Back in the day, capturing 360-degree images and videos was a task, primarily because of the camera setup that was required. Insta360 Air, a ball-sized camera with fish-eye lenses on either side of it makes the job as easy as it gets. What’s more, it is portable and can be attached to almost any Android smartphone via micro USB or USB Type-C port.
The Insta360 Air camera lets you take immersive panoramic photos and videos. It comes with Facebook Live support, so you can let your audience be a part of the action too. The Insta360 Air retails at $129 and is among the most affordable 360-degree cameras for smartphones. But is it worth spending that amount? We’ve been testing the camera for a while now and here is our review.
Insta360 Air Features and Specifications
The camera measures 1.5 inches in diameter, as much as the size of a ping pong ball. It weighs under 30g, so it is ultra-portable as well. The Insta360 Air has wide-angle lenses on opposite ends and a micro-USB connector at the bottom. The camera can be connected to an Android smartphone by plugging it into the micro-USB port. The Chinese manufacturer also offers another variant of the Insta 360 Air with a USB Type-C connector.
However, there is a catch here. To use the camera, you will be required to hold the phone upside down. This is because most Android smartphones come with the micro-USB port at the bottom, so plugging the Insta 360 camera and getting the right orientation of your photos and videos will need you to do this.
Insta360 Air app
The Insta360 camera requires a companion app to run which fortunately can be loaded upside down as well, taking into consideration the orientation of the camera, saving you from having to strain your neck. The Insta360 Air app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. To begin using the 360-degree camera and get rolling, ensure that you have kept your smartphone’s auto-rotate screen setting on.
The app is where you can access the camera, settings and album. Also, the home screen welcomes you to a gallery of 360-degree photos taken by other Insta360 Air users registered on the app. Users can link the app to their Facebook account for the camera to stream live whenever you want to. Other settings let you adjust the quality of photos and videos and how you wish to share them, add watermarks, adjust stitching calibration and others.
The app is user-friendly and organized for easy and quick access to various features. It also lets you view your captures instantly in VR mode with split view. All you need is a VR viewer to experience your self-made 360-degree content.
Insta360 Air Photos and Video Quality
When we got the Insta360 Air for review delivered from China, we were quick to get our hands on it and just shoot. So, are we impressed? An affordable 360-degree camera bringing VR experience on smartphones while delivering great quality pictures and videos! Yes, it did impress us.
Getting to numbers, the Insta360 Air camera captures still photos at a resolution of 3008 x 1504 (3K, anyone?) and videos are recorded at a resolution of 2560 x 1280 (2K). While using the camera, images appeared crisp and a good level of detail can be identified in the final image. Color reproduction remains mostly neutral, although reds were necessarily as bright as they could be. During outdoor shots or in broad daylight, the camera managed to get the exposure right on objects both in the sun and in shadows. Shooting at night can be a task on the Insta360 Air camera as its low light performance is not outstanding. Check the camera samples above.
Here comes the most interesting part of the camera, the photos or videos captured from the Insta360 air can be viewed in different modes such as Little Planet, Perspective, Crystal Ball and the default Fish Eye view. We admit, the Little Planet view is our favorite, which can give surprising results which depend on what and how you capture.
You can apply live filters or add them later to the photos clicked, all in the app itself. As mentioned earlier, the Insta360 Air camera is Facebook Live ready and lets you go online directly from the app itself for your friends to view and be part of the action. You can also share your photos and videos to other social media platforms such as Instagram, Youtube, Whatsapp.
Notably, the Insta360 Air camera can also be used as a 360-degree webcam for Skype and other video chats, and comes bundled with a USB 2.0 cord. Currently, it is supported for Windows PC only and Mac OS support will shortly be made available.
For one thing, Insta360 Air despite being tiny packs in a lot on the inside to fill in your immersive 360-degree VR cheap thrills. It is ready to use on go and doesn’t cost you a lot of money. The still image resolution might not outdo its competitors, but seamlessly-stitched pictures and VR-ready video on the go is more than what you would expect from an entry-level 360-degree camera.
In conclusion, the Insta 360 Air is a fun gadget to explore and a treat for beginners and intermediate-level users who like creating their own 360-degree videos. The Insta360 Air is available for $129 (Approximately Rs 8,300). However, since the product is shipped from China you might have to pay for customs and other duties which will bump up the price. We also found the product listed on Amazon India for Rs 19,999, which might be a safer, although more expensive buying option.