Insta360 One R Review: 30 Features and Disadvantages, and FAQ (updated 1/10/20)

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Here are 30 features and disadvantages of the Insta360 One R, based on my hands-on use as a beta tester, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the One R. Updated: January 10, 2020. Originally posted: January 7, 2020.

Here is the launch video:

Here are my first impressions and its key features:

Insta360 One R modules available at launch

Insta360 One R is a modular 360 camera that can be converted into other cameras such as a 4K action camera, a 1-inch sensor camera, or a 360 drone camera. With the One R, a user can select the best camera for the job. For example, the 360 module can be used for “impossible” third-person view shots, the 4K wide angle module for more detail and for slow motion (up to 1080p at 200 fps), or the 1-inch wide angle mod for the best image quality and low light performance.

Insta360 One R Specifications

Insta360 One R (360 module) Insta360 One X
Lenses two fisheye lenses two fisheye lenses
Field of view fully spherical fully spherical
Aperture f/2.0 f/2.0
Processor TBD unspecified Ambarella
Photo resolution 6080 x 3040 in JPEG or DNG raw 6080 x 3040 in JPEG or DNG raw
Video resolution 5760 x 2880, 30fps
3840 x 1920 @ 50fps
3840 x 1920 @ 30fps
3008 x 1504 @ 100fps
mp4 (log mode available)
5760 x 2880, 30fps
3840 x 1920 @ 50fps
3840 x 1920 @ 30fps
3008 x 1504 @ 100fps
mp4 (log mode available)
Bitrate 100 mbps, H.265 100 mbps, H.264
LCD screen OLED touchscreen LCD screen
Bullet time video 3008 x 1504 @ 100fps
fully spherical
variable aspect ratio
3008 x 1504 @ 100fps
fully spherical
variable aspect ratio
Live streaming: Yes, stabilized.
Compatible with YouTube, Facebook, Periscope / Twitter, Weibo
Yes, stabilized.
Compatible with YouTube, Facebook, Periscope / Twitter, Weibo
Shutter speed: 1/8000 to 120 seconds 1/8000 to 120 seconds
ISO: 100 to 3200 100 to 3200
Stabilization: 6-axis gyro-based image stabilization 6-axis gyro-based image stabilization
Microphones stereo,
optional USB microphone adapter
stereo
Voice control Yes none
Connector: Frame has GoPro mount and 1/4-20 tripod adapter 1/4-20 tripod connector
USB Connector Type C Micro USB
Storage: one Micro SD up to 128GB one Micro SD up to 128GB
Working humidity: TBD TBD
Temperature: TBD TBD
Waterproof: Yes No (TWO TYPES of waterproof housing accessories available)
Connectivity: 5G WiFi,
Bluetooth LE 4.0
5G WiFi,
Bluetooth LE 4.0
Compatibility: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac iOS, Android, Windows, Mac
Dimensions: TBD 115 x 48 x 28 mm
Weight: 130g without frame
165g with frame
115g with battery
90.9 without battery

First impressions

I’ve been shooting with the One R and have been quite impressed. The touchscreen makes the One R much easier to use than the One X. I’m able to change almost all the settings that are in the smartphone app.

As for image quality, I found the video quality to be slightly better than that of the One X. I’ve been most impressed with its photo quality. I was surprised that the One R can do a 9-shot HDR in Raw+JPEG with no ghosting. I’ve also been able to use the Night Shot (median stacking) feature to capture photos in low light conditions, with little noise. Surprisingly, the photos have shown no ghosting even though it combines nine photos.

As for the modular aspect, I found that I seldom had the time to reconfigure the One R in the field. I think it would be better if the One R had a non-360 mode like the GoPro MAX, or had a core that could support both a 360 module and the non-360 4K module so that I could quickly switch between the two shooting modes. I will be testing the 1-inch module soon, which I expect will be more useful due to its significantly higher image quality.

Insta360 One R price and availability

The Insta360 One R Twin Edition (with a 360 module and the 4K wide angle module) is now available for $479 (use code: CES2020 during checkout to get free selfie stick for a limited time). Orders will begin shipping shortly.

Here are the other bundles:
$299 4K Edition (with 4K module, core, battery)
$429 360 Edition (with 360 module, core, battery ) – currently not in stock.
$479 Twin Edition (with 360 module and 4K module, core, battery)
$549 1-inch Edition (with 1-inch module, core, battery)
$549 Drone Edition for Mavic Pro 1 (with the Split-Lens 360 module that can be used as a standalone 360 camera or a 360 drone camera, core, battery, drone mount)
$549 Drone Edition for Mavic Pro 2 (with Split-Lens 360 module that can be used as a standalone 360 camera or a 360 drone camera, core, battery, drone mount)

You can also purchase additional modules separately:
$99 4K module
$199 360 dual-lens module
$299 1-inch module
$349 Aerial Add-on: includes the Split-Lens Module and the drone mount

Sample video

Here is an official sample from Insta360:

I will post sample photos and videos from the One R when the embargo lifts next week on January 14.

