How it is like to buy an Insta360 Air in 2020

The Insta360 Air was released 3 years ago and it was praised by many reviewers by its functionalities and ease to use. Initially priced at $129, but you can easily find it at a much cheaper price recently. After seeing the little 360 camera was on sale for around $50, I quickly grabbed the chance to buy it to see how well it performs in 2020.

First of all, a quick unboxing and intial impression. All are recorded in glory 360.

So after having watched the video, which I believe you have, you might already got some idea about several aspects of the camera including image quality and functionalities like the incredible gyroscope feature. You can find information about its many other features on other reviews since its release 3 years ago. Some of the most notable features include: The ability to just plug the camera into the phone and start shooting right away; Very compact, no battery, no storage, no screen, no buttons; Very easy to use and feature-rich mobile app.

However, this post isn’t actually a review anyway. This is a post about how it’s like to use the Insta360 Air in 2020. Here are some of my thoughts about this:

  • For $50, it’s still one of the cheapest 360 cameras you can buy.
  • Actually imho, this is a fair price for the hardware because, well, unlike other 360 cameras this one doesn’t have many hardware components that could be quite costly. For the original price, not so much.
  • The greatest thing about this is obviously the mobile application, which manages everything including stitching, recording audio and of course the great gyro stabilization feature.
  • A major problem with the app: The Insta360 Air application is no longer in Google Play Store. You’ll have to download the APK manually and sideload it on your device. Could be a bummer for many people, really.
  • Also you can no longer using Live video feature on Facebook using the app due to some outdated certificate something.
  • The gyro stabilization feature has a weird bug, which sometimes flips the gyro direction. I’m not sure is it because of the mobile app or my mobile’s gyro being faulty.
  • The camera is very compact, which is critical. My other 360 camera is the Samsung Gear 360 (2016), which is notably larger than this one. In many occasions I felt bringing that with me is just too inconvenience, and as people say, “The best camera is the one you have with you”.
  • However, it’s still not “pocket-sized” compact. You can, but you’ll still prefer to throw it into your bag or something. You may want to consider several 360 cameras just released which are more compact than this one.
  • No water-resistant.
  • Draw a lot of juice from your mobile.
  • The 1280p resolution of the camera for video is kind-of acceptable (up to 3K for some devices). But the 4.5MP resolution for photo is a bit hard to swallow. I don’t know why they decide to use that resolution, may be because it’s for the connection between the camera and the phone?
  • The video and the image quality, on the other hands, is pretty good. Colour is accurate and the stitching is great. However, the fringing is pretty obvious and the app’s Fringing Fix feature doesn’t seem to do anything.

Click on the link below for some sample photos I took with the Insta360 Air. All are unedited, btw.

Insta360 Air sample photos on Google Photos

So in summary, here are what I recommend

  • This one is still “one of its own kind” which there isn’t many 360 camera like this, even from Insta360. So if you’re into something like this, hassle-free, just plug and capture, then buying this one is a no brainer.
  • If you are looking for your first-ever 360 camera and your budget is limited, you should buy this when it’s on sale for around $50 which is quite frequently. You could do much worse even with some $100-ish 360 cameras.
  • In case you have a bit higher budget and you’re just in the market of a compact 360 camera, there’re plenty of choices around. A great alternative is the Insta360 One from the same company.
  • If you just want to buy a camera to be Live on Facebook or YouTube, you really should look elsewhere.

I hope this post helps you with your decision. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions.

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