Insta360 X3 360° Action Camera that will blow you away

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  • 2.29 inch screen is the premium viewfinder
  • Durable, accessible design
  • Insta360 is basically dark magic
  • Ease of use is underrated


  • 5.7K resolution only translates to 1080p video
  • Software export times can be slow
  • You will need a large MicroSD card to store 360-degree footage

The Insta360 has been in absolute tatters lately, knocking out the cameras as if Supply Chain Issues were non-existent. Who looks like a gimbal connect webcam to include one RS Tested by my colleague Matthew Miller earlier this year, the company clearly doesn’t have any issues with a lack of ingredients — or ideas.

Next in line to carry the torch is Insta360 X3who succeeded last year one x2. Insta360 says it’s getting rid of the “One” brand now which, in a market full of complex names like GoPro Hero 11 Black And the DJI Osmo Action 3is a very welcome change.

While the X3’s naming scheme is getting smaller, everything else on this year’s model is about being bigger. larger screen. Bigger camera sensor. Bigger battery. greater price. So whether you’re a seasoned content creator, or just starting to venture into the action cam space, Insta360 makes a compelling case for why you should buy the X3 over anything else.



114 x 46 x 31 mm


180 grams


2.29 inch touch screen


1/2″ 48 MP

the decision

Resolution up to 5.7 kB


1800 mAh (removable)

connection ports

USB Type C and MicroSD


Water resistant to 33 feet (10 meters)



The third time is magic

This is the third generation of the fun sized Camera Snickers bar from Insta360, and is without a doubt the most accurate design to date. The frame is about four inches long and just under two inches long, which makes the X3 wonderfully compact to grip, swing and bite (I’ll explain later, unrelated to the Snickers reference.)

The exterior is gilded with a strong combination of rubber and textured edges ensuring you can hang the X3 on the toughest rides and/or on the toughest fingers. Each compartment bordering the centerpiece is tightly screwed and water-resistant, yet surprisingly accessible with a simple plucking. (No long nails required.) That means charging and transferring data via the USB-C port is fast, and swapping out the removable battery and MicroSD card is convenient.

View insta360-x3

That’s a bigger, touch screen though.

Jun Wan / ZDNET

The biggest changes in the X3 are the new 48-megapixel and one-half-inch sensor and 2.29-inch touchscreen. The former provides improved image quality and dynamic range, allowing the action camera to capture sharper, more accurate color shots – even on the brightest of days. This comes at the cost of a heavier body (180g) and a slightly bulging camera lens.

For the new screen, the advantages write themselves: you can now see more of the viewfinder when recording, there’s more room for gestures and tap controls, and the days of staring at that small, circular screen for 360-degree review are over. masterpieces.

The X3 also introduces three new buttons: one on the bottom left to start/stop recordings, one on the bottom right for switching between front and rear cameras, and one on the right edge for camera mode presets. For convenience reasons, I would like the record button to be slightly higher, or even positioned to the side for thumb pressure.

more: Top 5 Vlogging Cameras You Can Buy

Lights, camera, start

Most users should find the X3’s 360-degree video recording to be the most useful, especially in terms of how easy it is to edit, edit, and reframe the footage in Post. This year’s model finishes with 5.7K resolution at 30fps, with 4K resolution supporting up to 60fps.

Don’t be fooled by the numbers. 5.7K 360-degree video is technically compressed to 1080p, which means your stills won’t be pixel perfect like movies on a 4K TV. Instead, it would be wise to upgrade 1080p content to 4K after the fact.

There’s also a single-lens mode for foreground or background shots and slow-motion capture at up to 4K/120fps.

Regardless of the numbers, the image quality of the X3 looks impressive overall. I made the mistake of not turning on Active HDR for my initial batch of outdoor shots, but even then, my shots in broad daylight weren’t too blurry or lost color. Here’s a bunch of different shots, angles, and post-processing effects that the X3 can do. (Spoiler: It’s so magical.)

It’s not a skydiving montage, but I’ll say the recordings were great, especially when all I really had to do was hold the X3 up, hit the record button, and let the camera take care of the rest. Remember, it’s a 360-degree video, so no matter how you point your camera, you’ll be able to crop, reposition, stabilize, and frame your shots right in post-editing. It’s a very foolproof format, which both professionals and first-time users can appreciate.

insta360-x3 accessories

Left to right: Lens hood, Bullet Time cord, Insta360 X3, and invisible selfie stick.

