The Insta360 GO 2 is a tiny camera that you can mount on almost any size of FPV drone, allowing you to capture high-quality stabilized videos. Insta360 wanted to provide a super-light wearable clip-on camera that allows capturing your every day’s best moments with the original GO. It fits into your pocket just like your AirPods. Combined with the wide range of available accessories, you can trippingly mount it nearly anywhere you want, record hands-free, and get shots you’ve never got before, whether it is sunny or raining.
The GO 2 follows the first-generation GO’s small form-factor, which was launched in 2019 but with a few cool upgrades and a re-invented charging case. Now, the Go 2 is fully waterproof up to 4 meters (13ft), rather than just splash-resistant. It promises 150 minutes of in-case battery life, over double of its predecessor. Still no 4K recording, just 1440P instead of 1080P. With the GO2, you can take 1920×[email protected] slow-motions. In comparison, the original GO had only 1600×[email protected] More importantly, in FPV mode, you can take 30 minutes clips instead of just 5 minutes ones.
Insta360 GO 2 camera in-depth review
Disclosure: I received this tiny action cam as part of a product review collaboration with Insta360. Although the product was offered for free, all the opinions in this review remain my own!
The package was sent with FedEx, and it arrived in my country in just 6 days. Then the problems started. They contacted me and requested tons of documents, including proof of payment, 9 days after the package arrived in the warehouse. Since the 1st of July, the customs rules have significantly changed in Europe. Another 5 days passed explaining to them without any success how I got the camera, so, I had to quit and request the return of the package to China. After this, Insta360’s logistic department must’ve contacted FedEx, because they delivered the package. From pickup to handover, it took 30 days, almost as long as in the Cast Away movie 🙂
In addition to the Go2 Standalone pack, Insta360 also included their ‘Mount Adapter Bundle’ with many mounting accessories. This pack is a must-have if you want to use this tiny camera on top of your bike helmet or a drone.
Insta360 GO 2: At a glance
When you open the box cover, the camera is right in front. The first thing I noticed, compared to its predecessor, is the lens protector. A welcomed feature, considering how many drone pilots broke or scratched the lens during crashes. An optional neutral density filter kit (ND8, ND16, ND32, and ND64) is available for the pro users.
In addition to the magnetic pendant, there are included a foldable pivot stand with a sticky base, a hat clip with angle adjustment. The charging case comes with a USB-Type C cable. A multilingual user manual is provided as well.
The GO2 is slightly bigger and heavier than the original GO. By comparison, while the GO 2 measures 52.9 x 23.6 x 20.7mm and weighs 26.5g, the GO has 49.4 x 21.4 x 14.85mm and weighs 18.3g. In terms of design, there is no big change. It’s all white with rounded corners, and a small camera sits at one end. Under the lens, there is a tiny LED that indicates when you are recording. The built-in microphone is on top of the thumb size camera. The back of the camera is magnetic, allowing easy attachment to a wide range of accessories. Remember that during usage, it can become hot, and you should avoid prolonged skin contact. Even the magnetic necklace feels hot if it touches your skin. This is because the back of the camera is designed to dissipate heat, keeping GO 2 cool during operation.
Just like its predecessor, it has a single button – but this time it’s on the front instead of the back of the camera. Via the Insta360 mobile App, you can freely customize the Action button.
Instead of a micro SD slot, the Go2 has a built-in 30GB memory, which allows the recording of about 50 minutes of videos.
The Charging Case
At a glance, there is no big change around the charging case, it still has the size and aspect of an Apple AirPods case. The difference becomes obvious when you unfolded, now it can be used as a tiny selfie stick or mini tripod. The case also works as a wireless remote controller, a handy feature when you install the GO2 on your helmet or baseball cap. It has two buttons (Shutter and Menu) and a tiny LCD. With the ‘Menu’ button you can toggle easily between 7 working modes respectively you can enter into settings mode.
The 16x13mm status screen shows remaining memory, battery life, resolution, frame rate, aspect ratio, and field of view.
At the bottom of the case, there is a Type-C USB socket for charging and data transfer and a tripod mount. On the back of the case, there is a status LED that blinks in tandem with the camera’s LED.
By unfolding the two ‘wings’ it turns into a tripod. The case would be perfect if the camera bay could have been rotated 180 degrees, from selfie mode to front view.
Price, availability, and options
The GO2 is available for orders since March 2021 at most online retailers. Now, you can order the ‘Standard’ edition directly from Insta360 for $299. It has a 100 bucks higher price compared to its predecessor. Different tasks require different mounting accessories and, in order to fulfill these needs, Insta360 offers 3 different bundle kits (Selfie, Bike, and Pet) for a few extra dollars. Also, for $30, you can opt for premium care services that gives you one free repair or replacement in case of accidental damage.
Standalone mounting accessories are available for more than 10 sports activities, from snowboarding to parachuting. The Insta360 GO 2 Mount Adapter Bundle shown in my review can be purchased for $19.99.
Insta360 GO 2: Image quality and shooting modes
The first thing you should know is that clip length is limited to a max of 30 minutes. For example, in Pro mode with FlowState enabled, you can record only 10 minutes. With up to 80mbps video bitrate, a 6 min video occupies about 3.6GB on the internal memory. The video files use a proprietary compression algorithm and need to be converted with the Insta APP before you can watch them directly on your TV, for example. In the APP, you can select aspect ratio (16:9, 9:16, or 1:1), Stabilization type (FlowState or FPV), and FOV. For underwater recordings, you can enable AquaVision 2.0, an AI that auto-balances out colors to give you crystal clear footage.
