Insta360 One X is a 5.7K 360 camera that incorporates almost all of the best features of its competitors, and adds some features that have never been seen before in consumer 360 cameras, at an aggressive price point. All things considered, this appears to be the best 360 camera for consumers as of October 2018. I’ve been testing the Insta360 One X since October 1, and here are my hands-on first impressions with complete specifications, features, comparison with and differences from the Insta360 One and other 360 cameras, sample photos and videos, and more. October 18 update: new low light sample and how to avoid blur, added sample underwater video
Updated: October 18, 2018 – new low light sample, how to avoid blur in videos, underwater sample
Updated: October 13, 2018 – download links for software
Updated: October 12, 2018 – updated comparison vs Fusion
Updated: October 10, 2018
Updated: September 27, 2018
Originally posted: September 26, 2018
Insta360 One X is a bold new direction for Insta360’s consumer 360 cameras. Until now, Insta360 has been known for having smartphone 360 cameras, i.e., 360 cameras that clip onto your smartphone. All their consumer 360 cameras have been smartphone 360 cameras: the Insta360 Nano, Insta360 Nano S, Insta360 Air, and Insta360 One. The Insta360 One X breaks from precedent and is purely a standalone device.
Beyond its form factor, Insta360 One X is also turning heads with its comprehensive feature set. It’s as if they assembled the top 360 cameras in the market, identified the best features of each one, and crammed those best features into the One X, as you’ll see below. While its competitors will likely be filled with fear and loathing, consumers should be elated, as it will be easier to choose between features that would otherwise only be available in separate cameras.
I should add that Insta360 One X did not just copy its competitors features. They also improved their signature features, such as Bullet Time, and added new features such as Drift Shot and Time Shift.
Here are 30 features of the Insta360 One X for video, for photo, and for both photos and videos.
Insta360 One X Video features
1. High resolution video (Improved)
The One X shoots video at 5760 x 2880 at 30fps (5.7k or 6k depending on who you ask).
2. Super slow motion (New!)
The One X can shoot slow motion at either 3K at 100fps or 4K at 50fps. With interpolation (playback at 1/4th speed), the app can simulate up to 3K 400fps or 4K 200fps
3. Bullet time (improved)
Insta360 introduced the bullet time feature in the Insta360 One. The One X’s Bullet time mode has improved tremendously with a higher resolution, a wider field of view, and a variable aspect ratio (9:16 portrait, 1:1, 4:3, or 16:9).
4. Flowstate stabilization
Just like the Insta360 One, the One X features gimbal-like stabilization, which they call “Flowstate”. Here is a stabilization comparison Insta360 posted between the new One X and the GoPro Hero 7 as well as the Sony FDR-X3000:
5. Direction Lock stabilization
As with the Insta360 One, the One X can stabilize the video in the direction that the camera is facing. This mode is very useful for example, for cycling and motor sports. I haven’t had the occasion to use this feature yet on the One X but here is a sample Direction Lock video from the Insta360 One
6. Drift shot (NEW!)
The One X has a new special effect called Drift Shot, where you attach the One X to a special throwable case called the Drifter. With the Drifter and with the slow motion 3K 100fps video, you can capture unique angles. Here is a video showing sample drift shot videos with the One X:
7. HDR Video (NEW! Not yet available at launch)
Insta360 One X features an HDR video mode, which enables the sensor to capture a wider dynamic range. Insta360 hasn’t disclosed how it works, but I spaculate that the One X uses a Sony sensor with spatial multiplexed exposure HDR (SME-HDR), where different pixels capture the video at different exposures, and the sensor can combine the data from all the exposures to achieve an HDR video.
8. Data overlay (NEW!)
With the optional Bluetooth GPS accessory, you can overlay speed, altitude, and other data including a map that will draw itself as you travel.
9. Log mode video
As with the Insta360 One, the One X can shoot in Log mode. Insta360 will make a LUT available.
As with the Insta360 One, the One X can capture 360 video and allow you to present it as a non-360 video where you choose the perspective. This allows you to “shoot first and point later.” Freecapture has several modes: Viewfinder lets you hold the phone as a virtual camera (with stabilization). Pivot Point lets you use keyframing to change the view smoothly. Smart Track can pan the view automatically to track objects.
