insta360 one review featured

Today, we’re going to be checking out Insta360 ONE, made by a company from ShenZhen, Insta360.

There are many 360 cameras out there in the market I can tell you up front that you’d have to invest way about 2-3 times more in a 360˚ camera than a normal camera because it’s definitely not worth getting a 360 camera below $100 as the quality & support is really bad and will definitely deter you from using it, resulting in you using back your old camera.

Enough of that said, let’s get back to the ONE.

The ONE have been argued by many, to be the best 360 camera out there, because of the abundance of cool features and the reliable and user-friendly interface.

Is the ONE really as good as they say? Or is it just another overrated 360˚ camera? Let’s find out!

Contents of Review (Click to Skip To Section):

Specs:

Let’s quickly run down the specs.

Image sensor: 1/2.3” Sony CMOS Sensor

Chipset: Ambarella A12 Chipset

Video Resolution & Output Format : 4K (3840 x 1920); insv, mp4, log

Image resolution & Output Format: 24MP (6912 x 3456); Insp, jpeg, RAW

Ports & Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, Lightning Connector, Micro-USB 2.0

Mounting: ¼” Tripod Thread

Battery Capacity & Life: 820mAh; 70 mins battery life

Weight: 82g

Storage: Up to 128 GB Micro-SD UHS-I

Best Places to Buy

Note: If you’re considering of cutting corners and getting a cheaper 360 camera, especially those below 100, it’s not that you can’t find them, but you’ll probably be tired of them in a week time, and return to your old camera, as the quality and firmware at that price range is trash.

Therefore, if you are thinking of getting a 360 camera, my advice is either save up and invest in a good one or if not, don’t buy a 360 camera but go with a standard camera.

Compatible Devices:

It’s available for Android (only till recently) & IOS smartphones.

For IOS, it is compatible with any device that has a lightning port (iPhone SE all the way to iPhone X) and iPads (iPad Air – iPad Pro).

For Android, it’s a little more complicated as you would have to purchase an additional adapter. Also, there are minimum configuration requirements to your phone. Check out the full list of compatible android phones here.

What It Comes With:

insta360 one accessories

The package includes:

  • Protective Case
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Micro-USB Cable
  • Bullet-time String
  • Lens Cloth
  • Warranty Card
  • 8GB SD Card

It comes in a full package, so you don’t have to buy anything separately.

The only thing I’m recommending to get is another Micro-SD card that has more storage because 8GB is definitely not enough, especially for 360˚ footages.

Check out my recommendations for memory cards here!

Optional Accessories

Waterproof Case

insta360 one waterproof case

This can be used as a general protection case as well, other than the waterproofing capability.

Buy Here:

Gearbest: 44 USD

Android Adaptor – Type-C/Micro-USB

insta360 one android adapter

You’ll need this to connect directly to an android phone.

Buy Here:

Gearbest – 26 USD

Official store – 29 USD

120 cm Bluetooth Selfie Stick

insta360 one bluetooth selfie stick

The only thing unique to this selfie stick is you can use the Bluetooth function and remotely control the camera directly from the selfie stick.

Buy Here:

Gearbest: 16.90 USD

Official Store: 16 USD

Build Quality & Design

insta360 one first looks

Upon holding it for the first time, it certainly feels very well-built and sturdy.

Also, most 360 cameras have a relatively large body in order to house the 2 different lenses and the other parts such as the processors, etc, but the ONE is an exception as it has a really small body which makes it really easy to bring around, making this one of its strength in my opinion.

Cover

The cover is multi-purpose which I felt was very intelligently designed.

insta360 one cover

The reason is that it can be used as a hard case to protect the camera; a handle when moving around; a stand to support the camera to stand vertically.

The only problem I had with was that it’s only held by friction and does not have any locking mechanism, which felt a little insecure. However, after using it for some time, it’s actually really reliable despite it being able to come off if you swing it around quite hard.

Quick Tip:

As the lens are prone to scratches, always carry around with the cover on unless you are using it to film!

All In One Button

insta360 one button

At the side, there’s a button, which is an all-in-one button.

