We Review the Insta360 X3 360° Action Camera

We Review the Insta360 X3 360° Action Camera

The most user-friendly 360 camera has gotten a nice upgrade, and it paves the way for the future of 360 shooting.

Boiling it down, the new Insta360 X3 feels practically the same as the X2. It has a new screen that brings the experience up a notch, a new sensor, and a few new software upgrades. It’s been a winning formula for Insta360, and I don’t think you’ll find anything much better than the X3 for the money.

The Specs

  • An upgraded 1/2" Sensor
  • New MP4 modes, shooting up to 4K
  • 360 videos up to 5.7K
  • Waterproof to 33 ft
  • 2.29" touchscreen with tempered glass
  • 72 MP 360° photos.
  • 8K time-lapse function.

The Exciting Features

I’m personally not that fussed over the “Me” mode, but there are other parts of the X3 that get me excited. Being able to shoot a regular old 4K MP4 without needing the app is a huge bonus. While a fixed lens action camera (like a GoPro Hero 10 or Insta360 ONE RS) will always have a better quality image, this upgrade in the X3 might allow consumers to ditch the action camera entirely.

In addition to that, the screen is brilliant. It really feels like it belongs, and it completes a solid package. I didn’t mind the circular screen on the X2, but in this case, bigger is better.

In a future firmware update, we’ll be getting a “pre-record” mode. It’s something I’ve wanted Insta360 to implement for a few years now, and I’m glad we’ll be seeing it added soon. When a user presses record, the camera will also save the previous seconds too. It’s an incredibly handy feature and helps users avoid missing the moment. Implementing this in a 360 camera means that it’ll be very hard to miss the action. I do hope that it doesn’t take too much of a toll on battery life, since the camera will be constantly buffering footage onto the microSD card.

Worth the Upgrade?

I think there are two cameras worth considering over the X3: its predecessor or Insta360’s new 1-inch sensor 360 camera. The former will likely cost less, and the latter will cost a few hundred dollars more. To me, the X3 now sits firmly between the two.

The X2 is a totally great camera, and if you can find a good deal on it, then I wouldn’t hesitate. The image quality is perfectly reasonable, and the X3 isn’t so much better that you’d be losing out. The battery life, app connectivity, and ease of use are pretty much the same. The screen on the X2 isn’t really a dealbreaker for me. Most people hold a 360 camera far away from them anyway, so the larger screen on the X3 is more of a usability bonus. I would certainly consider the X3’s screen if vlogging was your thing.

Then, on the flip side, the 1-inch sensor module that Insta360 added to the ONE RS is definitely a step above. It costs $800, and the image is noticeably nicer. However, it doesn’t shoot in slow motion. I wouldn’t call it a “fun” camera like the X3 is.

The older X2 still retails for $430, and the new X3 sells for $450. The price difference is so slight that you're better off picking up the latest and greatest.

What I Liked

  • The new screen makes the camera easier to use.
  • The 4K single lens mode.
  • Upgraded custom settings like the ONE RS.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Audio quality isn’t any better than a regular action camera, although it records in stereo now.
  • The rubber lens guard is an optional extra.
  • Nobody forced me to get the stick-on lens guards before I scratched the lens.
Stephen Kampff's picture

Working in broadcasting and digital media, Stephen Kampff brings key advice to shoots and works hard to stay on top of what's going to be important to the industry.

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1 Comment

if VR actually becomes mainstream these things will take off. But until then I can't get too excited.