Action camera brand Insta360 is entering new territory as it’s set to reveal what appears to be a new smartphone gimbal on March 29.
The 20-second teaser video doesn’t reveal a whole lot, but there are a few clues that we can use to paint a picture. For starters, the device will sport a small screen on the handle and some kind of folding mechanism for easier storage. Smartphones will sit on the gimbal via a magnetic clasp. In between the handle and clasp, it looks like there is a control panel with a wheel for changing various shooting modes on the side. The trailer zooms past this portion so it’s hard to tell what it has exactly.
Arguably the most revealing aspect of the teaser, though, is those shooting modes. Each one is represented by an acronym, and although Insta360 doesn’t directly say what they represent, we have a pretty good idea. “F” is for Follow Mode giving full freedom of control to move the gimbal however you want. “PF” for Pan Follow Mode locking the gimbal to a horizontal plane. And Auto Mode to automatically track a subject. But what confuses us the most is the fourth one, FPV Mode (presumably meaning First-Person View).
Edge above the competition
Other reports make the argument FPV Mode could mean the gimbal has the ability to connect to the camera of an external device, namely a drone, and see that view through a smartphone. Drones like the DJI FPV have the ability to connect their camera to the DJI Goggles 2 headset giving people an “immersive flying experience”. Insta360 doesn’t sell any drones itself so it’s possible the company will offer third-party support instead.
Assuming that this is the case, this would give the gimbal a unique edge over the competition by being more flexible. To have the same experience with DJI, you have to purchase the company's FPV drone and Goggles 2. Outside of some special online sale, you’re looking at over $1500 in equipment. Being able to see a drone’s viewpoint on a smartphone through a gimbal sounds like an interesting prospect.
But at the end of the day, we don’t know for sure. We’ll just have to wait until Insta360’s event on the 29th to get the full story. In the meantime, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best drones for 2023 across different budgets.