The One X is Insta360's latest consumer 360-degree cam and is controlled via an iPhone or Android smartphone, and retails for $400. The big news on the new model is the 5.7K resolution which means you can reframe the spherical footage and extract a standard 16:9 video with good resolution after capture. During recording you don't have to worry where the camera is pointed at.

5.7K video is recorded at 30 frames per second. For smooth motion in action videos or slow-motion effects you can also opt to record 4K footage at 50fps or 3K video at 100fps. In photo mode the camera captures 18MP still images.

The One X also comes with an improved version of Insta360's FlowState stabilization and a new TimeShift feature that lets users adjust the speed of different parts of a clip to put the focus on key moments, using either slow-motion or hyperlapse effects. The "Bullet-time" special effect was already available on the predecessor Insta360 One.

We've had the chance to play a few days with the new Insta360 One X. Read this article and find out how we got on.

Key specifications:

  • 18 MP still image resolution
  • 5760 x 2880 @30fps, 3840 x 1920 @50fps, 3008 x 1504 @100fps video resolutions
  • Built-in 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization
  • Live-streaming
  • Exposure compensation and manual control over shutter speed and ISO
  • Weight with battery: 115g
  • Dimensions: 115mm x 48mm x 28mm
  • MicroSD card slot up to 128GB
  • 1200mAh battery, 60 mins run time shooting 5.7K @30FPS or 4K@50FPS video

Operation

The One X only has two buttons, making stand-alone operation very straightforward. The small button is the power button and also used to cycle through shooting modes and settings. The larger button is the shutter and also used for confirmation when navigating the menus which are displayed on a small circular OLED display.

Camera settings are shown on a small circular display.

The display isn't always easy to view in bright light but you can enable a QuickCapture mode that powers the camera up and immediately starts recording when you long-press the shutter. This is a useful feature for shooting while riding a bike or doing any other activity that demands your full attention.

At the bottom of the device is a standard tripod mount which allows you to attach the camera to all sorts of supports and selfie-sticks. With an adapter, you can use the One X with a GoPro-style mount, and if you don't have any other means of support, the flat base allows you to place the camera on any flat surface.

The One X connects to mobile devices via WiFi, or, for better transfer speeds, via a supplied USB-cable. Via the same connection you can also trigger and control the camera from the dedicated mobile app. Parameters such as ISO, exposure compensation, white balance, and shutter speed are user adjustable.

In the app you can view images and videos that are stored on the camera or your mobile device. Photo editing options include filters and stickers.

The dedicated One X app lets you transfer, view, edit and share both 360-degree videos and still images.

Videos

The One X can record 5.7K 360-degree video which allows you to reframe on your phone and extract a 16:9 1080p standard video at very good quality. The easiest way to achieve this in the app is through the Viewfinder feature.

In Viewfinder mode the 360-degree video is played back on your device. You can then move the phone just as if you were recording a video in real-time. Whatever is visible on the display of your device will be "re-shot" and saved as a new video.

You can use the Viewfinder, Pivot Points or Smart Tracking to frame your video In Viewfinder mode you press and hold the red shutter while moving the phone as you would during recording of a standard video.

The video below is totally uncut to give you a better idea of what's going on. After starting to record I hand the camera to my buddy who then simply rides along with the camera in his hand, not worrying about where the lenses are pointing.

Back home I "re-shot" the video using the Viewfinder function and aiming to keep myself in the frame. With a conventional action camera this type of video would have been a lot more difficult to shoot, especially from a bike.

Viewfinder also allows you to "recycle" your 360-degree footage and re-shoot several versions of the same footage. The sample clip below was recorded from the same 360-degree footage as the one above, but this time with different framing, creating more of a typical rider point-of-view video you would get with a conventional action cam in a chest or handlebar mount.

For this third version of the same video I applied a Tiny Planet effect to the 360-degree footage. The feature won't particularly useful to more serious video makers but makes for a nice party trick.

As you can see in the video samples above, the camera is capable of capturing decent detail, even when using only a portion of the full 360-degree footage. With the sun always visible somewhere in the frame, there is inevitably some clipping in the brightest areas of the sky but overall dynamic range is pretty good and, although occasionally visible, stitching artifacts are well under control.

