The newest Insta360 action camera was recently released – the small but modular Insta360 GO 3. This is an update to the Insta360 GO 2 that I reviewed two years ago. The updates they have made are incredible with a new Action Pod case and accessories but there are still some major flaws, including one huge step backward. Let’s jump into the 13 things you should know about the new Insta360 GO 3 action camera.
Insta360 GO 3 Overview
A very unique, tiny but powerful, little action camera that has a fresh Action Pod that is very unique in the market.
- Amazing Size
- Action Pod
- Flip-Up Touch Screen
- Action Pod not waterproof
- MicroSD & battery not removable
- All white is very eye catching
This is the smallest action camera on the market when you hold the camera module by itself which has always been the unique selling point for the Insta360 GO series. A super small and lightweight camera to clip on your hat or take on your next adventure without the bulk. Insta360 has made the new GO 3 a stand-out small adventure camera, in my opinion, with the new Action Pod. Let’s first cover the hardware side of the GO 3 and then jump into the software and brains of it all.
New GO 3 Action Pod
The Action Pod may single-handedly make this my new go-to daily carry camera.
The GO 3 camera module snaps into the Action Pod and it turns the GO 3 into the form factor of a DJI Action 4 or
Flip-Up Touch Screen
The Action Pod has a flip-up touch screen to show you what you are recording and it works when the GO 3 camera module is not inside the Action Pod. This feature allows you to use the Action Pod as a wireless monitor to check your shots, change settings, and more when your GO 3 is mounted away from you. With other action cameras, you have to connect the camera to your phone in order for this all to happen when you are away from the camera.
The resolution on the Action Pod screen isn’t great, but it is perfect to dial in your framing. In general, I don’t rely on it for color or ISO because the screen’s dynamic range is not nearly as good as the footage output. Finally, it is a touch screen so you can change settings, swipe between options, and watch your shots quickly by swiping from the top, bottom, or two sides. It doesn’t work super well when you are sweaty, but that’s a common problem with a touch screen and the Q button on the side is helpful for this reason.
On one side, the Action Pod has a power button and a Q button for quick switching between modes. Tapping the power button also turns your LCD screen on if it has gone to sleep. On the top is a very large record button which mimics most other cameras.
A Remote Control
The Action Pod can be used as a REMOTE CONTROL! Sorry for shouting, but it is very exciting. This remote control works when the GO 3 is within the shell or using it as a separate camera module from afar. This is huge for putting the camera in weird places, checking the framing on the Action Pod, and then hitting the record button.
Charge It Up!
The Action Pod is the charger for your GO 3. Anytime the GO 3 is attached it is charging up until full. You’ll be able to tell this by the solid red light on the camera module. Be warned that this is the only way to charge your GO 3 so don’t forget the Action Pod at home! To charge the Action Pod you simply plug in the provided USB-C/USB-A cable to a charging block.
Using the Action Pod, you’ll get 170 minutes of run time. *Disclaimer – I’m not sure what shooting mode and settings this run time is in. I’ll be doing my own tests to find out!
As much as I love the Action Pod, it also has its shortcomings
Unfortunately, the Action Pod is NOT weatherproof which doesn’t surprise me at all with the exposed USB-C port. This makes the all-in-one unit not very competitive against any recent action cameras for true “action” use.
To use the GO 3 with a tripod or
The GO 3 Memory Capacity
The GO 3 does not have a removable MicroSD so the size of the camera you buy is all you have for space. The good news is that the GO 3 is available in 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB sizes with multiple bundles to hit the road running. I tested the GO 2 in the 32GB size and often ran into filling it up too quickly. Unless you are only doing quick shots and are good about offloading your footage, I would recommend the 64GB or 128GB size.
This is still 1 of the 3 Achilles heels to me for the GO series. Not having a removable MicroSD card makes this camera hard to include in my professional workflow. There are too many steps to offload footage and get into a true video editor on my computer to do it on the regular. It certainly makes it so I think twice about carrying it with me to a video shoot, which is sad.
Charging and Battery Life
As I mentioned, you must have the GO 3 camera module installed in the Action Pod for it to charge. The good news is that anytime the GO 3 is inside the Action Pod it is charging.
You’ll get 45 minutes of run time with just GO 3 camera or 170 minutes with the Action Pod **Disclaimer – I’m not sure what shooting mode and settings this run time is in. I’ll be doing my own tests to find out!
The battery is a huge concern of mine since it isn’t removable or easily replaceable. I had a GO 2 fail on me because I forgot to charge it for a few months and I couldn’t easily replace the battery. So, make sure you keep some charge on these little guys!
Magnetic Mounting System
A unique feature of the GO series of action cameras has been the built-in magnet on the back of the GO camera module. This allows you to stick the camera to things like a Magnet Pendant, snap into the Clip Mount, and quickly into the Action Pod. The GO 3 has an added button that must be pushed to release the camera from the Action Pod.