Jun Wan / ZDNET

There are a plethora of first-party and third-party extensions that can enhance the X3 experience, but one thing I kept coming back to is Invisible Selfie Stick. As the name suggests, shots taken with the included accessory automatically hide them from view – as in the video sample’s car scene. You can still see its shadow from certain angles, but the camera is generally reliable at clipping the selfie stick away from the final product.

For first-person shots, like when I was riding my bike up a hill, you could either prop the X3 on a head or chest platform or, get this, literally carry the bottom half of the camera with mouth mount. (You can technically have the camera to keep it in place as well, but I wouldn’t recommend that.)

Putting “art” into artificial intelligence

Insta360 prides itself on being a software company – not a camera company – for good reason. The Insta360 experience is packed with video filters, editing functions, and endless opportunities to turn your standard 360-degree (or 180-degree) footage into something more.

All of these things are powered by what Insta360 calls artificial intelligence technology. When asked about it, not much was shared regarding background processing. From the app’s ability to cleverly animate the video so that all the action is properly framed to the various Shot Lab filters that can virtually replace the horizon with Van Gogh’s Starry Night, there’s clearly some magic going on here.

insta360-app experience

Shot Lab in the Insta360 app has more than 30 virus-worthy effects to apply to your shots.

Jun Wan / ZDNET

What impressed me most about the software experience is the ease of use. I didn’t feel like transitioning from more professional services like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro as much as I expected. In fact, the simpler interface of Insta360’s editing suite (shown above) made adjusting keyframes, speed ramps, and cut-offs all possible from the palm of my hand. I didn’t need to use my MacBook Pro to downgrade the high-resolution 360-degree image; Everything was done correctly on the smartphone.

Sure, export times can be a few seconds faster, and applying ShotLab filters and effects can add another minute or two to your workflow. But given how easy it is to convert raw video into shareable content, the wait is definitely worth it.

Battery life

During two weeks of testing the Insta360 X3, I found the camera to be able to last two to three days per charge. Battery life obviously boils down to recording times, accuracy, whether it’s 360°, 180°, single-shot content, and more. However, the endurance numbers are a healthy step up from the One X2, which had a smaller 1,630mAh capacity and lasted about a day less.


I will never forget my first experience with a 360 degree camera. The Samsung Gear 360 Which, to this day, gathers dust in my cherished tech drawer, has been slow, tacky, expensive, and absolutely stunning for photos and videos. It was a rude device that overheated in a second, but the output – all 360 degrees, all the good you could see – rendered any flawed behavior negligent.

Why do I tell you this? Because using the Insta360 X3 brought back all those fond memories, except for the bad parts. It’s the second time on my honeymoon phase with 360-degree cameras, and I was even more stunned this time.

Whether you’re a professional or a novice videographer, the X3 brings a lot to the table for everyone to do. The Price 449 dollars Fair, especially when you consider all the fun and practical video features you get, and how they stack up with the $300-$500 GoPro and DJI action cameras. Just make sure you have enough MicroSD card to store all your 360 degree videos; You are likely to pick up more than you think.

Alternatives to consider

Besides the Insta360 X3, here are a few alternatives worth considering:

My ZDNET colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes calls the GoPro Hero 11 Black “The best action camera in the world”. Maybe it’s the color-rich video recording or the exceptional video stabilization that has become synonymous with the GoPro brand. There’s no 360-degree recording with this camera, but it’s a compelling $399 option.

For more flexibility, check out Insta360’s ONE RS. It is a modular tool that allows you to switch camera lenses for all kinds of shooting conditions. This plug and play feature is enough to set the ONE RS apart from any other action camera. ZDNET’s Matthew Miller found the image stability and battery life to be impressive.

Obviously, there are a lot of options in the action cam space. DJI’s latest Osmo Action 3 returns to a compact rectangular form factor reminiscent of GoPro cameras. Of course, much of the functionality of the Osmo Action 3 is similar to that of the Hero 11 Black mentioned above, with 4K video recording at 120p and HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization to keep motion consistent.

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