Insta360 today announced the One X2, a new 360-degree camera that replaces the One X from 2018. The X2 adds a full-color touchscreen, longer battery life, IPX8 water resistance, and even more AI-powered editing tools to its flagship consumer 360 camera. The Insta360 One X2 is available starting today for $429.99, about $30 more than the prior model.
Keeping the same basic rectangular shape, Insta360 refined the hardware with two new latched compartments for a battery, microSD card, and a USB-C port and textured rails that run around the outside of the camera. These rails provide a much better grip than the smooth unibody design of the One X, and overall they make the camera feel more rugged and more like an action camera. There are still, however, two wide-angle lenses protruding off of this camera that bring me constant anxiety, but those lenses are to be expected with 360 cameras.
New this year is also IPX8 water resistance that offers 10 meters of waterproofing without an underwater housing. Insta360 claims that seamless 360 stitching is still not possible without using a specialized dive case or underwater lens guards because water refracts light and creates visual aberrations that make it a lot harder to algorithmically combine. You can, however, use one of the camera’s single lenses underwater, which allows this camera to act more like an action camera than just a 360 camera. We will have to put the One X2 to the test underwater in the coming months.
The most obvious upgrade is the new touchscreen, though. Although 360 cameras are shooting everything in sight, being able to see the angle at which the camera is seeing the world is important. Much like the GoPro Max, the One X2’s touchscreen can be used for playback, changing settings, and switching camera modes. The camera’s touchscreen is one of the most responsive screens I have used on an action camera, although I worry about using it underwater, where splashes can often be mistaken for touches. Again, we will have to put this to the test in the coming months to see how it does.
Powering the camera is a larger 1,630mAh battery that can record up to 80 minutes of 360-degree footage at 5.7K 30fps. The One X2 can record 360 video at 5.7K 30fps or all the way up to 100fps at 3K. The camera’s Steady Cam Mode, which only uses one lens to create steady wide-angle footage, maxes out at 2K 50fps. These are the exact same specs we saw on the One X that launched in October 2018, and for a manufacturer that almost exclusively sells 360 cameras, I was expecting a spec bump to the usual 5.7K resolution most consumer 360 cameras have.
Insta360 has, however, been building out its AI editing tools for use in its smartphone app. What began with hiding the selfie stick from 360 footage and reframing has evolved into Shot Lab, a selection of templates that puts cinematic effects on your footage. For example, you can use Clone Trail to freeze and multiply yourself across the frame or Fly Lapse to emulate an FPV drone or move the frame around in a smooth, flying motion.
The app is really user-friendly, and you can tell that Insta360 put a lot of time into making it that way. Editing 360 footage is still a daunting idea for someone who might not know how to edit footage at all, and getting those people to use this product is important to this camera’s success. There are tutorial videos for editing and intuitive controls such as tap to play / pause. I found myself mindlessly editing footage on the app that I had no plans to post, which proved a fun way to look back on the day’s adventure.
With the One X2, Insta360’s main pitch is its more rugged design and that new touchscreen. It would have been great to see a bump in specs rather than the same resolutions we have come to expect from consumer 360 cameras, but for a relatively new company, it’s also good to see small shifts toward a better user experience, such as including a screen and a better grip along the edges.
The original One X was a budget-friendly option for being able to film yourself and everything around you all at once. And for $30 more, the One X2 adds the always useful ability to see yourself while you do it with a more rugged design that feels tough enough for the more adventurous user.