Insta360 X3 Review: A 360 and action camera in one

A new 1800 mAh battery ensures decent recording times. I shot 4K for over 1.5 hours. Insta360 claims 81 minutes of 5.7K video recording at 30p, which feels good, based on my testing. It’s worth noting that the larger battery and other changes make the X3 a little heavier, but I still found it quite comfortable to carry around and not too much weight on the end of a selfie stick.

As I’ve noticed with other Insta360 cameras, the company’s FlowState stabilization compares very well to anything else on the market, including the GoPro. When applied to 360 footage I sometimes notice a bit of a shiny effect, especially around the seams where the video is stitched together, but it’s not hard to minimize this by making sure your main subject stays centered.

Keep in mind that while the video quality here is very impressive, 5.7K isn’t nearly as sharp when spread across a full spherical scene as when shooting with a traditional single wide-angle lens, which covers around 160 degrees. This won’t be as noticeable if you’re viewing your footage in the Insta360s app (or any other 3D video player), but if you’re going to export video to a traditional flat format player like YouTube, you’ll only get 1920 x 1080 video resolution (to call it “flat”). ‘ to export video in 4K, you must shoot 360 in 12K).

That said, the only camera I’ve used that outputs better-looking 1080p reframed video is the much more expensive One RS 1-inch Edition I talked about above. The X3 produces really impressive video, especially when you consider that this is a camera that’s easy to hold with one hand. If you want maximum resolution, the X3 can shoot 8K time-lapse video, which looks great even exported to flat formats.

Well underway

As with the company’s other cameras, the X3 connects to Insta360’s mobile editing app, which remains one of the best I’ve used. No, it’s not Final Cut Pro, but for an app that runs on your phone, it’s impressive.

Even if you have no idea what you’re doing, built-in tutorials will help you figure out keyframes, jump cuts, and other edits. There are also some automated editing tools, including nose cam, sky swap, and street lapse, all of which are fun to play with. But what impressed me the most about the app are those tutorials. Honestly, even if you don’t have an Insta360 camera, the app is worth checking out just for the how-to info. For those who want something more powerful than a phone to edit with, Insta360 also offers a desktop-based editor for Mac and Windows.

If 360-degree video is your thing, the new X3 represents the best value camera on the market right now. Insta360’s One RS 1-inch edition produces better results, but costs $800 versus the X3 at $450. If you shoot mostly action and occasionally go to 360, the One RS is probably the better buy ( if nothing else, it’s much easier to mount on a helmet). But for anyone who’s sold on 360 footage and wants to delve into action, this is the camera to get.

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