This pocket-sized camera has gotten a big upgrade. Will it live up to its promise?
I felt that the original GO was a glimpse into the future. Now, that vision is beginning to get realized. The entire experience with the GO 3 is buttery smooth, even if it’s not the most technically brilliant camera. The person who will buy this camera wants effortless ways to shoot fun and interesting shots for social media. I think Insta360 has delivered that, albeit, at twice the price.
The camera itself is tiny. It’s got a little lens guard on the front and a magnet on the rear. This is pretty much the same format that Insta360 has used since the original debuted in 2019. The real magic is the case.
The case (or “Action Pod”) is well built. It features two locking mechanisms for a mount and holding the camera in place. The flip screen is sturdy and responsive. It was easy to frame up my shot when I mounted the camera to a bike.
I accidentally recorded the inside of my pocket for 25 minutes. The camera was warm, but it wasn’t going to overheat, even on a humid New York summer’s day. I know that was an issue with the GO 2 and DJI Osmo Action 2.
- f/2.2 11mm lens.
- 2.7K recording up to 30 fps.
- 1440P recording up to 50 fps.
- 1080P recording up to 120 fps.
- 45-minute battery life.
- 170-minute battery life with case.
- Pre-recording functionality.
- Priced around $400, $100 more than the previous version.
The GO 3 puts less barriers between the user and the shot. It’s simple to use and doesn’t present frustrations. Is it a professional’s camera? Absolutely not. This is the camera you buy for a family trip.
There’s a certain spark of magic when you first unclasp the camera from the case. It’s quite bizarre using a tiny 2.2” wireless monitor with your inch long camera. The whole setup would be clunky if the connectivity wasn’t instant. The setup is so quick that you don’t lose focus on your shot. Action cameras should compliment a day out, and spark creativity.
Surprisingly, this camera is shooting at 80 Mbps. For a 2.7K image, that’s actually pretty reasonable. Usually, action cameras will offer a 4K image with a data rate that badly constrains the image. In this case, the 2.7K footage has more room to breathe. This gives it a sharper, more defined image.
The new camera looks clearer than the original GO, but it’s certainly not up to par with other action cameras. Insta360’s own 4K RS camera is much sharper, and significantly better in low light. An iPhone also yields better results in most cases, but try mounting an iPhone to a bottle of hot sauce.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: you don’t need an action camera. Most people don’t find themselves surfing or skydiving every weekend, and most action cameras are overkill.
The GO 3’s proposition is that you want a fun camera more than you want an action camera. You can’t really clip an iPhone into tight spaces, much less to the brim of your cap. You can mount the GO 3 just about anywhere.
Unfortunately, the GO has seen another price increase. The original was $200, the second iteration was $300, and the GO 3 costs $400 for the 64 GB version. Insta360 have clearly decided that the stripped back iPod-shufflesque style wasn’t worth it anymore. Instead, they’ve created something much more substantial and expensive.
My take on the GO 3 is that it’s the most serious version of a “fun camera” that Insta360 has made. There’s very little required of the user to get the most out of it. This new experience feels seamless and refined.
What I Liked
- Waterproof up to 16 ft
- Pre-recording and Loop recording
- Flip-up touchscreen
- Seamless experience
- Can shoot for 45 mins without the extra juice
What I Didn't Like
- Horizon lock is only available in FreeFrame video mode
- More expensive
- This update is more quality of life, than image quality
You can buy the new INSTA360 GO 3 action camera here.