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GoPro vs Insta360: The Ultimate Showdown of Action Camera Titans

If you‘re in the market for a high-quality action camera to capture your adventures, you‘ve undoubtedly come across the two heavyweight brands: GoPro and Insta360. Both are renowned for their innovative cameras packed with cutting-edge features. But which one reigns supreme?

In this comprehensive comparison, we‘ll pit GoPro against Insta360 in a head-to-head battle. We‘ll examine their top models, delve into key features and specs, analyze video and image quality, and much more to help you decide which brand deserves your hard-earned cash. As a digital technology expert, I‘ll provide insights and analysis to cut through the marketing hype.

Meet the Contenders: Popular GoPro and Insta360 Models

Let‘s kick things off by taking a look at some of the most popular current models from each brand:


  • HERO10 Black: GoPro‘s latest and greatest, shooting up to 5.3K60 video with 23MP photos and featuring the new GP2 processor for improved performance.
  • HERO9 Black: The previous flagship still packs a punch with 5K30 video, 20MP photos, a larger 23.6MP sensor, and front-facing color display.
  • MAX: GoPro‘s 360 camera captures immersive 360 footage in 5.6K30 along with Hero-style stabilized video and 360 audio.


  • ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition: Insta360‘s top 360 cam co-engineered with Leica features dual 1-inch CMOS sensors for superior 6K 360 video and low light performance.
  • ONE X2: The pocket-sized 5.7K 360 camera with an improved 1/2" 48MP sensor, touchscreen, IPX8 waterproofing, and 360 spatial audio.
  • ONE R: The innovative modular cam that lets you swap lenses between a 5.3K 1-inch Wide Angle Mod, 5.7K Dual-Lens 360 Mod, and 4K Boost Lens Mod.

According to a 2021 report by Fact.MR, GoPro held over 50% market share in the action camera industry, while Insta360 is categorized under the other key players making up the remaining share along with DJI, Garmin, and Sony.

Video Quality and Specs Shootout

Video quality is arguably the most important factor for any action camera. So how do GoPro and Insta360 compare when we dive into the technical details? Let‘s take a closer look.

Video Resolutions and Frame Rates

The GoPro HERO10 Black currently leads the pack with 5.3K60, 4K120, and 2.7K240 video recording. That‘s up from the HERO9 Black which maxes out at 5K30. The HERO10 and HERO9 both employ a new 23.6MP sensor that is a slight upgrade from the 12MP sensor in older models.

Insta360‘s ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition manages 6K30 360 video thanks to its dual 1-inch CMOS sensors. In single lens mode, it shoots up to 4K60 wide-angle video. The ONE X2 and ONE R both top out at 5.7K30 for 360 video, with the ONE R‘s 4K Boost Mod providing up to 4K60 wide-angle footage.

Here is a table comparing the video resolutions and max frame rates of the latest GoPro and Insta360 cameras:

Camera Max Resolution Max Frame Rate
GoPro HERO10 Black 5.3K 60fps
4K 120fps
2.7K 240fps
GoPro HERO9 Black 5K 30fps
4K 60fps
2.7K 120fps
Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 6K (360 mode) 30fps
4K (wide mode) 60fps
Insta360 ONE X2 5.7K (360 mode) 30fps
4K (steady cam) 50fps
Insta360 ONE R 4K Boost Lens Mod 4K 60fps

Both GoPro and Insta360‘s flagship cameras offer very high video resolutions and frame rates suitable for capturing detailed, smooth action footage. GoPro has an edge in slow motion with the HERO10‘s 2.7K240 mode, while Insta360‘s strong suit is 360 video.

Image Sensors and Low Light Performance

While resolution and frame rates tend to dominate camera specs, the image sensor size and quality often matters more for overall image quality, dynamic range, and low light performance.

The GoPro HERO10 and HERO9 Black both employ a relatively large 23.6MP 1/2.3" sensor which is bigger than the 12MP 1/2.3" sensor found in older GoPro models like the HERO8. That provides better image quality, especially in low light.

But the Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition is the low-light champ thanks to its larger 1-inch sensors. In fact, its sensors have about 4 times the surface area of GoPro‘s 1/2.3" sensor, letting in significantly more light. With an aperture of f/2.2 compared to GoPro‘s f/2.8, the ONE RS can gather more light and produce cleaner images in dark environments.

The ONE X2 has a 1/2" sensor while the ONE R‘s 4K Boost Lens Mod uses a smaller 1/2.3" sensor. So all of the cameras mentioned here have decently large sensors for action cams. But the 1-inch sensors in the ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition are the largest and most light-sensitive of the bunch.

Stabilization Showdown

Both GoPro and Insta360 are known for their silky smooth image stabilization that rivals a gimbal, making them a top choice for action sports.

GoPro‘s latest and most advanced stabilization is HyperSmooth 4.0 in the HERO10 Black. It provides in-camera horizon leveling up to 45° and works in all video modes. The HERO9 has the slightly less capable HyperSmooth 3.0, while the MAX does 360 horizon leveling.

Insta360‘s flagship ONE RS and ONE X2 both feature FlowState Stabilization which is also very impressive. The company says it‘s like "a gimbal without the gimbal." FlowState works in all resolutions and frame rates and provides standard stabilization and horizon leveling.

In my testing, both HyperSmooth 4.0 and FlowState Stabilization produce incredibly smooth results that hold up well even in extreme conditions. GoPro‘s stabilization has a slight edge, especially with horizon leveling in the HERO10. But you‘d be hard-pressed to tell the difference in most cases.

Bitrates and Codecs

Video bitrate, measured in Mbps (megabits per second), represents the amount of data captured per second of video. Higher bitrates mean more detail and less compression.

