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Insta360 One X2

Cool factor 4/5
Usability 2½/5
Value for money 4/5

I’ve reviewed many gadgets over the years, but one type of camera always prompted the question: "Why?" I finally got to spend time with a 360° camera over the holidays, with the Insta360 One X2.

It’s an omnidirectional camera with lenses on both sides, so it has a field of view covering all angles on a horizontal plane. The result is sphere-shaped images, which can look "distorted" as static images.

The One X2 weighs 149g and is shaped like a candy bar, with dimensions of 4.62cm x 11.30cm x 2.98cm. It shoots images in wide-angle and RAW formats, and up to 5.7K videos at 24 frames per second.

Features include a six-axis gyroscope, 100Mbps rate, steady-cam mode, horizon lock, wind reduction audio and voice control, which is great if you’re in the water (it’s 10m waterproof). You can also adjust exposure, shutter speed and white balance.

It has an accompanying Insta360 app, which I struggled to pair with an iPhone 13 Pro, though I had luck with an older Android. I checked online; it supports iOS devices released up until 2020.

If you don’t watch a YouTube tutorial, you may struggle to understand how to operate it. It has a tiny colour touchscreen that supports swiping from the top down and left or right, and a physical button to record.

To start shooting, you need an SD card that needs to be formatted to avoid getting errors. You can toggle the video resolution to 3K, 4K or 5.7K, as well as the frame rate to see the amount of footage you can record in real time. It shoots in either 150° or 360° angles. Auto camera mode is recommended for beginners, and HDR makes all the difference.

It has a 1,630mAh removable battery that charges in 85 minutes.

It took some time to understand how it works properly, but downloading images and videos via the app was straightforward. It also has an artificial intelligence editing suite before you share your footage, but it takes some time to learn how to use it.

The Insta360 One X2 is a pocket-sized waterproof action camera that would appeal to water sport enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies, YouTubers or people who need to shoot content for a virtual reality headset.

It is packed with features but requires time to figure out. It’s a cheaper alternative to a DJI Action 2 or a GoPro Hero. It costs R7,395 at ormsdirect.co.za.

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