When Insta360 released itscamera at the beginning of 2020, I expected that to be the end of the road for its compact 360-degree camera, the One X. After all, lets you easily swap out its regular action-cam-style wide-angle camera for a dual-lens camera module that could do all the things the One X could, giving you two (or more) cameras in one, so to speak. But, it turns out, there’s still plenty of room for a One X2 in the lineup.
The One R is designed to be a versatile all-in-one action cam. Costing $430 (about £330 or AU$600 converted), the One X2 is more about having the ultimate pocket camera for photos and videos, and the updates compared with its predecessor are plentiful. It might not be modular, but the X2’s design has other advantages.
The One X2’s shape makes it way easier to slip in your pocket and the company includes a protective sleeve to keep its dual lenses scratch-free, at least while it’s stashed. It’s also more comfortable for handheld use and it’s now waterproof to 10 meters (33 feet) without a housing — twice as deep as the One R. And it has a longer-lasting battery to boot.
The X2 has a new circular touchscreen, so this time around — no pun intended — you can see what you’re shooting, change settings and keep tabs on things like shot count, battery life and shooting modes. You can also tap on a subject for tracking and the upgraded Deep Track algorithm lets you lock onto humans, animals and other moving objects and will keep them centered in the frame.
The 360-degree image quality is a step up from the One R’s, too, despite the fact that they both go up to 5.7K resolution at 30 frames per second. The bit rate goes up to 100Mbps, and the camera has re-engineered color science, better stabilization and improved audio quality with two additional mic, bringing the total to four.
While the One cameras are known for their cool Bullet Time mode that slows down the action while the camera pans 360 degrees around you, the camera does that and much more. A Steady Cam mode lets you shoot with a single X2 lens so you can capture a stabilized traditional ultrawide movie clip. Then there’s a new InstaPano photo mode that snaps panoramas without you having to move the camera; just a single press of the shutter release gets it done. There’s also an updated MultiView mode with face tracking that creates a picture-in-picture video with different views from the two camera lenses.
Other additions include a Vivid color setting that joins its Standard and Log options; a PureShot mode for better low-light pics and AquaVision for underwater color correction; voice controls; and 360-degree live-streaming as well as webcam capabilities.
Still, my favorite part of using Insta360’s One cameras is the Shot Lab tutorials. They show you how to get the most from the cameras and, while the effects might not be ones you use all the time, they can definitely kick-start your creativity.