Insta360 X3 Review: A 360 and Action Camera in One


A new 1800-mAh battery will get you decent shoot times. I managed over 1.5 hours shooting 4K. Insta360 claims 81 minutes shooting 5.7K video at 30p, which feels about right, based on my testing. It’s worth noting that the larger battery and other changes do make the X3 slightly heavier, but I still found it quite comfortable to carry around and not too much weight on the end of a selfie stick.

As I’ve noted in other Insta360 cameras, the company’s FlowState stabilization compares very well with anything else on the market, including the GoPro. When applied to 360 footage, I do sometimes notice a bit of a shimmery effect, particularly around the seams where the video is stitched together, but it’s not hard to minimize this by making sure your main subject remains centered.

Keep in mind that while the video quality here is very impressive, 5.7K isn’t nearly as sharp when it’s spread across a full spherical scene as it is when you shoot with a traditional single wide lens, which covers roughly 160 degrees. This won’t be all that noticeable when you’re viewing your footage in Insta360s app (or another 3D video player), but when you go to export video to a traditional flat format player like YouTube, you will only get a 1920 x 1080 resolution video (to export “flat” video in 4K, you’d need to shoot 360 footage in 12K). 

That said, the only camera I’ve used that outputs a better-looking 1080p reframed video is the far more expensive One RS 1-inch Edition I talked about above. The X3 produces truly impressive video, especially when you remember that this is a camera that’s easy to hold with one hand. If you want maximum resolution, the X3 is capable of shooting 8K timelapse video, which looks amazing, even exported to flat formats.

Good on the Go

As with the company’s other cameras, the X3 connects with Insta360’s mobile editing app, which remains one of the best I’ve used. No, it’s not Final Cut Pro, but for an app that runs on your phone it’s impressive. 

Even if you have no idea what you’re doing, you’ll be able to figure out keyframes, jump cuts, and other edits, thanks to the built-in tutorials. There are also some automated editing tools, including nose cam, sky swap, and street lapse, which are all fun to play with. But what impressed me most about the app is those tutorials. Honestly, even if you don’t own an Insta360 camera, the app is worth browsing just for the how-to info. For those who would like something more powerful than a phone to edit with, Insta360 also offers a desktop-based editor for Mac and Windows.

If 360-degree video is your thing, the new X3 represents the best value camera on the market right now. Insta360’s One RS 1-inch Edition produces better results, but it’s $800 versus the X3 at $450. If you mostly shoot action footage and occasionally veer into 360, the One RS is probably the better buy (if nothing else, it’s much easier to mount to a helmet). But for anyone who is sold on 360 footage and wants to dabble in action footage, this is the camera to get.

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