The Insta360 One RS Takes the Frustration out of Shooting POV

The Insta360 One RS action camera makes recording trail videos as easy as point and shoot
Insta360 One RS camera with 4K Boost lens
4K Boost lens installed.

The Insta360 One RS camera is about as fully featured as they come, and the modular design makes it easy to configure the camera the way you want it. I’ve been mountain biking with the One RS since the summer, and while I’m still not sure what RS stands for, I’ve got a couple of guesses.

Insta360 One RS: Relatively Sleek

The Insta360 One RS is about 3″ wide, 2″ tall, and about an inch thick — almost exactly the same size as a GoPro, which likely isn’t a coincidence. It’s compact and lightweight enough (about 125g with the 4K Boost lens installed) to mount on a helmet but at the same time the buttons are a good size for gloved hands, and the screen offers just enough real estate to change settings and to see what’s going on.

The One RS combines three pieces to make a camera: the red, rectangular battery pack at the bottom, a cube-like lens module, and a control cube that houses the buttons and touchscreen. I’ve been testing the Twin Edition which comes with a 360 lens module and also a 4K Boost lens. Everything snaps together easily enough that you can swap lenses during the ride if you like. Or, you could pick up an extra battery base to capture every moment of an epic daylong ride.

Not that anyone would want to watch the entire thing.

Just the thought of editing that much footage makes me sleepy. Now, most of us will find 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, mainly because most of us have had experience with that camera over the years, and on the battery front, the Insta360 seems to last a good bit longer, though I can’t say for sure.

Maximum photo and video resolution will vary depending on which lens you’re using; the camera is capable of recording in 6K at 24 frames per second, though many of us will stick with 4K which can be recorded 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, though it should be noted many iPhone models do even better at 240fps.

If you want more technical details about the camera, including full photo and video specs, check the Insta360 website.

The camera by itself is said to be waterproof if submerged up to 16ft underwater, and I’ve found riding in the rain is A-OK. I rode with the camera in wet conditions, and also on a lot of really hot and humid days, and didn’t have any issues with the lens fogging or worse.

The included mounting bracket works with GoPro-style mounts and has a piece of “special windproof foam” that covers the mic, though as you can tell from the sample clips posted below, it isn’t super effective.

Insta360 One RS: Rather Simple

Insta360 One RS camera helmet mounted

I say the Insta360 One RS is rather simple because while you can start recording right out of the box pretty easily, there are a lot of features and options to navigate if you want to really dial in your recordings 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 shots, edit videos, and share them to social media. You can also adjust settings and get a real time preview on the camera itself; I found the tiny, built-in touch screen isn’t too bad to navigate.

Bluetooth and Wi-fi capabilities connect the camera to your phone, and also other devices like a smart watch which you can use as a remote to start and stop recording. In the past I’ve had trouble with the wireless connection on GoPro cameras randomly dropping off, or failing to connect, while the Insta360 worked pretty flawlessly in my tests.

The Insta360 One RS has just two buttons on top: record and power. One tap of the record button turns the camera on and starts recording; tap it again to end the recording and turn off the camera. The power button turns the camera on so you can adjust settings before recording or play videos back. Audible beeps let you know when the camera turns on, or begins recording, in case it’s mounted in a spot (like on your helmet) where you can’t see the camera.

Insta360 One RS: Really Sweet

Over the years I have been incredibly frustrated by one helmet camera after another. My own footage never looks like the marketing videos and when I’m out on the trail, all I really want to do is ride, not futz around with the camera.

Take for example, setting up the camera angle. While having a preview screen can help dial in the right view, it seems like it always gets screwed up as soon as I lean over the bars, or the camera gets bumped, and I don’t find out until I’m back home.

With the 360 lens on the One RS, the camera angle almost doesn’t matter. With lenses on both sides the camera is able to capture all the angles at once and I can move the view around at home to fix any problems. There’s a pretty significant fish eye effect with the 360 lens, and the resolution isn’t as high as it could be with the 4K Boost lens, but the tradeoff is I don’t have to worry about missing the shot I want.

With 360° footage I can also pan the camera like in the clip below. (I’ve converted the video clip to a GIF which lowers the quality a lot.) Here I set the camera on a mini tripod beside the trail and just rode by. Rotating the focal point in the editor makes it appear the camera is moving which can make solo shoots a lot more interesting.

Editing 360° video is a bit more involved than standard video. The Insta360 smartphone app has all the tools you need to change the aspect ratio and focal point, plus trim, color correct, and all the other standard stuff. For short video clips the phone app is just fine; for longer, more involved edits Insta360 Studio desktop software is the way to go. There’s also an Adobe Premiere plugin for those who are super pro.

“Color Plus” enhancement.

The Insta360 One RS has built-in Flowstate stabilization that I’ve found works very well for mountain biking. To take full advantage of the 360° camera I’ve been mounting the camera on my helmet for an unobstructed view and the videos come out smooth, even on rough trails. A lot of riders have been pairing gimbals with action cameras to mechanically stabilize the camera; this is one of the few I’ve tested that doesn’t necessarily need a gimbal. It’s not perfect by any means, but the POV footage won’t make you dizzy either.

The clip above was filmed using the 360 lens following Matt on a dry, sunny day. Note how smooth it is, especially toward the end of the clip where the trail gets rocky and Matt flats his tire. Also note that the wind noise is… noisy. And it wasn’t a windy day.

In this clip I am following Leah on an overcast day with the 4K Boost lens. Again, there’s a lot of wind noise and a bit more shakiness, perhaps because I’m riding a rigid bike.

Practically speaking, all that 360° goodness and high resolution comes at a cost, namely hard drive 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. Moving that video from my phone to the computer, and then to YouTube, however, took way more than ten minutes. Just exporting the video file in its native 360° format from Insta360 Studio with color correction took over four hours. Fortunately uploading the 6.5Gb file didn’t take too long on a fast internet connection, but then YouTube’s processing lasted another six plus hours.

That video is included below. Since it’s a 360° video you can change the camera perspective as it plays for a fully immersive experience.

To be fair, few will want to watch a 10-minute video of an average rider like me riding a mostly flat trail — it’s all about the edits. It’s clear from Tik Tok, Instagram Reels, and now YouTube shorts that we all just want the highlights anyway and the Insta360 offers a bunch of ways to capture creative shots from any perspective you can imagine.

Bottom line: The Insta360 is a camera that rivals those from bigger brands in terms of quality, reliability, and ease of use. For those who just want to ride and get a watchable video in the end, the Insta360 One RS 360° lens is a good choice.

Party laps

  • 360° footage makes video capture dead easy
  • Good stabilization
  • Nice editing tools and reliable smartphone connection

Pros and cons of the Insta360 One RS camera.

Dirt naps

  • Huge file sizes are cumbersome
  • Pricey, especially with add-ons