Insta360 One X2 is a new 360 camera that replaces the popular Insta360 One X. I saw this camera in August 2019 when I visited Insta360’s offices and I’ve been beta testing it for the past couple of months. Here’s an in-depth hands-on review and how it compares with the Insta360 One R (reviewed here).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Features (updated Nov. 1, 2020)
Photo and video quality (updated Nov. 14, 2020)
Samples (including sample files for download – updated Nov. 9, 2020)
Accessories (added Nov. 2, 2020)
FAQ (updated Nov. 8, 2020)
– What about Insta360 One R?
– How did they shoot the teaser trailer shots?
Here is a hands-on review of the Insta360 One X2. In summary, the One X2 is one of the best 360 cameras at the moment. However,
INSTA360 ONE X2 SPECIFICATIONS
|Insta360 One X2||Insta360 One X|
|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; 9-shot HDR in Raw+JPG||6080 x 3040 in JPEG or DNG raw|
|Video resolution||5760 x 2880, 30fps|
3840 x 1920 @ 50fps
3840 x 1920 @ 30fps
3008 x 1504 @ 100fps
mp4 (log mode or vivid mode available)
|5760 x 2880, 30fps|
3840 x 1920 @ 50fps
3840 x 1920 @ 30fps
3008 x 1504 @ 100fps
mp4 (log mode available)
|Bitrate||100 mbps H.265 or H.264||100 mbps H.264|
|Bullet time video||3008 x 1504 @ 100fps|
variable aspect ratio
|3008 x 1504 @ 100fps|
variable aspect ratio
|Live streaming:||Yes, stabilized, 360 and non-360. Facebook, YouTube and RTMP||Yes, stabilized.|
Compatible with YouTube, Facebook, Periscope / Twitter, Weibo
|Shutter speed:||1/8000 to 120 seconds||1/8000 to 120 seconds|
|ISO:||100 to 3200||100 to 3200|
|Stabilization:||6-axis gyro-based image stabilization||6-axis gyro-based image stabilization|
|Microphones||4 microphones - spatial audio||stereo|
|Connector:||1/4-20 tripod connector (metal)||1/4-20 tripod connector|
|LCD screen||OLED touchscreen||LCD screen|
|Storage:||one Micro SD up to 1TB||one Micro SD up to 128GB|
|Temperature:||-4°F to 104°F (-20℃ to 40℃)||TBD|
|Waterproof:||Yes, up to 10m,|
|No (TWO TYPES of waterproof housing accessories available)|
|Connectivity:||5G WiFi; Bluetooth LE 4.0, USB Type C||5G WiFi; Bluetooth LE 4.0, Micro USB|
|Compatibility:||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac||iOS, Android, Windows, Mac|
|Dimensions:||113 x 462 x 298 mm (1.82 x 4.45 x 1.17in)||115 x 48 x 28 mm|
|Weight:||149g (5.25oz)||115g with battery|
90.9 without battery
|Battery:||80 minutes||60 mins.|
|Price at launch:||$429||$399|
INSTA360 ONE X2 KEY FEATURES (updated November 1, 2020)
Insta360 One X2 has most of the features of the Insta360 One R (other than modularity), and adds several new features……………..
- NEW! Waterproof without a case: X2 is waterproof even without a case. One R is also waterproof but requires the camera bracket to be waterproof. Please note that although the X2 is waterproof, it will not stitch smoothly underwater due to refraction. In the sample below, you can see my legs were cut off at the stitch line. Moreover, the photos and videos become soft toward the edge of the lens. For better sharpness and smooth stitching underwater, you’ll need the optional dive case.
- NEW! Longer battery life: X2 is rated for 80 minutes with its standard battery. This is nearly double the battery life of the One R.
- NEW! OLED touchscreen with autorotation: the X2 has a bright OLED touchscreen that can rotate automatically depending on how you hold the camera.
- NEW! Steady Cam non-360 video mode with horizon lock: in this mode, the Insta360 One X2 can capture a non-360 video with stabilization, without the need for stitching. Steady Cam can be used in portrait or landscape orientation In addition, you can switch to Pro stabilization mode which will enable you to change aspect ratios and even better stabilization, including 360 rotation stabilization.
- NEW! Multiview while recording 360 video: While recording a 360 video, you can activate multiview to get a stabilized picture-in-picture view of yourself while also framing your video.
