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These little issues apart, the Magic 2 WiFi 6 Mesh performs admirably in terms of network performance. In order to use the Internet connection provided by our main router, we attached one adaptor to it. We then placed another adaptor in our back office, where we typically use a wired PowerLine connection for our office computers due to the terrible wi-fi there. To maximize wi-fi coverage, the third adaptor was placed in a hallway roughly halfway between the other two.
Having extremely large picture sensors, the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition is a modular 360-degree action camera. Two 1-inch sensors, which are substantially larger than those seen in earlier cameras like the Insta360 One X2, are mounted on either side of its lens module.
The One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition is larger and more expensive than our current top pick for the finest 360 cameras, which is a drawback to this strategy. However, does the visual quality make up for these shortcomings? The answer is probably yes if you’re seeking for the best quality from a consumer 360 camera.
Higher dynamic range, which results in greater highlight retention and superior low-light performance, are the key advantages of its larger sensors. The first point is the most important because this video camera still struggles to capture images at night. The clarity improvements over alternatives like the GoPro Max (and its 1/2.3in sensor) are minimal until you dip into nighttime settings.
Still, despite its painfully long name, the One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition is a great example of what’s now possible with 360 cameras. If you’re not already familiar with them, 360 cameras let you capture the entire scene around you, then decide where to point the camera in a traditional ‘flat’ video afterwards.
And one of the main benefits of Insta360’s cameras is that its apps – for both desktop and mobile – are impressively intuitive and powerful. Thanks to features like object-tracking and automatic transitions between frames, the software is a real blast – and makes the crucial editing phase relatively simple even for those new to 360 cameras.
The drawbacks? You still have only a few audio options, and the One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition is simply too pricey for most people to even contemplate, in our opinion. The ambitious design also comes with some substantial trade-offs, such as being less durable than typical action cameras (only offering, for example, IPX3-level water resistance).
It does, however, demonstrate that Insta360’s modular technology isn’t doomed to disappear (like Motorola’s Moto Mods or Google’s Project Ara) and that it is a remarkable and enjoyable camera to use. Unless you are concerned about scratching its enormous lenses.
Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition Release date and price
The Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition costs $800 / £810 / AU$1,299 all-in. This gets you all the bits and pieces you’ll see in this review, including the Core body, camera attachment, battery case, lens cap and mounting bracket.
For $150/£150 less, those who currently own an Insta360 One RS can get a package without the display module. The Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 unit has a custom design that matches the grip handle, therefore you can’t use the batteries from the earlier cameras.
It was released at the end of June 2022, a little under two years after the Insta360 One X2, a comparable but cheaper 360-degree camera from the same company.
Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition Design
- Slightly bulky, stick-like design
- Part of the One RS modular system
- Relatively limited IPX3 water resistance
Similar to other Insta360 modular cameras, the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition has four bits. The star of this device is its lens module. This connects to the “brainbox,” which also houses the memory card and screen. The battery is located at the bottom, and the blocks are secured by a thin shell that surrounds the area.
The Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition’s modules are arranged in a stick-like fashion, which makes the camera itself a grip. Simply by holding it alone, you can keep your hand far enough away from the lenses to capture film that is suitable. Just be careful not to rustle anything near the microphones, which are located in the middle brick.
For a camera with a price that puts it out of the reach of many, it feel very friendly in use. However, its mounting suitability is not on-par with a classic GoPro.
The Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition also only has IPX3 water resistance, meaning it can handle water sprays at up to 60 degrees off vertical. Rain is the limit, with ‘light rain and snow’ being the official line, and Insta360 has not yet announced an underwater/diving case for the camera.
After a few minutes of shooting, you’ll notice that the camera is beginning to warm up. Naturally, this is typical, but in this instance your hands are directly over the battery and the main processing block, aggravating the effect.
In addition, we’d be less secure fastening the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 to a handlebar or helmet than, say, a GoPro Max. Our scales show a weight of 239g. This seems heavy even though it weighs only about 20% more than a phone that is absolutely normal.
On the other hand, there is a 1/4-inch threaded port on the bottom, which makes it apparent that Insta360 wants you to get inventive with mounts. It simply screws onto tripods and selfie sticks; no further accessories are needed.
Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition Interface
- The same interface style as previous Insta360 cameras
- Small screen can feel a bit fiddly
- But 360-degree shooting makes framing a non-issue
There isn’t much evidence that the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition is modular from the front and sides. The buttons on the outer shell’s own feel wonderful and are used to operate the main module’s controls. The power and shutter buttons are located close to where your thumb rests. The exterior casing is not reversible, and therefore works better for people who are right-handed.
From the back, the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition will become much more familiar to those who have used an Insta360 camera before. The compromise that we have discussed in each assessment of an Insta360 modular camera is revealed by the contour of the traditional display module.
In comparison to a GoPro Hero 10 Black or GoPro Max, the preview image is much smaller, and the display itself has a low resolution. Insta360’s non-360-degree cameras have a significantly worse problem with this than the 1-inch 360 Insta360 One RS.
Here, you construct the photo after you’ve taken it, thus the major concern is where to place the lenses to keep the focal point away from the “seam” between the fields of vision of the two cameras.
Insta360’s interface is starting to show its age, though. It is not dissimilar to the software of low-cost action cameras from brands most have never encountered, and lacks the swishy inertia-tinged animations GoPro uses.
A year or so ago, the Insta360 style would sometimes seem refreshingly minimal and practical next to the rather slow and laggy GoPro style. But GoPro’s responsiveness improved significantly with the GoPro Hero 10 Black thanks to its new GP2 processor.
Even yet, Insta360 anticipates that you will use this interface considerably less when shooting. The most common method for choosing a mode, such as video, stills, time-lapse, or another, is to simply flick left and right on the screen. Because of the small and awkward touchscreen, where GoPro makes better use of sub-menus, the layout is mostly wide but shallow.
Performance and image quality
- Stabilization is excellent, as expected
- Better dynamic range than most 360 rivals
- Low-light image quality is only notable in the tripod StarLapse mode
When filming with the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition, you can virtually act mindlessly. The edit is when your footage will look the best, and Insta360’s FlowState stabilization is practically perfect.
It has horizon-leveling, and because the image is a full sphere, there are countless opportunities to move the viewer’s frame in order to counter motion. There are certain restrictions; if you walk or run about holding the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 in your hand, there will be some up-and-down motion that even stabilization can’t completely eliminate. However, we have no issues with the footage’s smoothness.
The main question on image quality is what do those larger one-inch sensors actually get you? It isn’t extra resolution or frame-rates.
The Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition’s best capture setting is 5.7K resolution at 30 frames per second, which it shares with the GoPro Max and Insta360 One X2. Even as you decrease the resolution, there is no 60 fps mode. There is no resolution lower than 3K at 50 frames per second since you wouldn’t have enough data to crop into the 360-degree footage. If you zoom in too much, the image will appear incredibly soft. It’s not a miraculous sensor; it’s a bigger sensor.
There’s no slo-mo and – the part we’d like – no traditional ‘flat’ shooting mode. We don’t mean a Log style dynamic range-preserving shooting style, but a non-360 field of view that lets you generate ready-to-use files. Everything needs to be edited down from a 360-degree capture, and it makes the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 less approachable than the GoPro Max. That GoPro can be used like a normal non-360 action camera when that’s what you need.
Similarly, while there are neat TimeShift and TimeLapse modes, they can only be accessed through the Insta360 app. You can’t watch previews on the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360’s screen or easily pull them off the microSD card. As is always the case, the GoPro experience is smoother than Insta360’s in some areas.
But back to our original question: where are those 1-inch sensor benefits? We think the primary one is highlight retention, made possible through higher native dynamic range.
This effect is seen most commonly in blown-out clouds. If you shoot an open blue sky shot with a few clouds, it’s not that much of an issue with the average action camera. But as soon as there’s enough partial foliage cover to make the camera bump up the exposure, action cameras tend to turn bright clouds into featureless white blobs. The Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 does this to a much lesser extent than our GoPro Max benchmark.
Blown out clouds are still a thing here, but more contour detail is retained in those bright spots.
