The new Insta360 X3 is the latest generation of an all-in-one action camera suited to creators looking for a new perspective.
At first pass, I honestly thought 360° cameras weren’t for me, but after testing this one out, I’m excited to say I’m really enjoying this new tool.
The Insta360 X3 is similar in utility to a regular action camera, but the added benefit of the Insta360 X3 is the fact that you don’t have to frame up your images.
No more worrying if the camera titled down after you hit a big jump. Everything is in the frame all the time!
The X3 is designed to film anything anywhere. It is waterproof, durable, and shoots in a variety of modes that make it so fun to use.
Read on to learn more about the latest edition to the growing genre of 360 cameras with my Insta360 X3 Review!
- Related: What is the best Insta360 camera?
Insta360 X3 360 Specs
- Unique 360 Perspective
- Large Touch Screen
- Friendly Interface w/ App
- High Quality Photo/Video
- Good Value
- Fun/Creative Features
- Slow Motion Video
- Must use App to Process Videos
- Lenses Easily Damaged
- Low Quality Audio
|35mm Equivalent Focal Length||6.7mm|
|Photo Resolution||72MP (11968×5984), 18MP (5952×2976)|
|Video Resolution||360: INSV, 5.7K: 5760×[email protected]/25/24fps, 4K: 3840×[email protected]/50/30/25/24fps, 3K: 3008×[email protected]|
|Single Lens Mode Video Resolution||4K: 3840×[email protected]/25/24fps, 3.6K: 3584×[email protected]/50/30/25/24fps, 2.7K: 2720×[email protected]/50/30/25/24fps, 1080P: 1920×[email protected]/50/30/25/24fps|
|Photo Format||INSP (can be exported via mobile app or desktop Studio), DNG RAW (PureShot photos must be edited on desktop)|
|Video Format||Single Lens: MP4, 360: INSV|
|Photo Modes||Standard, HDR, Burst, Interval, Starlapse|
|Video Modes||Standard, Active HDR, Timelapse, TimeShift, Bullet Time, Loop Recording, Pre-recording|
|Color Profiles||Vivid, Standard, LOG|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||114x46x33.1mm|
|Max Video Bitrate||120Mbps|
|Compatible Devices||iOS Devices: Compatible with iOS mobile devices with chips A11 or above and iOS version 11.0 or above, including iPhone SE 2, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone X, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 mini, iPad Air (2020), iPad Pro and newer iPad models. Android Devices: Compatible with Android mobile devices that meet the following capabilities, including: • Android devices with Kirin 980 and above chips, including Huawei Mate 20, P30 or newer models. • Android devices with Snapdragon 845 and above chips, including Samsung Galaxy S9, Xiaomi Mi 8 or newer models. • Android devices with Exynos 9810 and above chips, including Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+, Note9 and newer models. • Android devices with Tensor chips, including Google Pixel 6.|
Build & Appearance
Having used the older version of this camera, I was excited to see the Insta360 X3 is completely new in build and design.
It now features a 2.3in (5.8cm) large screen, an upgraded 1/2″ sensor, and a rugged design that is waterproof to 33ft (10m).
The sleek design of this small camera fits nicely in your hand at about half the size of the average cell phone.
The touch screen, in addition to four external buttons, are well designed and makes accessing the functions of the camera quick & easy.
Additionally, the waterproof port doors snap shut neatly, making it easy to charge the battery with the USB C port or swap out the microSD card slot without concern for waterproofness.
I did use this camera at the beach, and fine sand will accumulate around the seals/latches.
I never had any issues, and I don’t think it will be a concern unless you are particularly prone to destroying camera gear.
As with all 360 cameras, the Insta360 X3 has exposed lenses that are easily scratched if it’s not handled carefully. There are a number of lens protectors available, but I found the neoprene case to work great because it is slim and easy to use.
On the bottom of the camera is a 1/4-20 threaded insert that allows you to easily connect the camera to the included selfie stick.
I find the included 44in (114cm) selfie stick to be adequate for most use cases, but I also like having a threaded adapter to the GoPro-style mount so I can utilize an array of mounting options I already own.
If you’re interested in replicating drone-like shots in places where drones are illegal, the super-long pole mount available from the Insta360 store is a fun option!
Overall, I really liked the improved functionality and design of the camera, especially the 2.3″ touch screen!
Ergonomics & Handling
A good user interface and functional design are key to any camera. The Insta360 X3 is a big step forward from the previous version because of the larger touch screen.
You can now easily swipe and access all the features of the camera through the menu and visually see the settings in a user-friendly design.
This is a nice improvement over the past version, in which the functions were less accessible and harder to understand because the screen was small.
In terms of handling, I really like the user interface of the Insta360 X3. The icons are easy to understand, and functions like 4k Single Lens Modes and Me Mode are much easier to get to than its predecessor.
Another component of using this camera is the app interface. Capturing 360 footage or images is great, but the reality is that our media world is 2d. That is where the app comes into play.
There is both a desktop app: Insta360 Studio, and a phone app, Insta360, which serve similar purposes. You have to convert your 360 content to a format that is compatible with the platform.
