Insta360’s newest consumer 360 camera, the Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition is, quite frankly, a beast. Incorporating two 1-inch CMOS sensors courtesy of Leica, it offers monster performance, monster sensors and a fairly-monster price too. Targeted at content creators, it’s designed around the modular system popularised by older models. For instance, it's compatible with the Insta360 ONE RS Twin edition I reviewed, which came out in March 2022 and is amongst the very best GoPro alternatives around (and in fact, one of the best action cameras in general), as well as the older Insta360 ONE R.
So how does the 1-Inch 360 edition match up? Here's my Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 action camera review…
Insta360 One RS 360 One inch Lens Cam Review: price and release date
The Insta360 One RS 360 One inch Lens Cam launched in late June 2022 globally, and is priced with a UK RRP of GBP 809.99, US RRP of USD799.99 and Australia at AUD1299. The lens is also available as a 360 lens Upgrade Bundle, priced at UK: GBP659.99, US: USD649.99 and AU: AUD1099.
Insta360 One RS 360 One Inch review: design and build
The Insta360 One RS 360 One inch Lens Cam builds on the ONE R / RS interchangeable lens ecosystem, adding a new lens option to the product line, and a LEICA monster at that.
The Insta360 One RS’s modularity was a superpower, a gift to desktop fiddling, and fun to use. The Insta360 One RS 360 One inch takes some of that modularity to heart – the Core unit is the same as the RS, although this has been modified by removing the fiddly SD card door to accommodate the battery block. That battery block sits at the base of the unit when assembled, which consists of sliding the battery block and core into a stubby, handle-shaped base, then clipping the lens array to the top. There’s a screw thread on the bottom for mounting purposes, which you’ll be wanting to keep hold of the slightly-top-heavy construction when in use.
Fitting the MicroSd card is quite a procedure – unclip the lens unit, slide the core out, then add the memory card into the end. This means you need to disassemble the camera to remove the SD, which is the line where modularity becomes slightly annoying rather than fun.
The build quality, as with previous Insta360 cams, is excellent however, with the complex lens mating surfaces marrying up beautifully, even when you’re in a rush and not looking at them. Overall, it’s a cool idea, but does feel like it’s straying from the modularity concept a little – without the specific case and battery unit the lens doesn’t really work, and older model lenses can't mate with the case, so it’s a bit of a standalone, albeit modular in principle, build.
Insta360 One RS 360 One inch Lens Cam review: lens
Obviously the lens is the big news here, and rightly so. Leica hasn't compromised its standards at all here, putting in a frankly gigantic, solid, beautifully built 360 lens unit. With lenses that are bigger than some people's glasses, it's got plenty of heft in the hand, and it just radiates quality. It also radiates serious fear of dropping or scratching those satellite-dish lens arrays, a fear we've not really got over yet. Quite why the glass-like panels on each side carry specs in pin-sharp white on black sans serif font we’re not sure either, but it does look sharp. In summary, it looks as if Leica completely ignored whatever 'action camera' brief they got sent, and just made a really good lens and sent it off anyway.
Insta360 One RS 360 One inch Lens Cam review: performance
As you might expect, that bulky, top quality lens delivers ludicrous firepower in the hand. We’re talking 6K@30fps 360 video and reframing, with 21MP stills, thanks to those dual 1-inch CMOS sensors. Use in normal light (summer UK) conditions is really pretty decent, giving clear, enormously zoomable, 360 panoramas that exceed expectations. In lower light though, those huge sensors hoover up the photons, making shots that would be murky nonsense with any other lens into believable footage again.
The app connectivity has clearly received some attention, now streaming 6K footage without a blink, so competently that to begin with you’ll interrupt yourself by turning the camera off, thinking the video has been downloaded locally to the phone (we did, anyway). FlowState Stabilisation and 360 Horizon Lock are both highly necessary tools to avoid a crazed jumble of sky, faces and countryside, and they both operate pretty seamlessly, doing what they say on the tin.
Although the 1350mAh battery life is perfectly decent considering the sensors you’re driving here, the poor little Core does get quite warm on extended shots. Nothing like as warm as the early software version GoPro HERO 10 did, but noticeably warm. It doesn’t help that if you’re using it handheld you’re gripping around this area, insulating it nicely. Screwing in the selfie stick or a tripod is definitely the way to go, and to be fair the Insta360 One RS 360 One inch Lens Cam is very much targeting semi-pro content creators, who will undoubtedly be using mounts or other rigs of some kind.
Indeed, in this vein Insta360 have created a wee external microphone adaptor, which slots into the USB-C adaptor in the base of the 'handle'. With this (and an additional bracket) you can capture high-quality audio with a 3.5mm external mic - such as the RODE Wireless GO, RODE Wireless GO II, RODE VideoMicro, RODE VideoMic Pro, XFAN D1, BOYA MM1, BOYA M1Pro, and Sony UWP-D21. The camera mic adapter is invisible in the final footage, ingeniously.
Insta360 One RS 360 One inch Lens Cam review: verdict
I liked the One RS very much, the modular concept and build quality really striking off into new territory for action cams. This Insta360 One RS 360 One inch Lens works with the concept, but in a different way. It’s a specialised proposition (inevitably), as not everyone wants a 6K@30fps 360 camera, but if you do want the one of the best 360s on the market, then open your wallet and brace yourself, cos quality and performance do not come cheap.
That said, the hardware quality will not disappoint – except the Core unit's small touchscreen – and the subtle improvements to software performance make an increasingly powerful argument in favour of the Insta360 platform. In short, it’s looking dangerously competent and GoPro-ish slick, but with whopping Leica lenses - and frankly, that’s a quite exciting proposition, even at a somewhat spendy price point.