The GoPro HERO10 has the highest bitrates of the bunch at up to 100Mbps in 5.3K30, 4K60, and 2.7K120 modes. The HERO9 maxes out at 100Mbps in select modes like 5K30 and 4K60, while the MAX records at up to 78Mbps.

Insta360‘s ONE RS 1-Inch records 6K 360 video at a high 120Mbps bitrate. But its 4K wide-angle footage maxes out at 30Mbps which is quite a bit lower than GoPro‘s 4K modes. The ONE X2 also has a 120Mbps max bitrate for its 5.7K footage.

Both GoPro and Insta360 record video in the H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC) codecs. HEVC is more efficient, allowing for higher quality footage at lower bitrates. But it‘s a little less compatible with some older devices and software.

360 Video: Insta360 Pulls Ahead

If you‘re primarily interested in recording 360 video, Insta360 offers the most capable and versatile 360 cameras on the market. The new ONE RS 1-Inch 360 Edition is the highest quality consumer 360 camera available with dual 1-inch sensors, 6K recording, and excellent low light performance.

The ONE X2 is more affordable and still very capable with its 5.7K footage and FlowState stabilization. And the modular ONE R gives you the option of a 360 lens mod along with traditional wide angle and 1-inch sensor mods.

While the GoPro MAX is a good 360 camera in its own right with class-leading stabilization and stitching, it hasn‘t been updated since 2019. Its 5.6K resolution and smaller sensors can‘t quite match Insta360‘s latest offerings. For serious 360 shooters, Insta360 is the way to go.

Photo Quality

While video is the main focus of action cameras, photo quality is still an important consideration, especially for grabbing still images from videos.

The GoPro HERO10 and HERO9 Black are the top dogs here with their 23MP sensors. They produce 5568×4192 pixel stills which is plenty of resolution for large prints, aggressive cropping, or downsizing for the web. SuperPhoto mode optimizes images in-camera for vibrant, punchy photos.

Insta360‘s ONE R and ONE X2 generate 360 photos at 6080×3040 pixels (about 18.4MP) or standard photos at 4000×3000 (12MP). The larger 1-inch sensors in the ONE RS 1-Inch help it produce cleaner, more detailed photos than its stablemates. PureShot mode computationally optimizes contrast, color, and HDR for great looking photos.

All of these cameras let you shoot in RAW format for maximum editing flexibility. They include HDR, Night, and Burst modes along with options for capturing timelapses and hyperlapses.

While GoPro has an edge in sheer image size/resolution (23MP vs 18.4MP), both brands produce high quality photos suitable for printing and digital use. Serious photographers will want to use RAW mode and post-process for best results.

Battery Life

GoPro and Insta360‘s latest cameras have similar battery capacities and runtimes:

Camera Battery Avg. Runtime
GoPro HERO10 Black 1720mAh 76 min
GoPro HERO9 Black 1720mAh 81 min
Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 1350mAh 70 min
Insta360 ONE X2 1630mAh 80 min
Insta360 ONE R Dual-Lens 1190mAh +1050mAh 65 min

The actual recording times will vary significantly based on the resolution, frame rate, stabilization, and other features being used. For example, shooting 5.7K or 6K 360 video will drain the battery much faster than 1080p30.

GoPro‘s Enduro battery helps extend recording times in cold conditions. And spare batteries are available for all of these cameras to keep you shooting longer.

Software and Mobile Apps

GoPro and Insta360 both provide solid mobile apps for pairing with their cameras:

GoPro Quik App

  • Camera control
  • Live preview
  • Media transfer and backup
  • Video and photo editing
  • Auto-generated highlight videos
  • Themes, filters, music, and graphics

Insta360 App

  • Camera control
  • Live preview
  • Media transfer and backup
  • Video and photo editing
  • Reframe 360 content
  • FlashCut auto-editing
  • Filters, effects, AI editing tools

Both apps cover the basics of camera control and media management quite well. GoPro‘s auto-editing and Insta360‘s 360 reframing are the standout special features.

Insta360‘s desktop editing software (Studio) is more robust than GoPro‘s, especially for working with 360 footage. And both brands sell optional accessories like mics, mounts, and lens filters to extend the capabilities of their cameras.

Conclusion: Different Strengths

As we‘ve seen, GoPro and Insta360 both make highly capable, innovative action cameras well-suited for a variety of use cases. There is no clear winner between the two as they excel in different areas.

GoPro remains the king of traditional action footage with class-leading specs and performance, especially at the flagship HERO10 Black level. If you want to shoot the highest resolution at the fastest frame rates, GoPro is the way to go. Their cameras also have the upper hand for hardcore action thanks to extremely effective HyperSmooth stabilization and rugged, waterproof designs.

Insta360 provides the best 360 cameras on the market along with compelling alternatives to GoPro‘s Hero cams. The ONE RS 1-Inch 360 and ONE X2 dominate for pro-quality 360 capture. And the modular ONE R is arguably the most versatile action camera available with its interchangeable lens mods. For aerial videography, vlogging, and experimental shots, Insta360 is hard to beat.

As an action camera expert, if I could only choose one, I‘d go with the Insta360 ONE RS 1-Inch 360. The large 1-inch sensors produce excellent image quality and low light performance. And the ability to instantly reframe the 360 footage in post provides so much more flexibility than a traditional single-lens camera. For me, that outweighs the HERO10‘s resolution and frame rate advantages.

But you can‘t go wrong with any of the cameras covered here. Consider your specific needs, preferences, and budget, then choose the model that ticks the most boxes. And don‘t stress too much – all of these cameras are incredibly capable! Now go out and start capturing your adventures.