This year has been the year of budget VR gadgets. Samsung released low-priced Gear VR as a direct rival to the more expensive Oculus Rift. Beating both price wise now is the Insta360 Air, a 360-degree VR camera from China that retails at a mere $129.
Insta360 Air is designed like a cute little rubber ball. It weighs only about 27 grams, which is to say practically nothing. It can be plugged into a smartphone. There is no bothersome setting up to do. It’s basically a plug-and-play device. Download the corresponding free app, and the VR experience is ready to go.
The Insta360 Air is definitely not the most powerful VR camera available, and the price should indicate that. There are several cons to take note of. The camera can’t shoot 4K videos and there is no in-built microphone. So the videos that are shot will be silent movies. It should not be a problem for people who are not serious videographers. The price certainly justifies buying this camera.
This device is great for taking immersive photographs for casual use. It shoots video at 1920×960 resolution, which is only slightly below 1080p. The resolution for taking pictures is higher at 3008×1504. Picture quality is sharp and clean. Video quality is rather standard, but not bad when compared to devices with similar specs. However, expect some noise in low-light conditions.
The camera has intuitive controls so it’s easy to use. Pictures can be snapped with a tap. There are ready-to-use buttons for instant sharing on social media as well. The camera even has filters à la Instagram for convenience of users.
If there’s a downside, it’s the fact that the Insta360 Air is only available for Android phone at the moment. The iPhone users get a smaller version of the device called Insta360 Nano. The Nano is subpar performance wise to the Air and is not necessarily worth the money. Other than that, Insta360 Air is an excellent VR gadget just perfect for casual users with limited funds.