Insta360 has just launched the Insta360 GO, its first non-360 camera. How will it impact your photos and videos? In this hands-on review, I discuss its 15 features and advantages, and 5 disadvantages.
15 Advantages and 5 disadvantages
Sample photos and videos; download sample files (updated September 1, 2019)
Tutorial (added September 21, 2019)
Conclusion: Should you get one?
Price and availability; where to buy
First published: August 28, 2019. Last edited: September 1, 2019.
What is Insta360 GO?
Insta360 Go is the world’s smallest stabilized camera, roughly the size of an AA battery. Here are the official Insta360 launch videos:
Insta360 Go Features and Advantages
Here are the 15 features and advantages of the Insta360 Go:
1. Shoot fast.
Insta360 Go is ready to shoot at anytime. Simply press it, and within about a second, it can take a shot. The type of shot it takes can be customized to either photo, video, slow motion, or hyperlapse.
The GO has other modes available as well. Just turn it on, and either click, double-click, or triple-click it. As with the Quick Capture, the buttons can be customized.
2. Hands-free FPV / POV camera.
The GO can capture a first person view perspective, hands-free, and it is much more convenient for doing that.
3. Flowstate stabilization
The GO has impressive stabilization, much better than that of a typical action camera. However, its stabilization is not quite as good as that of the Insta360 One X.
4. Selfies and group shots.
With its ultrawide fisheye lens and stabilization, it’s easy to take a photo or video of yourself or your group.
5. Unique angles
This camera is of course not the first small action cam. The GoPro Hero Session was designed as a compact alternative to the GoPro Hero line of cameras. With its small size, the Hero Session has been used to capture unique perspectives, such as from below a skateboard. However, this new Insta360 camera is even smaller — small enough to be covered by a thumb. It opens even more opportunities for amazing new shooting perspectives, and moreover can be rotated at any angle, allowing you to switch from a high angle to a low angle, or from upright to upside down on the fly.
6. Slow motion. GO can capture slow motion videos at 1600 x 928 resolution at 100fps. The file is saved at 25fps in slow motion with no audio.
7. Hyperlapse. GO has excellent stabilization and uses that feature for hyperlapses. However, unlike the Insta360 One X or Insta360 EVO, its hyperlapses are actually timelapses with stabilization (not videos that have been sped up). This means you cannot change the speed (unless you’re willing to change the frame rate).
8. Barrel roll. GO’s photos and videos can be rotated, and the rotation can be keyframed.
9. Wireless (up to 10 meters). The Go uses Bluetooth for wireless control up to 10 meters away (in ideal conditions).
10. Self-timer (3 sec. to 60 secs.). This feature is available only with the app.
11. Static Timelapse (intervalometer). Camera wakes up, takes a photo, shuts down. Repeat. Intervals: 10 sec. to 2 mins.
12. Interval video. Automatically shoots multiple videos of 15 or 30 seconds each, with each video between 1 min. to 1 day apart. Shuts down in between recording.
13. Flashcut automatic editing. GO boasts AI-assisted video editing.
14. Keyframing. Thanks to its fisheye lens, the GO’s photos and videos can be keyframed within the range of the fisheye lens (i.e., approximately 30 degrees in any direction).
15. Splash proof. GO is IPX4 rated and is splashproof. Please note it should not be submerged longer than 10 seconds.
1. Short battery life: around 25 videos of 30 secs each, or 106 videos of 15 secs. each. The GO can be recharged in its case in 18 minutes. The Charge Case can recharge the GO up to 2.5 times when fully charged.
2. Limited recording capacity. GO has a built-in memory of 8GB. My 30-second videos have been slightly under 150MB, which means around 53 videos of 30 secs each. When the GO is filled up, you can transfer its photos and videos to your smartphone using the charging case.
3. No live preview.
4. No exposure control.
Sample video and photo; download samples
Here is a sample video edited by the Insta360 GO app and uploaded to YouTube from the app:
I was pleasantly surprised with the Insta360 Go’s sound quality. While holding the Go, I could hear my voice clearly, despite a lot of background noise. Here is a sample of the audio quality.
The photo quality is pretty good. The photos are sharp and detailed, although the highlight range could be butter. Here is an unedited sample photo which I’ve upload to Kuula. Incidentally, Kuula is ideal for sharing Insta360 GO photos because unlike some 360 photo sharing sites, Kuula allows non-360 photos.
You can download sample files here, including a photo, a video, a timelapse video, and a slow-motion video. For personal use only. Please do not upload or post any of the photos or videos anywhere. You can download the software here.
Shooting with Insta360 Go is easy. The Go has only one button on the back, although pushing down the front of the camera will also press the button. Here are the fully customizable controls:
Quick capture: with the camera off, press the button once. By default, this records a video clip. After the clip is recorded, the camera turns off automatically.
Turn on or off: just hold down the power button to turn it on or turn it off.
Single click, double click, or triple click: while the camera is turned on, press the button once, twice, or thrice. By default, single click is a photo, double click is a hyperlapse, and triple click is a slow motion video.
If you take a photo, the camera will remain on. If you record a video or hyperlapse, the Go will turn itself off after recording. The Go is designed to capture highlights, so they assume it will be at least a few more minutes before you record another highlight.
In addition to the on-camera controls, you can also have additional controls using wireless control. Turn on the camera, launch the app, tap on the camera icon, and tap on Bluetooth control. This will make additional shooting modes available, such as video interval. However, there is no live preview.
Editing and sharing
Here is a tutorial for Insta360 Go, showing how you can edit videos with the mobile app.
In addition to editing via the mobile app, you can also edit the Go on the desktop. With the Go in the charging case, use the included Micro USB cable to connect the charging case to your PC or Mac. You’ll be able to copy the Go’s files, which are in .insp (photo) or .insv (video) format, to your hard drive. From there, you can use Insta360 Studio or Adobe Premiere CC (with the Insta360 plugin) to view the files. With Studio, you can stitch the files, change the aspect ratio, or adjust the video speed. However, Studio cannot apply keyframing to the Go’s videos.
Conclusion: Should you buy one?
I believe the Go can be a good camera for casual shooters and for social media, especially Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories. For those uses, GO makes it easy to capture spontaneous moments, without having to fumble for your phone or camera. However, it is by no means a substitute for a 360 camera, because although it is easier, it is not as versatile, and cannot capture a 3rd person view. It is also not a substitute for an action camera because it is not sufficiently rugged, and has limited recording capacity. However, if you use it as intended — as a camera for capturing candid shots, it works pretty well.
Where to buy; price and availability.
Insta360 GO is available for purchase now for $199 on Amazon or B&H Photo. It is also available directly from Insta360, although strangely, Insta360 claims that the margins on this one are so thin that they are not available to provide any freebies or even affiliate commissions. Since Amazon ships faster and has easier returns, you may be better off getting from Amazon. Thank you very much for using my affiliate link at no cost to you, so I can do more tests and reviews.