Action cameras have long since changed in status from something exclusively associated with extreme sports to a device you can use to record any type of physical activity. Whether it’s hiking in the mountains or doing yoga at home, you can use a handy little action camera to shoot quality videos of yourself and share them online.
With a regular camera, however, you still need to change settings and position your camera to make sure you’re shooting at the right angle, your subject is in focus, and so on. The Insta360 One X2 is a great example of a new breed of action camera that takes care of all that for you.
If you want to enjoy your activities worry-free while getting perfect footage at the end, read our Insta360 One X2 review and consider making it your next action camera.
Insta360 One X2: first impressions
The Insta360 One X2 is a 360 degree camera with two spherical lenses that allow you to capture everything around you and turn it into a single spherical image. Here is a list of the main advantages and disadvantages of this camera.
- 5.7K 360 degree capture
- Easy-to-use LCD touch screen
- Fixed camera mode
- Voice command
- Excellent image stabilization
- IPX8 waterproof (up to 10 meters)
- Large battery capacity of 1630 mAh
- Long runtime up to 80mins (when shooting 5.7K@30fps) per charge
- Compatible with iOS and Android devices
- Great value (standalone price on Amazon starting at $389)
- Spherical lenses are susceptible to scratches
- Size and shape are not ideal for a pocket camera
- Insta360 apps can sometimes be buggy
- Time-consuming editing process
The first thing you’ll notice about this action camera is its solid construction. Thanks to its rectangular shape and convex lenses, the One X2 is quite different from a GoPro or any typical action camera. However, it is still compact enough to fit in your jacket pocket.
The One X2 comes with a neoprene case that helps you protect the camera lenses. While the camera itself seems pretty durable, the fisheye lenses are the part you have to be careful with. Every little scratch will result in a little black dot on your images. The only way to get rid of it is to crop your shot so it’s not visible. There’s no way to replace a single lens, so you’ll need to get a completely new camera if you want to fix it.
As for other goodies, the One X2 is waterproof up to 10 meters, has great battery life and has plenty of shooting modes. Compared to its predecessor Insta360 One X, the One X2 has improved a lot. However, there is still the problem of an overly complicated editing process, which will probably confuse you if you don’t have prior experience with vlogging software and apps.
Even if you have never used an action camera before, you will have no problem starting your Insta360 One X2. All you need is to charge your One X2 using the USB-C port and insert a microSD card. The last thing you need to do before you can start recording is to install the Insta360 app on your smartphone to activate the camera. This process is quite simple and you shouldn’t have any problems with this step.
Once done, you can start shooting. You can use the One X2 as is and record videos from your hand, use a standard action camera mount to clip it onto your helmet for hands-free recording, or use one of the Insta360 accessories – the selfie stick invisible. The latter is the best option if you want drone-like footage. Attach your camera to a selfie stick and shoot, then watch the stick disappear as you start editing your footage.
Overall, the video quality you get with the One X2 is excellent, especially considering the many features this camera has. Whatever you decide to record, the Insta360 One X2 has you covered.
Excellent FlowState stabilization ensures all handheld shots are smooth and crisp, while horizon lock helps you keep the horizon level even when you pan the camera. So if you plan to film yourself walking, running, or even snowboarding, you don’t have to worry about your camera’s stability.
5.7K video in 360 degree mode is crisp and colorful. However, the quality drops a bit in low light conditions. If you plan to take pictures in gloomy weather, we recommend using HDR mode. When shooting in HDR, the One X2 delivers photos and videos with better dynamic range, natural lighting, and more detail.
You can also use the Insta360 One X2 as a normal action camera. Here it is called Steady Cam mode. Although Steady Cam’s video quality is still decent, you can only get an equivalent of 2.7K video with a wide-angle lens. This means your One X2 is not a competitor to the latest GoPro Hero or GoPro Max. The One X2 compensates for this by giving you the ability to record everything around you simultaneously in a single video and crop it later when editing.
Another video shooting mode is MultiView which involves AI face tracking. It splits your screen in half and allows you to shoot the narrator of the video and the scene around you at the same time and have picture-in-picture video ready accordingly. If you are a vlogger, this allows you to reduce the time and effort you spend on post-production.
