Insta360 GO RCGroups Review

We mount the Insta360 GO camera to a mini drone and see how the FPV Mode works. Check out the full review below.

Splash

Introduction

Weight: 18.3g
Size: 49.4x21.4x14.8
Video: 1080 at 25fps
Recording Time: 5 minutes (FPV Mode)
Price: $199.00 (On Sale Now for $169.99)
Available at: Insta360

The Insta360 GO is a tiny HD camera that has some impressive features. It's perfect for travel and vacations, but with the new FPV mode, Insta360 has turned the GO into an amazing on-board recording camera for FPV Drones. The camera is designed for more than drones, but we are going to focus this review mostly for FPV drone use. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and see how it performed, so let's dive right in and check it out.

What's in the Box

When you open up the box, you'll find the camera mounted inside a case that looks a lot like AirPods. Inside the box you'll also find stickers, a quick start guide, info cards as well as several mounting accessories and cables.

  • Insta360 GO + Charge Case
  • Magnet Pendant
  • Easy Clip
  • Angle Wedge
  • Sticky Base
  • Pivot Stand and Pivot Stand Base
  • Charge Cable
  • Micro-USB to USB Type-C cable
  • Quick Start Manual

Features

Size and Weight

This is one of the things that make this camera so special. It's about the size of your thumb and weighs about 20g. It's tiny and that means you can use it on very small drones. It opens up a whole new way to record FPV flights in HD video. It's more aerodynamic than other cameras so that it doesn't interfere with the flight performance on drones or other aircraft.

Interface

There is only one button on the camera itself that you use to turn it on/off or start/stop recording. The button is customizable from the Insta360 GO app which we'll talk about more later in the review. There is one indicator light on the front just below the lens to show the camera status and there are contacts on the back opposite the button used for charging and file transfer. It's simple, quick and easy to use. Pretty much automatic recording without the need to fuss over camera settings, exposure, etc. The camera also has built in Bluetooth to wirelessly communicate with your mobile device via the Insta360 GO app. You don't get a video preview, but the bluetooth controls allow you change settings and start/stop recording.

Basic Functions

  • Video Recording (Up to 5 Minutes in FPV Mode)
  • Photo Capture
  • Hyperlapse/Timelase
  • Slow Mo

Video Specs

The GO records in camera at 2720x2720 resolution at 25fps, but outputs a video file that is 1080p at 25fps. Some might complain that there is no 4K recording, but it's a compromise that has to be made to get the size, weight and performance capabilities of the GO. The good news is the 1080 footage looks fantastic! Videos are exported in MP4 format with a 30mbps bitrate.

What really makes the video amazing is Insta360's FlowState stabilization system. The camera has built-in 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization which takes your shaky terrible recording and turns it into a masterful steady cam style video. This is the magic sauce that makes the GO's videos so smooth and impressive.

We'll be using FPV Mode on the GO for this review, but don't get that confused. The camera doesn't output a video feed that you fly from. You'll still need your own gear if you want to fly FPV. What FPV mode on the GO does is provide a longer recording time and also brings in a special stabilization algorithm designed around flight. Until FPV Mode came along, the longest the GO could record video was 60 seconds. With FPV Mode, it's now 5 minutes. The caveat here is that in this mode, the camera needs cooling. It's great for flying since it will get airflow during the flight, but you wouldn't want to use FPV Mode on the ground in a fixed position without some way to provide cooling air on the camera. The camera does get warm, but I was able to fly back to back flights with no issues. Best practice would be to allow a few minutes between flights to avoid over heating the camera.

Charging and File Transfer

The camera can only be charged by placing it in the case. It's held in place with magnets, just make sure you place the contacts on the correct end as it can fit in the case backwards. The status light on the camera indicates the charge status. The case itself needs to be charged in order to charge the camera. On the back of the case is a button that when pushed lights up a status led just above the button to indicate the charge state of the case.

I like the protective cover that snaps on the case over the camera. You can just leave the camera inside for storage and it will stay charged and protected.

On the side of the case is a micro USB port. It can connect to Android phones or your computer for transferring files and charging the case. On the bottom of the case is a lightning connector that plugs into iPhones.

Mounting

Since we are talking about flying the GO on a drone, I pulled up Thingiverse and downloaded a camera mount file that someone made for the GO. I printed the mount in flexible TPU filament and mounted it to my Holybro Kopis Cinewhoop using the front screws. The GO slides in from the side and allows access to the button. It's easy to get in and out, but solid and won't move or come out in flight.

App

The Insta360 GO app is available on Android and iOS. I'm using an iPhone so I can connect the case directly into the phone which is convenient and doesn't require any extra cables. The first time you plug it in, you'll need to activate the GO.

The GO app is where you change camera settings such as customizing the camera button, setting the recording length and importing/reviewing/editing your recordings. The Album will have all of your videos sorted by date. You can also set clips as favorites and view just those. There's a section for local storage that is saved to your phone, or the Camera files if auto import is not enabled. I'll show more of the app and the settings along with some of the video editing and Story features in the video below.

Insta360 GO App (6 min 20 sec)

Sample Videos

Here's a collection of several videos I recorded. Some are raw with no edits and others are edited using the GO app software.

Sample Insta360 Story Video

Sample Edited Video

In this video I used some of the filter options and added music right in the app.