- NEW! Automatic 360 Video Timeshift (hyperlapse). With previous Insta360 cameras, you could do a hyperlapse within the app. With X2, there is an automatic 360 video hyperlapse mode where the camera will automatically apply a fast forward effect with motion blur. Moreover, the camera will automatically adjust the speed faster or slower depending on the amount of movement in the scene. When processing the app, you can change the speed effect according to your preference.
- NEW! Automatic Non-360 Timeshift (hyperlapse). In addition to the 360 Timeshift mode, X2 also has a non-360 timeshift mode that can also adjust speed automatically.
- NEW! Spatial Audio: the One X2 has four microphones and can record spatial audio or use the microphones to reduce wind noise. Note: the firmware for this hasn’t been released as of November 1, 2020.
- NEW! Instapano: panoramic photo mode, in standard mode, Pureshot (see below), or HDR mode. This is similar to a cropped equirectangular photo. The direction that the panorama faces can be adjusted afterward in the app.
- Airpods compatibility: One X2 can use airpods (and some Bluetooth headsets) as wireless microphones.
- External microphone adapter: One X2 has a special low-profile microphone adapter. You’ll be able to plug in a lav mic or other external microphone.
- Pureshot. This is an effect that can be used for 360 photos and non-360 photos to enhance shadow detail using AI. Pureshot was first
- 9-shot HDR with Raw. One X2 can take 360 and non-360 photos in HDR in both Raw and JPG, and both stitch and merge them in the app or in the desktop (note: Raw HDR photos can only be stitched in the desktop).
- HDR Video: One X2 has a special HDR video mode that uses two exposures for each frame of the video: a normal exposure and an underexposure for highlights. This enables it to capture very high dynamic range. HDR Video is stabilized as well. However, Insta360 does not recommend HDR video for moving scenes because there can be unusual artifacts where the highlights don’t move in sync with the rest of the video.
- Night shot mode. In this photo mode, the One X2 can take a burst of nine raw photos, eight of which are used for median stacking to reduce noise, plus one underexposed shot (-4EV) to capture highlights.
- Starlapse mode. This is an effect that can capture a time lapse video of the night sky and animate the stars with star trails.
- Flowstate stabilization: class-leading 360 stabilization performance.
- Quick capture: when Quick Capture is activated, you can press the shutter while the camera is off and the camera will automatically wake up and start recording. After recording, the camera will automatically shutdown.
- Bluetooth remote compatibility: the One X2 can use the optional Insta360 Bluetooth remote to enable you to control the One X2 from a distance without using your phone.
- Insta360 Stats: when shooting with your phone or the optional Bluetooth remote, you can record GPS data which can then be overlaid on playback, with data such as speed, elevation, etc.
- Voice command: the X2 can recognize voice commands such as Start Recording or Take a Photo.
- Deep track: Insta360 One X2’s AI-assisted Deep Track can track subjects even when they change positions or if they go behind other objects.
- Auto framing: AI-assisted video editing automatically identifies subjects such as people, buildings, pets, or even vehicles, and creates virtual cameras to track each identified subject.
- Time lapse (360 or non-360): One X2 can capture a time lapse (intervals of 0.5 seconds to 120 seconds) in 360 mode or Steady Cam mode, and automatically turn it into a time lapse video, with stabilization.
- Intervalometer (360 or non-360): One X2 can capture a series of 360 or non-360 photos at intervals of 3 seconds to 120 seconds, with auto exposure, manual exposure, shutter priority, or ISO priority, in Raw+JPG.
- Starlapse: X2 can create a time lapse video with star trails, like this (this sample was shot with One R):
- Custom presets: If you have particular settings that you use often, you can save it as a custom preset mode.
- 360 live streaming: One X2 can live stream in 360 to Facebook, Youtube, or RTMP servers.
- Non-360 live streaming: the One X2 can also live stream in non-360 view, with you controlling the view that your audience will see. You can even live stream a tiny planet view.
- Bullet time:
- Histogram: When shooting with the Insta360 app, you can see a live histogram to help with exposure.
- Rule of thirds grid: When shooting with the Insta360 app and shooting in Steady Cam mode, you can add a rule of thirds overlay to assist with composition.
INSTA360 ONE X2 TUTORIAL
PHOTO AND VIDEO QUALITY
Here is a comparison of cropped images from unedited 360 videos from Insta360 One X2 and the Z Cam S1, a professional 6K 360 camera. It is difficult to compare for dynamic range because I cannot preview the S1’s exposure without getting a wireless router for it, and in this case, the S1 chose a more conservative exposure and protected all highlights, while the X2 has muc hmore shadow detail. Speaking of detail, in areas where they have more similar exposure, such as the roof, it appears that the X2 has about as much detail as the Z Cam S1, which is quite remarkable considering that the X2 is pocket-sized, costs about 1/5th as much as the S1 and has a far easier workflow, and is stabilized.
