- Included editing software
- No 4k recording
- Battery case isn't waterproof
Price as reviewed:
Even when there’s not a global pandemic going on I ride alone a lot. I spend long hours out on my bike in areas around Portland, Oregon, experiencing unbelievable landscapes. When I get home, there’s no good way to share what I’ve had the pleasure of seeing.
Over the years, I’ve been through periods of trying to find a good way to share my experiences. I always have my phone with me so any possibility always has the modern mobile phone as competition. Given that there are times when I resign myself to using my phone and give up looking for an option.
The perfect solution would be waterproof and rugged. It would be small, and it would be easy to use. I have tried still cameras but the good ones are too large and too delicate while small cameras lack quality. For a lot of people, action cameras like those offered by Insta360 or GoPro fill the space but they aren’t without their drawbacks. Large files and extensive editing needs tend to diminish their use.
The Insta360 Go 2 is something different. It’s a unique product that lets my phone stay stashed while also allowing me to share the time I spend alone on the bike.
The Insta360 Go 2 is so unique I have to start with a description of its physical form. There’s no generic design language that fits what the product is. I can say it’s an action camera but it’s unlike anything else.
Without knowing what it is, most people would think it’s a set of true wireless earbuds in a charging case. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and built from white plastic. Turn it around and examine it and you will find a USB-C port, a couple of foldable legs, and a tripod mount.
Like the case for a set of true wireless headphones this case also acts as the charger and external battery. Open up the case and inside is where the camera lives. The lower part of the case contains a small screen and two buttons. The screen is tiny, and minimal, but allows for a bit of interaction if you decide to control the camera with the two buttons.
The camera itself is less than half the size of the case. It sits in the upper part of the case and connects magnetically. Removed from the case it’s smaller than my thumb and the only significant feature is a small status light and the lens. On the rear of the camera is a connection for charging and the lower front portion of the body is clickable for interaction.
The Insta360 Go 2 is a video camera with a 180-degree field of view. It’s waterproof up to 13ft (4 meters) and it’s reasonably rugged because it’s so light and there are no moving pieces. Resolution is either 1440p or 1080p and frame rate is either 30fps or 50fps. There is also a slow-motion mode available via the case that gets you 120fps at 1080p. If you use it as a still camera, you get a 9mp image. Color profiles are Vivid, Standard, or Log.
The power of the unit comes in the mounting options. In the box, you get three mounting options. There is a pivot stand that will stick to flat surfaces, a clip mount for something like a hat, and a magnetic pendant. The magnetic pendant is the most interesting to me. Wear it under a thin shirt and the camera will seem to hang like magic in the center of your chest.
I wouldn’t trust the magnetic pendant mount in a real physical situation but it’s an easy way to get a unique point of view. With a thin shirt and minimal jumping it works well. Out for a hike with kids, or a mellow ride across town, and you’ve got everything you need for point of view video.
If you want to do something that requires a stable camera there are options for that as well. Use the charging case and it has a tripod mount or small legs that hold it up on a flat surface. The three-prong action camera mount opens up even more possibilities.
The easiest way to use the Insta360 Go 2 is to leave it in the case. The controls and screen are minimal but there is a way to confirm what mode you are in and switch it if you want. The case also makes it much easier to hold the camera. Unfortunately, the case is not waterproof. Given that what I find most useful about the camera is that it lets me keep my phone safe that limits the use of the case.
With or without the case, the mode you want is Pro video mode. I’d also recommend 1440p and 50fps. If you shoot in Pro video mode then load the files into the Insta360 desktop app you have options. After the fact, it’s possible to change the field of view or the stabilization mode. I don’t actually see any reason to use the standard video mode and leave yourself fewer options later.
With that in mind, you should practice a bit ahead of time. With only a single, colored, light to show what’s happening. It’s not always clear. With the camera off press and hold the button to turn it on. Initially, the status light will be dark blue. When you feel the camera vibrate let go and the status light will change to a light blue. It’s now on and ready to go. The single press gets you Pro video. The status light will be flashing between off and white. A single press stops the recording but leaves it on. Long press to turn it off or it will turn off on its own after a default time of 120 seconds.
The Insta360 Go 2 creates good quality video but it’s not leading the pack in that regard. Without 4k recording, there are plenty of better-quality options. When it comes to quality it’s passable but it’s not the selling point. The selling point is the size and simplicity.
Removing quality as a differentiator I see the main competition as the phone I also have in my jersey pocket on every ride. Is it worth carrying another product instead of using the phone I already have? I would say it is.
Modern mobile phones are expensive. Not only are they expensive but they are very precious. Your whole life runs through your phone, do you really want to destroy your phone on a ride? The trip to get a new one the next day, or the day or two it takes to get a replacement, is a world of hassle and expense. For $299.99 the Insta360 Go represents a cheaper product that will have minimal impact if it’s lost or broken.
The basic backstop of its value is allowing you to leave your phone safely stashed but it does offer more than that. The ease of mounting allows you to explore your creativity in ways your phone doesn’t. The Insta360 Go 2 is a tiny gadget that’s purpose-built for what it does. It allows you to relax and enjoy the ride while also sharing it with others.
The Insta360 Go 2 works really well and is a joy to use. It’s a camera that is simple to carry and makes it easy to grab clips of what's happening. Editing the files later is equally simple using the included software. You could get super creative if you wanted but you could also use it in a very basic way. This camera opens up options and removes worry. If you have any interest in showing people what you do on the bike, definitely grab one.
Max Resolution: 1440p
Max Framerate: 120 FPS at 1080p
Weight: 26 grams