MO Tested: Insta360 One R Action Camera Review
A unique modular action camera that combines 360 and conventional lens options in one rugged package
We’ve previously reviewed the Insta360 One X action camera. The One X was launched in October 2018 and is capable of shooting 5.7K 30fps 360 video, with features such as Flow-State Stabilization, slow motion at lower frame rates, Bullet-Time video, and more. The camera comes with an easy-to-use and elegantly-designed phone app and desktop app which gives the user absolute control of what portion of a 360 view around the camera they would like to highlight.
I came away impressed by the One X’s 360 capabilities to capture all the action around a motorcycle – action that would otherwise be missed by conventional action cameras – but found issues with instability of the .insv video files and found the LCD screen with two-button controls on the camera a bit hard to use in the real world. The 360 technology is a game-changer for what it allows the casual user to easily capture, but the camera design was a bit vulnerable for regular use mounted on motorcycles and corrupted files occurred a bit too often to be easily forgiven.
More recently Insta360 sent us the remarkably tiny and aptly named Insta360 GO 2. Launched in March 2021, the GO 2 utilized Insta360’s Flow-State stabilization and gyroscopic data to give smooth video with a constantly level horizon (no matter how the camera is oriented). About the size and shape of one half a human thumb, the GO 2 was remarkable for all the technology it packed in a tiny, easy-to-use package. The video files proved to be very stable this time around and while the camera offered many positive and moto-friendly features like multiple frame rates and resolutions, effective stabilization, horizon self-leveling, durability, and easy mounting options, the one thing it did not offer was 360 video.
Well, it turns out that Insta360 launched a camera in October 2020 that combines the best qualities of both the One X and the GO 2 in a rugged, modular design that lets the user switch between 4K and 5.3K conventional lenses and a 5.7K 360 lens. The rugged design housed in a protective plastic camera cage addresses the vulnerability of the One X packaging. The inclusion of the screw and tab mounting design on the base of the One R’s camera cage addressed the vulnerability of the One X’s quarter twenty screw thread mount system which required excessive torque to be used to withstand the rigors of wind and vibration from motorcycle mount applications. Say goodbye to stripped screw receptacles in the base of the camera or loosening mounts that were a problem on the One X. The One R incorporates the same easy-to-secure mount system made popular by the original GoPro.
The One R keeps the One X’s ability to capture unique perspectives with Insta360’s video modes like Bullet-Time, Hyperlapse Time Shift, Deep Track automatic subject tracking, and the effective Flow-State Stabilization, and now adds the ability to easily switch between the 360 lens mod or a 4K or even 5.3K one-inch lens mod for those times when 360 capture isn’t called for. The one-inch lens mod also lets more light in than standard action camera sensors which is a boost in low light scenarios as well as a boost for image quality in regular lighting situations.
Insta360 periodically adds functionality to their cameras through firmware updates and continually evolves the capabilities of the Insta360 phone app that offers in-phone editing, image manipulation, a music library, multiple platform sharing options, and more to make it easy to capture and share content on the fly or back in the editing room on the desktop computer. Some recently added features include Loop Recording, Car MultiView, in-camera 6x speed TimeShift record, Horizon Flip, Overtaker, sharpness adjust, 4k at 50fps, horizon leveling function for Pro videos, and updated Vivid color profile on the one-inch Mod.
Could the Insta360 One R be the perfect action camera for the discerning moto-loving video maker? Watch the video and see what I thought of it in real-world, road, and track applications.
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More by Sean Matic