“You will be inspired to capture some interesting perspectives that are unlocked thanks to their size.”
Ultra compact size
Frequent app crashes
The quality decreases in poor lighting conditions
There are many reasons people choose action cameras over traditional mirrorless cameras and smartphones, but perhaps the most important one is the unique perspective they can offer. That’s just one aspect that appeals to me about the Insta360 Go 2, which basically follows the same approach as other action cameras. However, due to its small size, it offers additional usefulness for capturing clips that are difficult to achieve with other cameras – and at the same time as discreetly as possible.
Open up new perspectives
Let me just say the obvious here: the Insta360 Go 2 can be used in almost any location, including those that you would find impossible. That’s without question what makes this action camera a far more effective tool for getting unique perspectives. Compared to most action cameras like the DJI Osmo Action I used, the camera module for the Insta360 Go 2 is about a quarter the size. This allows the Go 2 to capture content in narrower places. It’s also generous of the company to include useful accessories with your purchase, including a magnetic charm, swivel stand, and simple clip.
It’s just as light as a single AA battery.
They all have their intended purpose. For example, the simple clip can be attached to the edge of a cap to include a first person view (FPV). I love that the clip can also be turned down to capture a bit of my face in the composition. This can be useful for unzipping videos or showing something I have in hand. Also noteworthy is the charging case, which not only charges the camera, but also serves as a remote control, mini tripod stand and fastening strap. Needless to say, there is a level of utility here that is difficult to achieve for current competing cameras.
The camera itself is tiny and weighs less than an ounce. So it’s just as light as a single AA battery you might have lying around. Due to its ultra-compact size, it is more discreet when carried with the magnetic charm. However, there is no way to prevent the LED light on the camera from blinking while recording. Hopefully this will change with a future firmware update.
Shoot now, worry later
It’s really hard to fall in love with a camera when you can’t preview what the camera is capturing. Well, unless you connect it to your smartphone using the Insta360 app. Plus, you’re basically shooting blind in hopes that you get the right frame. To start recording video, all you have to do is press the physical button just below the camera lens or double press for a photo. Fortunately, you can change these features through the app.
There are a few minor nuances that annoy me, but a quick software update can fix them. For example, a 24 frames per second (fps) recording is only available natively if you are recording in HDR. In Standard and Pro mode you only have the choice between 30 fps or 50 fps. Personally, I would like a native 24 fps recording as well as a faster 60 fps mode just because I have the ability to slow down 60 fps clips in the post. There is also a special slow-motion mode that records in 1080p at 120 fps. The still image capture side lacks 3: 2 and 4: 3 aspect ratios, which are more ideal than the available 16: 9 option.
The quality of the camera is predictably best when the lighting conditions are ideal. On sunny days you will get sharp clips with a resolution of 1440p. When you record in Pro mode, you get a raw clip of 2880 x 2880 at 30 fps. The magic of the software reduces it to 1440p, which is more than usable due to the stabilization of the footage. In poor lighting conditions, however, the quality is significantly reduced and the noise is more noticeable in the shade. You should only use it when the lighting conditions are good.
What impresses me most about the shoot now is that the Insta360 Go 2 does a pretty good job of maintaining a lock on the horizon. This ensures that no matter how you hold it, the camera will always stay level as the app will automatically do all of the work for you. Add in stabilization, especially FlowState stabilization when you’re recording in Pro Video mode, and the shake you get in the raw footage will be magically stabilized.
App crashes galore
As I mentioned earlier, the size of the Insta360 Go 2 allows it to capture unique angles. However, because of the run-and-gun style of shooting, I’m less inclined to ever use my smartphone to properly frame a shot. It’s just a pain because of the extra time involved and how the app frequently crashes.
Since I’ve been using the camera, I’ve had multiple crashes when connecting to the camera or previewing a clip I just captured. At some point it got really bad when it just kept going, and so I had to reinstall the app – which brings me to the value of a dedicated display. My DJI Osmo Action not only has a rear display to properly frame a scene, but also a front-facing display that allows me to see myself if I intend to be in the frame.
Of course, I’d really like to see a direct wired connection option to take some of my frustrations away. A direct connection to a smartphone can be established via the USB-C port on the charging case, for example – similar to how this is achieved with a simple adapter on the DJI Pocket 2. Additionally, this current implementation’s direct Wi-Fi connection is more frustrating than anything else.
The Insta360 Go 2 is a fun, discreet camera that can add an entirely different visual style to your existing repertoire. I like the first person view it can get and how it can be pushed into tight spaces that traditional cameras can’t access. This wouldn’t replace my existing action cameras or smartphones when it comes to that run-and-gun style, but it definitely complements it.
The $ 300 cost of the Insta360 Go 2 can be a point of contention for some people, largely because it’s the same cost as other flagship action cameras in space, like the GoPro Hero 8. The Insta360 is on offer may not win on paper specs, but when you factor in the accessories, their small size, and incredible stabilization, it’s a worthy addition to your shooting repertoire.
How long it will take?
I get nervous about losing the camera because it’s so small, but the Insta360 Go 2 feels solid – including the charging case. Due to the internal memory of 32 GB, you will have to perform file management every now and then, while the battery life is 35 minutes. The charging case actively charges it when attached, which extends the total recording time to 150 minutes.
So far, the Insta360 Go 2 has withstood drops from around four feet – in addition to being submerged underwater (it’s IPX8 waterproof). If that’s not enough, there’s a one-year limited warranty that’s included with your purchase.
Is there a better alternative?
In the world of action cameras, you get superior image and video quality with the GoPro Hero 9 and, both of which have front-facing displays in addition to the traditional rear displays.
Should you buy it?
Yes. It differs from other action cameras thanks to its accessories and its ultra-compact size. So it’s worth buying it for the unique shots you can get with it.