Insta360 One RS review: an all-in-one action adventure travel camera gets a (slight) upgrade

July 18th, 2022 | by Wilson Wong
Insta360 One RS review: an all-in-one action adventure travel camera gets a (slight) upgrade
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The modular Insta360 camera allows the screen to point forward for better vlog framing. PHOTO: Handout

Insta360 has launched an update to their modular 360 and action camera, the One R, with a few upgrades. The One RS has kept the same modular design as its predecessor, so those who already own one will feel at home.

When it was first in the market, the modular system was completely revolutionary in terms of design. You can set the camera up like a normal camera or switch the screen around for more accurate framing when shooting a vlog. Once assembled properly, the camera is waterproof up to 5m in depth. A waterproof case is needed for deeper dives.

For action adventure camera, the Insta360 gives me the most flexibility to shoot unique footage for my videos. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
The new 4K Boost module has 48MP resolution. The modular system allows the screen to face forward for vlogging purposes. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

The first thing you will notice is the improvement of the action camera. The 4K Boost module can capture video footage of up to 4K 60fps in 16:9 aspect ratio or 6K widescreen mode at cinematic 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

I wish the resolution could be higher, like the GoPro Hero10’s 5.3K 60fps instead, which allows a bit of space to crop in during post-editing and a bit of a slow-motion effect. 

The new camera’s software upgrades include an option for Active HDR, which boosts the details in both the shadow and bright areas of photos and videos. While I welcome seeing more details, the Active HDR seems a bit overdone, and sometimes images can turn garish if not careful.

A 48-megapixel sensor on the 4K Boost module allows higher resolution capture and more details in still images.

Without the 360 viewer, you will have a flat shot as above. Upload to Facebook to get the full 360 effect. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
The more impressive 360 globe shot gives a unique type of group shots. The HDR mode is not as pleasant though. PHOTO: Wilson Wong
Night shots are acceptable when you present them as a globe but up close, the noise level is pretty high. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

The Insta360 One RS has three microphones for better audio pickup. There are three recording options – Wind Reduction to cut down wind noise, Directional Enhancement to focus on the audio source and stereo. There is also an option for you to hook up your favourite microphone via the USB Type-C port at the side.

In the settings, there is an option to connect the camera to the Apple AirPods. The bad news is that other Bluetooth headsets are not supported, which is disappointing.

Using the Insta360 One RS is like using its predecessor, which is a good thing. The new gadget is intuitive when you start recording with the 360 camera module or the 4K Boost Camera module. The FlowState digital stabilisation works equally well, if not better. 

Working with the Insta360 app itself is a cinch. The camera and the app consistently connect without hassle. I can edit my 360 footage into regular video clips using the phone app with no desktop PC needed —a boon, especially when you want to travel light for your holidays. 

My only bugbear is low-light capture. The noise level is still not as good as a proper camera. To be fair, the Insta360 is designed more for action and adventure, which usually takes place outdoors. 

If you are looking for an action/adventure camera that gives you the most flexibility, the Insta360 One RS is the camera to consider. You don’t have to frame the camera. Just put it on the stick or helmet, hit the record button and you are good to go. 

That said, it does not justify an upgrade from the older One R because the 360 module is the same as the previous version. A proper upgrade would be the 1-inch 360 camera module co-engineered with Leica that works much better in low-light and offers higher image quality.

The complete set of the Insta360 One RS is now available for S$768. For users looking to upgrade their wide-angle action camera, the 4K Edition now retails for S$448.

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