Insta360 has been on its way to product launches for the past year. This included the X3 Candy Bar style camera, the ONE RS camcorder and the ONE RS Twin Edition action cam. The company recently made the move to webcams with its 4K, AI-powered Insta360 Link. After testing it, here are my thoughts on the 3-axis gimbal 4K webcam including how it compares to the Apple camera for continuity.
Insta360 didn’t get in the way of the Link 4K webcam. It has great hardware and software that delivers a sharp and responsive experience. Whether you have a studio monitor and are looking for a better webcam or want something that can be easily used for Mac desktops, MacBooks, or even PCs for improved video quality, here’s what you get:
Insta360 Link Specifications
- 3-axis design – still ultra-compact
- LED status light
- Resolution available for 4K @ 24/25/30 fps or 1080p and 720p @ 24/25/30/50/60 fps
- HDR support for 1080p and 720p
- ƒ/1.8 . aperture
- ISO: 100-3200
- White Balance: 2000-10000K
- Shutter Speed 1/8000-1/30sec
- 35mm equivalent focal length: 26mm
- FOV width: 79.5 degrees; Horizontal field of view: 67°
- Digital Zoom up to 4x
- AI automatic tracking
- Auto focus and auto white balance
- Tracking modes, Portrait, Whiteboard, DeskView, and Overhead modes
- Auto privacy mode is enabled after 10 seconds in standby mode
- Dual noise canceling microphones
- USB-C connection (C to C cable included plus C to A adapter)
- Integrated clip system and 1/4 thread for easy installation
- Compatible with Mac and PC
- Price: $299 or with a $329 tripod bundle
My companion Jordan At 9to5Toys he did a killer job of in-depth on all the features and capabilities, so check out his video to get perspective from a professional photographer/videographer.
I’ll continue my review below with what the Insta360 Link offers compared to the Apple continuous camera that comes with macOS Ventura.
Insta360 Link vs Apple Continuity Camera
Apple’s Camera Continuity feature lets you use your iPhone as your Mac’s webcam and comes with automatic Center Stage tracking, Desk View, and more. While you benefit from great image quality without having to purchase new hardware, the solution does come with some notable drawbacks.
Let’s start with Desk View. This was a neat Apple onstage demo at WWDC, but it turns out, in real life, the feature is pretty limited. That’s because the iPhone lens can’t move to get a proper angle on your desk, it uses some software/cropping cheat to get the shot.
Here’s what Apple’s Continuity Camera looks like with the iPhone in Desk View (the iPhone is held right on top of the screen). Yes… Really unusable unless I reset the iPhone mounting method.
By contrast, with the flexibility of 3-axis axis, here’s the same snapshot (same mounting point above the screen) using Link’s DeskView:
Auto Tracking: Apple’s Center Stage vs. Link’s AI Tracking
Apple’s Center Stage automatic tracking debuted with the iPad Pro. Since then, it’s come to the Studio Display webcam (which got rough ratings even after the update) and will soon reach all Macs with macOS Ventura via the iPhone with Continuity Camera.
In my use with the Continuity Camera so far – the official release is coming in October – the 1/2 second interval is so distracting that I ended up turning it off. Along with the lag, the tracking is not smooth.
In my time with Insta360 Link, I was very impressed with the automatic AI tracking. It is responsive and smooth.
Besides the AI tracking, there is the option to customize it to be slow, normal, or fast. I’ve found that slowdown is still more responsive than Apple’s Continuity Camera, and the link at any speed provides smoother tracking. I’m not sure I would personally need the quick setup, but for live stream creators or performers I can see it’s valuable.
Link image quality
Insta360 offers really great 4K image quality and its free software to customize your video image.
I have a really hard sun in my office with white walls and Link can still deliver a nice, balanced image. If you look closely, you can even see rogue silver eyebrow hair!
You can just take the link out of the box and use it without downloading the Link Controller app for Mac/PC. However, you get so good control that anyone who wants a high-quality webcam won’t want to miss it.
Another useful feature is to set different presets not only for the photo settings but also for the gimbal / camera mode.
I honestly believe that gesture control wouldn’t be something I would use, but I found it reliable and comfortable to change modes with simple hand gestures.
The conclusion of the Insta360 Link
There are so many aspects to dive into, I could type a few thousand more words on the Link 4K webcam. But I’ll stop here and say that just like my colleague Jordan found, this is the best webcam I’ve used so far.
- 4K Ultra HD Resolution
- 3 axes gimbal
- Ultra-high AI automatic tracking
- Portrait, DeskView, Overhead and Whiteboard modes
- Precise photo and camera control
- Compact design with easy to use clip or thread option for installation
- A step above Apple’s Continuity Camera
- USB-C . connection
The Insta360 Link 4K webcam is available directly from the company as well as the Amazon Insta360 storefront.
FTC: We use affiliate links to earn income. more.
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news: