and convenient, is very hard to go back to after using the X3’s display. Navigating menus, changing settings and modes, and reviewing footage is made much easier thanks to the large touch screen. The neoprene case for the X3 has been redesigned to include a hole that allows access to the USB-C port without having to take the X3 out of the case. Small quality-of-life improvements like this are greatly appreciated.

Software and Features

The Insta360 X3 uses the same great software as its other cameras, and we think it’s a strong selling point for all the brand’s offerings. It’s easy enough for just about anyone to handle, as long as they have a powerful enough phone or computer. If you’re on the more advanced end of the spectrum, the Insta360 Plugin for Adobe Premiere Pro lets you edit directly in the NLE. As we found with the Insta360 One RS, AI features like DeepTrack take a lot of the hassle out of reframing your videos.

Plus, you can create some epic effects using one of Insta360’s ShotLab templates, which offer everything from fluid hyperlapse creations to trippy mirroring and cloning effects. New to the X3 is something called Self Mode, which lets you create an invisible selfie stick video that’s automatically saved as a video file, rather than having to reframe a 360 video to get the same effect.

Image Quality

The X3 offers a significant improvement in image quality over the X2, which is great as the disappointing image quality was my only big complaint about the X2. The X3 has a slightly larger sensor and slightly brighter lens, and the difference is incredible. X3 delivers really beautiful video, crisp and clear. It can shoot 360-degree video at 5.7K resolution at 30 frames per second (fps) or 4K at up to 60fps.

In single lens mode, it shoots 4K at 30fps and up to 60fps if you drop the resolution down to 3.5K. Slow motion is also available in 4K at 120fps or 3K at 180fps. This means the X3 is an upgrade over its predecessor, but doesn’t quite come close to the GoPro Hero 10 Black in terms of slow motion and single-lens resolution.

Video Quality

The biggest improvement inside the Insta360 X3 is the camera’s new 1/2-inch image sensor (the One X2 has a 1/2.3-inch sensor), which enables 72MP 360-degree photos and videos. 8K 360 time-lapse camera. As with previous Insta360 cameras, the X3’s image stabilization is excellent. To test the quality of the six-axis gyro, we mounted the camera on my dog’s back with a GoPro harness and took him for a run in our local park. Although my pup was jumping all over the place, the finished video did not show any havoc.

The Insta360 X3’s Active HDR mode worked quite well on a sunny day, but it turned my face into a gloomy blur when we were in the shadows with the sun directly behind me. We plan to test the camera more in the coming days; Stay tuned for more reviews of its new features like 8K 360 Time Lapse, a 4K Single Lens Mode, 4K 120fps Bullet Time, and Self Mode, where the camera will lock its focus on you while you’re shooting video.

Performance

Despite long recording sessions in warm summer conditions, I’ve never experienced overheating with the X3, and it held up well on cold nights shooting videos with the stars. The camera easily withstood the immersion in the ocean and put up with the rigors of walking tours. However, we often ran into an issue that caused the camera to freeze on me, often during startup, and we had to remove the battery to get it going again.

However, it is important to note that I tested the camera with pre-launch firmware and the camera never froze while recording. In terms of battery life, we found that the X3 can help me average through a day of hiking recording, although as with most 360-degree and action cameras, it’s only good for one star on a single charge. For multi-day hikes, you will definitely need a few backup batteries.

Battery Life

The great thing about replaceable batteries is that you can always have another spare if you need a little more run time. For us, we were able to fill the 64GB micro SD card with a little over an hour of 360 videos before the battery ran out. During my two weeks of testing the Insta360 X3, We found that the camera could last two to three days per charge.

Obviously, battery life comes down to how often you record, the resolution of the video, whether it’s 360°, 180°, or single shot content, and much more. Still, the stamina numbers are a healthy advance from the One X2, which had a smaller 1630mAh capacity and held on for about a day less.

Final Words

Insta360 X3 is a powerful immersive camcorder. It literally captures everything around you, allowing you to easily create 3D virtual reality content, or use its software reframing tools to edit your scenes in the form of a regular “flat” video, where you can track objects, create panoramic shots, and basically point the camera there. Having said that, and despite all its great new features, the Insta360 X3 feels like an evolution of the concept rather than a huge step forward.

James Hogan
James Hogan is a senior staff writer at Bollyinside, where he has been covering various topics, including laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more. During that period, they evaluated hundreds of laptops and thousands of accessories and built a collection of entirely too many mechanical keyboards for their own use.

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The Insta360 X3 uses the same excellent software as the other cameras, and we believe it is a strong selling point for all of the brand's offerings.Insta360 X3 review