The Insta360 One R does something really audacious: it splits the camera into three modular parts: the screen/control, the lens, and the battery. The “twin edition” kit includes a 4k wide-angle lens and a 360° lens module. When you consider that the GoPro Max costs about the same price as the Insta360 One R “twin”, it’s almost like getting two for the price of one. In addition, the Insta’s modular nature means you can replace only the part that broke when something breaks.
None of this would matter if the Insta360 One R was a bad camera. But it’s a really good camera. The image quality is excellent. Despite the fact that it’s modular, it’s still tough in a crash. It’s waterproof to 5 meters (not sure how they pulled that off with exposed connectors).
Like most 360 cams today, the 360 One R comes with a smartphone app to edit the 360 footage. You can zoom, pan, and tilt the “virtual” camera all around the 360° scene and then export the results to a standard video file. However, only newer phones may be able to run the app, and slow phones, or ones without lots of storage, may struggle. Insta360 also has a really good PC-based app that’s just the right balance of simple vs. powerful.
When it comes to action cameras alone, GoPro has nothing to fear from Insta360 just yet. The Insta’s image quality is not quite as good as GoPro’s, especially when you consider the huge amount of control (ISO, shutter, color, etc) that GoPro gives you over the footage. And the Insta’s interface is not as polished as GoPro’s. But if you’re in the market for a 360° cam, the Insta more than holds its own against the GoPro Max. And with the Insta, you’re basically getting a 4k action camera “for free”.