The new Magnet Pendant that comes with all bundles is much nicer to work with, a thinner cable for around your neck or wherever you may hang it, and I love how it wraps up around the pendant. I do recommend adding the Safety Cord for anything but basic walking. The number of times I’ve knocked my GO 2 from my chest when fixing bikes or running is in the hundreds!
New Pivot Stand
This little stand is handy with a quick release from the Action Pod or the Camera Module by itself. They claim the sticky bottom can be reused, I’m not sure about that and plan on doing some proper testing. It is certainly interesting they went in the direction of the Pivot Stand with a sticky bottom instead of a standard tripod bottom. Is it more useful? I’m not so sure about that. The Pivot Stand or Quick Release accessory is the ONLY way to attach the Camera Module to a selfie stick or
Where Did the Mount Adapters Go?
For the Insta360 GO 2, I used the Mount Adapters pretty frequently to be able to run the GO 2 camera module by itself on a tripod, handlebar mount, clipped in small places on my bike. I can’t seem to find these for the GO 3, and it seems like they aren’t even available on Insta360.com for the GO 2 any longer. Also, the new GO 3 is a bit larger than the GO 2 so the new one does not fit in the old Mount Adapters.
I’m disappointed that the basic housing mount is not an option for the GO 3. This was my go-to for the bike, and putting the GO 2 in strange areas. Requiring the Action Pod or Quick Release Mount for the GO 3 to connect to various
Insta360 GO 3 Bundles – are they worth it?
There are SEVEN different bundles available from Insta360 at the time of writing this. Sometimes it makes sense to go all in on the bundle, especially for new action camera users. I’m going to highlight the interesting bundles.
Insta360 GO 3 Standalone Bundle
Includes GO 3, Action Pod, Lens Guard (pre-installed!), Magnet Pendant, Pivot Stand, Easy Clip, and USB A to USB C cable
This is by far the setup I’m going to recommend to most folks. You’ll want to add on a couple of small accessories to use on your bike, but this comes out of the box ready to tackle most adventures!
Insta360 GO 3 Travel Bundle
Includes everything from the Standalone bundle but add a Mini 2-in-1 Tripod, a Carrying case, and USB A to USB C cable. Both of these additional items are super nice to have.
Recommended GO 3 Accessories
Insta360 GO 3 Camera Settings
GO 3 Shooting Modes
My favorite so far is the FreeFrame video mode. This is the mode that is taking the video in a large square with crazy good image stabilization and allows you to reframe after into a horizontal or vertical mode.
GO 3 Video Options and Resolutions
FreeFrame Video – This is my go-to mode as it provides a horizontal lock and the best image stabilization. Unfortunately that image stabilization also crops so you won’t get as high of a resolution. In my opinion, that is okay because it is saving me from cropping during the edit when I apply the stabilization within with my video editor.
Pre-Recording – Save the last 15 or 30 seconds of footage before you’ve even pressed record when you activate this function. Press the shutter button and as GO 3 continues to record, the last 15/30 seconds of footage is added in and combined into a single file.
GO 3 Photo Options and Resolutions
Photo Modes – Photo, HDR Photo, Interval, Starlapse
Stability is Insane
When using the FreeForm video mode it is shocking this isn’t a 360 camera to achieve the level of stability it has, especially for the size. While the footage isn’t as crisp with good depth as a
GO 3 Action Camera Use Cases
I’ve been thinking a lot about the additional tests I want to do, but also how this could fit in my life compared to my iPhone or
- Vlogging and hands-free storytelling – this could be while biking, adventures with my family, or even talking through a bike repair or maintenance
- Less obvious video capture – I painted my old GO 2 black so I could clip it on my backpack and be less obvious that I was recording walking through events or bike shops
- Very unique POV – this one is a little less easy to do without the mount adapters, but I’m interested to see what type of views I can get with the new Pivot Stand, and using the Action Pod to frame shots and use it as a remote
The camera module size is still crazy small, but the lack of cages to allow the GO 3 camera module to run on mounts and tripods alone is a huge con. The Action Pod is well worth the cost of entry, paired with the improved crazy good image stabilization, pretty good footage for the size, and the ability to reframe to vertical or horizontal after, you have a very unique action camera that makes it a really good option for most potential action camera users.
A few things that will turn off potential buyers be the lack of weatherproof design while using the Action Pod. Also the lack of removable MicroSD, and battery. Finally, the requirement of the Action Pod to attach to any tripod or
What do you think? Is this something you are interested in? Let me know in the comments! Make sure to check out my article on the best bike cameras here.
Until next time, stay well, stay good, and remember to #BikeMoreWorryLess 🙌