Insta360 Sphere review: The camera that makes your drone invisible

Insta360 Sphere

MSRP $429.99

“The Insta360 Sphere turns your drone invisible, allowing for an incredible degree of creative freedom.”


  • Makes capturing aerial 360 video easy
  • Incredible creative potential
  • Suits safely and securely in your drone
  • Robust design and materials
  • Excellent editing software integration


  • Recording with the sphere interferes with the drone’s GPS signal
  • Not weather-resistant
  • Design makes landing just a little tricky

The dream for 360 cameras is ultimate creative freedom, yet they still face certain limitations. The Insta360 Sphere solves one among those limitations by taking 360 video to the skies and making your drone disappear. This camera is designed specifically for the DJI Air 2 and Air 2S drones, two of the perfect and hottest drones in DJI’s lineup, and it would just be the perfect accessory ever made for a drone.

The Insta360 Sphere works by placing one camera above the drone and one below after which stitching the 2 hemispherical video feeds together to create one seamless, spherical image. Because the drone is between the 2 cameras, it’s completely absent from the video, allowing you to look in any direction without getting the drone within the show. It’s an interesting concept, but how does it delay in practice?


The Insta360 Sphere on a table.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

The Insta360 Sphere is built of rugged metal and plastic. In brief, it seems quite durable. It clamps down and locks securely in your drone, so it’s not going to fall off midflight. Nevertheless, it’s essential to notice that the Sphere isn’t waterproof, so don’t fly it in conditions where it would get wet. Also, with my large fingers, I discovered it difficult to insert and take away the microSD card and operate the facility and record buttons. While this stuff were annoying, I don’t consider them significant concerns.

To maintain the drone out of your footage, the 2 cameras on the Sphere should be below and above the drone. Because of this they protrude out from the drone. And as you may expect, it’s crucial to be mindful of the lower camera during takeoff and landing. Insta360 provides lens protectors and a landing pad to assist solve this problem, though I had some issues with these precautions.

The Insta360 Sphere attached to the DJI Air 2S on a landing pad.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

For instance, the primary time I flew with the Sphere, I used the landing pad and lens protectors as instructed. Nevertheless, when coming in for a landing, the graceful surface of the lens touched down first, and the drone slid sideways off the landing pad onto the bottom. Fortunately, I installed the lens protectors, so no everlasting damage was done, however the resulting scratches meant the top of that set of lens protectors.

Since that have, I’ve been taking off and landing on my hand. That is the tactic I often use for flying drones, as most locations where I prefer to fly don’t have a flat surface for landing. This poses some danger to the pilot, so I can’t recommend it as a result of safety concerns. As a substitute, I like to recommend finding a flat, grassy space to position the landing pad where the drone could have a secure surface around it if the landing goes awry.

The Insta360 Sphere on the DJI Air 2S.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

I’m also not a fan of using the included lens protectors, regardless that they did save the camera on my first flight. It is a personal preference on my part, and one which extends to my various other cameras. Placing any surface in front of a camera lens degrades image quality to some extent. If you ought to capture the highest-quality footage possible (like I do), you could wish to fly without the lens protectors. Just do not forget that you accomplish that at your personal risk.

Insta360 engineers faced a remarkable challenge in designing the Sphere, and what they achieved is impressive. The compromises this required create some challenges for the user, but I got used to them fairly quickly during my time testing the camera.


The Insta360 Sphere on the DJI Air 2S in flight.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

Carrying any extra weight on a drone will impact battery life and handling. Having the Sphere on my Air 2S resulted in a couple of 20% decrease in flight time, and I noticed a major reduction in responsiveness. It’s essential to remember that the drone has more momentum and can take more time and distance to come back to a stop at high speed.

The one significant problem I encountered with the Sphere is that, when recording, it someway interferes with the drone’s GPS. More specifically, recording with the Sphere leads to a 10mb drop in signal. Under ideal conditions, this doesn’t affect the drone’s GPS performance. For instance, when flying over the ocean, I experienced no interruptions to the GPS. But every time flying in forested, hilly, or mountainous terrain, the GPS is reduced, and the interference from the Sphere makes the signal intermittent at best.

The Insta360 Sphere on the DJI Air 2S in flight.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

The excellent news is that this doesn’t affect the drone’s performance beyond GPS functions. In my testing, the implications include not having the ability to track the drone on a map and never having the ability to depend on the “Return to home” functionality. Essentially, you’ll wish to be more careful while flying and stay inside the visual line of sight.

The camera itself performs thoroughly. It’s reliable, and I never experienced any errors, corrupted footage, or overheating. Overall, the filmmaking benefits provided by the Insta360 Sphere outweigh the compromises it poses to drone performance.