I find the app to be quick/easy to use, and it allows me to re-frame my content for social media easily.
I think this is where you make the tradeoff between a traditional action camera like the GoPro Hero 11 that natively captures a format that is compatible with many platforms and requires minimal processing vs 360 footage which must be converted to a more traditional format (i.e. 16×9 video or 9×16 video).
Initially, this barrier was intimidating because of the extra step, but the user-friendly design of the software makes it much easier to quickly adapt your photos and videos.
I have now come to love and appreciate the simplicity of capturing content with this camera.
I love when I can pick up a camera and start using it as opposed to having to stop and learn. The Insta360 X3 and the software that pairs with it is very friendly to use right out of the box!
Sure, you’ll want to dive in to learn all the unique functions, but it’s easy to learn along because of the friendly design and interface of this camera.
On its own, a 360 camera is a unique perspective, but the Insta360 X3 comes loaded with special features that make it fun and exciting to use.
I listed some of my favorites with a brief description below
72MP 360 Photo Mode
This allows you to capture a 360 photo at high resolution that can be re-framed later. I found this to be a fun feature for getting a 3rd person perspective in unique places like a ski lift where there is no good way to get a photo of everyone on the lift.
By extending your selfie stick to its full length, you can set the self-timer and capture this image while hiding the pole through the stitching process.
4K Single Lens Mode
Single lens mode allows you to use the Insta360 X3 more like a traditional action camera. It is great for things like mountain biking with a chest mount where you really only care about the lens that is facing outward.
You can also use the ultrawide 170-degree field of view on a single lens at 2.7k and reframe the video with the app.
This is great for social media content that is viewed on a small screen and often downgraded to a lower resolution during upload.
One of my favorite features of this camera is the new Me Mode. Unlike the other shooting modes allows you to natively capture a video for social media that is already framed to the standard 9:16 ratio for phone videos and centered on the invisible selfie stick.
This is great for skiing or any activity where you want to see yourself from a 3rd person view. I also love the simplicity of getting a natively framed video that is ready to post.
360 Active HDR Mode
This new mode is great for getting the most detail out of super high-contrast scenes. The application of HDR video (High Dynamic Range) allows the video to be properly exposed to bright sun and dark shadows.
I really like this feature because many action sports take place in less-than-perfect lighting conditions.
8k 360 Time Lapse Mode
Because of the new sensors in this latest generation, you are now able to capture a super high-resolution time lapse in 360 with more detail.
This mode is great for capturing the landscape changing as the sun sets or the tide comes up and you don’t have to worry about framing up your scene prior to capture.
4K120fps Bullet Time Mode
Now you can create Matrix-style video with the Bullet Time Mode in 4k120fps slow motion video. With the easier-to-use cord handle, this is a cool way to create a truly unique video!
The older style handle is still available, but the cord feels a little less dangerous than a swinging metal selfie stick! With the high frame rate, you’ll get up to 5x slow motion!
Flowstate Stabilization & 360 Horizon Lock Mode
Similarly to many of the latest-gen action cameras, the Insta360 X3 now has horizon lock, but it creates a very cool look when combined with flow state image stabilisation and 360 capture.
The main advantage I’ve found here is being able to record the action and then pan through the frame in post-production to get a dynamic look.
This cool feature allows you to record continuously but only keep the last segment of footage. It’s great to get good video quality without having to create a huge video file because all the boring parts automatically get deleted.
This is great if you’re trying to capture some action but only want to save the video file when you hit the jump just right.
Low Light Performance
Low light performance isn’t something that action cameras excel at. With relatively small sensors, they are not designed to take in large amounts of light and tend to create a lot of digital noise. This often shows up as a lack of sharpness in the images and video.
Despite this, the Insta360 X3 does have a larger 1/2in sensor that can capture some unique video at night. The Starlapse feature found under the timelapse menu settings is a fun feature to experiment with.
Because it captures 360-degree video, the star lapse is a cool way to visualize the night sky moving in relation to the horizon or foreground elements.
The video won’t be as sharp, or high quality as a slightly larger sensor might produce, but it is a really easy way to capture the beauty of the night sky.
My recommendation would be to ensure you have a location with minimal light pollution and aim for a period when the moon is either not up or a new moon. Although it may not seem bright, the moon will cause the video to look underexposed, and the stars will not be very bright.
Although the camera does have passable low-light capabilities, it is not what it was designed for, and I would recommend other cameras if you plan to shoot in dark environments.
Use the Insta360 X3 when you have great light to work with, and it will provide much better results!
Insta360 X3 Image Quality
When it comes to the quality of the photos and videos on the Insta360 X3, they are quite good.
When compared with a cinema camera with a sharp prime lens, they may not look great, but the performance squeezed out of this 1/2in sensor is impressive.
I found the media produced by this camera to be quite sharp and have good dynamic range, especially when using the Active HDR mode for video.
The maximum resolution images captured in raw DNG format have good range and can be edited to have a good balance of highlights and shadows making it look like an HDR photo.
Another impressive feature of the Insta360 X3 is how well it hides the selfie stick. By stitching together the two ultra-wide lenses, the software hides the selfie stick extremely well.
