Insta360, the company that makes the Insta360 ONE 360-degree camera attachment sold at Apple retail stores, is today debuting its next-generation product, the upgraded and refined Insta360 ONE X.

Compared to the previous-generation Insta360 ONE, the new Insta360 ONE X has a redesigned body, an upgraded camera that can record in 360 degrees at up to 5.7K resolution with impressive stabilization, and new photo and video capabilities.

insta360onex
I was able to spend some time with the Insta360 ONE X ahead of its launch, and found it to be great little action camera capable of some fun photo and video effects perfect for sharing on social media.

Design

The Insta360 ONE X is rectangular in shape and about the size of a candy bar, making it portable and easy to carry in a bag or in a pocket. It measures in at 4.5 inches by 1.8 inches, and a little under a half an inch thick.

There are cameras on both the front and the back of the Insta360 ONE X, allowing it to capture 360 degree photos and videos all the time. As with the previous version, you can't capture non 360-degree photos, but standard photos and videos are available through post processing and cropping within the Insta360 app.

insta360onex 1
At the side of the Insta360 ONE X, there's a battery compartment that houses a removable 1200 mAh battery, which lets you swap in another battery for longer on-the-go battery life.

At the bottom, there's a microSD card slot (with a microSD card required for recording photos and videos), and at the other side, there's a microUSB port used for charging purposes.

insta360onexinhand
Below the camera on the front, there's a small display and a set of buttons that let you access settings and swap between photo and video modes.

insta360onexside
Pressing on the small button lets you choose to snap photos or record videos, while pressing on the main button takes a photo or starts/stops a video recording. It's an intuitive system that's also supplemented by further controls within the app.

Camera Specs and Image Quality

The Insta360 ONE X has an impressive 18-megapixel f/2.0 aperture camera built in and the image quality for both photos and videos was excellent during my testing, even in conditions where the lighting was not optimal.

insta360onexdemo1
My photos and videos turned out crisp, bright, and detailed, and the stabilization produced smooth videos even in situations where I was moving the camera around quite a lot. I didn't use the original Insta360 ONE, so I'm not sure how the image stabilization or photo quality compares, but the ONE X is great.

insta360onexdemo2
The ONE X is a 360 degree camera, so it captures you and everything around you in specialized 360 degree photos and videos that you can swipe through to see the entire scene around you. It goes way beyond the wide-angle view of some other action-oriented cameras, offering up a look at a complete moment in time.

I had a lot of fun testing the ONE X in a few parks around the Bay Area, and while I don't do any action sports, it seems like it would be a useful way to capture skiing, surfing (with an included waterproof accessory), biking, and other such activities in fun-to-watch videos.

Click to drag the image around to see the full 360 degree view

The camera in the Insta360 ONE X can record 5K video at 30fps, 4K at 30 or 50 fps, and 3k at 100fps. 5K video and the 50 fps 4K video mode are both upgrades over the previous-generation camera.

It can capture RAW images if set to do so, and there's also HDR support for photos, with HDR 360 video in the works.

According to Insta360, the ONE X features gimbal-level stabilization using a "FlowState" stabilization algorithm, and all of the video I took, even spinning the camera around, had little jitter.

Insta360 says the stabilization works well with the Insta360 ONE X mounted to a selfie stick, attached to a helmet, mounted to handle bars, and more, with the algorithm smoothing the video out no matter how the camera is positioned.

A demo video from Insta360 comparing the camera to a GoPro

Given that the Insta360 ONE X is taking 360 degree photos and videos, there is a degree of distortion to be expected with photos and images, even those that are constrained to more standard display sizes and formats.

Accessories

The Insta360 ONE X doesn't come bundled with accessories, but it has a standard tripod mount that works with various selfie sticks and tripod accessories. I tested the One X with an extendable selfie stick that Insta360 sells separately for $16.

The Insta360 selfie stick is fully adjustable and can be set to multiple lengths for different looks and effects for your photos and videos, which I found to be useful.

insta360onexcomponents
When you use the selfie stick, the Insta360 ONE X app has been designed to edit it out of every shot, so it's never visible. No visible selfie stick means the resulting photos and videos can look like they were shot from up in the air drone style, but you do need to make sure you position your hand in a way that makes it look like you're not holding a stick or some of the photos and videos can look awkward.

instaone360xstickdisappears

I'm holding the selfie stick here, but the Insta360 ONE X edits it out

You basically need to use a selfie stick or another mounted solution with the Insta360 ONE X at all times, because it doesn't work well as a handheld device. Since it's recording in 360 degrees, it records whatever's holding it, so if it's in your hand and you want to use the forward-facing footage, you'll have a giant distorted hand in the photo or video.

