Insta360's new 360-degree camera may be the only gadget content creators need

The Insta360 X4 can record 8K 30fps videos, be controlled with AI gestures, and has several other tricks that vloggers, travelers, and enthusiasts will love.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
Insta360 X4
Ant Pruitt/ZDNET

When I reviewed Insta360's X3 camera two years ago, I found that the combination of useful hardware features and intelligent software made it the perfect travel companion.

The camera also had some kinks; the 5.7K-resolution cap for 360 videos translated to 1080p exports that never quite presented the extravagance of what was recorded, the battery life was good but not great, and since the review, the X3 has accrued its fair share of scratches and scuffs on the viewfinder touchscreen.

Also: Insta360 X3 360-degree action cam will blow you away

Insta360's X4, launching today for $499, is meant to address all those issues while providing a superior content-creating experience. You can also now record videos with hand and voice gestures by showing your palm or calling out to the camera.

The biggest change the Insta360 X4 brings is higher-resolution capturing, going from its predecessor's 5.7K at 30fps to 8K at 30fps. Insta360 says the new camera can record 78% more pixels, therefore rendering more detailed and less grainy visuals when developing 360-degree videos or any other form of content in the company's mobile and desktop apps.

Video-recording differences

Insta360 X4

Insta360 X3

360-degree video resolution

8K 30fps and 5.7K 60fps

5.7K 30fps

360-degree slow-motion resolution

4K 100fps

3K at 100fps

Wide-angle resolution

4K 60fps and 2.7K at 120fps

4K at 30fps

Me Mode

4K 30fps and 2.7K at 120fps

1080p at 60 fps

Insta360 says that editing footage through its proprietary services, even in 8K, is now more efficient thanks to AI Edit, which scans the clips and suggests the best ways to frame and make cuts, and the ability to download videos from the camera while the apps are running in the background -- something DJI and GoPro apps don't currently allow.

As for hardware upgrades, the Insta360 X4 offers a larger, more durable 2.5-inch touchscreen, layered with Corning Gorilla Glass, a 2,290mAh battery (up from the X3's 1,800mAh), and a new removable lens guard that comes in the box. You'll want to remove this accessory for the most optimal video recording, so that's another thing to remember. Still, having a lens guard should be helpful for customers using the X4 in harsher environments.

Also: This thumb-sized camera is my new 'must-have' for traveling

Popular Insta360 features, such as the invisible selfie stick, in-app reframing, FlowState Stabilization, Horizon Lock, and the various community-sourced editing effects, are still available for the X4. Users of past Insta360 devices should thus be able to leverage existing accessories and presets when creating content with the new device.

If you're interested in the Insta360 X4, you can preorder one today for $499. That's a $100 price bump from its predecessor, but the improved video recording and hardware features may make the new 360-degree camera worth the upcharge. We'll know for certain when ZDNET's Ant Pruitt puts the camera through the wringer, so stay tuned for the review. 

Editorial standards