Insta360 X3 Review [360-Degree Action Camera]

The new Insta360 X3 360-degree action camera is an easily operated device with equally user-friendly software that enables you to create and edit professional-quality videos. The new X3 has an easy-to-use 2.29-inch touchscreen, front and rear high-resolution half-inch 48MP sensors, four microphones with built-in intelligence to filter out wind noise and retain engine sounds, and artificial intelligence editing software you can use on your smartphone—all at a starting price of $450.

Insta360 X3 Review: For Sale

Each Insta360 camera model and editing software is truly an intuitive upgrade from the previous version. This is our third review of an Insta360 unit. Previously, we have been impressed with the performance of the One X2 and the One RS. The new X3 sets a new standard of quality.

I am primarily a local weekend adventure rider with occasional long-distance trips who enjoys documenting the highlights of my adventures on the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike.

After just a few test ride videos, I found that the best location for my 360-degree camera is attached to my front engine guard and extended on its invisible selfie stick to the top of my windscreen. Insta360’s original Motorcycle Kit mounting clamp wasn’t secure, so the selfie stick’s mounting ball slipped in rough terrain. The new Motorcycle Kit ($64), mounting clamp, and selfie stick base have been redesigned with dimples to hold securely over most terrain. The kit includes adapters to attach the X3 to your helmet for a personal perspective. I did find that adding a piece of tire innertube to the clamp secures the bike mount tightly to the engine guards.

360-degree recording means that you capture every direction. You then aim your shots in editing. I generally run the X3 continuously in Loop Recording Mode. I power the unit through its USB-C port, as the onboard, swappable battery runs out of juice in a little over 70 minutes.

When I recognize that I have ridden past something of interest, whether it be wildlife, a jet flying overhead, a “Sharp Curves Next 100 miles” sign, or an interesting conversation at a gas station, I save the previous few minutes of already recorded video. A quick press of a Start/Stop button will save the last recorded segment, which can be set from 1 minute to 30 minutes. Press Record to resume Loop Recording until the next interesting event happens, whether it is a minute later or five hours down the road.

There are many recording and photo modes available. In the Loop Mode, you are always recording the world around you, though not using up memory, until you save the segment in 5K at 30fps.

Insta360 X3 Review: Price

There are 4 ways to control your Insta360 X3:

  1. Use the barely summer-glove-friendly Start button on the front of the X3.
  2. Use your voice to tell the X3 to “Start Recording” or “Stop Recording”.
  3. Use the Insta360 Android or iPhone mobile app.
  4. Use the new and improved Action GPS Remote ($80)

To add interest to your videos, you can add an overlay of your speed, slope, route, and exact GPS coordinates. You will have to record the video when connected to the Android or iPhone app, or the Action GPS Remote. The Action GPS Remote utilizes the American GPS, China’s BeiDou, and the Russian GLONASS global satellite navigation systems to provide an accurate GPS data overlay for your videos on any continent.

Insta360 X3 Review: Remote device

The Action GPS Remote is handy while riding. It will run for about eight hours before needing a 60-minute recharge. It can also be powered during use via its USB-C port.

Because the X3 can be instantly woken up by the GPS remote, or the phone app when you choose the X3 Bluetooth wakeup, you can record or take photos without waiting for the X3 startup routine.

Insta360 X3 Review: Shoot Video

When I am shooting high-resolution photos or short videos intermittently on a ride, I can get about five hours of battery life by using the Action Camera Remote to turn on, record, stop recording, and letting it sleep. The Insta 360 X3 records continuously for about 70 minutes on the battery alone and recharges in about 90 minutes.

As long as the redesigned and removable USB-C port door is closed, the X3 is waterproof to 30 feet. The new Action GPS Remote is waterproof to 15 feet when the rubber cap is secured over its USB-C port.

I attach the GPS Remote to the middle of my handlebar and use the big, glove-friendly Start/Stop Record button to control the camera while riding. The GPS Remote comes with two straps—one for handlebar mounting and the other for your wrist, like a smartwatch. However, the band isn’t long enough to secure at my wrist and over my riding jacket. Although the other buttons on the GPS Remote are not glove-friendly, they shouldn’t need pressing when riding.

Bluetooth pairing with the GPS Remote to the X3 is finicky. There are only three buttons, and a few presses make their function obvious. I found that on start-up from both being off, the quickest connection was to “Forget” the GPS remote in the X3 setup and then find it again, which happens instantly after that procedure.

Insta360 X3 Review: MSRP

Always protect the exposed lenses from scratching. Don’t set the camera down on a table or the ground unless you have put the lens cap over it. I will be riding through the Mojave Desert later this year; if the wind blows, it will carry sand. The protective Insta360 X3 Sticky Lens Guards ($20) will be deployed to defend the lenses from scratching. If you scratch a lens, there is no going back. If a blemish is evident in your videos, the only remedy is a replacement camera at full price.

If you want to impress your friends with a slow-motion jump whip, you can set your X3 to 3K at 100fps, or you might just have a slow-motion recording of a yard sale.

Insta360 X3 Review: For Motorcycles

Did you ever want to take one of those amazing starry night videos where the stars circle around a single point? The X3 has a Starlapse mode just for that.

There are many ways to creatively enhance your X3 videos. Some filters and effects can be added after you stop recording with just a few button presses on the phone or desktop apps.

Editing on the smartphone app is easy and convenient. However, saving or uploading the edited video to social media can take hours.

You will learn from experience what takes a long time to export, and what doesn’t. Multiview, which puts you and what you are seeing in the same frame, is time-consuming to export from your phone. In contrast, simply adding the GPS information—speed, route, and other data—exports quickly.

When you stop at a scenic overlook, you can dismount the X3, unscrew it from the selfie stick, change modes to the front lens, and snap a 36MP photo or take a 72MP 360-degree photo. Another option available to an X3 camera owner is to ride to the edge of the overlook, record the stop in loop recording mode, and then Stop the recording to save it. Then when you get a chance later, bring up that 360-degree video segment on your phone, find the best viewing angle, and save a screenshot from the app. The single screenshot is about 1/60th the size of the 360-degree image. While it won’t be high resolution, it will be a memory shot.

I installed a 500GB microSD card in our Insta360 X3 test unit, which will support up to 1TB. 500GB is enough room to store 8.5 hours of 360-degree, 5K video captured at 30fps. If you want to record your epic road tour in four-second timelapse increments, you can save 45 eight-hour days on a 500GB microSD card for your closest friends to enjoy. The Motorcycle Mounting Kit includes a 64GB card that closely matches the 70-minute battery life.

When riding down Main Street in Sturgis or Laconia’s Lakeside Avenue, there is just too much happening for your pillion to capture it all on a smartphone. With the Insta360 X3 handheld on the selfie stick or mounted somewhere on your bike, not in the way of your handlebars, you can capture 100 percent of the excitement around you. The X3 frees you, or your designated videographer, to enjoy the sights and sounds of your ride or destination without the distraction of holding up a smartphone camera.

Insta360 X3 Review Unboxing Photo Gallery