We can all agree that Insta360 GO (review) was innovative and cool, but as often it’s the case with products that break ground, it was far from perfect. Releasing action cameras in the midst of a pandemic, where travelling is not only difficult but often frown upon, is not the smartest of business ideas, but Insta360 GO 2 is here and I’m eager to try it out. Even if I’m not going for a proper holiday any time soon.
Like GO but better?
If you need a recap from the review of the original GO: I loved the form factor, adored image stabilisation but the camera fell short when it came to user controls. Insta360 GO 2 addresses that thanks to the inclusion of a dedicated carrying/charging case that acts as a controller. It’s the most substantial change, but not the only one.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Inside the completely oversized packaging, you will find the Insta360 GO 2 itself, required cables and a couple of accessories that will make the use of the action cam easier:
- Insta360 GO 2 + Charging Case
- Magnetic pendant
- Easy Clip
- Pivot Stand
As Insta360 GO 2 comes with a changed form factor (it’s slightly bigger) last-gen accessories won’t be compatible with your new action cam. The magnetic pendant is bigger than before which should prevent wobbling from side to side. Included Easy Clip comes with an adjustable cradle to point the camera at the desired angle and the included sticky pad has a plastic cover to keep it sticky. So far, so good.
Why Insta360 had removed the 1/4″ screw from Pivot Stand is beyond me. Previously, you could remove the Pivot Stand from its sticky pad and mount it on a tripod. The new Pivot Stand is permanently attached to the sticky pad. A step in the wrong direction.
I also discovered that Insta360 GO 2 lens is now covered by a screw-on filter – a nice touch. Other lens filters and accessories are available via the Insta360 store page or 3rd party sellers.
The Charge Case went through some serious upgrades. From small but impactful changes like getting rid of the awkward Lightning Port and micro USB connector in favour of the USB-C to the inclusion of WiFi, Bluetooth link and a small screen turn this gadget into a very handy Insta360 GO 2 remote.
Two buttons are responsible for changing settings and controlling playback. Insta360 GO 2 will retain the last set mode which is incredibly handy, as you no longer have to open the Insta360 app to re-map the control scheme. The screen displays current working modes, the progress of your recordings and the information about the battery levels of your camera and the carrying case. The case can top your Insta360 GO 2 completely in 35 min and gets fully charged in about an hour. The whole bundle offers around 1.5h of recording time.
Unfortunately, some bad design choices were also made. Placing a USB-C port next to the 1/4″ screw mount will make it hard to use both at the same time (they could move one of these to the back). The screw mount itself is set at an angle, which shallows how much thread will go inside the nut on an average selfie stick.
The 2 foldable winglets at the back of the case that are used to prop up the case and turn it into a miniature stand – are so fragile, that I’m already counting the days before one of them gets broken. Let’s hope this will happen after I finish my review.
Insta360 GO 2
The camera itself is slightly bigger than the previous one with a black protruding lens sticking out from the pill-shaped body. It comes with a screw-on filter which offers extra protection for the lens itself, improves videos shot in sunny conditions and it acts as a gripping point. Insta360 GO 2 is easier to hold in hands and the multi-function button has been moved to the front of the camera – a good move as the overly sensitive back button of the GO would trigger each time I tried to remove the camera from its accessories.
Internals got a lift as well with resolution increased from 1080p to 1440p (2560×1440) while retaining 50FPS in all settings. The actual sensor inside is 2938×2938 considering available aspect ratios, but just like before, extra pixels are used to stabilise the footage with FlowState.
Despite a suspicious-looking gap between the button and the main body, Insta360 GO 2 is waterproof up to 4m – a step up from the water resistance of the previous model. Lastly, SloMo mode got a bump in framerates (120FPS) and in resolution (720p-> 1080p).
The recording ranges improved as well. With Insta360 GO 2 models available in 32/64 GB flavours, you can record up to 30 min in a single recording (or until the camera gets hot). I live in the UK, so the thermal limits may not be an issue for me, but your mileage may vary.
One of the biggest complaints I had about Insta360 GO was the user interface and feedback. I could never (easily) tell if the camera is recording, especially if mounted on my chest or helmet. It would lead to loss of footage and the disappointed Mat. It’s less of an issue now, thanks to the Charge Case.
Thanks to instant feedback, I can verify that the camera is working (in the correct mode) on the included screen before putting the case away. Insta360 GO 2 can still start without the case with pre-defined in-app actions. Thanks to this, I’m yet to miss any of my shots. The inclusion of settings and modes speeds up the workflow and makes the camera ready for shooting in various conditions in a couple of seconds if you need new settings, or nearly instantly – with a press of a button.
