GoPro Insta360

Insta360 One R vs GoPro Max

January 11, 2021

If you are looking to buy the latest and greatest 360 camera then you may have found yourself struggling to choose between the GoPro Max and the Insta360 One R. These are two newly released 360 cameras and represent the flagship devices in the 360 camera market.

So, which should you get? Let’s take a closer look at both of these cameras and see whether you should buy the GoPro Max or Insta360 One R.

Design

The One R is comprised of 3 separate parts; the central unit which features a touch screen, power control and charging port, a battery which attaches to the base and a choice of three lenses which attach to the central unit. This Lego-esq setup allows the One R to in effect become three cameras is one, the down side of this is that it can be cumbersome to switch between each lens. The touch screen on the One R is very useful for allowing maximum control of the camera without having to connect to a phone app, however the touch screen itself is quite small and not particularly responsive.

The One R comes with a bracket that allows you to attach GoPro compatible accessories. This bracket also provides further protection from damage to the camera itself, however it’s another item you’ll need to disassemble if you want to change the lenses. Read also: AKASO Brave 4 VS Ek7000 Pro.

GoPro opted for an all-in-one design for the Max and while this results in less shooting options it does allow for an easier user experience. The Max is a larger and thicker camera than the Insta360 One R but can still fit in one hand. The Max features a larger and much more responsive touch screen. You can switch between 360 and normal video with the touch or a button however the quality of the normal video is limited.

 Insta360 One RGoPro Max
Best Offerclick hereclick here
Product Dimensions1.89 x 1.69 x 2.83 inches
1.8 x 1.8 x 4 inches
Item Weight2.46 ounces
1.9 pounds

Video Quality

The One R and Max are designed primarily as video cameras. Both cameras can shoot 360 video as well as “normal” linear video, however they go about this in very different ways.

360 Video

The GoPro Max can shoot at a max resolution of 5.7K at 30fps in its 360 mode. When using “Hero Mode”, which uses one lens to shoot linear video, the maximum resolution is 1440p at 60fps. The Max shoots in the H.265 format which allows for better compression, it also uses GoPro’s excellent processor to create video true to reality. 

The quality of the 360 video coming out of the Max is among the best of any 360 camera right now thanks to GoPro’s color and lens technology. When re-framing this video you do experience a loss in quality but it’s more than good enough for viewing on a phone screen.

When shooting in Hero Mode the quality is noticeably lower, particularly in low light situations. Your phone will likely do a better job of shooting normal video than the Max’s Hero Mode. It’s a good feature to have and it’s super easy to switch between the two modes and later combine the two types of video in the app.  Both Hero Mode and 360 mode feature GoPro’s stabilization technology which works amazingly well, particularly in 360 mode.

The Max cannot shoot HDR video, but even in a direct comparison using Insta360’s HDR mode I still think the Max performs better. I should mention that the One R has many more shooting options when it comes to resolution and frame rate, allowing for slow motion video in the 360 format. The Max can only shoot 5.6K at 30fps with no other options available.

Linear Video

Both cameras can also shoot “normal” non 360 video and both companies push their camera’s two in one credentials. The One R offers a completely separate lens which you must plug in, replacing the 360 module. The Max shoots linear video using either one of its two lenses and is available at the push of a button.

The 4K module of the One R beats the Max’s Hero mode every time but still struggles in low light situations. Insta360’s amazing Flowstate stabilization is available in both modes and works to remove most vibration from your videos. The One R also has many more frame rate and resolution options than the Max, ranging from 60fps to super slow motion 200fps 1080p with the 4K module.

Photography

Both cameras are able to shoot 360 and standard photos; don’t expect professional quality images as both of these cameras are primarily designed for video. In my opinion the One R is the superior camera for photography due to its ability to shoot RAW and HDR photos. The Max lacks these capabilities and suffers for it.

The One X has a night-shot mode which combines several images to create a much brighter and dynamic image. The Max performs reasonably well in low light situations but doesn’t offer the ability to combine multiple exposures which would really put it ahead.

Insta360 One R vs GoPro Max

- 5.7K 360 + 4K Wide Angle: ONE R Twin Edition transforms on the fly from a 360-degree camera to a wide-angle 4K 60fps action camera. Just swap out the lenses.
- FlowState Stabilization: FlowState achieves gimbal-like image stabilization without the gimbal. Thanks to a new scene-detection algorithm, your footage stays clear and steady even in low light.
- SUPER 5.7K: All pixels are not created equal. The Dual-Lens 360 Mod raises the bar with Super 5.7K resolution, leveraging H.265 encoding, advanced image processing and an AI-powered finishing algorithm to preserve detail and make your footage pop.
- IPX8 WATERPROOF: ONE R is IPX8 waterproof to 5m (16.4ft). Whether you're poolside or on a rainy-day ride, ONE R can handle it. !!! NOTE: ONE R is waterproof after being fully assembled and installed in the included Mounting Bracket.
- KIT INCLUDES: GoPro MAX 360 Action Camera (CHDHZ-201) | Rechargeable Battery | Curved Adhesive Mount | 2x Protective Lenses | 2x Lens Caps | Microfiber Bag | Mounting Buckle + Thumb Screw | USB-C Cable | SanDisk 64GB Extreme UHS-I Class 10 V30 U3 microSDXC Memory Card with SD Adapter | ProOptic Complete Optics Care and Cleaning Kit
- KEY FEATURES: Dual-lens 360 Degree Camera | 5.6K 30fps Video | Single Lens Hero Video | 16.6 MP Photos | Max HyperSmooth Stabilization | Max TimeWarp | Digital Lenses (Max SuperView, Wide, Linear, Narrow) | Reframe Footage from Your Phone | PowerPano 270-degree Panoramic Images | 6 Built-in 360 Microphones with Directional Audio | Horizon Leveling | Rugged and Waterproof up to 16-Feet (5m) | 1.7-inch Intuitive Touch Screen | 1080p Live Streaming | 2x Slo-Mo | Foldable Mount Fingers
- The GoPro Max allows for shooting single-lens HERO-style video with unbreakable stabilization or capture immersive 360 video content. You can vlog to the max with shotgun-mic performance and a front-facing screen. Say hello to the new king of stabilization. Max HyperSmooth delivers the smoothest video ever from a GoPro, plus game-changing horizon leveling, when you want it.
- PowerNano feature lets you capture unbelievable, distortion-free 270-degree panoramic shots with one click. Take PowerPano selfies, action shots and vertical pics, all with a level horizon. With six built-in microphones it combines to capture immersive 360 audio, directional audio for vlogging, wind-noise reduction and the best stereo sound ever from a GoPro.

Summary

These are two capable 360 cameras with a plethora of features and anyone looking to shoot high quality 360 action shots will be happy with both. There’s no denying that the One R has many more options for shooting thanks to its modular design.  If you are interested in combining 360 and normal footage then the One R is perfect but if you are only interested in shooting 360 media then the Max performs better. 

If I had to choose one of these I would probably go for the Insta360 One R as it seems to me to be more future proof. The less attractive video can be fixed fairly effectively in the App using filters and color correction and the App is the best mobile video editor I’ve ever used. Insta360 look set to create more “modules” for the camera to expand its functionality and I’m taking a bet that some minor software issues will be fixed with firmware updates.

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