These are the main uses:

  • Pressing and holding: Power it on/off;
  • Pressing 1 time: Take a photo;
  • Pressing 2 times: Take a video;
  • Pressing 3 times: Can be configured in the app; default is bullet time

LED Indicator

insta360 one led indicator

As there isn’t any screen on the camera, the only indicator is shown through the LED indicator which is located on both sides of the camera, used to display the status.

There are 3 colours that the indicator can show:

Green: Normal condition; Blinking green: Recording Video / Capturing Photo

Blue: Memory card storage full, Firmware Update

Red: Charging

Although, I felt the indicator status is obvious and easy to read, which is good, it can be further improved by incorporating battery status as well as there’s no way to know the battery life other than through the app.

Ports and Connectors

insta360-one-lightning-connector

At the other side, there is a micro-usb port for charging and a retractable lightning connector used to connect to your iPhone/iPad.

At the top, there’s a micro-SD card slot. I felt it was a little too deep and which made it quite difficult to insert/pull out your micro-sd cards especially if you have short nails.

Beside it, there’s a ¼” tripod thread, which allows you to mount just about anything, from monopods, tripods, to the bullet time string.

Mounting

The only way of mounting this would be through the universal ¼”  tripod thread at the bottom, which you can then mount it to a selfie stick, a tripod, hand strap, or any action camera mounts.

Exclusive Tip 🙂

insta360 one mounting selfie stickMount it parallel to the selfie stick to take advantage of its blind spot: make sure the selfie stick is directly under so that way in your videos or photos, it’d stay perfectly hidden and it looks like it is remotely taken! 🙂

Different Usage Modes:

insta360 one hybrid modes
ONE’s 3 Hybrid Modes

Independent Mode – For general use such as vlogging, trips, etc (Footage(s) Stored in Micro-SD)

Bluetooth Mode– For taking scenic time-lapse on tripods or simply for taking wefies on selfie sticks. (Footage(s) Stored in Micro-SD)

Smartphone Mode – For taking group photos/videos(Footage(s) Stored in Smartphone)

Note: It will not work with thick phone covers as the connector is quite short.

Unique Features:

6 Axis Gyro Stabilization & Optimised Stitching – For Creating Smooth & Clear Videos

one gyro caibration

The stabilization is excellent and it’s as if there’s a gimbal built right directly into the camera as it effectively reduces shake really well.

It is also able to stabilise videos because there is an internal 6 axis gyroscope, which is used to detect and remove the shake.

insta360 one optical stitching

Also, the ONE has a feature called optimised stitching, which makes the image a lot more natural and smoothens the transition in the stitch line.

Free-capture & SmartTrack – For Seamless Conversion From 360˚ to Normal Videos

one freecapture

Free-capture is a feature that allows you to select the portions of the 360˚ video that you want, and exporting that into a normal video by using your phone as a view finder.

one smarttrack

SmartTrack is another feature for converting 360 to standard videos but instead of you using the phone as the view finder, it’ll keep the tracked object in the middle of the frame.

Both of these editing features are exceptionally important when converting from a 360 video to a normal video which can be played back by a normal video player.

They make the process of converting really easy and most importantly quick, so that you’re able to focus more on enjoying your trip, rather than editing to share with your family and friends.

Bullet-time – Filming In A New Perspective

This is a very cool visual effect that enables you to film the world from a very unique perspective.

All you have to do is to enable bullet time and use either the string (provided) or your selfie stick to swing the camera around.

Afterwards, it’ll automatically process the video and bam, it’s all done.

Smartphone & Computer App – Insta360 ONE (IOS/Android):

insta360 one app

The app is awesome. It’s loaded with lots of awesome features and it’s the main reason why the ONE stands out from its competitors.

I found the app a little overwhelming in the beginning, but after playing and navigating around, it’s actually really easy and user-friendly, not to mention reliable too.

Navigation & Interface

Explore

insta360 one community

The introduction of the Insta360 ONE community came from a recent update and is a sharing platform that allows anyone with the ONE to share their footages with everyone.

Feel free to check it out (by downloading the app) if you don’t own the ONE yet, do it! There are tons of mind-blowing and immersive footages in there and I’m sure you’ll be impressed by it after taking a look at them!