FAQ

General questions

1.1. What is the weight?
With 360 module 130g
With 360 module and frame 165g
With 4k module 120g
With 4k module and frame 155g

1.2. How do you set the date and time?
Connect to the app. It will set the date and time based on your phone.

1.3. Does the date and time still reset?
No (unless the battery is drained for a long time).

1.4. Does Insta360 One R use Micro USB or Type C?
Type C.

1.5.  I looked in the camera playback or on my phone and the video has poor stitching and low resolution.
That’s because you’re looking at only a low-resolution preview. To see the actual image quality, you need to download the video to your app or to the desktop.  You’ll see improved stitching, resolution, and stabilization.

360 module (Dual Lens vs Split Lens)

2.1 How many types of 360 modules are there? 
Two.  The dual-lens 360 module included with the Twin Edition or the 4K Edition is a single module with two lenses. 
The split-lens 360 module in the Aerial Edition or the 3D Edition is actually two modules that can be combined into 360 or split apart and used for the drone edition or the 3d edition.

2.2 Should you get the split-lens instead of dual lens? 
The split-lens is more versatile because it can be used for VR180 or for an invisible drone effect, but the split-lens is that it is not waterproof and has no bullet time mode.

2.3.  Why does the video quality on my 4K phone / camera look better than the 5.7K video on the 360 module?
Because the 5.7K resolution of a 360 video is spread out over 360 degrees.  Your phone’s 4K video is spread out over around 70 degrees. So your phone or non-360 camera will have more pixels per degree.  For a better comparison, use the 4K module, or the 1-inch module. 

4K module

3.1.  What is the 4K module?
It is a partial fisheye lens with 16.4mm equivalent focal length paired with a 1/2.3-inch sensor, similar to the field of view of a GoPro Hero8.

3.2.  Should I get both the 4k module and 1-inch module or are they redundant?  
They are mostly redundant.  If you prefer the 1-inch module, you can get the 1-inch edition and add the 360 module.

3.3.  Does the 4K module have any advantages over the 1-inch module?  
Yes.
– The 4K is cheaper.
– When used with a dive case, it can be used up to 60 meters.  1-inch maxes out at 30 meters.  
– The 4K has a minimum focal distance of 30cm, while the minimum focal distance of the 1-inch is around 50 to 60cm.
– The 4K has HDR Video mode, while the 1-inch does not.

3.4. Is it wider than the 1-inch? 
No, the 1-inch is wider (14.4mm) vs the 4K (16.4mm equivalent).

3.5. Can you use two of the 4K mods for 360? 
No.  Insufficient field of view.

3.6. Can you use two of them for VR180 (3D 180)? 
No.  Insufficient field of view.

3.7. Can you use two of them for non-VR 3D?
Yes, with the 3D Edition.

1-inch module

4.1 What is the 1-inch module?
It is a rectilinear ultrawide lens (equivalent to 14.4mm focal length) co-designed with Leica, and paired with a 1-inch sensor with 5.3K video.

4.2. Is it fisheye or rectilinear? 
It is rectilinear.

4.3. Is it stabilized?
Yes, but the stabilization is not as good as a 360 video.  I will compare stabilization vs 4K module.

4.4. What is the aperture?  f/3.2.

4.5. Does it have autofocus? What is the minimum focal distance? 
No, it is fixed focus. Its minimum focal distance is 100cm but has acceptable sharpness at 50 to 60cm.

4.6. How does it compare to the Sony RX0 II? 
The 1-inch mod has several advantages.
– higher video resolution: 5.3K vs. 4K for RX0.
– higher photo resolution: 18.8mp vs. 15mp
– It has a wider angle (14.4mm equiv vs. 24mm)
–  has wider aperture (f/3.2 vs f/4). 
– RX0 is also autofocus, while insta 1-inch is fixed focus.

4.7. Can you use two of them for 360? 
No.  Insufficient field of view.

4.8. Can you use two of them for VR180 (3D 180)?
No.  Insufficient field of view.

4.9. Can you use two of them for non-VR 3D? 
Yes, with the 3D Edition

Aerial Edition, aka Drone Edition

5.1. What is the benefit of the Aerial Edition?
You can mount the One R on a Mavic Pro to capture a stabilized aerial 360 video where the Mavic Pro appears invisible in the video.  The 360 video can be reframed to non-360 using Insta360 Studio to point to any direction, with adjustable field of view.

5.2. What is the weight of the Aerial Edition rig (including cameras)?
300 grams, according to Insta360.

5.3. Which drones are compatible? 
Mavic Pro or Mavic Pro 2.  In the future, they are planning an FPV drone version.  No mention of Mavic Air or Mavic Mini or DJI Spark.

5.4. How many drone editions are there? 
There are 2: Aerial edition, and the Aerial add-on.  Each one has a version for Mavic Pro 1 and Mavic 2 Pro.

