The Insta360 GO 2 is a thumb-sized action cam with some extremely cool tricks up its sleeve. Its tiny 27g body has a magnetic fastening that can be used to snap it to a range of mounts to enable it to sit unobtrusively on a cap peak or the front of your T-shirt. This size and versatility makes it especially good for vloggers looking to capture what they're seeing.
The GO 2 follows the original Insta360 GO, which launched in 2019, but there are a few significant upgrades here. The Go 2 is fully waterproof to 4 metres (13ft), rather than just water resistant. It promises 150 minutes of battery life, over double that of the Go. It's also had a big bump in image quality: the GO 2 will capture stabilised 1440p video, compared to the GO's 1080p. It's slightly heavier than the GO, but we're still talking extremely light.
It launched in March 2021, with an RRP of GBP £294.99 / USD $299.99 / AUD $479.99. So while the original GO has a place in our best cheap action camera ranking, that price tag means the 2 is competing with the best action cameras in general. Read on for our full Insta360 GO 2 review.
Insta360 GO 2 review: design
Although the Insta360 GO 2 does appear in our best GoPro alternative guide, the design is very different from this market-leading brand's idea of an action cam. As with the original GO, the case is used for charging; it'll extend the battery life from 30 to 150 mins in video mode, or 20 to 110 mins in Pro video mode battery, and it'll juice your Go 2 up in just half an hour. However, on the GO 2 the case does a whole lot more besides just charge your camera. It also has tripod feet, which enable you to use it for quick group shots and time lapses. It can be used as a wireless remote that'll control the cam from up to 10m (33ft) away.
This charger has a tiny OLED screen and two buttons, which together enable you to switch modes, change settings, take photos, and start and stop recording. There is, however, no preview screen on the case or camera, which makes composing your shot tricky. As an alternative, you can open your companion app and use that to preview your shot in real time using Wi-Fi. It's a compromise you make for such a small form factor, but we'd say it's the main drawback of the GO 2 compared to a GoPro – unless you use the companion previewer, you do feel like you're just waving the camera around and hoping for the best.
On its own, a hidden button on the camera itself can be used to select different shot types and modes, via different tap gestures. But with no indication if you've selected the right thing or not, the whole thing's much easier if you just use the case.
Insta360 GO 2 review: mounts
Insta360 calls the GO 2 'the Spider-Man of cameras', and has come up with a flexible range of mounting accessories, most of which make use of this little cam's magnetic spot, to help you attach it almost anywhere you'd need to.
First up, there's a magnet pendant, which hangs around your neck under your top, with the GO 2 snapped to the outside. Be aware that while this looks quite clever, the grip isn't so strong that you can go bouncing around anywhere and expect the camera to remain in place, as our tester discovered (it proved, if nothing else, that the GO 2 will withstand a drop onto concrete admirably well... although we don't recommend testing the limits of this).
There's also an 'Easy Clip' mount that can be attached to a cap peak or bag strap, a Pivot Stand with an adhesive back, and a 1/4" mounting point on the cam itself where you can attach a proper tripod or selfie stick. Finally, you can also leave the camera in the case and use the bottom part as a mini grip that keeps your fingers out of view – this lets you take advantage of the added battery life the case brings, but unlike the Pivot Stand the hinge of this one doesn't swivel, so unless you're wanting to record your face the buttons will be facing away from you (we'd wager the case was not designed with this use in mind).
The above are all included with the standard package, but you can also purchase a mount adapter bundle for extra flexibility. Purchasing a universal mount adapter will open up a range of standard mounts and certain GoPro accessories, too.
Those wanting to capture adventure sports will benefit from the scratch-proof, replaceable lens guard, a new addition on the GO2, and included on the cam out of the box. This can be swapped out for an ND filter (sold separately) to suit different weather and visibility conditions.
Insta360 GO 2 review: footage and shooting modes
The Insta360 Go 2 video quality tops out at 1440p video, which is an improvement on the original Go's 1080p, but doesn't match the specs of the best GoPros (the Hero 9 Black will shoot in 5.7K). There are four different field of view options, ranging from a narrow 'first person style' ActionView to Ultra Wide.
There are a selection of modes to help you effectively capture, and inject drama into, your shots and footage. As well as Video and Photo, you also have Pro and HDR Video, TimeShift, Timelapse, Nightlapse and Slo-mo.
The standard Video mode is design for casual, fuss-free shooting. It uses the in-camera stabiliation, and you can't change the field of view when you export the clips. With this mode, footage doesn't need to be passed through the Insta360 app on your phone, or Insta360 Studio on your computer, before you can use it – if you plug the camera into your computer, the MP4s will appear as if on a USB stick, and the clip will display just fine.
With Pro Video mode, the clips need to pass through your phone or computer app before you can use them (you'll be able to see the files when you hook your GO2 up to your computer, but the clips won't display properly). This mode captures the whole field of view, so you can change from Linear to Ultra-Wide, for example, when you export the footage. When you process the footage, you can also use horizon levelling and Insta360's own 'FlowState' stabilisation to smooth things out.
Finally, there's HDR Video. Be warned, this mode doesn't cope well with movement – we ended up with issues where parts of objects seemed to become disconnected from the rest as they move through frame.
The companion app lets you tweak and edit your clips. If you're short on time or lazy, the FlashCut 2.0 feature provides templates or will even edit your clips into a story for you, using AI.
Should I buy the Insta360 GO 2?
If you're looking for excellent image quality via a small camera, the Insta360 GO 2 is a great option. The upgrades on the original GO are significant and welcome – especially the remote control case, which makes this camera a whole lot more usable.
Given the price is very similar to that of a GoPro HERO 8 Black or even HERO 9 Black, the main reason for choosing the Insta360 GO 2 has to be its tiny size. It'll fit easily and comfortably in your pocket, protected by the case, ready to crack out whenever you feel like it. While GoPros aren't exactly massive, this feels that much more streamlined and inconspicuous. If size isn't a priority for you, we'd still opt for a GoPro and enjoy the preview screen(s).
Insta360 GO 2 review: specs
Weight: 26.5g / 0.93oz (charge Case 63.5g / 2.24oz)
Dimensions: 52.9 x 23.6 x 20.7mm / 2.08 x 0.93 x 0.81in (charge case, closed: 68.1 x 48.5 x 26.5mm / 2.68 x 1.91 x 1.04in)
Waterproofing: IPX8 (to 4m / 13ft)
FlowState Stabilization (Pro Video mode): 2560x1440@50fps, 30fps / 1920x1080@50fps, 30fps
Basic Stabilization (Video mode): 2560x1440@50fps, 30fps / 1920x1080@50fps, 30fps
HDR: 2560x1440@25fps, 24fps / 1920x1080@25fps, 24fps
Timelapse: 2560x1440@30fps / 1920x1080@30fps
TimeShift: 2560x1440@30fps / 1920x1080@30fps
Slow Motion: 1920x1080@120fps
Photo: 16:9 2560x1440 / 1:1 2560x2560 / 9:16 1440X2560 / Film Panorama 2938x1088
Max video bitrate: 80Mbps
Connectivity: BlueTooth / Wi-Fi
App: Insta360 app
Max clip length: Pro Video mode: 10 mins / Video mode: 15 mins / FPV mode: 30 mins
Video format: MP4
Photo format: INSP / DNG
Photo Modes: Standard, Interval, Night Shot, Starlapse, PureShot
Video Modes: Video (Basic stabilization), Pro Video (FlowState stabilization), HDR, Timelapse, TimeShift (Hyperlapse), Slow Motion