Album

insta360 one app album

This is the only part of the app that I felt could be improved. The categorisation is very messy because at times, the latest video wouldn’t be at the top or the bottom but somewhere in the middle and thus when you’re looking for videos, it’s pretty hard to do so.

Sharing:

There are 2 main ways of sharing:

  1. Taking snapshot – for picture only
  2. Uploading to private server and sharing the link of it

1st method – Taking Snapshot

insta360 app sharing

The first method is pretty straightforward. You choose the perspective (fisheye, standard, tiny planet) that you want and take a snapshot, which then will be saved to your photos album.

2nd method – Uploading to A Private Server

insta360 social media sharing options

There are many social media that you can use together with to share your footages with others.

How It Works:

Sharing a 360˚ video is a little more complicated than a normal video because it requires a 360˚ player to play and look around.

However, you don’t have to worry about that as the app does everything for you and all you’ll need to do is to select any of the sharing options.

Afterwards, it’ll upload your video to a server which others can view it on. You can easily share with your friends using the private server and send the link to your friends for them to view and look around through their phones.

Still confused? Click here for an example of what I mean.

Live Streaming

insta360 one live streaming

This is one of the main highlight of this camera because the video output’s really smooth and clear, something I didn’t expect coming out from a 360 camera.

And because of direct connection between the camera and the phone, it ensures that the data is transferred smoothly and reliably. Also, even better, it is automatically stabilised already. Therefore, you wouldn’t have to worry about giving your viewers a bad experience.

Image Quality – Videos & Photos Quality

The 360 camera had incredibly better image quality than I had originally expected and it particularly excelled in 3 aspects:

  1. Gyro Stabilization in video
  2. Low light conditions
  3. Wide dynamic range – high contrast shots

Video Samples

In the default video mode, it films in a 2:1 aspect ratio, 4K (3840x1920p) however the effective resolution is lower than that because that at one time, you are only looking at a small section of the 360 video.

To me, the effective video quality looks somewhere between 720p and 1280p, and it’s definitely crisp enough to view and share with your family and friends.

Anyways, have a look at some samples.

360˚ Sample

Sample (Processed Using FreeCapture)

Timelapse Samples

I noticed that especially in long non-stop recording, it tends to overheat and shuts down as a result. Thus, it’s not very ideal for taking long shots (3 hours and above), especially if you live in a warm place.

Photo Samples:

Click here to view a photo sample!

The ONE take 24MP (6912 x 3456) photos and has the option for RAW photos.

insta360 one different perspectives

There are also 3 different perspectives you can see: tiny planet, fisheye, perspective.

Other than the different perspectives, there are many Instagram-like filters which you can choose from, in the app.

Insta360 ONE vs Other 360 Cameras

Other Insta360 Cameras

Specs Insta360 ONE Insta360 Air Insta360 Nano
insta360 camera comparisons insta360 air camera insta360 nano camera
Video Resolution 4K (3840 x 1920) 3K (3008 x 1504) 3K (3040 x 1520)
Photo Resolution 24 MP (6912 x 3456) 3K (3040 x 1520) 3K (3040 x 1520)
Weight 82g 26.5g 70g
Features 4K & Tiny Planet Live Streaming
FreeCapture
Smart-tracking
Bullet Time
Raw DNG Photos
Hybrid Use (Independent, Bluetooth, Smartphone)
Waterproof Case Available
Tiny Planet Live Streaming
Image Stabilization
4 Different Colours With Silicone Rubber Case
Requires an android phone to operate
Tiny Planet Live Streaming
Hybrid Use (Independent, Bluetooth, Smartphone)
Image Stabilization
Compatibility IOS & Android (For Micro-USB or USB Type-C - Needs Adapter) Android (Micro-USB or USB Type-C) IOS
Price 299 USD on Gearbest
OR
103 USD
OR

