Small & Powerful – Insta360’s new GO 3S

In the world of action cameras, specifically for the ever sought POV style, Insta360 hit on a pretty perfect form factor with the GO series. And now, they have released the 3S with 4K video and a whole host of other incredible capabilities.

The upgrade to 4K is pretty amazing. That doubles the resolution from 2.7K and really brings in details that makes watching the video much more enjoyable. Even if the video is shot at 4K and then saved at a lower resolution, there’s more detail available during the export process.

Most notable for me however is some of the file management accessories. The GO series has always been a challenge with backing up files, but now the Quick Reader makes file backup on the go fast and easy.

The other major upgrades include the New MegaView FOV – less distortion when getting that super wide angle, Dolby Vision-Ready – a new HDR technology with greater dynamic range (in part possible due to the new, faster processing chip), and upgrades to the slow motion capability with 200 frames per second at 1080p or 100fps at 2.7K. Plus it’s now waterproof to 33 feet—upgraded from IPX4, which was fine for most of my activities.

But it’s really the small form-factor that makes the GO series such a compelling action camera. I took the GO on a week-long trip to northern Norway and really appreciated how easy it was to cary, mount, and use while, as it were… on the go.

At just 39 grams (1.38oz) the GO 3s can really go just about anywhere. It’s not quite as unnoticeable as the promo videos make it look, but once you get used to it on the pendant in your shirt, or clipped to the brim of your hat, the GO integrates nicely. And, after a few cautious test situations, confidence in the magnet grows. It’s pretty amazing how many surfaces are metal. It’s also amazing how many are not—but all of the mounting accessories easily make up for tricker situations.

I mostly stuck with the selfie-stick with the cage for my Norway trip and the hat clip. I did go skiing, but I borrowed a helmet and didn’t have time to get a sticky to set right.

The new Insta360 app for iOS makes it easy to edit videos on the go. I’m still getting used to AI and all it has to offer in regards to video editing. The most useful thing for me has been with the Insta360 X4 to track subjects when shooting in spherical mode. With the GO, you still have to think about composing the shot, but the MegaView does make it easier to capture what you want. Thanks to that I avoided clipping subjects at the side of the frame and with the 4K I could reframe subjects within the frame for better composition. 

It’s small and mighty—a phrase that came to mind before I saw the promo video released below. I didn’t even get into the Action Pod which packs more battery power and recharging on the go plus the addition of the screen with the GO 3 makes the whole package more competitive with traditional action cameras so there’s not a sacrifice like with the GO 2 (although, I really liked the GO 2 charge pod and would love to see a 3S minimalist version pod like that again). Here’s a few reels I shot on the GO in Norway:

About the author

Adventure Correspondent Cameron L. Martindell is a freelance adventure travel and expedition writer, photographer and filmmaker who founded in 2000. He has contributed to Elevation Outdoors Magazine, The Gear Junkie, National Geographic, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Outside, Backpacker, Wired, Australian Geographic, and others. He has been to all seven continents and lived on five of them, including a four-month stint at the South Pole. Cameron has more than 10 years of mountain search and rescue experience, is an Eagle Scout, has been an Australian bush firefighter, competes in sailing regattas, plans national and international youth programs, guides Oregon rafting trips and Australian bush backpacking trips.

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