I also compared to the X2 to the One X and One R. Between the three, the One X has the most flat appearance, which gives more flexibility for editing, but looks low-contrast. The One R uses the new standard profile which has higher contrast. One X2 can also use the same standard profile as the One R. In addition, One X2 has a Vivid color profile with a much higher contrast, higher saturation and more aggressive sharpening. All of them can also choose log mode for maximum dynamic range.
I also compared the X2 to the One R for photo quality. I was surprised that the X2 had much more detail than the One R when both are using HDR mode. However, the One X2’s colors are far too saturated. I am requesting Insta360 to fix the colors.
I also compared the X2 to the Theta Z1 ($999), both of them in HDR JPG mode. Theta Z1 has 1-inch sensors and is tied for the best 360 camera for 360 photos. I was surprised to find that the X2 had almost as much detail, although much more noise and less accurate colors.
If you use the One X2 in HDR mode and merge the DNG photos using 3rd party software, you can get even better results. Below is a comparison between the HDR from Insta360 Studio (beta version) and HQ Lite, which is a simplified version of the HQ Method workflow.
Here is a 360 photo of the One X2 (HQ Lite workflow)
Stitching quality comparison (added Nov. 14, 2020)
INSTA360 ONE X2 SAMPLES (updated November 9, 2020)
Download sample photos and videos (updated November 9, 2020)
Here are sample videos from the Insta360 One X2:
Insta360 One X2 Accessories
There are several accessories for Insta360 One X2:
- Lens guards: these are protective lens covers that can be used for rugged environments to protect the lenses. They attach to the X2 using disposable adhesive strips.
- Microphone adapter: these connect to the the X2’s USB C port and enable an external microphone to be connected for better audio quality. Features a pass-through USB port.
- Bullet time cord: a retractable cord that is intended to be used for bullet time videos.
- Quick charger: can charge up to three batteries, each at twice the normal charging speed.
- Dive case: capture underwater 360 photos and 360 videos with smooth stitching and better sharpness.
- Utility frame: a cage for the One X2 that has two cold shoes, a lens cover, and the option to use a GoPro-style mount.
- Cold shoe: mounts between the X2 and the Invisible Selfie Stick to add a cold shoe to the One X2.
- Invisible Selfie Stick (not shown): a monopod that is narrow enough to fit between the X2’s lenses, making it invisible in 360 photos and videos.
- Multipurpose tripod (not shown): a tripod stand for the Invisible Selfie Stick.
- Does Insta360 One X2 have better VIDEO QUALITY than Insta360 One X or Insta360 One R?
The One X2, One X, and One R have similar detail. However, the X2 has better contrast and more aggressive sharpening because of its exclusive Vivid color profile, which is also available to One R but only for the 4K mod and 1-inch mod. The X2 can also use the standard profile which has lower contrast.
- Does Insta360 One X2 have better PHOTO QUALITY than Insta360 One X or Insta360 One R?
Yes, in my tests the X2 HDR mode is much more detailed than One R’s HDR mode.
- What are the differences between the Insta360 One X2 and the One X?
The biggest differences are:
+ Waterproof. One X2 is waterproof to 10 meters, even without a case.
+ Touchscreen. X2’s touchscreen makes it very easy to adjust the settings and preview your exposure. The OLED touchscreen is also easy to see even in bright sunlight.
+ In-camera 360 view: X2 can review photos and videos in 360 mode with stabilization.
+ Longer battery life: X2 can record up to 80 minutes.
+ Lens covers: X2 has optional lens covers.
+ 9-shot HDR in Raw+JPG: X2 can take HDR photos with much better quality
+ Better stabilization
+ Non-360 Steady Cam mode: X2 can switch to a stabilized non-360 video mode that can be stitched and stabilized in the camera.
+ Instapano: X2 can take a panoramic photo, similar to an equirectangular view but cropped.
+ Better in-camera audio: X2 has spatial audio with four microphones
+ Airpods compatibility: you can use airpods and some Bluetooth headsets as a wireless microphone.
+ External microphone: X2 has an optional microphone adapter.
+ Vivid mode. One X was sometimes criticized for having “flat” color. X2’s Vivid mode is more similar to GoPro’s colors.
+ 360 video Multiview mode: while shooting in 360 video mode, X2 can show a multiview
+ Date and time do not reset, even if you remove the battery.
+ Webcam mode: One X2 can be used as a 360 webcam.
