Our verdict of the Insta360 GO:
With one-click shooting, a unique magnetic mounting system, and incredible software AI and video templates, this is the action cam you’ve been waiting for. It’s effortless to shoot, and edit.
The Insta360 GO is a camera that removes all the barriers to shooting a great video at precisely the right moment. With built-in stabilization and a single-button to start recording, anyone can capture the moment quickly and simply. And when you’re done, the app makes creating a professional video an absolutely breeze.
It’s available today for $200, and we think it’s amazing. Check out our review video and read on to find out why. At the end of this review, we’re giving an Insta360 GO away to one lucky reader, so be sure to enter your details and watch the video for some bonus entries.
What Makes The Insta360 GO Different?
I must admit, I was somewhat skeptical when Insta360 reached out to tell me they were launching an action cam. It doesn’t have any 360 or VR features?! It’s literally just an action cam? But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Here’s what makes the Insta360 GO simply magical:
- One-button recording. The Insta360 GO is designed primarily to capture short video clips, of 14-30 seconds long. Just press the single button on the back of the device (or just press the whole camera when it’s mounted on your pendant), and it’ll wake up, start recording, then shut down after the time elapses. It’s ridiculously easy to use.
- FlowState Stabilization. With a wide-angle lens and on-board gyroscope, Insta360 has brought its incredible stabilization technology to this tiny device. Your footage will be super smooth, no matter what crazyness you’re getting up to. It looks amazing, and it’s all seamless and automatic. Shoot at any angle, it doesn’t matter, it’ll come out the right way (unless of course you wanted it upside down, then you can rotate it during editing).
- Video templates and AI editing. Of course, you’re free to export the individual clips and edit in whatever software you like, but most people will want to use the built-in templates. These give you the music, the shot list, ready-made transitions, and everything is timed to the beat. Just pick the shots you want, and let the software do the rest. It took about ten minutes to manually put together the demo video in the review. If that’s too much though, there’s even a one-click AI FlashCut feature, that picks your shots for you.
- Hyperlapses made easy. Compress a long walk along the beach or around the city into a minute of video using super smooth hyperlapse techniques. No additional editing required: just long press to activate the camera, then double press to start shooting.
Insta360 Go Specs and Design
Inside the box, you’ll find a smorgasbord of accessories and mounting bits.
As well as the Insta360 Go, which weighs 18.6 grams and is barely bigger than a finger, you’ll find a combined charging and connector case.
The Insta360 GO snaps magnetically into the top and begins charging immediately. At the base of the charging case, you’ll find a block of rubber, which protects a Lightning plug. This entire case plugs directly into your iPhone for transferring files. A USB-C to micro-USB adaptor is included for Android users, though at launch this device is iOS only. A micro-USB port on the side of the case is used for charging.
The GO is as minimal as it can be. There are no ports, and only a single button on the back. A set of pogo pins provide all the charging and connectivity the device needs when sat in the charging case. The single button initiates recording.
The magnetic pendant will be your most typical use case. Simply hang it around your neck–the height is adjustable–and snap the Insta360 GO on. It’s very discreet and works over a single layer of clothing like a t-shirt or dress.
If that’s not quite suitable, the magnetic clip mount might be your next choice. Don’t worry about orienting the camera on its side–the gyroscope will automatically flip your footage the right way up, using Insta360’s incredible FlowState Stabilization technology.
You also get a tripod mount case. Again, the Insta360 magnetically snaps into place. The case adds a standard tripod screw at the bottom, which you can attach a tripod, selfie stick, or any of your other favorite mounts. Alternatively, you can use the included stick mount. This screws into the tripod mount, and includes a reusable sticky pad. You can adjust the angle of tilt, too.
If all that still doesn’t do it for you, a simple magnetic and sticky pad should do the job with any flat surface. You really should be able to mount the Insta360 Go anywhere with minimal effort; everything you could possibly need is included in the box.