The only thing to be aware of is the shadow of the stick, which can be an obvious giveaway that you’re using a 360 camera.
Despite this, I highly recommend you purchase the selfie stick with the Insta360 X3 – there’s something magical about being able to film yourself from a 3rd person perspective.
Something to be aware of when it comes to image quality is the vulnerability of the two lenses that are protruding from the body.
All 360 cameras are subject to this risk and it can be quite easy to scratch the lenses if you’re not careful. Even getting fingerprints on the lens will cause a decrease in quality.
Although it may cause some loss in quality (depending on the type of accessory you choose), I would probably suggest you get a lens guard.
Having an inexpensive protective coating on the lens is a nice feature that will allow you to take your camera into more rugged places without worrying as much about damage.
As with any camera, there are more expensive versions of the Insta360 X3. If image quality is your primary concern, you might check out the Insta360 ONE RS.
However, if you want a good balance of image quality and price, this camera is excellent.
When it comes to a 360 camera or action camera, getting the shot quickly is important. Nobody wants to wait at the top of the mountain while you turn on your camera for the ride down.
Luckily, the Insta360 X3 is quick to operate. It turns on quite fast and has a one-button record option that allows you to use the QuickCapture feature.
This will simultaneously turn on and start recording. When you press the record button and stop recording, the camera shuts off.
This is a great way to capture fast action footage quickly! This is where having physical buttons is so helpful.
The new screen is quite responsive and has minimal lag when switching modes. You can swipe to playback to review footage and scroll to view entire stitched photos/videos with the ability to pan around the shot.
I also appreciate the quick menu button and the haptic feedback when changing settings on the larger screen. It feels like a huge upgrade compared to the circular display on the older generation.
One thing that could be improved is the audio quality. I usually don’t expect to get quality audio from an action cam but Insta360 does offer an external mic adapter if this is something important to you.
Overall, I was impressed with the performance and capabilities of the Insta360 X3!
Other Useful Features
There are a ton of other playful features in the desktop and mobile app that you can play with. I think many of these are better suited to social media creators that want fun effects to grab people’s attention.
The core features of the Inst360 X3 are very solid and fun to use. I didn’t experiment with things like Sky Swap or Horizon Flip but there are a lot of things to explore in the Shot Lab on the Insta 360 editing apps.
The best way to preview all the special effects and features is to download the free app, or take a look at the Insta360 X3’s product page here.
I think it’s cool that Insta 360 is innovating and offering up fun features for people to get inspired by. Despite my lack of interest, I think others might find these options to be interesting to spark creativity!
Alternatives to Insta360
The market for 360 cameras is growing, and although I think the Inst360 X3 is in a sweet spot between quality and price, there are alternatives.
If you want to get better quality with a larger sensor the Insta360 ONE RS is a good option. For around $800, it has a bigger sensor and will produce a better-quality image.
Alternatively, you could look at the older model, the Inst360 ONE X2, which offers some similar specs at a lower price point.
Lastly, you might look at the GoPro MAX 360, but my feeling is that it is getting a bit outdated for the price.
When you consider the competition, the Inst360 X3 is a great balance of quality and value!
Value for Money
At around $450, the Inst360 X3 is a solid value. It is one of the better quality 360 cameras for the price and offers a very friendly user interface.
Insta 360 as a company is innovating quickly, and I think they will continue to improve the software and interface for this camera. Because 360 footage usually requires some processing, the accompanying software must be evaluated alongside the camera.
If you’ve ever used tried to manipulate 360 footage inside of Adobe Premier Pro, you’ll quickly appreciate how intuitive and friendly the Insta 360 app is.
Because of this time-saving interface when you edit footage, I think the Inst360 X3 is much better value than some of the other options on the market.
As this type of footage gets more popular, I’m sure we’ll see further innovation in the market, but for now, I highly recommend the Inst360 X3.
Is the Inst360 X3 worth the upgrade from the Inst360 ONE X2?
Yes. At only about $20 more than the older version, the Inst360 X3 provides higher-quality output.
Does the Inst360 X3 have good battery life?
I found the battery life to be quite good. If you’ll be using it extensively, get a second battery but for casual use, it is more than adequate.
What accessories do you recommend for the Inst360 X3?
Definitely check out some lens protectors to avoid scratching the lens.
Insta360 Sample Images
Here are some images taken with the Insta360 X3 and processed with the Insta360 Studio App.
Insta360 X3 360 Review | Conclusion
The Inst360 X3 is a very fun camera to use. I say fun because it is such a different experience than my other more “professional” cameras. It is less about framing and more about capturing action in a simple way.
The beauty of this camera is that there is really nothing to adjust. It captures everything. I love that it is such a contrast to my more professional photo and video cameras.
I really enjoy the ability to simply turn it on and go for capturing family adventures and footage of exciting things when the last thing you want to carry is a heavy camera.
The only downside is that you have to bring the footage into the app before making a final video. However, this process is getting easier, especially with features like Me Mode.
Overall, the performance and unique perspective make this camera something that I will be keeping in my camera bag for capturing casual adventures, as well as more professional footage of high-paced action sports!