insta360onehand

If you hold the Insta360 ONE X, you get a distorted arm in every image/video

Selfie sticks are banned in a lot of places and I also felt silly whipping out a camera on a giant stick when I was testing the Insta360 ONE X, so if this is a concern, the Insta360 ONE X may not be for you. You can put it on a tripod, set it on a flat surface or mount it in some other way (like on a helmet), but this isn't an accessory that can be used as a traditional handheld camera.

insta360onextripod
For me, the selfie stick aspect of the Insta360 ONE X was the biggest negative that kept me from using it several times when I didn't want to be seen in a crowded place with a camera on a stick.

insta360onexselfiestick
The most affordable selfie stick option does not come with a built-in Bluetooth button on the stick, so I did need to use the iPhone or a timed mode to capture a photo. Insta360 does sell a stick with an add-on Bluetooth button, but it's more expensive at $22.

The Insta360 ONE X review unit I tested also came with a Bullet Time handle for me to try. The Bullet handle is for making videos where you spin the Insta360 ONE X around in a circle in slo-mo. I really wasn't able to master this effect in the time that I was testing the Insta360 ONE X, but it's nice to have options. As a side note, the Bullet Time mode in the Insta360 ONE X features a wider angle and an improved 3K resolution compared to the previous-generation Insta360 ONE.

Bullet Time in action via Insta360

Insta360 has designed a few other accessories to go with the Insta360 ONE X that I wasn't able to test out. There's a Drifter accessory shaped like a little rocket. You stick the Insta360 ONE X inside the accessory and then throw it for unique video.

insta360onexdriftercase

The Insta360 ONE X Drifter Case

There are also two rugged case options designed to be water and impact resistant. The Venture Case is a protective shell with waterproofing to five meters and splash protection, while the Dive Case lets you shoot underwater down to 30 meters.

insta360onexdivecase

The Insta360 ONE X Dive Case

For the original Insta360 ONE, Insta360 designed a number of different mounting solutions and cases for different use cases like using it surfing, running, with a drone, on a pet, and more, and the company should have similar bundles for the new model.

App and Effects

While the Insta360 ONE X captures 360-degree photos and videos, using the Insta360 app, you can export them in a standardized format viewable on any device.

Because everything is captured from any angle, you can select different angles when editing a video in the app, catching the best parts of the action. In any given video, you can use features like pivot point, SmartTrack, and ViewFinder to adjust what's visible in the video at any given point.

A quick demo video I made using the built-in app tools, with aspect ratio set at 16:9

The app features an extensive set of editing tools that can create montages, multi-clip videos, and a range of other customization tools for stabilization, adding music, and more, but it could do with better instructions.

I was using a beta version of the app that was still under development for this review, but I did think some of the editing tools available were somewhat confusing.

Before you can edit, you need to trim a video and save it to your device, and then there are a number of different buttons to work with, but there aren't in-app guides for walking you through the tools and none of it is intuitive enough to use without some trial and error.

The same video as above, but on Insta360's website with full controls for viewing in 360 degrees

There are built-in tools for adding filters, adjusting metrics like exposure, color temperature, contrast, saturation, and more, along with blur and video speed. You can set speed from 1/8X to 64X. and with a new TimeShift feature, you can set each part of a video to a different speed. It's a fun effect that lets you slow down video at key spots while speeding up the rest.

insta360onexvideoediting1
As mentioned above, there are tools for adjusting the width of the view (all the way to a full planet-style view with everything in frame) and the angle of the view using pivot points so the most interesting aspect of what was framed is always front and center. There's also a tracking option that will keep a subject in the frame.

insta360onexvideoediting2
There are a ton of other effects you can create using the tutorial videos in the app, but it will take some practice to master them. You can, for example, create a video that looks like a drone is flying towards you and then away with the selfie stick or use the bullet time handle paired with a slo-mo bullet time mode for circular slow motion effects.

insta360onexplanetview
I don't think all of the capturing modes nor the editing process are simple enough to be figured out quickly, so if you buy the ONE X, plan to spend some time getting to know it before you can create impressive photo and video effects.


The Insta360 ONE X connects to your iPhone and the Insta360 app over Bluetooth and WiFi. On the iPhone, you can preview photos and videos as you take them and if desired, you can even set up a live streaming feature. There are tools for manually adjusting image settings like ISO, exposure, white balance and shutter speed prior to capturing a photo or video for the ideal shot.

