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Insta360 GO 3S announced with significant 4K resolution boost

The new 4K Insta360 GO 3S, available in black or white finishes
3 minute read
The new 4K Insta360 GO 3S, available in black or white finishes

Insta360 has announced the GO 3S, which introduces a significant 4K upgrade to its impressive series of tiny action cameras.

Insta360's GO series of cameras have won praise over the years due to their tiny, unobtrusive form factor, making them perfect for capturing on-the-go moments with minimal intrusion. The most recent previous model, the GO 3, introduced a GoPro style charging pod with a large, hinged LCD display, making the camera usable as a GoPro style device with longer battery life. Although it wasn't fully waterproof in that configuration.

Today, Insta360 has announced the GO 3S, which is a kind of point update to the GO 3. Most aspects of the camera, such as the overall outward design and size remain the same, but a new processing chip is the main driver behind the new specs.

The GO 3S system, showing the flip up LCD and detachable pod system. Image: Insta360

Insta360 GO 3S new features

First and foremost, the biggest upgrade here is a resolution boost to 4K. The previous models could only manage 2.7K max, which was okay, but obviously lacking behind most other similar cameras on the market. Interestingly, we've been told by Insta360 that the imaging sensor inside the GO 3S is in fact the same as the previous camera. However, the addition of the new processor, which the company claims is 50% more powerful, as well as a new lens design has made the increased resolution possible.

Now, the upgrade to 4K does bring with it a few caveats. For one thing, the new lens is larger, since no doubt the sensor is as well. However, this has meant that the equivalent focal length of the camera has been increased from 11mm in the GO 3 to 16mm in the GO 3S, making the FOV in the new camera narrower. The lens is also slightly slower at f/2.8 compared to f/2.2.

As you can imagine, 4K also uses more power and generates more heat. But, how this plays out in real world use will reveal itself very soon. Insta360 claims 38 minutes runtime at 1080p resolutions for the GO 3S camera outside of the charging pod, but you can likely expect less in 4K modes. The GO 3S uses the same 310mAh battery inside the camera as the previous model, so there will be some compromise, although it is possible that the new processing chip is more battery friendly as well as more powerful overall, which might even things out. While the increase to 4K has brought with it some potential compromise in some areas, the GO 3S has big gains in others.

For example, 200fps in 1080p and 100fps in 2.7K is now possible. Slow motion quality on Insta360's recent cameras has been pretty good with a high quality image, so it'll be interesting to see how 200fps plays out.

The GO 3S is also 'Dolby Vision ready' hinting that it has HDR capabilities, too. A Megaview FOV has also been added, which allows for the widest angle of view possible at the same time as eliminating fish-eye distortion.

Timelapse and Timeshift modes can be recorded at up to 4K 4:3 (4000x3000) at 30p. These will need to be processed within Insta360's phone or desktop app, where effects like motion blur can also be applied.

Other new features include Apple Find My compatibility; quite handy for a camera small enough to lose down the back of a sofa! AI Gesture control has been added, and waterproofing has been increased to 33ft, up from 16ft.

The unobtrusive size of the GO series cameras allows mounting in places that other cameras would struggle with. Image: Insta360

Interval Video

Another new function that has been introduced is Interval Video. The premise is simple, you set the camera to record a video clip of a set duration, say every 2-minutes. The idea is that if you are doing a task, such as biking or walking the dog, the camera will capture clips automatically by powering on and off. Insta360's mobile app can then take the footage and automatically create an edit. The camera has a few presets built in for different tasks, such as Vlogging or hiking. I'll be interested to see how well this works with kayaking, since my previous experience of auto-edits usually result in a lot of footage of me sitting around doing nothing while missing out on all the action parts!

One thing I've always appreciated about the GO cameras is that, despite their shortcomings, the size always makes them a pleasure to use, and we'll have a review of the camera dropping soon.

The Insta360 GO 3S is available to order from today in a standard bundle with mounts included as either a 64GB or 128GB model, priced at £349.99 (US$399.99 and £369.99 (US$429.99) respectively, or as a standalone camera without the action/charging pod at £209.99 (US$239.99) for the 64GB model and £229.99 (US$269.99) for the 128GB device. The standalone option is suitable for existing GO3 owners who might want to upgrade without needing to pay for a new action pod.


Tags: Production Cameras Action cameras