There’s an end of season sale for Insta360 and among other cameras on sale are the Insta360 One X2 (reviewed here) and One R. Should you buy the new Insta360 X3 (reviewed here), the 1-inch 360 (reviewed here), or save money with the One X2?
Which cameras and accessories are on sale?
During the season-end sale, the One X2 is available for around $387, which is a discount of about $43, or about 10% off the original price of $430. The One RS Twin Edition (reviewed here) is also on sale for $55 discount (10% off) or $495. Other cameras such as the Pro 2 and Go 2 are also on sale. The X3 ($450) and 1-inch 360 ($800) were released only recently and are therefore not on sale.
Key advantages of X3
The biggest advantage of the X3 over the One X2 and One R in my opinion is the new Me Mode, which lets you capture a 3rd person view without the need for any keyframing. Not only is it faster and more convenient, but it can also be shot at 1080p 60fps. That might not sound very impressive but in terms of level of detail, it is similar to a reframed 5.7k 60fps. Although I showed how it is possible to simulate Me Mode, only X3 will enable you to do so with a 60 fps frame rate and a level of detail similar to 5.7k 360 video.
The X3’s second key advantage is Active HDR, which is an improved version of HDR Video. Besides offering slightly better highlight and shadow range, X3’s Active HDR is noticeably more detailed and can be used even when the camera is moving and being shaken, which would otherwise lead to floating highlights on the One X2 and One R’s HDR Video mode.
A third advantage of X3 is convenience. The large touchscreen makes it as easy and intuitive to use as a smartphone. It also has two new buttons – a dedicated button for switching between 360 and single-lens modes, and a preset button. Other benefits of X3 are increased resolution in some modes: photo is now 72mp, bullet time is 4K 120fps, and the single-lens mode is now up to 4K 30fps. However, in terms of actual detail, I don’t find a huge improvement over the One X2 and One R in these modes.
Who it’s for: I recommend upgrading to X3 if you find keyframing to be time-consuming. Me Mode, the new buttons, and the large touchscreen make it much more convenient to shoot with the X3. I would also upgrade to X3 if you like using HDR Video because Active HDR is significantly better. However, if you usually edit and keyframe your videos, then you can stick with the X3 and One X2.
360 Rumors bonus: if you’d like to get the X3, you can get a free 120cm selfie stick with my affiliate link.
Key advantages of 1-inch 360
The new 1-inch 360 mod has two 1-inch sensors, which are each four times larger than the 1/2.3 inch sensors of the One X2 and One R 360 mod. With the new sensors, the 1-inch 360 can capture 6.1k 24fps or 5.9k 30fps. It has the most detailed 360 video I’ve seen at anywhere near this price range.
The 1-inch 360 also has the best low light video quality of any 360 camera.
The third advantage of the 1-inch 360 is better photo quality. It has the best photo quality among Insta360’s consumer 360 cameras. It offers comparable detail to the vaunted Theta Z1 (Z1 is slightly more detailed at the center, while 1-inch 360 is sharper at the stitch line).
Who it’s for: If you want the best quality video of any 360 camera, or you need the best overall image quality for both photo and video, I recommend 1-inch 360. I would also recommend 1-inch 360 if you want a 360 camera that is upgradeable. However, if you are using your 360 camera for action sports, I would recommend X3 instead, because the 1-inch 360 doesn’t have official protective lenses yet.
360 Rumors bonus: during this sale, there’s no extra bonus for the 1-inch 360. However, I would say that it offers excellent value if you want the best video quality (by comparison, the Theta Z1 is $1049 and only has 4K video).
Key advantages of the One RS
Compared to the One X2 or the One R, the One RS’ key benefit is the 4K Boost Mod, which is very similar to the Hero 10 in image quality and stabilization. It is a significant improvement over the older 4K Mod, which is more similar to a Hero 8. As for the One RS’ 360 mod, it is practically identical to the 360 mod of the One R, and is very similar to the One X2 in terms of capabilities.
Besides image quality, the One RS also has a new core which offers a few more options such as the ability to change the live view to fisheye or tiny planet. There is also a faster access for presets.
Who it’s for: If you want to have both a 360 camera and a GoPro Hero-like camera, you can get the One RS Twin Edition. If you already have a One R or One X2, and want the new 4K Boost Mod, you can get the One RS 4K Edition (on sale for $269), which is similar to getting a huge discount on the Hero 10.
360 Rumors bonus: you can get a free extra battery with my affiliate link!