The Insta360 One RS camera is fully featured and the modular design makes it easy to configure the camera the way you want it. I’ve been riding the One RS mountain bike since the summer, and while I’m still not sure what RS stands for, I have a few suspicions.
Insta360 One RS: Relatively elegant
The Insta360 One RS is about 3″ wide, 2″ high and about 2.5 cm thick – almost the same size as a GoPro, which is probably no coincidence. It’s compact and light enough (around 125g with the 4K Boost lens installed) to attach to a helmet, but at the same time the buttons are a good size for gloved hands and the screen has just enough room to tweak settings change and see what’s going on.
The One RS combines three parts into one camera: the red, rectangular battery on the bottom, a cube-shaped lens module, and a control cube that houses the buttons and touchscreen. I tested the Twin Edition, which comes with a 360-degree lens module and a 4K boost lens. Everything snaps together so easily that you can change lenses on the fly if you want. Or you can carry an extra battery base to capture every moment of an epic day’s ride.
Not that anyone wants to see the whole thing.
Just the thought of editing so much footage makes me sleepy. Now most of us will find that the battery lasts long enough for most rides, and then some. It’s hard not to compare the Insta360 One RS to the GoPro Hero, especially since most of us have had experience with this camera over the years and the Insta360 seems to last a bit longer on the battery side, although I don’t can say for sure.
The maximum photo and video resolution depends on which lens you use. The camera can record in 6K at 24fps, although many of us will stick with 4K, which can be recorded at up to 60fps with the Boost lens (30fps with the 360 lens). It can also capture slow motion footage in 1080p at up to 200fps, although it should be noted that many iPhone models do even better at 240fps.
For more technical details on the camera, including full photo and video specs, visit the Insta360 website.
The camera itself is said to be waterproof if submerged up to 16ft underwater, and I’ve found riding in the rain to be A-OK. I’ve ridden the camera in wet conditions and also on many really hot and humid days and haven’t had any issues with lens fogging or worse.
The included mount works with GoPro-style mounts and has a piece of “special windproof foam” covering the microphone, although as you can see from the sample clips posted below it’s not particularly effective.
Insta360 One RS: Pretty simple
I say the Insta360 is One RS rather Easy, because while you can start recording right out of the box, there are plenty of features and options to navigate if you really want to dial in your shots and final edits.
To get the most out of the Insta360 One RS, you really need to download the free Insta360 app, which allows you to change camera settings, preview footage, edit videos and share them on social media. You can also adjust settings and get a real-time preview on the camera itself; I found the tiny built-in touchscreen not too bad for navigating.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities connect the camera to your phone and other devices like a smartwatch, which you can use as a remote control to start and stop recording. In the past, I’ve had issues with GoPro cameras wirelessly disconnecting randomly or not connecting, while the Insta360 worked fairly flawlessly in my testing.
The Insta360 One RS only has two buttons at the top: record and power. Tapping the record button turns on the camera and starts recording; Tap it again to stop recording and turn off the camera. The power button turns on the camera so you can adjust settings before recording or play back videos. Audible beeps let you know when the camera turns on or starts recording if it’s mounted in a place (e.g. on your helmet) where you can’t see the camera.
Insta360 One RS: Really cute
Over the years, helmet cam after helmet camera has left me incredibly frustrated. My own shots never look like the marketing videos and when I’m out on the trail I really just want to ride, not fiddle with the camera.
Take adjusting the camera angle for example. While a preview screen can help set the right view, it always seems to screw up as soon as I lean over the bars or the camera gets nudged, and I don’t find out until I get home.
With the One RS’s 360-degree lens, the camera angle is almost irrelevant. With lenses on both sides, the camera can capture all angles at once and I can shift the view at home to troubleshoot problems. With the 360 lens there’s a fairly significant fisheye effect and the resolution isn’t as high as with the 4K Boost lens, but the trade-off is that I don’t have to worry about missing the shot I want.
With 360° shots I can also pan the camera like in the clip below. (I converted the video clip to a GIF, which greatly reduced the quality.) Here I put the camera on a mini tripod by the path and just drove by. Rotating the focal point in the editor gives the impression that the camera is moving, which can make solo shoots much more interesting.
Editing 360° videos is a bit more complex than standard videos. The Insta360 smartphone app has all the tools you need to change aspect ratio and focus, as well as trimming, color correction and all the other standard features. For short video clips, the phone app is fine; For longer, more complex edits, the desktop software Insta360 Studio is the right choice. There’s also an Adobe Premiere plugin for those who are super pros.
The Insta360 One RS has built-in Flowstate stabilization, which I think works really well for mountain biking. To take full advantage of the 360° camera, I mounted the camera on my helmet for an unobstructed view and the videos play smoothly even on bumpy trails. Many riders have paired gimbals with action cameras to mechanically stabilize the camera; This is one of the few I’ve tested that doesn’t necessarily require a gimbal. It’s by no means perfect, but the POV shots won’t make you dizzy either.
The clip above was shot with the 360 degree lens after Matt on a dry, sunny day. Notice how slick it is, especially towards the end of the clip where the trail gets rocky and Matt flats his tire. Also note that the wind noise is…loud. And it wasn’t a windy day.
In this clip, I follow Leah on a cloudy day with the 4K Boost lens. Again, there’s a lot of wind noise and a bit more shaking, maybe because I’m riding a rigid bike.
In practice, all that 360° goodness and high resolution comes at a price, namely disk space and video transfer speeds. I recorded a 10 minute full run on a local trail loop and the video looks great on my phone. However, moving this video from my phone to computer and then to YouTube took well over ten minutes. Just exporting the video file in native 360° format from Insta360 Studio with color correction took over four hours. Thankfully, uploading the 6.5GB file didn’t take too long with a fast internet connection, but then YouTube took another six hours and more to process.
This video is included below. Because it’s a 360° video, you can change the camera perspective during playback for a fully immersive experience.
To be fair, few will want to watch a 10 minute video of an average rider like me on a mostly flat trail – it’s all about the edits. From Tik Tok, Instagram Reels, and now YouTube shorts, it’s clear we all just want the highlights anyway, and Insta360 offers a range of ways to capture creative shots from every angle imaginable.
bottom line: The Insta360 is a camera that rivals those of bigger brands in terms of quality, reliability and ease of use. If you just want to ride and get a viewable video at the end, the Insta360 One RS 360° lens is a good choice.
- 360° recording makes video recording a breeze
- Good stabilization
- Beautiful editing tools and reliable smartphone connection
Pros and cons of the Insta360 One RS camera.
- Huge file sizes are cumbersome
- Expensive, especially with add-ons