11. Overcapture videos without stitching
The One X is one of the very few cameras that enables editing without stitching. Specifically, you can create an overcapture video without having to first stitch the 360 video.
As with the Insta360 Nano S, the One X can put a picture-in-picture overlay with independently panning perspectives.
13. 360 live streaming with realtime stabilization
The One X can live stream in 360 to Facebook, YouTube and other sites. The live stream resolution is up to 2560 x 1280.
14. Freecast (live streaming in freecapture or tiny planet mode)
The One X can live stream in non-360 mode where the live streamer can change the view in realtime during the live stream.
15. In-camera video montage (NEW! Not yet available at launch)
According to Insta360, you’ll be able to combine two or more videos into a video within the One X smartphone app.
16. HDR Photo (NEW! Not yet available at launch)
According to Insta360, this mode will enable you to shoot a true multi-exposure HDR shot, and the app will be able to fuse the exposures and stitch them.
17. Manual exposure (Improved)
The One X has a wider range of shutter speeds, from 1/8000 up to 120 secs.
18. Raw DNG photo shooting and stitching (Not yet available at launch)
The One X can shoot in DNG raw. Insta360 Studio will be able to stitch the One X Raw photos in DNG format (this feature was not yet ready as of October 10, 2018).
Features for both photos and videos, plus other features
19. New lens design with smoother stitching vs. Insta360 One (improved)
With the One X’s new lens configuration, the lenses are closer to each other and are back-to-back for better stitching.
20. Better low light performance (improved)
The One X’s new sensor performs quite well in low light. Insta360 opted for a sensor with slightly lower resolution but with larger sensels for better low light performance.
21. Wireless live preview (NEW!)
You can now get a live preview wirelessly.
22. Removable battery (NEW!)
With a removable battery, you can pack some spares to ensure you’ll never run out of batteries.
23. In-camera editing (Improved)
In addition to preset filters and to a skin-smoothening beautifying filter, photos and videos can be edited in the app, enabling you to adjust exposure, contrast, saturation and other settings. The edits are nondestructive and are reversible.
24. Underwater case with smooth stitching (NEW!)
There are now several 360 cameras that can be used underwater, but very few of them can record smoothly stitched underwater 360 photos and videos. Water refraction changes the effective focal length of lenses, decreasing their field of view significantly. As a result, most 360 cameras can’t stitch well underwater.
The only 360 cameras that are able to stitch smoothly underwater are those with a hemispherical lens cover, such as the Ricoh Theta (with the new TW-1 case), Kodak PIXPRO SP360 4K Dual Pro, and to some extent the Rylo.
The Insta360 One X has a dedicated underwater case called the Dive case, with spherical lenses that negate underwater refraction. With the Dive case, the One X will be able to stitch underwater photos and videos smoothly.
Here is a sample underwater scuba diving video with the Insta360 ONE X, posted by Lendar Chew:
25. Venture Case Hardcase
You can use the One X in rough environments with an optional protective hardcase accessory. The case has a similar design to Insta360 One’s hard case. The case can be used underwater although it will not stitch well underwater. Rather, it is designed simply to protect the One X in wet environments such as white water rafting.
26. Improved connectivity: High speed 5G Wi-Fi and USB cables (improved)
You can transfer photos and videos quickly to your phone with 5G Wi-Fi. You can transfer them even faster with the included USB cables.
27. Remote activation (NEW!)
With your phone you can turn on the Insta360 One X remotely. This is useful if the One X is away from you on a tripod, such as near a stage, while you are in the audience.
The One X can include GPS data in its 360 photos and videos when used with the optional Bluetooth remote accessory. This means that photos can be readily uploaded to Google Street View with GPS data. GPS is also useful for virtual tours that use GPS data.
29. OLED display (NEW!)
The One X’s OLED display is clear and shows what mode you’re shooting in.
Lastly, another improvement that is perhaps worth mentioning is that the One X has a metal tripod hole, unlike the plastic tripod hole in the Insta360 One.