Update: If you are using basic stabilization instead of FlowState stabilization (Pro Video Mode), you can download videos in mp4 directly without converting.
The FlowState stabilization does a wonderful job. You can see in the video below what a massive difference it makes compared to when is turned off. Practically you get gimbal-like stabilization in less than 30 grams.
I tested HDR mode in a wooded area with lots of high contrast and transition from shadows to bright sun. The footage looked as if it had two layers with floating areas. Interesting but unusable.
Photos taken with the Go 2 were good, but not as crisp as you’ll get with your phone’s camera. In low light conditions, the results are even worse, there’s a lack of details.
Full-resolution sample photos
It does not have a zoom function, but at least you can opt for different fields of view (Ultra Wide, Action View, Linear, and Narrow).
Shooting Modes and resolutions
- Basic Stabilization (Video mode)
- FlowState Stabilization (Pro Video mode)
- HDR Video (High Dynamic Range)
- 16:9, 2560×1440
- 1:1, 2560×2560
- 9:16, 1440X2560
- Film Panorama, 2938×1088
- 2560×[email protected]
- Speed: Auto (up to 6×)
- 2560×[email protected]
- 0.5s/1s/2s/5s/10s/30s/60s/120s intervals
- Slow Motion
Insta360 GO 2: Battery life
When it comes to testing the actual battery life of the Insta360 GO 2 you have to consider two scenarios, in-case and off-case usage. The camera itself has a tiny built-in 215 mah battery and the charging case a larger 1100mah capacity battery. Run time is also influenced by the mode you set the camera. According to Insta360, in ‘Standard video mode’ you can record 30 minutes and 20 minutes in ‘Pro video mode’, when the camera is used standalone. The charging case allows you up to 5 times more working time, 150mins in Standard mode, respectively 110 mins in Pro mode.
During my tests, the internal battery lasted for 4-5 flights. I also took it on a bike ride where I found out that the short battery life can be an issue. Even used with the case will not be enough for a whole day’s bike adventure.
Design and build quality
The Insta360 Go 2 isn’t cheap at all, has a price comparable with a GoPro action camera. However, its compact size and low weight are arguably justifying the high price. Also, it can record [email protected] videos, [email protected] slow-motion, hyper lapses (Timeshift), and more, all perfectly stabilized.
The multifunctional case is a big upgrade from its predecessor. It can be used as a selfie stick, mini tripod, charger, power-bank, wired file transfer, and remote controller.
The mobile APP syncs up very easily with the camera and can be used for live-view as there is no screen on the case or camera itself.
- Sensor Size: 1/2.3-inch;
- Lens: 170-degree ultra-wide-angle with lens guard;
- Video Resolution: 1440p (2560 x 1440) @ 50fps;
- Photo Resolution: 1440p (2560 x 1440);
- Battery life: 30 minute continuous (150 minutes in case);
- Connection: USB-C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth;
- Water Resistance: Waterproof to 4m (13ft);
- Size: 52.9 x 23.6 x 20.7mm (2.08 x 0.93 x 0.81″);
- Weight: 26.5g (0.93 oz).
- Handy protective charger case with built-in tripod and wireless remote function;
- Rugged design (waterproof + lens protector);
- Superior image quality compared to its predecessor;
- Excellent image stabilisation;
- 30GB built-in storage;
- Wide range of optional mounting accessories;
- Ultra-light (only 26.5g /0.93oz).
- Pretty expensive;
- Proprietary video format, footage needs to be converted with Insta APP;
- Too easy to accidentally press the action button;
- Short battery life and limited recording time.
Insta360 GO 2 alternatives: Zero
Since 2019, when the first generation of GO cameras was announced, no other brand has managed to design such a small form factor action camera. The Insta360 GO2 is a niche product with a great balance between weight and performance. In its price range, you can find action cams with much better video quality but none weigh less than 30 grams.
How to update firmware on Insta360 GO 2?
Firstly you need to download the latest firmware from the Insta360 GO2 download section. The current version is v3.9.23 (2021-07-06) and promises routine bug fixes and user experience improvements. The second step is to copy the ‘InstaGo2FW.pkg‘ file to your GO 2’s internal memory via the USB Type-C cable (camera needs to be placed in the case). At the first restart, the camera will detect the new firmware and a message on the case’s screen will popup. The new software is flashed automatically in a few minutes. This process will upgrade both camera and case firmware.
The firmware can also be updated via mobile APP. Here you can find a step-by-step tutorial about the process.
Insta360 GO 2 Mount Adapter Bundle kit
The kit includes two types of base units (flat and curved), 2 base screws, 3 types of mounting accessories (action/drone mount, magnetic prong mount, and magnetic screw mount), and 4 double-sided 3M adhesives (two for each type of bases).
- Mount up GO 2 in even more spots and gear up for action;
- Supports 1/4″ screw mount and 2-prong mount accessories;
- Stick GO 2 to any surface with two adhesive bases.
Initially, I wanted to 3D print an Insta360 GO 2 drone but the kit saved me from the extra work. The Action mount fits perfectly on top of my HGLRC RaceWhoop30 quadcopter. Using a magic arm, I installed the camera in various positions, providing pretty cool perspectives.
More Insta360 GO 2 test videos