You can also connect the ONE X to your iPhone using an included microUSB to Lightning cable. There are also microUSB to USB-C and microUSB cables for connecting to other smartphones.

One of the many effects possible with the Insta360 ONE X

When exporting a finished photo or video, the app has sharing tools for sending your creations to social networks like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube, or to the Insta360 community in the app where you can also view other people's creations for inspiration. You can also create web links where content will be visible on the web, with the option to rotate through 360 degree videos.

Bottom Line

As someone who's just an average consumer that doesn't partake in sports suitable for action cams, I had a lot of fun with the Insta360 ONE X thanks to all of the effects you can create with 360 degree photos and videos.

insta360onexplanetview2
That said, since I'm not someone who does something that's worth capturing in 360 degrees on a regular basis, I think I might get bored with the Insta360 ONE X because when it comes down to it, it's a camera designed for a specific use case -- action.

The Insta360 ONE X definitely an intriguing alternative to a GoPro that's arguably more versatile, and I think it has the potential to work amazingly well for sports like surfing, snowboarding, skydiving, and skateboarding, where there's beautiful scenery and action to capture all at once.

An Insta360 ONE surfing demo video

For active people who do sports that would benefit from these kind of 360 degree videos, families with kids, or people who want to capture photos and videos in a new way, the Insta360 ONE X is worth checking out as long as you don't mind the giant stick.

How to Buy

The Insta360 ONE X can be purchased from the Insta360 website for $400. While the Insta360 ONE is available in Apple Stores, the ONE X will not be in Apple retail locations at launch. Insta360 says the new product will eventually be available from Apple, however.

Note: Insta360 provided MacRumors with an Insta360 ONE X for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Top Rated Comments

Jimmy James Avatar
34 months ago
Terrible product name.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jimothyGator Avatar
34 months ago
Terrible product name.
I'm waiting for the Insta360 ONE XS Max.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
snapchat dark mode

Snapchat Rolls Out Dark Mode on iOS

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:17 am PDT by
Nearly two years following the release of iOS and iPadOS 13, which included native, built-in, and systemwide dark mode, Snapchat, one of the world's most prominent social media networks, has finally rolled out a dark mode theme for iOS users. Snapchat began testing a dark mode theme of its app design late last year with a small group of iOS users. Now, Snapchat says that as of this week, it...
netflix sign up

Apple Discussed 'Punitive Measures' Against Netflix for Dropping In-App Purchases

Wednesday May 5, 2021 11:03 am PDT by
As the Epic Games v. Apple trial progresses into its third day, Apple's internal documents and communications with various companies are continuing to surface, giving us some insight into the dealings that Apple has had around the App Store. Back in December 2018, Netflix stopped offering in-app subscription options for new or resubscribing members and instead began requiring them to sign up ...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Begins Transition to Randomized Serial Numbers With Purple iPhone 12

Wednesday May 5, 2021 9:17 am PDT by
MacRumors previously reported about Apple's plan to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021, and this transition has now started with the new purple iPhone 12 model in multiple countries. With assistance from Aaron Zollo, host of the YouTube channel ZolloTech, we can confirm that the purple iPhone 12 released last month has a new 10-character serial...
airtag 1

AirTag Anti-Stalking Measures 'Just Aren't Sufficient' Says Washington Post Report

Wednesday May 5, 2021 6:03 pm PDT by
The safeguards that Apple built into AirTags to prevent them from being used to track someone "just aren't sufficient," The Washington Post's Geoffrey Fowler said today in a report investigating how AirTags can be used for covert stalking. Fowler planted an AirTag on himself and teamed up with a colleague to be pretend stalked, and he came to the conclusion that the AirTags are a "new means...
iphone 13 pro max dummy notch

iPhone 13 Pro Max Dummy Model Depicts Smaller Notch

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 13 models are expected to feature a slimmed down notch, marking the first major change to the TrueDepth camera system since it was introduced in the 2017 iPhone X. We're still months away from the launch of the iPhone 13, but Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy managed to get an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy model that represents what we can expect from the new 2021 device. Dummy...
iPad Pro July Shipping

12.9-Inch iPad Pro Now Delivers as Late as Mid-July

Wednesday May 5, 2021 7:10 am PDT by
While the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is set to launch in the second half of May, orders placed today are estimated for delivery as late as mid-July on Apple's online store in the United States — some two months later. The new 11-inch iPad Pro is faring better so far, with some configurations available for delivery in the last week of May. The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a Liquid Retina XDR ...