Insta360 GO 3S Review

Insta360 GO 3S Review: The Smallest 4K Action Camera Ever Made

In the realm of action cameras, size and performance often compete for supremacy. The promise of a compact yet powerful camera has always been a tantalizing one. Enter the Insta360 GO 3S, hailed as the smallest 4K action camera ever made. But does it truly live up to its marketing hype? Let’s delve into a comprehensive review of this device to see if it’s a GoPro competitor in a fraction of the size, or if it falls short in real-world performance. Order it here>> Insta360 GO 3S

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Introduction to the Insta360 GO 3S

As a tech enthusiast and content creator, I’m always on the lookout for innovative gadgets that can enhance my video production, particularly for reviewing electric scooters and e-bikes. The Insta360 GO 3S caught my eye with its promise of 4K resolution in a remarkably tiny package.

Unboxing and First Impressions

The Insta360 GO 3S comes in a sleek package that immediately highlights its compact size. Inside, you’ll find a USB Type-C cable, some instructional leaflets, the camera itself, and a display cage that doubles as an additional battery. The camera is incredibly small, making it highly portable and easy to carry around. I opted for the Black Edition, although a white color option is available, which might be a better choice for summer use to avoid overheating.

Design and Build Quality

At first glance, the design of the GO 3S is not dramatically different from its predecessors. However, it is notably heavier, weighing about twice as much as the original generation. The lens area has been redesigned, and the overall build feels robust and durable. The camera itself is incredibly light, weighing around 39 grams, making it one of the lightest action cameras on the market.

Technical Specifications

Here’s a quick rundown of the key specifications:

  • Maximum Resolution: 4K at 30 frames per second (fps)
  • Maximum Frame Rate: 200 fps at 1080p
  • Battery Capacity: 310 mAh, providing approximately 40 minutes of filming in full HD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi and support for Apple’s Find My network
  • Weight: 39 grams

The GO 3S retains the same system on a chip (SoC) as its predecessor, which might disappoint some who were hoping for a newer, more efficient processor. The image sensor also seems to be the same 4K IMX 577, but the lens setup has been updated for potentially better image quality.

Image Quality and Performance

One of the most significant upgrades in the GO 3S is its 4K resolution capability. The image quality is a notable improvement over previous generations, with better color accuracy and greater sharpness. The new lens setup contributes to this enhanced quality, offering a slightly narrower field of view (FOV) at 107 degrees compared to the 117 degrees of its predecessor. While this may seem like a downside, the Mega View mode helps mitigate the narrower FOV, providing a more natural look with less distortion.

Low Light Performance

Despite the improvements in image quality, the GO 3S struggles in low-light conditions. This is a common issue with action cameras due to their small image sensors, which limit the amount of light each pixel can capture. As a result, footage taken in low light can be disappointing, with noticeable noise and reduced clarity.

Battery Life

The battery life of the GO 3S is a mixed bag. While it features a larger battery than previous models, the overall battery life has decreased by about 10% compared to the GO 3. This suggests that the same SoC is being used, which might not be as efficient as newer models. Additionally, the battery is non-removable and non-replaceable, meaning that the camera has a limited lifespan before the battery starts to degrade.

Features and Functionality

The GO 3S is packed with features, including slow motion, time shift, time-lapse, free-frame video, and various photo and video modes. The free frame mode is particularly interesting, allowing you to record video and then post-process it using the Insta360 app or PC software. This mode records gyroscopic data, enabling post-stabilization and additional adjustments like FOV, color toning, and motion effects.

However, the lack of external microphone support is a significant drawback, especially for content creators who rely on high-quality audio. The internal microphone provides decent audio quality, but it falls short of the clarity and richness that an external microphone can offer.

User Interface and App Integration

One of the standout features of the Insta360 GO 3S is its user-friendly interface and seamless app integration. The Insta360 app is a powerful tool for organizing, editing, and sharing your footage. It offers a wide range of creative options and intuitive controls, making it a favorite among content creators. The app’s free frame mode, in particular, is a game-changer, providing flexibility and creative freedom in post-production.

Drawbacks and Limitations

While the GO 3S has many strengths, it also has several drawbacks:

  1. Increased Weight: The GO 3S is heavier than previous generations, which might be a concern for those who prioritize lightweight gear.
  2. Lack of External Microphone Support: This limits audio quality and flexibility for content creators.
  3. Decreased Battery Life: The non-removable battery and reduced battery life compared to the GO 3 are significant drawbacks.
  4. Narrower Field of View: Although the Mega View mode helps, the narrower FOV might be a downside for some users.
  5. Outdated System on a Chip: The use of the same SoC as previous models suggests that there might be more efficient options available.

Comparison with Competitors

When considering the GO 3S, it’s essential to compare it with its closest competitors, such as the DJI Action 2. The DJI Action 2 offers a slightly different philosophy but provides similar features and performance. The DJI Action 2 supports 4K at 120 fps, comes with a display, and offers more filming features at a lower price point. However, the GO 3S’s modular design and incredibly small size give it an edge in specific use cases.

Pros and Cons


  • Extremely compact and lightweight
  • 4K resolution with sharp, high-quality footage
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • User-friendly interface with intuitive controls
  • Versatile shooting modes


  • Shorter battery life compared to competitors
  • Poor low-light performance
  • No support for external microphones
  • Higher price point.  Order it here>> Insta360 GO 3S

Conclusion: Is the Insta360 GO 3S Worth It?

The Insta360 GO 3S is an impressive piece of technology, offering 4K resolution in an incredibly compact and portable package. It excels in image quality, ease of use, and app integration, making it a valuable tool for content creators and action enthusiasts. However, its drawbacks, such as the increased weight, lack of external microphone support, decreased battery life, and narrower FOV, cannot be overlooked.

For those who already own the GO 3 or GO 2, the upgrade to the GO 3S might not be compelling enough unless the 4K resolution is a must-have. For new buyers or those coming from the first generation, the GO 3S is a logical choice if the tiny size and high-quality footage are priorities.

Ultimately, the decision to invest in the GO 3S will depend on your specific needs and priorities. If you value a compact design, excellent app integration, and can overlook the few drawbacks, the GO 3S is a strong contender in the action camera market. However, if you require longer battery life, external microphone support, or a wider FOV, you might want to explore other options like the DJI Action 2.

Final Thoughts

In the ever-evolving world of action cameras, the Insta360 GO 3S stands out for its innovative design and impressive performance. It’s a testament to how far technology has come, packing 4K capability into such a small device. While it has its limitations, it remains a compelling option for those seeking a portable and versatile action camera.

As always, I encourage you to consider your own needs and preferences when choosing an action camera. The Insta360 GO 3S might be the perfect fit for some, while others might find better value in other models. If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences with the GO 3S or other action cameras, feel free to leave a comment below. Order it here>> Insta360 GO 3S


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Daven Klarsen is a technology writer and researcher. He's also an avid sports fan, especially when it comes to the LAL. When not working, you can usually find him tweaking his Android devices or watching soccer news.