Insta360’s latest camera, the X3, is its upgraded take on the candy bar-shaped 360 camera. A different design than the wearable Go 2 or modular One RS, the X3 features a large touch screen, a new one-half-inch sensor, new shooting modes, and a price tag of $450. Altogether, it’s an easy-to-use and ready-for-anything 360 camera that makes 360 videos a breeze to create with powerful AI app editing and stabilization. Be sure to hit the video to see it in action.
Rather than the modular design of the Insta360 One RS that we checked out earlier this year, the X3, an evolution of the X2, is an all-in-one candy bar-shaped 360 camera that is ready for pretty much anything right out of the box. One major upgrade with this camera is the large touch screen on the back. This makes changing settings and previewing angles a breeze.
Under the screen are buttons for starting and stopping recordings as well as swapping between 360 mode and single lens modes. On the right side are two additional buttons for powering the camera on and off as well as calling up a menu to quickly swap between customizable presets.
The Insta360 X3 is waterproof up to 33 feet and features a removable battery. Two large lenses capture all of the action with a new one-half-inch sensor that allows for 360 videos up to 5.7K as well as up to 72MP photos.
At its core, with the AI-powered Insta360 app, it really is a perfect companion for active content creators who want an easy-to-use, on-the-go option for capturing some incredible footage. But, with powerful features like 5.7K resolution from the one-half-inch sensor, it’s capable of being used in more professional settings as well.
By exporting the footage from the Insta360 Studio app on a desktop computer, it’s easy to cut in 360 footage with other video formats. Editing in an NLE like Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro takes a bit more work, but it is fairly straightforward. Being able to capture an entire scene and reframe the shot afterward is pretty powerful for solo creators.
While I may not cover every granular feature in this hands-on review, I’ll mainly be focusing on the new and noteworthy features.
Insta360 X3: Video
Naturally, the main feature of the Insta360 X3 is the ability to shoot 360 videos that can easily be edited and reframed. Additionally, the Active HDR mode helps when shooting outside in tricky lighting scenarios with high dynamic range. Insta360 recommends only using Active HDR video when outside for the best video quality.
While on a motorcycle ride shortly after sunrise, the active HDR mode helped immensely to preserve the sky while still getting enough light and clarity in the rest of the frame. The standard 360 video mode might work well in some situations, but if you’re filming outside, I’d be hard-pressed to find a scenario where I wouldn’t choose the Active HDR mode.
The 5.7K resolution really helps to keep content looking crisp, especially when viewed on a mobile device. When blown up on a large display, it doesn’t keep all of that fidelity, but this camera really is aimed at mobile content creation.
Single lens video
If 360 video isn’t necessary to capture a moment, the new 4K single lens mode offers a wide field of view more in line with action cameras like the GoPro Hero line.
There are two different FOV modes available – the standard mode uses in-camera stabilization while the FOV+ can shoot up to 170 degrees and utilizes Insa360’s FlowState stabilization through the app.
If you don’t want to mess with an app, the in-camera stabilization works well but won’t have the locked horizon from the FlowState stabilization. For rock-solid video, the FOV+ mode with FlowState is a great choice.
Bullet time has also been upgraded with the Insta360 X3. Now, the camera can capture 4K footage at 120fps. Higher resolution and faster frame rates mean smoother action when slowed down. In my experience, it’s still not as clear of an image as a standalone video, but it provides some interesting perspectives for social sharing. Personally, I wouldn’t use this mode very much, but it does create a unique perspective.
Insta360 X3: Photo modes
Thanks to the larger sensor, another new feature is a new 72MP 360 photo. Additionally, there is a new 8K 360 time-lapse mode. Insta360 recommends only using this mode with sufficient light, though.
There is also an HDR photo mode, but the resolution is limited to 18MP. This HDR mode does help to save some highlights, but if you need a higher res image, the 72MP image will definitely be better for sharp details.
In the image comparison above, the left picture is from a 72MP capture while the right is the 18MP HDR. The image on the left has some more details in the leaves, but the HDR takes the cake when it comes to exposure in the clouds.
Like the Go 2 and One RS, another highlight of the Insta360 X3 is the app control. From the Insta360 app, there are powerful tools for viewing, editing, and exporting videos. For users who want to make quick clips to post on social apps, this is a great way to get some quick and eye-catching content.
One such tool, for example, is the ability to replace the sky in a compatible 15-second or less clip. Surprisingly, my motorcycle riding footage wasn’t compatible, but I had another clip that was. With settings for galaxies and 3D shapes, it’s easy to get an eye-catching clip with this mode.
I was fairly surprised at how well the audio sounded when riding my motorcycle. While there was a bit of wind noise, it was mainly engine and exhaust sounds, which is, of course, what I was hoping to hear.
Insta360 X3: 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 me, I was able to fill up the 64GB micro SD card with a little over an hour’s worth of 360 videos before the battery ran out.
Altogether, the Insta360 X3 takes media to the next level with a price of $450. That’s about $20 more than the current price of the older Insta360 One X2. If you’re a creator looking for a powerful, easy-to-use camera that can still deliver incredible-looking content, this camera is a great choice.
Insta360’s app and FlowState stabilization give rock-solid results that really can take content to some interesting places. Capturing moments with a 360 camera is a lot of fun because you don’t really have to worry about framing the shot perfectly. Just put the camera out there and reframe it in post-production. Another benefit of this camera for social media accounts is that this can easily be exported in multiple aspect ratios without losing quality.
FTC: 9to5Toys is reader supported, we may earn income on affiliate links