Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3: All Great Except One Thing

By Naila Syifa
Updated June 2024

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

Insta360, a top action camera brand, unveiled the new GO 3S just a year after launching the GO 3 in June 2023. The Insta360 GO 3S ups the ante with 4K resolution and a range of new features, while maintaining the compact and lightweight design that made its predecessor so popular.

In this article, we'll compare the Insta360 GO 3S and GO 3 to uncover the key differences and help you decide which one is right for you.

Key Takeaways

Insta360 GO 3S has a higher 4K resolution compared to the 2.7K in the GO 3, as well as a new Interval Video mode, a larger FOV, Gesture Control, and location tracking via Apple Find My. However, the GO 3S has a decreased battery life of 140 minutes compared to the GO 3 with a 170-minute runtime, so choosing between the two is a question of prioritizing advanced features or battery life.

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3
Insta360 GO 3S

Insta360 GO 3S

Tiny Mighty 4K Cam

✓ 4K Video + 12 MP Photo
✓ Compact, Lightweight, Magnetic
✓ FreeFrame & Interval Video Mode
✓ Waterproof to 10m

Insta360 GO 3

Insta360 GO 3

Tiny Mighty Action Cam

✓ 2.7K Video + 6.6 MP Photo
✓ Compact, Lightweight, Magnetic
✓ FreeFrame Video Mode
✓ Waterproof to 5m

#1 Price

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

Insta360 GO 3S

Insta360 GO 3S comes in two storage variants, with the 64GB model priced at $399.99 and the 128GB model at $429.99. It is the same launch price as the Insta360 GO 3 from the previous year, but the Insta360 GO 3 is also available in a 32GB model for $379.99, which makes it a more affordable entry-level option.

#2 Design & Durability

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

Insta360 GO 3

When I first heard about the GO 3S model, I thought it would be even more compact and lightweight than the GO 3, assuming the "s" stands for small, but that's really not the case. When it comes to form factor and size, both models are nearly identical, so I guess the "s" in GO 3S could stand for "superior" or "special edition" rather than "small".

Insta360 GO 3S comes with an Action Pod with a 2.2-inch flip touchscreen for remote preview and control, which is the same as the one included with the GO 3. It also retains the magnetic design and 3 mounting accessories that come with the GO 3, including a magnet pendant, easy clip, and a pivot stand.

One improvement that the Insta360 GO 3S brings is an increased waterproof rating of 33ft (10m), compared to the GO 3's 16ft (5m). However, note that the waterproof rating only applies to the camera unit itself, while the Action Pod is only splashproof and requires a dive case to use up to 197ft (60m) underwater.

#3 Video & Photo

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

Insta360 GO 3 vs GO 3S

The new 4K resolution is the main upgrade that the Insta360 GO 3S adds, powered by an enhanced chip that offers nearly two times the pixels of the 2.7K resolution found in the GO 3. In today's world of high-resolution displays, 4K has become the typical standard for action cameras, and the Insta360 GO 3S delivers on that front.

Meanwhile, photo resolution gets a significant improvement from 6.6 MP in the GO 3 to 12 MP in the GO 3S, allowing for more detailed and sharper still images.

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

FreeFrame Video Mode

FreeFrame Video mode, a mode that records footage in a flexible aspect ratio that you can choose during editing, also now supports 4K resolution with the GO 3S. Previously, FreeFrame Video was limited to 1440p on the GO 3, so the GO 3S offers a significant improvement in this regard.

In addition, Slow Motion recording gets slower up to 200fps frame rate at 1080p resolution, compared to a maximum frame rate of 120fps on the GO 3. This means, you can capture even more dramatic slow-motion footage with the GO 3S.

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

Interval Video Mode

Insta360 GO 3S also introduces a new Interval Video mode, which automatically captures moments at set intervals and lengths, then stitches them together into a video with the Auto Edit feature. This mode is especially helpful if you want to create a video montage of your adventures throughout the day without even touching the camera or editing the footage yourself.

Another improvement relates to the camera's field of view, with the GO 3S featuring a new Megaview FOV, which is larger than the UltraView FOV on the GO 3, allowing you to capture even more of your surroundings.

Other video-related features and settings, such as FlowState Stabilization with Horizon Lock, Pre-Recording mode, Loop Recording mode, and more, remain the same between the Insta360 GO 3S and GO 3.

#4 Features

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

Easy Switch

Both the Insta360 GO 3S and GO 3 are equipped with a range of features that make using both cameras a breeze, including hands-free Voice Control, AI-powered editing with the Insta360 app, and QuickCapture for instant recording with a single press.

However, the GO 3S adds a few new tricks up its sleeve, such as Gesture Control and Easy Switch, with the former allowing you to control the camera using hand gestures, and the latter enabling seamless switching between horizontal and vertical aspect ratios simply by rotating the camera.

Insta36O GO 3S is also now compatible with Apple Find My. If you misplace your GO 3S, you can easily locate it using the Find My app on your iPhone. The previous GO 3 model does not support this feature.

#5 Battery Life

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

Insta360 GO 3

Both cameras boast the same battery capacity, which is 310mAh for the camera unit and 1270mAh for the Action Pod. However, interestingly, the GO 3 has a longer battery life than the GO 3S, likely due to the higher power consumption of the 4K sensor and processor.

Insta60 GO 3 can last for up to 45 minutes at 1080p/30 fps, and the Action Pod gives a battery boost for up to 170 minutes of recording time in total. Meanwhile, the new Insta360 GO 3S lasts for up to 38 minutes at 1080p/30fps, with the Action Pod extending the total recording time to 140 minutes.

I find this decreased runtime disappointing for the GO 3S, especially as the battery life of the GO 3 model is already quite limited for long recording sessions.

As a comparison, another Insta360 action camera released this year, the new Insta360 X4, offers a 67% improved battery life from 81 minutes in last year's X3 model to 135 minutes in the new X4 model, when recording a 360 video in 5.7K/30 fps resolution. So why can't the GO 3S achieve a similar battery life improvement over its predecessor?

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

Final Thoughts

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3

Insta360 GO 3S

Insta360 GO 3S is a compelling upgrade over its predecessor Insta360 GO 3. The bump to 4K resolution provides noticeably sharper video quality, and the improved waterproof rating expands the camera's versatility for aquatic adventures. The new model also comes with the new Interval Video Mode, Gesture Control, Easy Switch, and added trackability with Apple's Find My network.

However, upgrading to the newer GO 3S may not be a good decision for everyone, as the GO 3S has a reduced battery life compared to the GO 3.

The decision between the two may ultimately come down to the question of whether the improved video quality and new features are worth the trade-off in battery life. If you're willing to sacrifice some runtime for better video quality, the GO 3S is the way to go. However, if battery life is a top priority, the GO 3 may still be a better choice.

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

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 2

Insta360 GO 3S vs X4

Insta360 GO 3S vs X3

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