The real highlight is Insta360's FlowState stabilization, though. Footage is very smooth and almost looks like it was shot from a gimbal, despite the hand-held capture.

Footage is very smooth and almost looks like it was shot from a gimbal

The sample below was recorded with the Insta360 selfie-stick to give a perspective from higher up than usual. Camera movement was created using Insta360's pivot points instead of Viewfinder mode. You can set as many pivot points as you like in a video and the app creates smooth transitions between them. Pivot points are a good alternative to Viewfinder mode if you prefer a more automated solution.

The app also offers a subject tracking option for controlling camera movement during editing. This works generally well but will stop tracking if the subject is momentarily obscured by another object, so depending on your footage it's not always the best solution.

Below is the same video in 360-degree format as a reference. If you pan the video to see myself you can see that the Insta360 app is doing quite an impressive job at making the selfie-stick disappear from the footage.

In lower light, like the indoor scenes below, the camera is still capable of producing good detail and noise-free footage. When light conditions get really dim the otherwise excellent FlowState stabilization loses some of its efficiency. However, you have the option to sacrifice some image detail for faster frame rates which allow for a very similar stabilization performance as in good light.

I've also created a "Bullet-time" video using the optional Bullet-time handle that allows you to swing the selfie-stick over your head in a circle. In bullet time mode the camera records at 100 frames per second, allowing for a slight slow-motion effect in playback. The feature is fun to play with and with some more practice more impressive results than mine should be easily possible.

Still images

The Insta360 One X will likely be most attractive to video shooters but the camera is also capable of capturing 18MP spherical still images. In still image mode you can activate HDR mode, configure interval shooting and capture in Raw format. A self-timer is on board as well.

In the app you can view and export images in several formats including full 360-degree fisheye, tiny planet and crystal ball formats. Below you can see a few samples, in original 360-degree format and Tiny Planet or Fish-eye variations.

Full 360-degree image Full 360-degree image
Tiny Planet Fish-eye

The camera is capable of producing good quality 360-degree image output that in terms of detail, noise, color and dynamic range is roughly on the level of a good smartphone camera. While in some video clips some stitching artifacts are just about noticeable, they are as good as invisible in most still images, making the camera an interesting and affordable option for professional users, such as property agents or wedding photographers.

Full 360-degree image Full 360-degree image
Tiny Planet Fish-eye

Conclusion

I've used a couple of Insta360's earlier models before, for example the Insta 360 Air. Those older consumer cameras were easy and fun to use but had one important limitation: the video resolution would not allow for the extraction of standard video at a sufficiently high resolution. The cameras were fun to play with but ultimately not of much use to anyone serious about video.

At a retail price of $400 the One X now makes high-resolution 360-degree footage available to the masses, allowing for the creation of Full HD video from the camera's 5.7K 360-degree output. During recording this means it doesn't matter where you are pointing the camera because you can select the final frames in post-production in the app.

This makes the camera extremely useful for use on a bike, while hiking or running or doing any other kind of physical activity during which you don't really want to think about where to point your camera.

At $400 the One X makes high-resolution 360 footage available to the masses, allowing for Full HD standard video from the camera's 5.7K 360-degree output.

I've never been a big fan of using GoPro-style action cams on a bike for example. If you mount it to the handlebars or your chest, the footage gets quite boring quite quickly. But if you hold it in your hands and try to frame an interesting video, you dramatically increase the risk of crashing. The One X makes shooting interesting video on a bike so much easier, which is why I have been carrying it on every single bike ride since I received the camera for testing.

Both video and still image quality are on the level of a decent smartphone camera, all editing can be done on a mobile device and the dedicated app is intuitive and straightforward to use, making the Insta360 One X an easy recommendation to anyone who has a use case for 360-degree video and still images but a limited budget.

If you find the features of the One X appealing, you may also want to read our reviews of the Rylo Camera and the GoPro Fusion, two other 360-degree cameras that we liked and which include similar feature sets.

What we like:

  • Ability to "reframe" 360-degree footage to create Full-HD standard video
  • Intuitive app control, very easy to use Viewfinder reframing function
  • Very good video stabilization in most conditions
  • Price

What we don't like:

  • Occasional stitching artifacts in video footage
  • Strong wind noise in some outdoor videos