Aerial Edition has everything you need to shoot with the One R on a drone, as well as to use it as a non-aerial 360 camera:
– split-lens 360 module
– vertical battery
– core
– drone mount
– camera bracket (for use as a standard 360 camera)
– standard battery (for use as a standard 360 camera)

Aerial Add-On is for users who already have a core from another edition. It includes:
– split-lens 360 module
– vertical battery
– drone mount

5.5. Can the aerial edition be used for 360? 
Yes for the Aerial Edition.  For Aerial Add-on, yes if you have the core, standard battery, and camera bracket.

5.6. Can the aerial edition be used for VR180? 
Yes if you have the 3D edition connector (the 3D Edition Split Lens module and Aerial Edition Split Lens module are both the same).

Battery / Endurance

6.1. What is the maximum recording time?  
Insta360 claims it can record 65 minutes of 360 video, but this will vary based on use and temperature. 
With firmware 1.45, Sandisk Extreme (V30 A2) and screen on auto-off, I was able to record 57 minutes 41 seconds.
With firmware 1.54, Sandisk Extreme (V30 A2) and screen always turned on, I was able to record a total of 46 mins.

6.2. Can you charge the camera while recording?
Yes via USB Type C. You can also power the camera via USB Type C without the battery connected. 

6.3. How large is each file?  Is there a gap between the files?  Is there a gap after the 30 min limit?
The One R records a continuous video to one file (or two files if 5.7k) for 30 mins.  After 30 mins, it creates a new file and starts recording. There is a few seconds gap after the 30 min. recording.

6.4. How long does it take to charge?
Around 65 minutes via USB Type C. Or 30 minutes with the Fast Charger.

6.5. Can you buy extra batteries? 
Yes, $29 each. They are more expensive than typical batteries because they have more customized parts and cost more to manufacture than normal batteries. Alternatively, you can get the boosted battery (see 6.6 below).

6.6.  What is the boosted battery?  
It has twice the capacity of the normal battery.  It also has a foldable gopro mount, and does not need the frame.  When using the boosted battery, the One R is splash resistant but not waterproof.

6.7.  How do you charge the battery? 
You can charge via a USB Type C connected to the Core or you can use the optional fast dual charger.

6.8. Does the battery work in cold weather like the new one x battery? 
Yes from -4F to 104F (-20C to 40C)

Audio

7.1. Can you use microphones with the One R?
Yes.  There are two options: there is an Insta360 USB Type C to 3.5mm mic adapter, or you can use Airpods or other Bluetooth headset as a wireless microphone.

7.2. Can the One R work with 3rd party USB Type C mic adapters? 
No.

7.3. Can the One R work with any Bluetooth headset or just Airpods?
It is compatible with any Bluetooth headset.

7.4. How many microphones does the One R have? Where are the microphones?
There are two: on top, near the power switch, and on the side, near the USB port cover.

Shooting Underwater

8.1. Is the One R waterproof? 
Yes up to 16.4 feet (5 meters) if you use assemble the components and the camera bracket. Make sure there is no dust or sand in the connectors or between the modules, and the USB port is sealed.

8.2. Will the Lens Guard neutralize refraction underwater? 
They said it will. Not sure from the design.

8.3. What if I want to shoot underwater?
Use the 4K Dive Case, 1-inch Dive Case, or 360 Dive Case.

8.4. Why is the 360 Dive Case expensive?
It includes the vertical battery (same battery as the Aerial Edition).

Editing

9.1.  Will the desktop app have all the editing capabilities of the phone app?
As of launch, no.

9.2.  What’s the fastest way to transfer: cable or micro SD card or wireless?
From my experience, via USB 3.0 Micro SD card reader. YMMV.

Accessories

10.1. Can I use a different brand selfie stick? 
Any selfie stick or monopod with ¼-20 tripod connector works, and will be invisible as long as it is within the stitch line.

10.2. How do you make the selfie stick disappear?
Use a selfie stick that is thinner than the space between the lenses, and make sure the selfie stick is always in-line with the camera.

10.3. What is the difference between the invisible selfie stick adapter vs. the tripod adapter?  
Both are gopro mount to tripod adapters but the selfie stick adapter doesn’t pivot.

10.4. What is the difference between the invisible selfie stick and the One R selfie stick?
The One R selfie stick is shorter and more compact. 

10.5. What are the remote control options for One R?
– Your smartphone (Android or iOS)
– The Insta360 GPS Bluetooth remote.  Needs firmware update.
– Apple Watch using the One R app for Watch OS.  Note: it can only shoot. It cannot view photos or videos.

10.6. Is the One R camera bracket compatible with accessories that use a GoPro mount?
Generally yes.

Troubleshooting

11.1. How to reset the camera?  
Remove the battery or hold down the power button for 30 seconds.  If problems persist, switch modules, turn on, turn off, switch back, turn on again.

11.2.  I can’t insert the camera in the bracket or frame!  It doesn’t fit.
Solution 1: make sure the shutter button on the camera is on the same side as the button on the frame.
Solution 2: make sure the USB port door is completely closed.

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