Here are the complete specifications of the Insta360 One X, with a comparison against the Insta360 One. Advantages are highlighted in bold.
|Insta360 One X||Insta360 One|
|Lenses||two fisheye lenses||two fisheye lenses|
|Field of view||fully spherical||fully spherical|
|Processor||unspecified Ambarella||unspecified Ambarella|
|Photo resolution||6080 x 3040 in JPEG or DNG raw||6912 x 3456 in JPEG or DNG raw|
|Video resolution||5760 x 2880, 30fps|
3840 x 1920 @ 50fps
3840 x 1920 @ 30fps
mp4 (log mode available)
|3840 x 1920, 30fps|
2560 x 1280 @ 60fps
mp4 (log mode available)
|Bitrate||120 mbps||60 mbps|
|Bullet time video||3008 x 1504 @ 100fps|
variable aspect ratio
|2048 x 512 @ 120fps|
16:9 aspect ratio
|Live streaming:||Yes, stabilized.|
Compatible with YouTube, Facebook, Periscope / Twitter, Weibo
Compatible with YouTube, Facebook, Periscope / Twitter, Weibo
|Shutter speed:||1/8000 to 120 seconds||1/4000 to 60 seconds|
|ISO:||100 to 3200||100 to 3200 (up to 6400 for video)|
|Stabilization:||6-axis gyro-based image stabilization||6-axis gyro-based image stabilization|
|Connector:||1/4-20 tripod connector||1/4-20 tripod connector|
|Storage:||one Micro SD up to 128GB||one Micro SD up to 128GB (8GB included)|
|Working humidity:||TBD||30% to 80%|
|Temperature:||TBD||14F - 113F (-14C to 45C)|
|Waterproof:||No (TWO TYPES of waterproof housing accessories available)||No (waterproof housing accessory available)|
Bluetooth LE 4.0
MFI-certified lightning connector
|Bluetooth LE 4.0|
MFI-certified lightning connector
|Compatibility:||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac|
|Dimensions:||115 x 48 x 28 mm||96 x 36.5 x 25 mm|
|Weight:||115g with battery|
90.9 without battery
|Battery:||60 mins. removable||70 mins.; not removable; USB charging|
|Other features:||Drift shot|
Freecast (live streaming with changeable perspective)
Time lapse mode
Freecast (live streaming with changeable perspective)
Time lapse mode
The One X’s photo resolution of 18 mp is substantially lower than that of the Insta360 One, with 24 mp. However, with 360 cameras, you should not look at specifications in isolation. There are many 360 cameras that have lower specifications than its competitors but somehow have better quality. For example, the GoPro Fusion’s 18mp photos have more detail than Insta360 One’s 24mp photos. Ultimately, what matters is how the photos and videos actually look. Here are sample photos and videos from the Insta360 One X (firmware 1.15.12 or 1.16.12).
Insta360 One X sample photos
Here are a few sample 360 photos from the One X:
Insta360 One X sample videos
Here is a sample 5.7K 360 video from a pre-release version of the Insta360 One X. It shows log mode, the dynamic range and sharpness, and low light performance. However, it does not show HDR Video mode which is not yet available as of launch date.
The sample 360 video above is from the Insta360 One X, stitched on Insta360 Studio (not stitched on the mobile app). The stitched videos were then edited into a montage using Adobe Premiere Pro, with a 120mpbs bitrate. The videos show the One X’s resolution, dynamic range (with log mode and without log mode), low light footage, and stabilization performance in real world conditions.
In the low light segment of the sample video above, the background had some blur. That is because the beta version defaults to a slow shutter speed of 1/30 (to use a lower ISO). The ONE X has a manual exposure mode for video, so you can choose a higher shutter speed (such as 1/60 or 1/120) and higher ISO (up to ISO 3200) to avoid blur. Here is a new very low light sample that shows the effect of using a higher shutter speed and shows the high ISO performance of the ONE X in very low light
The video does NOT show audio performance. The version of Insta360 Studio that I used (released October 8, 2018) had some audio sync issues, but they were fixed after the video was posted.
