Insta360 has now introduced the Insta360 Flow a handheld, lightweight, foldable, and pocketable gimbal with tonnes of features to help you create stunning videos. If you've ever used one of their products you'll know the quality they deliver. I've personally had the opportunity to try the Insta360 One X2 and loved it, and hopefully will own the new X3 in the future. So when they asked for a review I jumped at the chance.
When out on the go and taking videos the first thing we tend to reach for is our mobile phone. It has everything that we need for capturing moments, recording our travels, having fun with friends, and even making low-cost great quality films. Because of the video capabilities that modern phones have these videos are generally of high quality. In fact director, Sir Ridley Scott recently produced a short film Behold using a Galaxy S23 Ultra. Ok, so we are not Sir Ridley Scott but we can still have fun creating videos and any form of useful equipment that can be added to improve the recording of these videos is well received.
The Insta360 X3 360 gimbal is pocketable and lightweight with a folded size of 79x162x36mm and weighing in at 369g without the magnetic phone clamp and 401g with it attached. The removable magnetic phone clamp design is actually well-considered so that once you have finished videoing you can simply remove your phone (with clamp attached) and fold up the gimbal to be pocketed.
The main components are constructed in a solid plastic but it doesn't feel cheaply made or in fact that you could break it easily. The back of the gimbal arm is a darker transparent plastic which allows you to see the internal technology within the gimbal. This of course doesn't make it perform any better but is a nice aesthetic touch. There's also a separate rubber grip that fits neatly over the handle of the gimbal allowing for greater friction when in use.
The magnet to attach the mobile phone is amazingly strong so you won't have to worry about it coming off and breaking your phone.
Once your phone is mounted you can also attach the small led light which is color temperature-controlled and has varying brightness with a simple click of the button situated on top of the light, there are also color temperature modes on the light to balance out your lighting depending on where you are videoing that can be changed by simply clicking the button on top of the light.
In addition to adding the light, there's also a flip-open cold shoe point where you can mount a Rode Wireless Go II receiver and then connect the cable via the lightning port and you have great audio for your videos.
The gimbal also has very useful and well-designed tripod legs that firmly hold the gimbal even when the arm is fully extended to 215mm. Once retracted the legs interlink and lock around a 1/4-inch threaded hole should you want to mount the gimbal on a tripod plate.
The Insta360 Flow is, via the app, packed with tonnes of filming features to unlock your creative potential, including;
Panorama: 360°, 240°, 180° or a 3x3 grid format. The first gimbal to shoot 360° panoramas.
Timeshift: hyper-lapsed and stabilized footage.
Motion Timelapse: use the tripod and shoot over a period of time between two points.
Dolly Zoom: zoom in or out from a subject emulating the Hollywood effect.
Hoop Mode: Basketball fans mode tracks the ball and hoops to recognize when a basket is made then saves the highlights for editing later.
For me, it worked great with no issues and I can see the versatility of the gimbal for a lot of situations. The gimbal powers on and snaps into action with a simple unlocking of the arm, so there's no delay in getting the shot you want quickly. Powering on and off can also be done via the power button, but I did find the unlocking of the arm power quite useful. It rotates very easily with the touch of a button and remains steady when sprinting in both horizontal and vertical orientations.
The app is feature-packed and is quite easily navigable with no delay in any of the functions. Bluetooth connection was stable and never dropped which has happened in the past with other gimbals I've used at work. The AI tracking feature is massively helpful when it comes to videoing moving subjects as once locked, simply done by raising your hand if filming yourself, or a click of the handle button, and the camera automatically frames and tracks your subject I also asked my son test the gimbal as he works for a video company and mainly uses professional rigs such as the DJI Ronin so another perspective, and a younger one, I thought would be a good idea. He asked to take it to Barcelona on holiday with him, so I think that says it all. He did comment on the app saying that some of the instructional videos weren't clear enough in their instruction but added to that saying it's not released yet so the app is more than likely being finalized for launch.
What I Liked
- Compact size.
- Feature-packed App.
- Price point
What I Didn't Like
- Summit White Color (personal preference). However, it is also available in Stone Gray.
- Carry case: The case lets the product down in terms of aesthetics, as it looks and feels like an afterthought in this case, if you'll forgive the pun. Personally, I never used the carry case and just put it in my pocket or camera bag instead. Which due to its compact size is really easy to do.
Who Is It Aimed At?
Ok, so here's where my thoughts are with this unit. Could you use it for low-budget filmmaking? Yes at a push, but there are other units out there that I provide more in terms of features and build, but that's not the market that the Insta360 Flow is aimed at. Where this unit is aimed is everyday use, capturing moments, traveling, having fun with friends, dare I say influencers, vloggers, and to camera pieces when desktop or tripod mounted.
So, does the Insta360 Flow deliver? "Yes" is the answer to that. It's small and portable thanks to the foldable design. Having the extra features of the tripod and extendable selfie stick I felt was a great addition and allows for more flexibility for creative ideas and usage. If you are holidaying, out with friends, or traveling and don't want to shoot with a basic selfie stick, the Insta360 Flow gimbal might just be what you are looking for to get better results and make the video more fun to shoot.
There's plenty of creative potential with this compact unit and loads of features to enhance your video-making in both recording and editing. So if you are looking to get that creative edge for your videos whatever you are doing, memories, reels, events, or traveling, you won't go wrong with the Insta360 Flow. With the cost of the unit being only $159 and £145, it's a firm contender in the market for everyone to have some fun and greatly improve their mobile phone videos.