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Meet the Insta360 X3, the third generation of Insta360’s pocket-sized 360 camera

Insta360 X3
(Image credit: Insta360)

Insta360 has dropped the ‘ONE’ from this camera’s name for the sake of simplicity, but otherwise this is an update of the pocket-sized Insta360 ONE X2, already one of the best 360 cameras.

The Insta360 X3 keeps the familiar ‘candy bar’ shape, which means it can easily slip into a shirt or trouser pocket, but comes with upgraded 1/2-inch sensors for a step forward in image quality and features. The 360 video resolution stays at 5.7K, but the resolution for still images has been boosted to a massive 72MP.

The Insta360 X3's spherical capture means it doesn't matter if the camera is level or even where you point it. (Image credit: Insta360)
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Insta360 says the X3 has been “built for the social age” and is reinventing the point and shoot camera – though as Insta360 says, with this camera you can shoot first and point later. That’s because it captures a full 360° image of what’s around it, and you can then ‘reframe’ your captured video to track a moving subject or pan across a scene. Anyone looking for the best camera for video should seriously consider a 360 camera because of this clever post-shoot reframing capability.

The only disadvantage is that reframed video is limited to an output resolution of 1920 x 1080 since it can only show a section of the full 5.7K spherical capture. However, the X3 has a new 4K Single Lens mode for action camera style shooting, with an optional ultra-wide 2.7K view. This dual-mode shooting style could make it one of the best cameras for vlogging especially for those who like to travel light and creative highly immersive content.

A new 4K Single Lens mode means the Insta360 X3 can also be used as a regular 4K action camera. (Image credit: Insta360)
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Insta360 X3 design and features

The Insta360 X3 is just a little larger than the X2, but has some important physical upgrades. These include waterproofing out of the box down to a depth of 10m/33ft, though we understand it will still need a dive case for underwater 360 video.

It also has a good-sized 2.29-inch touchscreen display matched up with four external buttons for controlling the camera features. The X3 also pairs up with the Insta360 smartphone app, can make many camera operations easier as well as offering wireless control via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

The app also offers AI editing tools including reframing and subject tracking, plus a Shot Lab feature with instructions on how to film 30+ “viral-worthy” effects. For those who like more control, there’s also a free desktop Insta360 Studio app.

The Insta360 X3 is now waterproof to a depth of 10m (33ft),  (Image credit: Insta360)
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A larger 2.9-inch touchscreen makes it easier to compose and play back videos and make changes to the camera settings. (Image credit: Insta360)
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Other features in the Insta360 X3 include an 8K 360 timelapse feature and a Me Mode for creating “invisible” selfie shots without the need for reframing later. By “invisible”, Insta360 means its bundled extending selfie stick, which is automatically cloned out of both video footage and stills. A new Active HDR mode promises to reveal details in underexposed areas, and a Loop Recording mode simply keeps the last few minutes of video – you could use the X3 as a dashcam.

The Insta360 X3 uses the company’s tried and trusted 6-axis gyro and ‘FlowState’ stabilization for smooth footage, and its clever (if somewhat terrifying) ‘Bullet Time’ mode, where you swing the camera around your head for a Matrix-like movie effect.

The Insta360 is on sale as of now, and will cost $449 (about £389/AU$659)

Read more:

Best 360 cameras
Best cameras for video
Best travel cameras
Best cameras for vlogging

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.