Insta360 ONE vs Xiaomi Mijia 360 / Mi Sphere

Insta360 ONE MiJia 360 (Mi Sphere)
insta360 air comparison mi sphere 360 camera
Video Resolution 4K (3840 x 1920) - 30fps 3.5K (3456 x 1728) - 30fps
Photo Resolution 24 MP (6912 x 3456) 24MP (6912 x 3456)
Features 4K & Tiny Planet Live Streaming
6 Axis Stabilisation
FreeCapture
Smart-tracking
Bullet Time
Optical Flow Stiching
Raw DNG Photos
Hybrid Use (Independent, Bluetooth, Smartphone)
Waterproof Case Available
Image Stabilisation
6 Axis Stabilisation
Water Resistant
Optical Flow Stiching
Bullet Time
Built-in Intervalometer
High Bitrate Mode
Raw DNG Photos
Weight 82g 70g
Compatibility IOS & Android (For Micro-USB or USB Type-C - Needs Adapter) IOS & Android (For Micro-USB or USB Type-C)
Price 299 USD
OR
209 USD with code: GXBX03

I have decided to quickly compare the ONE and the Mi sphere as both these cameras are at about the same price point with their unique strength and weaknesses.

Verdict: Best Hybrid 360 Camera

I felt the ONE is the best 360 camera there is to date, not because of the specs or design of it, but instead, the reliability and versatility that it offers.

It has amazing live streaming capability, easy to use freecapture feature for editing and capturing image quality is also really good.

All these features that no other 360 cameras offer makes the ONE really unique and fun to use.

It gets even better once you hold it, as it has a very small and portable body, which makes it very convenient to carry and mount.

For me, it’s definitely a camera that I’ll bring around wherever I go because it’s one of a kind and one of the strength of a 360 camera is you don’t have to worry about pointing it at the right direction as it will be recording everywhere.

Should You Buy It?

I’ve have to admit that this definitely does not come cheap especially for those who are starting out and even for some camera enthusiasts.

Nonetheless, I’m still highly recommending the ONE as I feel the price reflects on what you are getting, and I’d have to say that it’s great value for money for the quality you’re getting.

Furthermore, you don’t see a 360 camera that can be operated independently and can be reviewed immediately afterwards on your phone with a flip of a switch very often.


That comes to the end of my review!

How do you feel about this 360 camera? Is it overpriced or actually worth it? If you have any thoughts or questions about the Insta360 One, feel free to let me know through the comments down below!

–> Check out my guide on 360 cameras here! <–

Insta360 ONE

299 USD
Insta360 ONE
9.3

Build Quality

9.0 /10

User Experience (UX)

9.5 /10

Image Quality

9.5 /10

Value For Money

9.0 /10

Smartphone & PC App

9.5 /10

Pros

  • Tons of Awesome Features (FreeCapture, Bullet Time, Stabilisation)
  • Value For Money
  • Sharp Image Quality & Supports RAW Photos
  • Good Low Light Performance
  • Small & Portable Body To Carry Around
  • Awesome 6 Axis Image Stabilization

Cons

  • Can’t Be Charged When Connected To Phone
  • Overheats When Filming Long Shots
  • Battery Can’t Be Removed Or Interchanged
  • Glitchy Album
  • Cover Only Held By Friction
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6 Comments

  1. I first came to your site looking for a good 360 camera. I was quite impressed with you review of the Insta360.
    So I went ahead and ordered one, and i must say that i love it!
    Having a 360 camera is way cooler than i first imagined and just wanted to say Thank You for making the recommendation!
    thaniks again,
    brendon

    1. Hi Brendon, thanks for your feedback and glad it helped! 🙂

  2. That was a great article. I’m glad I found it. I was looking for a good camera to make short videos for my business and that one meets everything I need. I think it would be a lot better than trying to run a business advertising campaign shooting everything with my cell phone, which is what I’ve been doing.

    1. Yes agreed! This camera would definitely improve your advertising campaign as it’s stands out from your competitors. I know of many property managers that uses this 360 camera to advertise for their properties and having a lot of success with it!

  3. wow this is an impressive camera. Technology is truly amazing. I like the fish eye lens and the 360 image that was taken. It looks so unreal like it was taken from the sky aiming downward. So it comes with a string that you can swing around? It is def. a nice camera. I definitely got to get me one of these bad boys thank you so much for this article !

    1. Hi Johnny, thanks for your comment. Yes, it comes with a string to attach onto the tripod mount on the camera.

      Also, I totally agree with you that this is the peak of where technology has brought us and really adds a whole new ‘cool’ in photography!

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