The One X2 is capable of producing great images, especially if you use one of the special photo modes. One is PureShot which helps you produce colorful and detailed images in low light conditions by boosting the ISO up to 3200.
The other photo mode is InstaPano which allows you to capture 360 degree panoramic photos without having to stitch multiple images together. Both modes are great for getting those perfect shots to post on your social media.
The Insta360 One X2 features a four-way microphone that records surround sound to match your 360-degree videos. This is perfect if you don’t want to use external mics and just use the camera audio with the video footage. You can also use your Apple Airpods to record audio separately and use voice control.
We tested the One X2’s audio recording capabilities in various conditions, including strong wind, rain and snow. We were able to get clear sound on our recordings even while skiing in windy weather. The only thing that affected the audio significantly was putting the camera underwater. It was then back to normal within minutes once the One X2 dried.
Thanks to the decent audio quality offered by the One X2, you can also use it as a webcam to live stream on different platforms without having to record your audio separately.
The editing software
The Insta360 editing software is both the best and the worst of this camera. You’ll probably have mixed feelings about it like we did. The smartphone application is called Shooting laboratoryand the PC software is called the Studio Insta360. Let’s start with the mobile app.
On the one hand, the Shooting laboratory is absolutely awesome. This smartphone app gives you more editing capabilities than you might imagine: from timelapses and hyperlapses to still images and smart AI-powered tracking.
On the other hand, the app may seem too complicated for someone opening it for the first time. Additionally, there are still a few bugs waiting to be fixed. For example, sometimes it takes a few tries before you can connect your One X2 to your smartphone via Bluetooth and WiFi for file transfer and so on. It is worth mentioning that you must have one of the latest smartphones to avoid frustrating lags while using the app. Anything above the iPhone 8 should do, or an Android phone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip or its equivalent.
For users who don’t want to waste time learning how to perform cool editing tricks, Insta360 has thought of a solution. In the app, you’ll find plenty of tutorials that detail the editing steps for each video tip. Just choose a template and follow the steps. Some of our favorite creative Insta360 edits include Stop Motion Mix, Clone Trail, and Flash Dash.
If you are not comfortable with the number of different editing options and features in the mobile app, we have some bad news regarding the Studio Insta360. The PC app is about 5 times harder to navigate, let alone complete your edit. For some reason it bears little resemblance to the Shooting laboratory and it even lacks some editing features offered by the Shot Lab. The process of importing and exporting your videos is more complicated than it should be. Besides that, if your PC doesn’t have much free storage space, you will find it difficult to store your 5.7K videos due to their large file size.
On the bright side, Insta360 seems to be working on updating both of their apps non-stop. Thus, the new V4 of the Studio Insta360 has both auto frame and time shift features that users have been requesting for some time on forums like Reddit.
Insta360 has lots of cool accessories for the One X2 camera. Some of them are more useful than others.
For example, there is a diving case that makes your One X2 camera fully waterproof up to 45m (or 147ft) and ensures perfectly stitched images when shooting underwater. However, if you do not plan to dive with your One X2 but still want to film a water-related activity such as swimming or rafting, you will do without this accessory, because the One X2 is already waterproof to 10 m.
You can buy the Insta360 One X2 as a standalone camera, but some accessories will surely enhance your user experience. First of all, we have already mentioned that the lenses of the One X2 are sensitive to scratches. It is a good idea to get lens caps to protect the camera lenses if you plan to record sports activities.
The second essential accessory is the invisible selfie stick. It provides you with many different angles and shooting points and will surely impress your friends and family when they see the stick disappear into the editing scene.
There’s also the bullet time tripod handle that lets you rotate the One X2 around your head when shooting and doubles as a tabletop tripod. You can find the rest of the Insta360 accessories on the official website and see if you want to include them in your purchase.
Should you buy the Insta360 One X2 camera?
The Insta360 One X2 is not an all-around camera and it shouldn’t be. If you’re looking for the best picture and sound quality possible, you might be better off checking out the latest GoPro. However, if you’re tired of using standard action cameras and ready to have some fun with the new 360-degree format, the One X2 is a great camera choice.