Tony Northrup criticized the stabilization of the One X when stitched on a desktop. What he said was true of the older version of the Insta360 Studio. But on Monday October 8, they sent me the new version of Insta360 Studio, which stitches smoothly and has working stabilization. That’s the version that I used to stitch these videos, and as you can see the stabilization does work.
Insta360 ONE X slow motion Freecapture / overcapture sample:
Here is a sample Freecapture non-360 video edited entirely within the app using Viewfinder, Timeshift, and the 3K 100fps mode.
Sample underwater video from Insta360 ONE X
Here is a sample underwater video with the Dive Case, by Lendar Chew:
The stitching looks smooth, although the case is visible at the nadir. The stitching appears similar to the Ricoh TW-1 underwater case for the Ricoh Theta, which is not at all surprising given their very similar designs.
Sample files for download
You can download unstitched sample files from the One X here and use them with the software below to make sure your equipment are compatible. The files are for your personal use only. Please do not upload them anywhere and please do not send the files to other people.
Download the software
Please note the software are in beta therefore they may be missing features. For example, unlike previous versions of Insta360 Studio, these desktop versions don’t have Freecapture capability. However, you can install them alongside the previous versions (don’t delete the old versions).
COMPARISON: INSTA360 ONE X vs. GOPRO FUSION (One X firmware 1.16.12)
As of September 2018, the best consumer 360 camera has been the GoPro Fusion (reviewed here). How does the One X compare to the Fusion and other 360 cameras? I used the 360 camera comparison tool to compare them side by side for both videos and photos.
Standard 30fps video:
For video, I found that the Fusion has higher resolution, while the ONE X has higher acutance (edge contrast). Below is a pair of crops from the videos (ONE X on left, Fusion on the right). If you look at the bushes toward the back, you can see that more leaves are visible on the Fusion, suggesting that Fusion has higher resolution. But if you look at the lines on the side of the shed, they are more easily distinguishable in the ONE X sample, showing it has higher acutance:
On the other hand, toward the stitch line, the One X has substantially more detail than the Fusion (the Fusion has a sudden drop in sharpness near the stitch line). If your priority is consistent sharpness throughout the frame, the ONE X would be better than the Fusion.
With respect to dynamic range, the Fusion appears to have noticeably more dynamic range than the One X. The wrinkle in the analysis is that I wasn’t testing the One X’s HDR Video mode (which was not functional as of launch day). It’s possible that with HDR Video activated, the One X might close the gap with the Fusion for dynamic range. However, it is not likely that it will have a material effect on the One X’s resolution.
Slow motion video:
The Fusion has a slow motion video mode, with a resolution of 3K at 60fps. I compared it against the One X at 4K 50fps and 3K 100fps. I found that the One X at 4K 50fps had noticeably more detail than the Fusion’s 3K 60fps mode, while the Fusion’s 3K 60fps mode had noticeably more detail than the One X’s 3K 100fps mode.
For photos, in my opinion Fusion has also been the best overall 360 camera for consumers because its detail is almost as good as that of the Xiaomi Mi Sphere (reviewed here), while having far greater dynamic range. This is despite the Fusion having a nominal resolution of only 5760 x 2880, lower than several other 360 cameras. I compared 360 photos from the One X and the Fusion and found that when viewed at the same viewing size, the ONE X and Fusion are similar, although the Fusion has slightly more detail (resolution), while the ONE X has higher edge contrast (. Fusion also appears to have more dynamic range. Again, however, the One X’s HDR photo mode was not yet functional. The Fusion on the other hand, has no HDR mode. If and when the One X’s HDR photo mode works, it may meet or exceed the Fusion’s dynamic range.
Both Insta360 One X and GoPro Fusion have excellent stabilization, and both can use two modes of stabilization: one with a stabilized compass heading, and another that stabilizes toward the direction the camera is facing. Note that GoPro Fusion can sometimes drift (the heading gradually turns toward one direction). The ONE X has no drifting issue (assuming you’ve already calibrated the gyro).
