If you’re an avid user of Facebook, you must have seen various 360 videos posted by friends or brands on your news feed. Such videos allow you to capture a 360 degree view of your surrounding which you can then navigate either via a VR headset or simply by moving your phone along or swiping with your fingers.
While there are several other 360 cameras in the market (like the Ricoh Theta, Samsung Gear 360 and LG 360 Cam), the Insta360 Nano has the most unique form factor and is the most affordable of them all. It comes with a dual-lens camera, a lightning connectors and 800mAh built-in battery.
While the lightning connector lets you connect directly to the iPhone (6 and above), the Insta360 Nano do work independently as a camera if you can do without a live view screen. Footages can be saved directly onto a microSD and reviewed and extracted later on a computer.
Physically the Insta360 Nano is super lightweight at 70 grams. That means that even when attached to your iPhone, you barely would notice the additional weight or bulk. At 110mm(D) × 33mm(W) × 21mm(H), the camera is also pocket friendly, letting you store it away conveniently in your pocket and taking it out only when needed. The form factor is a huge advantage over the spherical Samsung Gear 360 which makes it difficult to carry around.
On both sides of the Insta360 Nano are two 210-degree f2.0 fisheye lenses. These lens shoot up to 3040 x 1520 resolution 360 videos that are stitched together automatically with the Insta360 app. A microSD slot lets you use the Insta360 Nano independently of an iPhone, saving your footages natively onto a microSD card.
You can charge the camera using a microUSB cable and the built-in 800mAh battery – which would give you around an hour of continuous shooting. Do note that when connected to the iPhone via the lightning connector, the camera doesn’t draw battery and to charge the camera, so it’s good to always have a battery bank on-hand to re-charge the Nano’s battery.
I have tried many 360 cameras before so believe me when i tell you that the Insta360 is one of the easiest one to use even when setting up. Simply connect the Insta360 to your iPhone (compatible with iPhone 6/6 plus, iPhone 6s/6s plus, and iPhone 7/7 plus) and a notification will pop up to download the Insta360 Nano app.
Once connected, the app will change the orientation of your iPhone and you will be forced to use the phone upside down with the Insta360 Nano at the top of the phone. It will take a little getting used to as there were times I tried to press the Home button on the phone to exit the app only to realized it’s now at the top of the phone. And that’s probably it, no turning on Bluetooth or WiFi and search for the camera to pair. Once docked, the Insta360 Nano app will be automatically opened for you to start shooting.
The Insta360 Nano is an iOS-only app that lets you control every feature on the Insta360 Nano. The main home section has a curation of fan submitted 360 videos to inspire your next adventure.
Tapping on the yellow camera icon will bring you to the camera app. You can toggle from photos, videos and live streaming. It’s quite interesting as you can choose to shoot in normal mode, fisheye or pano.
Selecting the album tab will display all the videos and photos you have taken on the camera. You can choose to view files that have been stored on the phone or on the microSD card.
Included in the app are also some simple editing options for your photos/videos. You can choose from a series of effects and even the beautify mode if you don’t feel that confident of yourself that day.
You can also choose to take a snapshot from a particular frame of the 360 image, choose the Little Planet mode for some really interest 360 planet view of your surrounding!
One of the best thing about the app is the ease of sharing the content on social. After editing and selecting the format you would like the 360 photo to be, you can easily share it on the various popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube with a single click.
If you are not on any social media platform, you can also choose to upload your photos and videos directly to the Insta360.com website where it can be viewed on both mobile and desktop.
Insta360 also provides a live streaming option for YouTube and Facebook which I didn’t get the chance to try it out.
Before the Insta360 Nano, my impression of 360 cameras is that they are usually cumbersome to use and produces images of rather low quality. While Insta360 Nano’s lightning connector alienates the Android user base, the direct connectivity option has taken the guesswork out of using a 360 camera on your mobile phone.
Out of the box, the Insta360 Nano comes with a VR cardbox to enhance your 360 viewing. The Insta360 Nano app is also a very capable app that lets you maximize the full potential of the camera. It is lightweight, MFI-certified and relatively affordable at S$365.
I wished the camera was at least splashproof or comes with a Bluetooth/WiFi connectivity option so that it can be used with non-iOS devices but at that price, you can’t really argue with the features it can offer.