Video Templates and AI FlashCut
After plugging the charging case into your phone, the Insta360 app analyzes your footage and attempts use AI to match specific types of shots. Head over to the Stories tab, and choose a theme. The app can then pick out the best shots and mix them into the chosen video template with a single tap on the FlashCut button.
At launch, it seems to recognize:
Since I tested in the countryside, don’t tend to take pictures of my food, and rarely smile, the FlashCut feature was less useful for me. Over time I expect it’ll be trained on more content types, but you’re free to use as much or as little of the FlashCut feature as you like. You can always use it to populate a story, then go in and tweak some of the clips if you didn’t quite like the output. It’s magical to watch it work though, and I think some people (those weirdos that tend to smile a lot, for instance), will love the feature.
Even if you don’t the FlashCut feature at all, it’s still effortless to put together an impressive video. If you stick to the pre-built templates, all you need to is pick the shot, then slide it back and forth until you find the desired bit of the clip.
During testing, the range of templates has been limited, but more are promised at launch and beyond. Those we tested with varied in clip lengths from half a second–obviously designed for a younger audience with the attention span of a gnat–to a more glacial seven seconds. Some are designed specifically for certain types of shots (a compilation of smiles, a set of hyperlapses around a city), but most can be used generically with any kind of clip. The editing process felt a lot like iMovie Trailers, but even easier.
You can tweak all aspects of a template if you’re inclined, though I found the defaults worked great. You can opt for a square output for Instagram, or a more traditional 16:9 format. The camera itself shoots videos at a resolution of 2720 pixels square, but after stabilization, videos are output at a maximum 1080p full HD. Yes, this isn’t 4K, but it’s more than enough for mobile, where the majority of online video is consumed now.
Lifelogging Makes a Comeback?
The unique magnetic pendant mount and sheer ease of capturing a moment reminds me of the “lifelogging” camera craze from a few years back. These devices were designed to capture your entire day, then pick out the highlights. Of course, they didn’t last: the idea of a camera that captured your every moment was an obvious invasion of privacy. But on top of that, who wants to review a day worth of footage to find the best bits?
The Insta360 GO is completely unobtrusive, and only captures the moments you want. It’s an everything camera: for lifelogging, travel blogging, action sports, or just random family moments.
The biggest drain on the charging case appears to be transferring files. The charging case battery ran out after a week of testing, midway through transferring a large hyperlapse video. The file wasn’t damaged, but since the charging case doesn’t siphon power from your phone, you’ll need to plug it in and charge before you can finish transferring files. Since the case automatically tops up the Insta360 GO whenever it’s placed inside, the camera itself never run out of power, and had some residual battery when the case itself ran out, so I could still keep shooting while the case recharged.
Should You Buy an Insta360 GO?
Ultimately, video cameras are designed to capture a moment. That sounds patently obvious, but any barriers either due to inherently bad hardware design, or difficulty of use, will stop you from achieving that. We probably all have an action camera or two sitting in a drawer of dead electronics. It’s never charged, it needs all manner of complicated mounting options, it’s an effort to start shooting, and after all that, you’ve got to think about how to edit the footage together in a neat way. I’m certainly guilty of that. Most of the time I can’t even bothered to pull out my phone and film something. That’s like, at least three clicks.
The Insta360 GO is the action cam anyone can use, even those of us who are incredibly lazy. The one-click shooting is absolutely effortless. Take as many shots as you want. Plug it into your phone, and let the automatic transfer do its magic. Even if you ignore the AI FlashCut features, picking ten or twenty clips for a ready-made template shouldn’t take more than ten minutes. And that’s it: you’ve got a publishable video of holiday memories to throw on your Instagram feed. It looks professional, it’s in-time to the beat, and you’re free to spend more time enjoying yourself. Even if you’re not the type of person that regular skydives, rides a rollercoaster, or visits exquisite Asian temples on the weekend, I think you’ll still get a lot of use from this adorable camera.
I love this thing, and I’m going keep using it as much as I can. That’s the highest praise I can give a device.
Don’t miss out. Grab yours now direct from Insta360.com for $199.99, and get free laser engraving.
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Insta360 GO Giveaway