Insta360's X3 gets bigger sensors and a bigger screen for easier 360 capture

It comes with new features that solve many earlier pain points.

Richard Lai/Engadget

It's unclear what Insta360 has been feeding its team lately, but so far, the company has somehow managed to release one new product almost every month since March. It's an interesting mix, too: its modular action cam refresh, a 360-camera drone attachment, a 6K 360 camera with 1-inch sensors and, most recently, a gimbal webcam. Today, after almost two years since the One X2, Insta360 is finally updating its flagship all-in-one 360 camera with the aptly-named X3, with the main differences being the enlarged sensors, touchscreen and battery, among other bits of goodies.

The Insta360 X3 (sans the "One" sub-brand moving forward) continues to carry the candy bar form factor, and like its predecessor, it's waterproof down to 33ft or 10m out of the box. That said, it's worth reminding that you'll still need the optional dive case with special optics, in order to capture stills or footage underwater. The X3 is also a little chunkier, mainly due to its larger removable 1,800mAh battery — a notable jump from the old 1,630mAh.

Insta360 X3
The new "Me Mode" on the Insta360 X3 for capturing conventional selfie videos with the selfie stick rendered invisible. In other words, no reframing is required afterwards. (Richard Lai/Engadget)

Another contributing factor to the extra weight is the full-grown 2.29-inch rectangular touchscreen with tempered glass, which replaces the old circular display for easier viewing and control. This is complemented with two additional glove-friendly physical buttons: one for toggling a customizable "Quick Menu" to access your shooting presets, and one for quickly toggling between 360 mode and single-lens mode.

Like before, the X3 outputs 360 videos at a 5.7K resolution with "FlowState Stabilization" and direction focus audio, but this time it benefits from its larger 1/2-inch 48-megapixel sensors — same as the one on the recent Link gimbal webcam, in fact — for improved image quality. Also new is support for active HDR when recording 360 videos, which is one step up from the X2's normal HDR mode. As for 360 stills, you can output at a massive 72-megapixel resolution instead of the usual 18, but you can only do so via the Insta360 Studio desktop software.

Insta360 added some new shooting modes as well, with the most notable one being "Me Mode" for directly capturing "flat" selfie videos (1080p@60fps) with the selfie stick already rendered invisible. This saves you the trouble of reframing a 360 footage before you can output a "flat" video like the olden days. But of course, there's no stopping you from using "Deep Track 2.0" (manual target selection) or "Auto Frame" (AI-selected highlights), if you insist on capturing everything in 360 degrees just in case. Not to mention the app's Shot Lab feature which offers more than 30 cool effects for you to experiment with.

Another new feature is 8K 360 timelapse which is apparently a highly requested feature, along with a new 4K option for the single-lens mode (but you can dial down to 2.7K for the wide 170-degree field of view). These two require good lighting condition to work properly, though. Last but not least, there's now a "Loop Recording" mode which essentially turns your X3 into a 360 dashcam (say, for motorcyclists), and it only keeps, at maximum, the last 30 minutes of footage.

The Insta360 X3 is available now for $450, which is a little pricier than the X2 but still more affordable than the $800, prosumer-grade One RS 1-inch 360 Edition.

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