The Sphere captures 5.3K video, which is practically an identical in quality to Insta360’s other cameras — including the One X 2 and One RS 360 module, each of which I’ve used extensively. Since 5.3K is what I’d consider absolutely the minimum for 360 video capture, it’s essential to understand moving into that there will probably be some noise and pixelation visible depending on the way you edit. Nevertheless, I way back realized that with 360 cameras, image quality is secondary to the creative potential that they provide. That’s more true than ever with the Sphere.

Flying sedately over a field, circling a tree, or gliding under a bridge may sound like mundane drone shots. But that’s only until you’ve filmed them with the Sphere and get those shots right into a video editor. Set a few keyframes, speed up the footage, rotate it here and there, and suddenly, you’re racing across that field at breakneck speed, doing a high-speed orbit of the trees, and performing somersaults under the bridge.

Top-of-the-line uses for the Sphere is allowing users to capture exciting acrobatic FPV-style footage while flying slowly with a relaxed and secure DJI Air 2S. This effect only breaks down a bit whenever you’re flying around moving objects (and whenever you speed up the footage). But should you’re out flying within the mountains or the forest, it looks absolutely amazing.

It’s also possible to achieve many other more outlandish effects, equivalent to a “tiny planet” look, or the inverse, where the sky is a sphere with the landscape wrapped around it. Alternatively, you need to use more advanced editing software equivalent to Adobe After Effects and create truly unique and bizarre imagery straight out of Doctor Strange or Inception. There’s also the potential to create 360 VR experiences that completely immerse the viewer in the enjoyment of flight.


The Sphere is fully compatible with Insta360’s excellent software suite, including desktop PC, iOS/Android apps, and an Adobe Premiere Pro plugin. I’ve used each version to various extents. For quick and simple editing on the go, I really like using the Insta360 app on my iPad mini 6. The desktop app is great for more precise work from home, while the Premiere Pro plugin is useful for integrating footage into my video creation workflow. Whatever platform you’re editing on, Insta360 has made the method remarkably intuitive while retaining loads of depth and granular control.

Price and availability

The Insta360 Sphere is obtainable now for $430, which might sound just a little steep. Nevertheless, that is such a distinct segment and unique device that I think the value tag is cheap. When you don’t already own a compatible DJI drone, a DJI Air 2 will set you back around $800, or $1,000 should you go for the Air 2S.

Our take

The Insta360 Sphere is a genuinely progressive camera that gives exciting recent creative possibilities. While it definitely has a couple of flaws — and is maybe a distinct segment product — I’d highly recommend it, particularly should you already own a compatible drone. The creative possibilities are truly amazing right out of the gate, and much more so once you actually dig into editing and manipulating the footage you capture.

The Insta360 Sphere on the DJI Air 2S in flight with trees and mountains in the background.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

Is there a greater alternative?

The closest thing to the Sphere is a drone made by BETA FPV that’s designed to hold the Insta360 One R. That kit is definitely cheaper than buying an Insta360 Sphere and DJI Air 2 drone, however the caveat is that you furthermore may have to know find out how to fly FPV drones. Which means numerous practice. When you do go that route, I’d also recommend getting a small, low-cost practice FPV drone that won’t set you back an excessive amount of since you will inevitably crash. Flying with the Sphere on an Air 2 drone is a secure and hassle-free experience with a far more gentle learning curve.

One other possibility is to mount a 360 camera (equivalent to the Insta360 One RS or One X 2) on a drone. I’ve been doing this for a while now with the DJI FPV drone, and have created some really cool videos with that setup. Nevertheless, it’s probably not the identical, because it’s difficult to maintain the drone out of your shot. That may yield an effect not unlike riding a Star Wars speeder on Endor, which could also be cool, nevertheless it’s also limiting. The underside line is that there’s nothing exactly just like the Insta360 Sphere on the market.

How long will it last?

Considering the durable construction of the Sphere, and assuming that you just don’t fly the drone within the rain or suffer some form of critical accident, this camera should perform well for a while to come back. Its longevity is inextricably tied to the longevity of the DJI Air 2 and 2S drones. These will almost definitely get replaced with recent models in a couple of 12 months’s time and the present models discontinued. Nevertheless, drones can last for years if well cared for, so I’d estimate the Sphere could last anywhere between five and 10 years.

It’s also value considering that the 5.3K resolution of the Sphere is de facto the bare minimum for capturing 360 photos and videos. In several years’ time, I expect most 360 cameras will shoot 8K and offer significantly better-looking footage. Nevertheless, that’s pure speculation on my part.

Must you buy it?

When you need a ready-made solution to capture aerial 360-degree footage without getting the drone in your shot, the Insta360 Sphere is just about the one game on the town. It opens the door to some really exciting creative possibilities and lets you capture truly unique footage. When you have already got a DJI Air 2 or 2S drone, that is an incredible accessory. When you don’t own one among those drones, the Insta360 Sphere is a compelling reason to purchase one.

Editors’ Recommendations

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Elgin Shopping Mall
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart