First look at Insta360 GO 3S: Why not call it the GO 4?

By Naila Syifa
Published June 2024

Insta360 GO 3S Review

In June 2024, Insta360 unveiled its newest addition to the tiny action camera GO lineup, the Insta360 GO 3S. This new model was launched exactly a year after the previous GO 3, leaving many wondering why it wasn't named the GO 4.

This Insta360 GO 3S model offers significant improvements in many aspects, from a 4K resolution to 200fps slow motion, larger FOV, and many more features, which we'll explore in later sections.

However, we're disappointed that the GO 3S is going backward in terms of battery life, leading us to think that the GO 3S might indeed be a more proper name than the GO 4.

Insta360 GO 3S Review

The added 'S' to the 3rd generation naming instead of the new next 4th generation could suggest 'S'uperiority or enhancements in several aspects but not all, considering the battery downgrade.

Assumably, the GO 3S naming could also simply be a reflection of the Chinese manufacturer's cultural view, with the number 4 being considered unlucky in the Chinese culture, thus avoiding the use of the number in product names.

But then we start to wonder why the flagship X product lineup gets a pass on this superstition, with the company launching the Insta360 X4 back in April 2024 with 7 key improvements over the previous X3 model.

Regardless of the reasons behind the product name, the Insta360 GO 3S is a great upgrade to its predecessor GO 3, offering improved performance and features in a compact form factor that makes it a compelling choice for action camera enthusiasts and content creators on the go.

Insta360 GO 3S

Insta360 GO 3S

Tiny Mighty 4K Cam

✓ 4K Video + 12 MP Photo
✓ Compact, Lightweight, Magnetic
✓ FreeFrame & Interval Video Mode
✓ 140-Minute Runtime

#1 Price

Insta360 GO 3S Review

Insta360 GO 3S

Insta360 GO 3S is available in a bundle with the Action Pod and as a standalone, with each version offering 64GB and 128GB storage options.

The Insta360 GO 3S with the Action Pod bundle costs $399 for the 64GB and $429 for the 128GB, while the standalone GO 3S retails at $239 for the 64GB and $269 for the 128GB edition.

Despite the more expensive price, we really recommend the bundle version as the Action Pod is essential for unlocking the full potential of the GO 3S, such as offering a touchscreen and remote control, as well as extending the battery life of the camera significantly.

#2 Design & Durability

Insta360 GO 3S Review

Insta360 GO 3S

Insta360 GO 3S retains the tiny appearance of its predecessor GO 3 and also comes in two color options: Arctic White and Midnight Black.

The camera unit measures 25.6 x 54.4 x 24.8 mm and weighs only 39 g, while the Action Pod measures 63.5 x 47.6 x 29.5 mm when folded and weighs 96 g.

The Action Pod features a 2.2-inch flip touchscreen display, which allows for easy control and preview of shots. While the Action Pod is only splashproof with an IPX4 rating, the camera unit of the GO 3S is waterproof to 33ft (10m) with an IPX8 rating.

The box comes with a lens guard that can protect the camera from scratches and minor impacts. Three mounting accessories are also included for versatile shooting options right out of the box, including a magnet pendant for POV shots, an easy clip for attaching to a cap or pet's collar, and a pivot stand for sticking the GO 3S to any surface.

#3 Video & Photo

Insta360 GO 3S Review

Insta360 GO 3S

Insta360 GO 3S ups the ante in video quality with 4K resolution, which is very impressive for such a thumb-sized camera. This is nearly twice the pixels of the previous GO 3 model, allowing for sharper and more detailed footage.

Meanwhile, photo resolution has also been increased to 12 MP, up from the 6.6 MP of the GO 3.

Slow Motion recording also gets an improvement from 120fps to 200fps at 1080p, enabling even more dramatic slow-motion effects.

FreeFrame Video mode, which allows for flexible aspect ratio adjustments in the post-production, has been expanded to 4K resolution as well. Previously, the Insta360 GO 3 only allowed up to 1440p resolution when recording in the FreeFrame Video mode.