- What are the differences between the Insta360 One X2 and One R?
The biggest differences are:
+ Better waterproofing (doesn’t need a bracket)
+ Vivid mode in all video modes. One R can use Vivid mode only for 4K mod and 1-inch mod.
+ Much better audio: X2 has four microphones and has spatial audio.
+ Much longer battery life: rated for 80 minutes (I was able to record 74 minutes).
+ Steady Cam stabilized non-360 mode with no stitching required
+ Instapano panoramic photo mode (standard and HDR).
+ Automatic timeshift mode (360 and non-360)
+ 1/4-20 tripod hole ensures that the camera will always be in-line with the selfie stick
– X2 has a webcam mode but doesn’t have the One R 4K mod’s auto-tracking.
- What is the maximum recording time of the Insta360 One X2?
The battery is rated for 80 minutes. I was able to record for 74 minutes. The video had no drifting and I did not notice any fogging.
- What will happen to Insta360 One R? Will One X2 replace the One R?
A lot of people bought the Insta360 One R during the Amazon Prime Day sale, and now they’re wondering if they should return the One R? If you’re one of those people you shouldn’t worry. Here’s why.
I saw the One X2 back in August 2019, before the One R was released. This means they were both being developed simultaneously and were intended to be sold at the same time, which underscores the point that the One R and the X2 serve different markets. The X2 is not a replacement for the One R.
This has at least two precedents. Insta360 once sold the Insta360 One and Insta360 Nano S simultaneously. Both had similar video quality but had different form factors targeted toward different users. Insta360 also sold the Insta360 One X and Insta360 Evo concurrently. Both had very similar specifications, except that the EVO could be converted into a VR180 camera, while the One X had better stitching due to less parallax error between its lenses.
The One R can do some things that the X2 cannot do (and vice-versa). For some people, the better camera will be the X2. However, for others, the better camera will still be the trusty Insta360 One R.
If you bought the One R because of its unique advantages, then don’t worry – none of those advantages are going away. If the One R wasn’t a perfect fit but you bought it anyway because you felt there were no alternatives, then the X2 may be better for you.
- Can Insta360 One X2 use the One X dive case?
No. The One X2 is slightly thicker than One X and will not fit in the One X dive case.
- Can Insta360 One X2 use the microphone adapter of the One R?
No. The One R USB microphone adapter will not work on One X2, according to Insta360’s representative.
- Help! My One X2 videos can’t be read by Insta360 Studio! Also: why do I have duplicate files?
Each 5.7K video from the One X2 has TWO files that are almost identically named. You must keep both files in the same directory and must not rename either of them. If either one is missing or renamed, Insta360 Studio (or the phone app) will not be able to view the video.
- Help! My files look like two circles!
You are looking at unstitched files. In order to view them in 360, the files have to be stitched together either in Insta360 mobile app or Insta360 Studio 2020 desktop app.
- Help! My files look distorted! How do I see them in 360?
You’ll need a 360 photo viewer or 360 video viewer. There are plenty on mobile and desktop. For iOS and Android, you can use Google Photos to view 360 photos and videos. On desktop, I like using Insta360 Studio or GoPro VR Player.
- Help! My One X2 videos look horrible and pixelated! Nothing at all like your samples!
Be sure to use the full resolution versions, not the LRV files (low resolution previews).
- How did they take the shots for the One X2 teaser?
Are you curious about how they shot the teaser trailer? Here’s the teaser trailer and my analysis:
Join the X2 Users Group
Join the One X2 Users and Fans group here. I will endeavor to keep the group positive and supportive. No spam and no rudeness allowed.
Conclusion; Where to Buy
The Insta360 One X2 improves on the Insta360 One X and One R by adding a stabilized non-360 mode, spatial audio, better waterproofing, a better HDR photo mode, and other features. Its biggest disadvantage is that it does not improve video quality significantly over the One X or One R. However, if you don’t have a 360 camera yet, the One X2 is the best overall 360 camera as of October 2020, taking into account both image quality and usability.
If you have any questions about the Insta360 One X2, please post them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you’d like to get the Insta360 One X2 or One R, please use the links below which will support 360 Rumors at no additional cost to you, so I can do more tests and reviews. And if you encounter any issues with your purchase and you used my affiliate links, please send me a message, I can help you with them.
Camera crew in your pocket
An excellent choice for a first 360 camera, or if your 360 camera is from the previous generation.
Pros: very good video quality, excellent usability, best app in the industry, more affordable than GoPro MAX.
Cons: video quality not much better than One X or One R.