Insta360 One X2 Camera Review - 360 Video on a Drone?

The One X2 is incredibly versatile and well suited for action sports and yes even aerial video with drones.

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Introduction

Weight: 149g (5.25oz)
Size: 4.62 x 11.30 x 2.98 cm (1.82 x 4.45 x 1.17in)
360 Video: [email protected], 25fps, 24fps / [email protected], 30fps / [email protected]
SteadyCam Video: [email protected], 30fps / [email protected], 30fps / [email protected], 30fps
Run Time: ~80 Minutes
Price: $429.99 (Standalone)
Available at: Insta360

The headline on Insta360's One X2 camera is "The Pocket Camera Crew" and it certainly fits that tag line. The One X2 is incredibly versatile and well suited for action sports and yes even aerial video with drones.

During this review I'll be covering my thoughts on the camera, the Insta360 App and sharing some videos of drone flights and other sports I've used it with. We'll start with the box contents and move on from there.

What's in the Box

Insta360 sent me the One X2 Camera, The Bike Bundle, Selfie Stick, Lens Cap and the Lens Guard. Here's some photos showing what you get in each of those boxes.

Features

Size and Weight

The form factor on the One X2 is different than other action cams. It's long and slender, but still fits in the palm of your hand. When you pick it up, it feels substantial and at over 5oz, I would't consider it light. It's roughly 4-1/2" tall and 1-3/4" wide with a thickness of 3/4" not counting the lenses that protrude out. It feels nice in your hand and it has a high end premium look. On the front of the camera is one of the lenses and a status light. The back has the other lens, a 1" round color touchscreen display, a shutter button and another status light. On the right side is the power button and the left side has a charge port and battery/SD card access. The bottom has a tripod threaded hole for attaching the camera to external mounts. There are microphones on 4 sides for capturing 360 degree audio.

Camera Interface Screen

The screen is a 1" Diameter circle that handles the camera preview, settings and playback review. The screen is fairly small, but it's larger than the previous One X cam and it is large enough to see a video preview and access settings on the fly. Navigation is done by tapping and swiping to select the different menu screens and options. Navigating worked fairly well, but you will have the occasional missed swipe or tap. It's not perfect, but does a pretty good job overall. Below the screen is a shutter button that is used to start/stop recording or snap photos depending on the mode you are in. I do like the QuickCapture option for a one-touch press of the shutter button to turn on the camera and automatically start recording. QuickCapture can be toggled on or off in the settings.

Video Specs

The video modes available are Standard, HDR, Timelapse, TimeShift, Bullet Time and Steady Cam. HDR is what I used on most of my test footage and it looks fantastic! The Bullet Time mode requires an optional accessory. Here's some more specs for resolution and frame rate.

360 Video:

Wide Angle (Steady Cam Mode):

It should be noted that while the highest resolution is 5.7k in 360 mode, when you export a video, the highest video resolution output is 1440p.

Charging and File Transfer

Charging is handled via USB C cable. There is a waterproof cover with a slider lock you lift to remove the cover for access to the charging port. The cover is little fiddly and tends to get in the way of the USB cable when you try to insert it into the charge port. It's not a big deal, but just a minor annoyance occasionally.

You can remove the battery to access the micro SD card to transfer files to a computer, but I prefer to wirelessly transfer the files directly to my phone via the Insta 360 mobile app. Transfer times will vary depending on the size and length of your videos. You do not have to transfer the files though to view them with the app. With the camera on and your phone connected to it, you can view the photos/videos instantly. The display on the camera can also be used to view recorded footage, but I preferred to run playback on my phone using the large display.

App

The Insta360 app is available on Android and iOS. It's intuitive and easy to use. You can access your videos/photos from the album, control the camera when connected, create edited videos with the built in editor that also include adjustments like speed changes, filters and many other options. It can analyze your footage and pick the best shots to automatically create an edited video for you. The app also allows you to adjust the camera settings and mode options if you can't access the camera screen itself to make those changes.