Insta360 GO 3S Review

Interval Video Mode & Auto Edit

Insta360 GO 3S introduces a new video mode known as Interval Video. It is similar to the Interval Photo feature in that it automatically starts capturing at a set interval, but the Interval Video records footage to be stitched later with the intelligent Auto Edit feature. Interval Video can be a helpful tool for creating highlight videos of your activities throughout the day, such as a hike or a road trip.

Insta360 GO 3S also has an improvement in the field of view. It now offers MegaView FOV in the video mode, which is larger than UltraWide and provides an even wider perspective capturing more of the scene in the frame.

#4 Features

Insta360 GO 3S Review

Easy Switch

Similar to the 2024-released Insta360 X4, the Insta360 GO 3S now features Gesture Control in addition to the hands-free Voice Control already available in the GO 3. Gesture Control allows us to control the camera with simple hand gestures, which I find personally more comfortable when self-operating the camera from afar in public spaces, rather than speaking commands out loud and attracting unwanted attention.

Another new feature that improves the ease of use is the addition of Easy Switch. Just by rotating the camera, we can seamlessly switch between horizontal and vertical shooting, so we don't need to fumble with the Action Pod and potentially miss capturing the moment.

Note that Easy Switch only works when the camera is not on recording. If the camera is already recording, stop it first, rotate the camera, and then start recording again to activate the new orientation.

Insta360 GO 3S Review

Apple Find My

The tiny camera is prone to getting lost or misplaced, so Insta360 has thoughtfully included a new Find My feature that allows you to locate the GO 3S using the Apple Find My in your smartphone.

The other features remain the same as the previous GO 3 model, including connection to the Insta360 app for preview and AI-powered editing, QuickCapture for instant recording, and Stats Dashboard to overlay activity data to the footage from compatible Garmin device or Apple Watch.

Unfortunately, Insta360 GO 3S doesn't offer a live streaming feature and doesn't support an external mic connection. It only relies on its two built-in microphones for audio recording, so it may not be suitable for professional users who often require higher-quality audio capture with the help of external microphones.

#5 Battery Life

Insta360 GO 3S Review

Insta360 GO 3S

While the Insta360 GO 3S offers significant improvements in video quality, resolution, and features, the camera surprisingly has a reduced battery life compared to the previous GO 3 model. This could be a trade-off to accommodate the enhanced capabilities, but it may disappoint users who value extended recording times and fewer interruptions during their activities.

The camera unit itself can last for up to 38 minutes when recording at 1080p/30fps, but using the camera with the Action Pod extends the battery life to a total of up to 140 minutes.

As a comparison, the 2023-released Insta360 GO 3 can last for up to 45 minutes as a standalone camera and up to 170 minutes when used with the Action Pod, so we can really see the significant decrease in battery life with the Insta360 GO 3S model.

First look at Insta360 GO 3S

Insta360 GO 3S

Insta360 GO 3S

Tiny Mighty 4K Cam

✓ 4K Video + 12 MP Photo
✓ Compact, Lightweight, Magnetic
✓ FreeFrame & Interval Video Mode
✓ 140-Minute Runtime

Final Thoughts

Insta360 GO 3S Review

Insta360 GO 3S

The Insta360 GO 3S may not be a complete overhaul from its predecessor, but it offers a compelling upgrade for users seeking enhanced video and photo capabilities in a compact form factor. While the reduced battery life may be a concern for some, the camera's improved resolution, slow-motion performance, and versatile features like Gesture Control and Easy Switch make it a tempting option for action camera enthusiasts and content creators on the move.

Ultimately, the Insta360 GO 3S represents a solid evolution of the popular GO lineup, balancing incremental improvements with the brand's signature portability and ease of use.

If you’d like to read more about Action Camera, check out our other relevant guides here:

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 2

Insta360 GO 3S vs X4

Insta360 GO 3S vs X3

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