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Image credit: Richard Lai / Engadget

Insta360 turned a Nerf rocket into a VR camera holder

Just make sure you secure the dart frame tightly.
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Richard Lai / Engadget

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Insta360 did a pretty impressive job with its portable 4K VR camera, the One, with its handful of unique tricks that barely any rivals had kept up with, especially when it came to stabilization. Well over a year later, the Chinese startup is now back with a follow-up model dubbed One X, which is what it has been teasing over the past two weeks.

Gallery: Insta360 One X | 14 Photos

Despite the nomenclature, this device is essentially a whole different animal: It's shaped differently (more like a Ricoh Theta than a massive pill), it has a screen for easier mode selection, it uses a removable battery and it uses the speedy 5.8GHz 802.11ac WiFi for live view plus speedy file transfers (though you can also use one of the bundled cables).

Most importantly, the One X features a higher 5.7K resolution for 360 video capture, while its "Bullet Time" mode -- achieved by slowly swinging the camera above your head with a string or stick -- is also enhanced to 3K with a wider field of view, but at a slightly reduced 100 fps speed. Understandably, you'll be needing at least UHS-I V30 spec for your microSD card to capture these types of footage. Like before, you can also shoot Log video to get the most out of this camera.

On the other hand, still resolution is lowered from 24 megapixels to 18 megapixels, but it's all for having larger sub-pixels on the sensor to achieve better image quality. As a bonus, there's now HDR support as well, along with RAW mode like before.

Much like what the Bullet Time trick is to the One, Insta360 decided to also give the One X a bizarre trick: Letting you throw it around in a $30 "Drifter" frame for some airborne slow-motion videos aka "Drift Shots" (also 3K at 100 fps). This dart-like attachment is shaped in a way that shields the lenses from hard floors, meaning you can throw it around with little to worry about -- so long as the bundle lands on a flat surface. While I couldn't try this myself as I only had a dummy attachment to look at, Insta360's own sample video clips do look pretty cool.

The One X's app continues to feature FreeCapture tools like Pivot Points (basically letting you set a path to pan around during specific parts of the timeline) and SmartTrack (fixing the center of the camera onto an object in the video) for some cool fixed frame videos. What's new is the "TimeShift" editing tool, which takes advantage of the impressive stabilization to create partial time lapse or slow motion -- think cinematic highlights for key moments -- in a long 360 footage. Do check out the sample video above.

As for pricing and availability, the Insta360 One X starts from $400 and is already available at the official online store. For those who are more adventurous, Insta360 is offering two types of rugged cases for the One X: The $89 Dive Case lets you take the One X down to as deep as 30 meters (though you may need to bring some additional light for that kind of depth), and the $49 Venture Case is more for splash-proofing the device, though it's also good for down to five meters. Of course, you can buy additional batteries at $29 a pop to get another hour's worth of juice; and there's also a dual camera charger coming soon for heavy users.

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