Insta360 Edited Video (5 min 1 sec)

Sample Raw Video

Insta360 GO Raw Video (4 min 50 sec)

Conclusion

This thing is awesome and so much fun to use. I love how small and light it is. The stabilization is mind blowing and it's so easy to use that anyone can make great looking videos right off the bat. The App is intuitive and I love being able to get footage on my phone quickly and edit them right in the app to load up on YouTube or other social sites. There is no other camera on the market right now that can touch it in terms of quality for the size. and features. The only downsides would be not having 4k recording if you need that and limited mounting options for drones if you don't have access to a 3D printer. If you are into flying mini drones and even TinyWhoops, this camera will let you capture and share videos in places you've only dreamed about before. Once you try it and see, it will open up a whole new way to record your adventures.

Click here to see the Insta360 GO

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Last edited by Jason Cole; Jul 09, 2020 at 09:44 AM..
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Jul 09, 2020, 05:45 PM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
Cute but the motion blur at just 25 fps is a bit of a killer for aerial footage, IMHO. What's the actual battery life (how many 5 minute flights can you get from a charge)?
Latest blog entry: Eachine QX65 FPV quad review
Jul 09, 2020, 05:57 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
I think it looks pretty great on my phone, but I’m also not expecting pro quality footage at this size and price range. You can get around an hour run time using the case between flights. A USB could be tagged along if more than that is needed at a time.
Jul 10, 2020, 06:15 AM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Cole
I think it looks pretty great on my phone, but I’m also not expecting pro quality footage at this size and price range.
It depends what you are comparing it with. Small 4K FPV cameras from Runcam etc. are under half the price, so 1080/25 (with no video-out) isn't very impressive for that amount of money. 25/30 fps is OK for steady flying but blurs with any real movement - that's why most people shoot aerial video at 60 fps.

The main plus for this camera is certainly the app/ease of use/etc. But USD 200 is a big premium to pay for this, IMHO.
Latest blog entry: Eachine QX65 FPV quad review
Jul 10, 2020, 07:17 AM
Registered User
Pixelpeter's Avatar
FWIW: you cannot see what you're shooting; you don't have a pre-view in the app like you have with other (action)cameras.

More results with the Insta360 Go: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...bilised-camera
Jul 10, 2020, 07:22 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
I guess it depends on what you want. The Runcam has no stabilization so to get similar looking stable footage, you’d have to buy and use special software on a PC and zoom
in to get it smooth. That’s added cost, time and loss of resolution. Not to mention it’s way larger and heavier. Apples and Oranges really and one must decide what they feel like eating.
Jul 10, 2020, 07:23 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelpeter
FWIW: you cannot see what you're shooting; you don't have a pre-view in the app like you have with other (action)cameras.

More results with the Insta360 Go: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...bilised-camera
I did mention that in the review.
Jul 10, 2020, 08:33 AM
Registered User
Pixelpeter's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Cole
I did mention that in the review.
Oops, missed that but worth mentioning again imo.
Jul 10, 2020, 08:36 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
For sure, although for flight, it's not important at all because you can't watch the camera while flying anyway and you are usually setting it up with a similar angle as the FPV cam. The FOV is larger on the recording cam so if you can see it in the FPV feed, it will be captured on the recording cam.
Jul 10, 2020, 08:41 AM
Registered User
Pixelpeter's Avatar
You're right, but I always like to be able to see what a camera sees during setup, so you can tweak positioning etc.

Very interesting and capable little camera
Jul 12, 2020, 04:34 AM
Registered User
Flying Potatoes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelpeter
You're right, but I always like to be able to see what a camera sees during setup, so you can tweak positioning etc.

Very interesting and capable little camera
You only have to position roughly as you can alter the effective angle via the android app when you export. Just long press screen centre and drag your finger.

Battery life is a concern for me.
Jul 12, 2020, 07:47 AM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
As already mentioned this camera seems easy to use with decent stabilisation and a good app to play around in. For the 1080/25 fps video it produces though it's relatively expensive and not especially small/light, has no video-out, and is limited to 5 minute clips. So while it's nice it won't be the perfect solution for everyone.

IMO you need to think carefully about how much you need stabilised video from the camera. Most quads nowadays (even tiny ones) are pretty steady in flight, and in-camera stabilisation is often optimised for vertical movement (when a camera is hand-held or fixed to a bike etc). If you have any of the structure of the quad in-frame then stabilisation will also make this appear to move around as if the camera is loose, which is not something I want!

In terms of other choices the Mobius Mini is a self-contained 'stick on' camera of similar size & weight (but much cheaper) with 1080/60, video-out and a better form factor (less frontal area). There are two lens options (wide or normal FOV), and it even has basic stabilisation although I don't use this myself.

If you can live with 1080/30 and no stabilisation then the #16 'keyfob' camera gives you this (with video-out) in an even smaller/lighter/cheaper package.

If you have room for a small PCB then there are many 'board' cameras that give better performance (again, without stabilisation) for less weight and a lot less money (all with video-out, of course). For example the Runcam Split 4 weighs 10.2 grams, costs USD 75, and gives 4K/2.7K/1080. The Split 3 Lite is just 7.8 grams, costs USD 50, and gives 1080/60.

All depends on your priorities/needs/budget
Latest blog entry: Eachine QX65 FPV quad review
Jul 12, 2020, 09:14 AM
Registered User
I think the lack of SD port is a deal killer for many, it is for me anyway. Someone will make a copy and get it right at a reasonable price point- could be a new startup like runcam was when they knocked off mobius.
Jul 12, 2020, 12:04 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
I don’t miss an SD card at all. Much rather directly import into my phone. Faster, easier, better all around for me.
Jul 12, 2020, 12:12 PM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
Actually now I think about it, storage and transfer speed could be why the video is limited to 25 fps (much less data than 60 fps files).
Latest blog entry: Eachine QX65 FPV quad review


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