***These photos are vertical screen shots from an iPhone so be sure to click them to see the full photo***

Mounting on Drones

Most action camera's used on cinewhoop and other drones are likely using some form of a soft 3d printed case that mounts to the drone and has the camera slide into the case. There may be something like for the One X2 in the future, but for now I needed to get it mounted with what was available. I dug into a box of old action cam mounting accessories and found a mounting base. I drilled a hole in the top plate of my Kopis Cinewhoop and secured the mount to the plate. I had to put some notches in the base to clear the plate mounting screws. Then I attached a tripod mount from the Bike Bundle and that allowed me to screw the One X2 camera onto the mount. It feels solid and secure and I had no concerns with the camera becoming loose or falling off. It also allowed me to adjust the tilt angle so I could fine tune the center of gravity on the drone for the best performance.

I'd really like to see some drone frames and possible TPU flexible mounts designed around the One X2 camera with the main body of the camera laying flat and inline with the drone. The will allow a lower profile for flying through gaps and even has the potential to create an invisible drone like we've seen done for the One R 360 camera.

Flying with the Camera

The One X2 does have some weight to it, but that didn't stop me from flying it with my 4S powered 3" Kopis cinewhoop. The footage shown below from the drone flight was shot on the Kopis. While it does work and the footage is outstanding, this is really done to show the absolute minimum size drone you could fly the One X2 with. I could tell the performance was suffering and the flight times were reduced. I should be receiving a new 6S powered 3" cinewhoop soon and the extra power from a 6S power system should be a perfect setup for flying the One X2 around. Of course it will also work for larger drones as well. I'll update this review with more footage once I get that drone up and running.

Sample Videos

The One X2 is perfect for action sports like Mountain Biking. The Chest mount I used allowed stable footage with a nice field of view to keep it interesting. When you use your phone or watch with the One X2, it can take your GPS data and overlay it on the video so you can see your speed, direction, altitude, track and more in real time. It's very cool!

I did try the handlebar mount on my bike, but that footage was super shaky and was not usable. It's likely fine for road bikes or riding on smooth surfaces, but not really useful for mountain biking. The chest mount was comfortable and worked great though. We have a group of guys in town that ride Razer Crazy Carts and drift around tracks in parking garages. The weather is not great this time of year so we haven't planned a meet up in a bit. Once we do, I'll bring the One X2 camera along and make a video from that outing to share here.

Conclusion

I really like the Insta360 One X2 360 camera. The positives are the ease of use, the video quality, the well designed app and the ability to shoot both 360 and normal stabilized video all from one camera. The downside is that you can only output a 1440p video so the resolution won't be as high for normal video as it would with the GoPro Hero 9. That aside, the footage still looks fantastic on the One X2, especially with HDR mode in the right conditions. The killer feature though is the 360 video capture and having the ability to change the framing in the app on the fly while editing. It provides some amazing perspectives like moving through the tree in my sample video and being able to tilt up to look at the top of the tree as it passes. That shot is so cool and is not possible without a 360 camera. If all you want is a fixed angle and 4k resolution output, then you'll want to look at either the Hero 9 or the One R, but if you are ok with with 1440p output and would rather have more flexibility in filming and framing shots, then the One X2 is the camera to get. I love that I can do so much with it both in flying on drones as well as using in other activities like mounting biking.

This review will be added to over time as the weather warms up and I get a new drone up and running. I'll periodically update it with new footage and my experience using it over a longer period of time. If there's anything else you'd like to know about the One X2 camera or software, feel free to reply below with your question and I'll be happy to answer.

Click here to see the Insta360 One X2 Camera

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Last edited by Jason Cole; Jan 21, 2021 at 04:40 PM..
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Jan 21, 2021, 05:58 PM
Wisconsin
I would like to see some samples of the ONE R. With a Leica lens and a low noise sensor it would make a tasty camera to replace ILDC cameras in 3axis gimbals at 158g.
Jan 21, 2021, 06:46 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
The One R is pretty sweet too with the modular options available.


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