A large sensor can also be helpful at night, although the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition’s night photography did not particularly wow us. Even though the image may appear fine when zoomed all the way out, a flat finished movie requires extensive cropping, which makes things look very fuzzy at night. There are minimal clarity improvements over the 1/2.3-inch sensor GoPro Max.
You need to use the StarLapse mode to capture an acceptable photograph in actual low light. This combines long exposure stills, making it only appropriate for particular scenarios and while using a tripod. On the Insta360 website, all the boasts about the incredible low-light seem to be made in reference to this mode.
We did, however, see significant benefits over the GoPro Max when walking around indoors – not in darkness, but in pretty dim lighting. The Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360’s picture was significantly cleaner than GoPro’s, with less dancing image noise over flat walls as you move around rooms.
The Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition also has the classic Insta360 approach to detail. It tries to preserve, or at least represent, fine detail much more than the GoPro Max does even at its ‘high sharpness’ setting.
There are benefits and tradeoffs here. Edit a 6K-resolution 360-view capture down to a flat one in both cameras and the Insta360 clip will look more vital, with an almost 4K-like presentation – despite only outputting edited flat videos at 1080p.
However, this very approach also leads to shimmering detail in textures as you move. Grass, brickwork, sidewalks and gravel paths are all affected pretty badly at times. There’s virtually none of this with the GoPro Max, because its entire approach is different – it aims for a slightly softer but more consistent image.
In other areas, the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition is simply technically superior than its GoPro rival. For example, the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 lens suffers from noticeably less chromatic aberration than the GoPro Max towards the join point of the two cameras, and is remarkably sharp right up to the camera borders.
Most good 360-degree cameras are solid in this respect, but it means there’s less evidence of the seams when you do dramatic pans.
What’s the takeaway? We think the most useful upgrade of the larger sensors is in helping to preserve highlights during daylight use. Unfortunately, action cameras are being thoroughly outpaced on the low light side by phones thanks to their more advanced software and processing, although the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 will no doubt capture some decent night-time city scenes as long as you edit with a fairly wide field of view.
Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition Battery life
- Lasts for around an hour, as advertised
- We experienced USB connectivity issues
- No improvement to sound – use the mic adapter if audio is critical
According to Insta360, the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition battery can shoot in the top 6K/30 setting for up to 62 minutes. Has it?
A 20-minute video depleted the battery by 29 percent, indicating that it may last up to 68 minutes. Insta360’s estimations appear accurate given that battery reporting is rarely completely precise and that capture may end before the battery is completely drained.
Photographs can be taken with the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition. Both the Auto and HDR modes provide a fair deal of user control. Shutter speeds, the HDR effect, and exposure bracketing can all be manually adjusted.
Like most action cameras, though, stills shooting feels very slow. We also compared the results from an HDR image at maximum and minimum HDR settings, and saw virtually no difference between the two. Still, the images are good and HDR does make a big difference over standard shooting.
Audio quality is largely the same as that of the Insta360 One RS, because the central module with mic is the same. It’s okay, but nothing special, which is why Insta360 offers a microphone module that plugs into the USB-C port on the side. This lets you plug in your own mic using a 3.5mm socket. It isn’t included, but does only cost an extra $19 / £21 / AU$49.
We did have some issues with the Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition during testing. It would not connect to any laptop we tried using the supplied USB-C to USB-A cable. Windows laptops said it was trying to draw too much power. MacBooks said it was “unreadable”.
Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition Verdict
The Insta360 One RS 1-Inch 360 Edition has larger sensors than other consumer-grade 360-degree action cameras. This improves dynamic range, which helps retain more highlight information when you shoot during the day. It also leads to a cleaner-looking image when you shoot indoors in dim lighting.
Insta360’s app-based editing tools are quick, dynamic and easy to use once you get over a brief learning curve. More than just classic 360-degree camera key frames, you can track objects or people and use the MultiView mode for picture-in-picture vlogging.
The camera’s design effectively has its own grip. While the handle gets warm, the shape takes your hand far enough away from the lenses to avoid them ruining the footage. This may sound a small point to make, but means you can capture footage while on holiday without walking around with the thing on a long selfie stick, which – let’s be honest – is never a great look.