Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of leisure runners: one who would typically be focused on the running activity itself and carry only essential gear, or the other who would likely run with a mobile phone, a hydration pack or bottle, and an action cam. For the former, one may come across an interesting sight or event but would miss the opportunity to capture those moments without recording tools.
In comes the second generation of Insta360 GO, now known as GO 2. At 27 grams and the size of a traditional USB stick, the GO 2 is arguably the world’s smallest action cam.
Key highlights of the Insta 360 GO 2:
- You can wear, clip or mount it on almost everything. GO 2 smartly uses magnets to pair the tiny cam to its accessories. You can pair the cam with its magnet pendant, and wear it at chest level while running. Or you can attach it to a clip, and then have it on your cap for a different Point of View (POV) shooting style.
- It has a 1/2.3” image sensor, similar to other standard action cams, but six times lighter. Videos are shot at 1440p resolution.
- It is IPX8 waterproof straight out of the box, and can go underwater down to 4m depth. The lens is scratch-proof and is made of hardened glass, and can go as wide as 120 degrees, for that dynamic visual sense.
- Perhaps the biggest improvement in GO 2 is its cleverly-designed charge case. Similar to the size of most earbud cases in the market, the GO 2 can be charged up in half an hour, and you can also shoot with the camera magnetically attached to the case. This extends the shooting life up to 150 minutes. This charger also can carry out other duties: as a remote, a tripod and a handheld grip for shooting selfies. It even has a ¼” mounting point ready to attach to a selfie stick. Additionally, with its onboard Bluetooth connection, the GO 2 can be controlled wirelessly up to 10 metres away.
- The Insta360 phone app has undergone a major update only 3 days ago, and the AI-powered editing tool now comes with more new templates. In other words, you do not need to be a tech geek; just run, shoot and let the app work its magic for you.
Go, Go, GO 2
I have had the opportunity to test the GO 2 over a few weekend runs. As someone who spends quite a bit of time in the trails, I had brought the cam for tests at Singpore’s regular trails - MacRitchie, Bukit Timah and Chestnut Nature Parks - and also at my favourite Clementi Forest.
Getting the GO2 started is easy. It charges up in about half an hour, and is easy to operate. You would need to download the app on your phone; this is key as the workflow for the average Joe would inevitably involve shooting on the cam, and then syncing with the phone for editing before your video clips or still shots get posted on social media.
I tried the various shooting modes, from Basic to Pro. Pro mode gives you the highest level of flexibility for editing, but that requires you to install a separate studio software for your PC or MAC, and the workflow becomes cumbersome. For me, I would prefer to spend time running and shooting, not editing. Thus, the Basic video mode works fine for me, and I think the quality is perfectly acceptable for Instagram.
Previously, I had used traditional action cams. Those were heavier, had to be mounted on accessories for a proper shooting setup, and were disruptive to my running motion. What I appreciate about the GO 2 is that it is light and unobtrusive, to the point that I had to check now and then to ensure that the cam did not drop from its magnetic mount.
Battery life is acceptable for about half an hour of use on its own, and more than doubles the duration when it is used while on the charging case. This is a major plus point compared to the traditional action cams. Also, the waterproofing feature is a nifty party trick too. In the wet, I was still able to shoot with confidence as the cam uses a tactile button; a feature I miss on my touchscreen mobile phone. And cheekily, I also dipped the cam into the reservoir for that out-of-water shot; no problems at all.
While fun and convenient, the GO 2 also has some areas to improve on, mainly on memory storage and workflow. The GO 2 comes with an internal 32Gb memory. In PRO mode, that is less than an hour’s worth of shooting, and you would then need to transfer the data to your mobile.
I am using a two-year old Android phone that comes with 128Gb internal memory. What this means is that - with the phone already loaded with apps - I had needed to transfer old data out of the phone and delete some less used apps. Fortunately, my phone also comes with the external microSD card slot and that does mitigate some storage issues. Granted, new phones these days come with 512Gb or 1Tb memory space, but you would still want to be mindful of available storage.
If you have memory storage issues due to your phone constraints, it leads to the next issue of workflow. You would need to figure that out. For example, shoot, edit, then transfer all clips to the PC or MAC to make space again after every major shoot outing.
Is Insta360 GO 2 for you?
There is no one-size-fits-all action cam. If you are the type who abandons all running plans at the slightest hint of a downpour, then just shooting off your mobile phone would do. However, if you are like me - one who enjoys the trails, puts on the poncho and carries on running or hiking even if it rains, or does not want your latest mobile phone model to get wet, dirty or scratched - then this handy, wearable and pocket-friendly GO 2 may just be your practical outdoor recording kit.
Insta360 GO 2 is available today via Insta360.com worldwide.