Usability and practicality:
Insta360 One X has far more features than the Fusion, and is easier to use as well. Among the features that the One X has that are not available on the Fusion are the 3K 100fps mode, Drift Shot, Time Shift, a smooth-stitching underwater case, GPS overlay (with the Bluetooth remote accessory) and more.
At the same time, there is also a significant price difference between the One X ($399) and the Fusion ($699 and occasionally $599).
For practicality, one advantage of the Fusion is that it is waterproof even without a case. However, the One X has two waterproof housings available.
The Fusion has slightly more detail for both photos and videos, and noticeably better dynamic range. However, I expect that with the One X’s HDR Video mode and HDR photo mode, the gap in dynamic range would be much narrower. Moreover, ONE X appears to have better optics with more consistent sharpness throughout the frame, and almost no chromatic aberration even at the stitch line). At the same time, the One X is almost half the cost of the Fusion, and has far more features such as the very useful 3K 100fps slow motion, Drift Shot, and Time Shift. Accordingly, in my opinion, assuming Insta360 can fix the HDR Video and HDR Photo mode, I believe the One X is a better overall camera than the Fusion, and is therefore probably the best 360 camera for consumers as of October 2018.
INSTA360 ONE X DISADVANTAGES AND PROBLEMS
With the 5.7K video mode, recording time is limited to 30 mins. This is not due to overheating but due to the unique file structure of the ONE X to enable recording at 5.7K.
Tony Northrup posted a review of the ONE X with several criticisms that are partly correct, but partly incorrect. In his review, Tony Northrup said if you use the Insta360 Studio to stitch the video, then the stabilization will not be good, and the stitching will be poor. What Tony said is true only for the older version of the Insta360 Studio software. But on October 8, Insta360 made a functional version available, which not only stitched smoothly (at up to 120mbps) but could stabilize well. The sample video I posted above was stitched with Insta360 Studio desktop software and you can see the stitching is seamless, and the stabilization is smooth.
There are still bugs with the new version of the Insta360 Studio. For example, it does not have 360 metadata in photos and videos. The framerates of the stitched videos not standard (28.97 fps instead of 29.97 fps). For some videos, the audio is not in sync (that’s part of the reason my sample videos have only music in them). However, I’m confident that Insta360 will be able to resolve these issues, and therefore to me these are temporary issues and should not be factors in your decision making unless you need a camera for an event that is in October. (Given their track record, I believe the issues will be fixed by November.)
Bluetooth and GPS remote
The Bluetooth remote is a dedicated remote for the One X that can not only be used to trigger the One X but can also switch shooting modes, and most importantly, add GPS metadata to your photos and videos, which can in turn be shown as an overlay on your videos.
This case is designed to protect the One X from water or harsh environments.
You can use this case to take underwater photos and videos with the One X. The specially designed lens is designed to avoid refraction.
External battery charger
This battery charger can charge two One X batteries at the same time.
Drifter camera dart (drift shot accessory)
This is a case for the Insta360 One X designed to enable the One X to be thrown.
Insta360 Invisible Selfie Stick (improved)
The new version of the Insta360 Invisible Selfie Stick has a narrower tip to ensure that the selfie stick is invisible to the One X (as long as the shaft is extended). Other monopods I’ve tried that are invisible to the One X include the Benro MK10 and Monoshot 2 (see my Ultimate Buying Guide for 360 camera tripods).
Bullet time handle
You can use this specially designed swiveling handle with a monopod such as the Invisible Selfie Stick to create a bullet time shot. The bullet time handle has a 1/4-20 tripod connector to connect to a monopod with a tripod hole. There is no change to the bullet time handle.
1. Is Insta360 One X compatible with iOS and Android smartphones?
Insta360 One X is compatible with both iOS and Android but the Android app is not yet available. The Android app is expected to be available in November 2018. For iOS, please note that the minimum phone is an iPhone 6S.
2. Is Insta360 One X compatible with Windows and Mac?
The desktop software for Insta360 One X is currently available for Windows. The Mac version is expected to be available in November 2018. A desktop must have a GTX 750 graphics card or better in order to stitch at the full resolution. For an affordable graphics card, I recommend GTX 1050 Ti.
4. Does someone have to catch the camera for Drift Shot?
The Drifter accessory is designed protect the One X lens if it lands on a flat surface. It is possible to land on a protruding rock or other object that could damage the lens. Also if the Drifter is not indestructible (for example, don’t drop it from a building). Finally, the One X can withstand some shocks but stronger shocks may damage internal components of the camera.
5. Can I use the Drifter accessory with another 360 camera?
The Drifter accessory is designed to fit only the One X. Moreover, the One X is the only 360 camera with decent quality super slow motion.
6. Do I need the Dive case or can I just use the Venture case?
If you want to shoot photos or videos underwater, then you need the Dive case. The Venture case is waterproof, but it’s not designed for underwater shooting, so the photos and videos shot underwater won’t stitch as smoothly (there will be blind spots on the sides of the camera).
7. I imported the video from the One X into my video editor but it would not recognize it
The One X records videos in insv format and photos in insp format. Those are unstitched photos and videos. They need to be stitched and saved as mp4 and jpg respectively. See the tutorial above.
8. After I stitch the photos and videos from the One X, where can I share them?
Photos can be uploaded to sites such as Facebook or Kuula or Veer. Videos can be uploaded to sites such as Facebook, YouTube, or Veer. After you’ve uploaded your photo or video, then you can share the URL with your family and friends.
Alternatively, you can embed the photo or video on your website or blog. Most 360 photo and 360 video sharing sites allow embedding (usually it is one of the share options). Just copy the iframe tags and paste them in the html of your blog or website. More info here.
9. Where can I get a discount on the One X?
See discount code below.
10. Which tripod, selfie stick, or monopod should I get for the One X?
I recommend the new version of the Insta360 Selfie Stick. Also check out my Ultimate Buying Guide for 360 camera tripods.
You can get a special deal on the Insta360 One X that includes the 2nd generation Invisible Selfie Stick when you buy directly from Insta360 using this affiliate link. You can also buy from B&H Photo here. Thank you for supporting 360 Rumors at no additional cost to you so I can do more tests and reviews!
Here are the Insta360 One X’s strengths and weaknesses thus far.
Strengths (firmware 1.15.12)
+ excellent video quality (excellent detail, good dynamic range)
+ excellent photo quality (excellent detail, good dynamic range)
+ excellent low light and high ISO performance
+ amazing slow motion video quality
+ drift shot looks amazing and unique
+ excellent stabilization with two stabilization modes (stabilized compass heading and forward view)
+ consistent sharpness throughout the frame
+ almost no chromatic aberration
+ easy to use
+ does not break up longer files into smaller files
+ startup and shutdown are fast
+ Insta360 Studio is capable of batch exporting
Weaknesses (firmware 1.15.12)
– bugs (e.g. audio not in sync, frame rate is not standard, lacks 360 metadata, Insta360 Studio can’t stitch One X DNG yet)
– 5.7K video recording limited to 30 mins. at a time.
– Phone app limited to 4K 30fps video and 1080p 100fps video
– Android version not yet available until November.
– Mac version not yet available until November.
– Micro SD card is hard to remove with short fingernails.
– Lens is not replaceable (but it has an optional hard case)
– Does not have 3D capabilities.
– Battery life limited to 60 minutes video recording.
Insta360 One X successfully combines almost all the best features from competing 360 cameras. The photo and video quality are both excellent, and the slow motion 3K 100fps mode is very impressive. I don’t have the release version of the firmware yet, and thus haven’t been able to test some key features to do a thorough comparison. Nonetheless, I’m confident that assuming the bugs are sorted out (which I expect to happen soon), the Insta360 One X is the best overall 360 camera as of October 2018. As long as you have a compatible phone and desktop, I would highly recommend the Insta360 One X. This review and resource page will be updated regularly. To get updates, bookmark this page, follow 360 Rumors on Twitter and/or Facebook, and/or leave a comment below and check the box for “receive updates.”
Insta360 ONE X
- Photo - 8.5/108.5/10
- Video - 8.9/108.9/10
- Stability - 9.0/109.0/10
- Usability - 9.5/109.5/10