You can assign the custom actions to single and double presses of the camera’s button in both power states: on/off, for a total of 4 actions. Another thing that I love about the Charge case is the fact that you can change settings for each shooting mode with a long press of the recording button. It opens the mode-specific settings like timers, aspect ratios and resolution.
This turns Insta360 GO 2 into a camera I can and I want to take anywhere with me, as it takes little space, it’s always charged up and ready for action. With the inclusion of the Charge Case, the camera is more convenient to use than your mobile and I look less obnoxious while using it. When using it as a selfie camera these extra inches coming from the opened up Charge Case come in handy too.
Get more out of the app
Unlike the original GO, Insta360 GO 2 uses the same app as the Insta360 ONE X2 (review) and you won’t need 2 apps to manage your cameras if you have more than one. Both, your phone and Charge Case connect to the camera via Bluetooth. In this mode, you have access to basic controls and settings, but the situation changes when the camera is inserted into the case. Thanks to the internal connector, the Charge Case can link up to your phone via WiFi (access point) and stream the live feed over. It’s the same system used with Insta360 ONE X2 (review).
Now, you don’t have to guess if your Insta360 GO 2 is pointing in the right direction, you can quickly connect your phone and verify this. In this mode, you also have complete control of the playback. Insta360 app exposes access to custom settings like ISO/shutter speed priorities and all of the controls available through the Charge Case.
Insta360 app went through re-design as well and it’s cleaner and easier to work with. One of the biggest disadvantages of action cameras like this is the fact that you end up with dozens of clips and no time (or skill) to edit it all into a coherent video to memorize the day.
The app has the answer for that too with custom templates and AI editing which will try to pick the best moments from your recorded files and mash them up into something that makes visual sense. While the process is hit or miss, it can give you a quick edit that you can simply share with friends until you have enough time to edit your clips manually.
A library of edit templates will help you slot your clips into a ready template to achieve a quick and effective fun video that comes with music, overlays and effects. If you have never edited videos before, this will make your clips look cool, until you learn more about editing the clips yourself.
Insta 360 GO 2 comes with resolution support up to 1440p60/50FPS. Unless you have a specific preference for resolution, 1080p is more than adequate, especially since the camera uses a much bigger sensor to apply FlowState stabilisation to your video. The results are stunning if you are new to the GO series or as expected if you are very familiar with the original GO footage.
Just as the previous camera, Insta 360 GO 2 brings a lot of noise to videos shot in low light conditions. Anything shot after sunset will suffer from grainy footage and won’t look as impressive. It’s probably the biggest weak point of the camera.
Apart from normal and PRO (access to manual settings) modes for video shooting, Insta360 GO 2 offers HDR for landscapes, timelapses, star lapses and timeshift videos and slo-mo shots. Also new is the ability to shoot in VLOG mode. It’s a flat colour profile that brings the most colour information but requires proper colour grading on a PC.
While I could achieve a bit better stabilisation results with handheld gimbals like mOrange, Fimi Palm or Feiyu Pocket 2, the truth is, the mechanical gimbals always have an advantage. With that said, the footage shot by Insta 360 GO 2 isn’t far behind and considering the footprint of the camera, it holds up well. If you never used Insta360 products you will be impressed. It’s way beyond of what modern phones offer.
Videos in all shooting formats look clear and sharp, and the colour and dynamic range are more than adequate to shoot action scenes. The same can’t be said when shooting in low light conditions but considering the fact, that Insta360 GO 2 is made for action sequences, anyone trying to do “action” at night is just asking for trouble.
Photos can take the advantage of the 1:1 aspect ratio and use the full resolution of the sensors to create nice wide-angle captures. Apart from the resolution change, the only new feature (as far as I can see) is the ability to save the pictures as JPEG/RAW – anyone passionate about grading their photos, will appreciate the option of not dealing with JPEG compression by default.
Despite the handful of weak points, I love this thing. It made its way to the back pocket of my cycling jersey as a permanent part of the kit I take with me, just in case I find something worth pointing the camera at. I strongly recommend Insta360 GO 2 as an upgrade to the original GO, and for anyone who has been on the edge so far. If you have a keen eye, you can get it as low as £200ish during big sales and Flash Deals. So keep your eyes peeled. Let me know what do you think about this action cam in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈 – See the transparency note for details.