Traditionally, action cameras have only been able to capture a small portion of the world. The Insta360 One X2, on the other hand, is one of a new breed of cameras that aims to prove this age-old truth by capturing everything in a single spherical image. This opens up a slew of possibilities, ranging from creative editing to simple VR capture.
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Design: A chunky, waterproof build
The Insta360 One X2 is a chunky little rectangle with a solid feel to it. It’s small enough to fit in a large pocket and feels tough and durable, though the bulbous glass lens elements mean you’ll need to be cautious with it. When you just want to carry the camera in your pocket, it comes with a sleek neoprene case that provides a reassuring extra level of protection.
The One X2 is fully waterproof to a depth of 33 feet, which is a significant improvement over its less resistant predecessor.
The Insta360 also comes with a microfiber cloth, which is extremely useful given the lenses’ proclivity for attracting smudges and dust. A USB-C cable is included for charging, but no charging brick is included.
The One X2 is fully waterproof to a depth of 33 feet, which is a significant improvement over its less resistant predecessor. The battery compartment and USB port have locking sealed doors to achieve this waterproofing. The locking mechanisms were a little difficult to open and close, but the waterproofing made up for it. The battery also serves as the door to the battery compartment, which also houses the microSD card slot.
A shutter button, power button, and circular touchscreen serve as controls. The status of the camera is indicated by an LED light, and the camera has a standard tripod mount on the underside.
Setup Process: Mostly straightforward
Once I inserted a microSD card, the One X2 was partially charged and ready to go, though I had to first install the Insta360 app on my phone and activate the camera. The Bluetooth connection used to activate the One X2 and set up the Wi-Fi connection repeatedly timed out and failed, making this a bit of a pain. I eventually got it up and running, and aside from one minor hiccup, the process was relatively painless, if a little more complicated than I’d expect from a camera.
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Image Quality: Good light a necessity
The weather conditions in which I first tested the Insta360 One X2 tainted my initial impressions of it. Winter in Western Washington can be bleak and dark, so I ended up shooting in dim light for the majority of the time. As a result, when I went to edit the video, I couldn’t believe how bad it looked. When given plenty of light, however, the One X2 produced reasonably good-looking photos and video.
Even when walking or running on uneven terrain, you don’t have to worry about getting a stable shot.
What’s really impressive about this camera is the level of image stabilization it can achieve. It’s good enough that you won’t have to worry about getting a steady shot even if you’re walking or running on uneven terrain. With this in mind, you must think about the Insta360 in terms of its intended use. Action cameras have always been action-oriented, and 360 action cameras are no exception. Basically, you must do something worthwhile in order to justify the trade-offs.
The One X2’s 5.7K recording resolution isn’t as sharp and detailed as you might expect, and when cropped to a standard 16:9 frame, you get 1080p. That’s fine for viewing on a phone or small tablet, but when viewed on a large computer monitor, the low resolution, noise, and image artifacts become quite noticeable.
Audio: Unimpressive overall
The One X2’s audio recording could be described as mediocre at best. It’s there, and it’s usable, but it’s a little disappointing in a camera that would otherwise be well suited to vlogging due to its portable size and ease of use.
Storage Requirements: Hefty file size
Though it may be the bare minimum for decent 360 footage, the One X2’s 5.7L video footage is still quite demanding in terms of storage space. A single short video clip can easily consume hundreds of megabytes of storage space, so make sure you have a large microSD card and plenty of hard drive space on your PC and/or smartphone.
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Software: Brilliant but buggy
The majority of my issues with the One X2 are related to the Insta360 app, the most serious of which is the inability to connect to the camera. Every time I tried to connect to the One X2, I had to keep tapping the connect button in the app until it finally connected.
Once it’s connected, the app has a simple but well-designed remote viewing and control interface, as well as a fantastic editing suite for processing 360 videos. It’s an effective and highly intuitive tool that allows you to quickly and easily process your videos on the go, from framing your shot and changing playback speed to creating camera movements using keyframes.
The software on the One X2 is quite basic, which is understandable given the small size of its circular touchscreen.
You can also share your work and interact with other creators on the app’s fully functional social media platform. There’s a lot packed into the Insta360 app, and thankfully, every aspect of it comes with extensive tutorials, even if the text in some of them isn’t translated into English.
The software on the One X2 is quite basic, which is understandable given the small size of its circular touchscreen. However, because the camera’s settings were not easily accessible, I found myself frequently returning to the app on my phone to make adjustments. This only added to my frustration with the connection issues I was having.
You can also use Insta360’s free editing studio software or a plugin in Adobe Premiere to gain more control over your video editing on the computer. It was, however, easier to get the shots I wanted by using the app to edit them on my phone.
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Accessories: A good amount of options
The Insta360 One X2 comes with a variety of accessories. A diving enclosure and a “bullet time” attachment used to twirl the One X2 around your head are among them. A selfie stick is also useful for using with the One X2, and I found a tripod useful for recording timelapse videos.
Price: Good value
The One X2 is only a little more expensive than a high-end action camera, with an MSRP of $430 (), but it’s not bad for a 360 camera. If being able to shoot 360-degree video is a must for you, it’s a good deal.
Insta360 One X2 vs. GoPro Hero 9 Black
If you can’t decide between a 360 camera and a traditional action camera, the GoPro HERO9 Black is the obvious choice to go up against the Insta360 One X2. On the surface, the GoPro appears to be the obvious choice for far superior image and audio quality, as well as greater durability at a lower cost. If you want to capture special moments in your life without having to think about the camera, however, the One X2 is the way to go.
The Final Word
After dealing with setup issues and a steep learning curve, the Insta360 One X2’s small size, lightweight, and ease of use more than made up for its shortcomings. It’s perfect for capturing videos in situations where you don’t want to bother with a traditional camera.