The Insta360 Air is a super small, super cute, 360° camera attachment for Android phones. Priced at a very reasonable $129, the camera connects to the phone via microUSB, and is capable of capturing 360° photos, videos as well as live streaming functionality.
The first thing you will notice about the camera is that (in addition to looking like another BB-8 look alike) it is super tiny, which is a HUGE plus in my book, coming from a guy who hauls around tons of VR gear on a daily basis.
Usability & Filters!
Along with the Insta360 app, using the camera is relatively fast and intuitive. Just plug the camera into the phone’s USB port and the app launches immediately, in upside down mode, ready to shoot.
One of the key highlights of the app, in addition to the usability, are some nice features that we have come to expect from a mobile camera app, including simple lighting controls and my favorite… filters! If you want your images or video to have that nice saturated Instagram look or even a simple cartoon effect, this camera has got them.
Another nice feature is the optional 180° preview mode that flips open when framing the shot, so you don’t have to spin the screen around to check what is being filmed.
Despite it’s size, the Insta360 Air takes very seamless 360° photos and videos. The stitch line between the two lenses is very slight and the image stability provides a very stable shot, which is nice for walking and shooting video. The video below was taken while casually strolling through the market on an overcast day.
The camera comes with a convenient rubber case, a pinhole tool for activating the firmware update, and a USB adapter which allows the camera to also be used as a 360° webcam for your PC or laptop. Just connect it to the adapter, install the webcam software, plug it into your USB 2.0 or 3,0 port on your PC (Apple support is coming soon) launch Skype or other web chat programs and it works like a charm.
- Size – Fits in your pocket easily
- Usability – Very easy to use and install
- Affordable Price – $129 makes it a great buy for an entry level 360 camera.
- Accessories – The camera case is sturdy and well designed
- Image quality – Very seamless, well lit images and video for such a small camera. Definitely targeted for the selfie crowd.
- Sharing – Sharing the video and images to social media is much faster than my Gear 360. Less buggy and works as you would expect it to.
- VR Mode – VR mode is super fast and will work on any Google Cardboard style headset.( A lot less work to see your shots in VR than the Gear 360, which makes it much more complicated.)
- Micro USB Connector – I dont really like having to stick the camera into the Micro USB port on my phone. Feels like it could easily break at any time.
- No Tripod – The only way to use the camera is attached to the phone or on the USB adapter for PC.
- No remote functionality
- Performance – While running the app, my Galaxy S6 runs very slowly, so other phone functionality lags.
- Phone compatibility: Android phones
- Dual Fisheye lenses
- Realtime Stitching
- Apps: Insta360 Air, Insta360 Player
- Minimum aperture: F2.4
- Photo capture resolution: 3008 x 1504 (3K)
- Video capture resolution: 2560 x 1280
- Video 30 frames per second (FPS)
- Dimensions [Metric] 37.6mm diameter
- Dimensions (US) 0.12ft diameter, 0.13ft height, weight 26.5g
- Connector: USB micro/Type-C
- Colors: Matte Black, Rose Pink, White and Rich Gold. (Currently black is the only color available.)
I really love this camera! My first mobile 360° camera was the Samsung Gear 360 (which I do love) but the Insta360 Air definitely gives it a run for the money both in price, size and quality. It is easy to use, takes great, quick 360° photos and videos and you don’t have to sync it via wifi, so getting spontaneous shots is super fast.
Sean Earley is the Executive Editor of AR/VR Magazine & co-founder of RobotSpaceship Podcast Network. He is the Director of New Biz Development and Publishing at KEMWEB, a musician, producer & consultant. He loves guitars, VR and coffee.