Insta360 is known for its 360 action cameras, but today it announced a new tool to take your phone footage to a new level; the Insta360 Flow phone gimbal.
Insta360 is aware that stabilizing footage isn't enough for a phone gimbal anymore, the best smartphones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra or iPhone 14 boast solid stabilization already. So on top of enhanced stabilization in conditions where phones fail like in low light or while zooming in, Flow adds AI tracking to ensure you never lose your subject (even while zooming or filming in slow motion), FPV mode for drone-like shots, motion time-lapses, dolly zooms, and more.
Unlike many phone gimbals the Flow is also quick and easy to get up and running with "1-step rapid deploy" allowing you to snap your phone to it with a magnetic clamp and then unfold and start shooting.
While a phone gimbal isn't something you are going to carry with you every day, if you are a content creator, a parent, or anyone that just likes to capture the world around them there are situations where Flow will allow you to get footage that would be otherwise impossible.
Here's a closer look at Insta360 Flow.
Insta360 Flow price and availability
The Insta360 Flow is $159 and comes in either Summit White or Stone Gray. That includes the gimbal, the magnetic phone clamp, a charging cable, a grip cover, and a protective pouch.
It's available starting today at Insta360.com, on Amazon, and through other select retailers.
Insta360 Flow hardware
The Insta360 Flow hardware already gives you a little more than a basic phone gimbal. It also features a built-in selfie stick, tripod, and a cold shoe for a mic or other accessory. You can also use it to charge your phone with its 2,900mAh battery.
The gimbal itself weighs 13 ounces, while the magnetic phone clamp adds another 1.1 ounces to that total. Folded down it should easily fit in any bag or even a pocket at 3.1 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches. It expands to 2.9 x 10.6 x 2.8 inches when deployed. That's without extending the selfie stick (8.5 inches) or the tripod (3.1 inches).
The Flow charges via USB-C in 2 hours and a full charge is enough for 12 hours of filming if you aren't also using it to charge your device.
Insta360 Flow features
Digging a little deeper into the features of the Insta360 Flow, the company is leveraging its years of experience with its 360 cameras and the associated app, which translates well into a gimbal.
While we'll need to see just how well the stabilization works in the real world when we have a chance to test it, Insta360 claims it delivers shake-free shots in almost any situation. While I've been thoroughly impressed with the shake reduction from the iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S23 Ultra, it's simply impossible for them to deliver truly shake-free footage in your hand, so I'll be curious to do some side-by-side comparisons.
Beyond the basics you have Insta360's Deep Track 3.0, which allows you to select a subject in the frame and it will then automatically track and frame properly around it or them. This will hold up even if the camera loses sight of them briefly, if you zoom in, if you are filming in slow motion, or if you are using the gimbal during a live stream or video call.
Auto mode and Shot Genie are Insta360s answers for new content creators. The former automatically sets the gimbal up for steady footage for you and the latter will give you recommendations on how to get a shot in up to 80 different circumstances.
As the parent of a basketball player, Hoop Mode caught my eye. It records a game tracking the basketball and the hoop and creates highlights and individual clips after the game.
Insta360s FlashCut lets you edit any of the videos you create quickly to match music on the beat with transitions and effects.
Beyond that you have a variety of common gimbal features:
Panorama: Simply extend the tripod and Flow will snap an immersive panorama in 360°, 240°, 180° or 3x3 grid format. Flow is the first smartphone stabilizer capable of shooting 360 photos.
TimeShift: Film a hyperlapse with stabilized, sped-up footage over a period of time, great for hiking or traveling.
Motion Timelapse: Set Flow down to film between two points over a period of time for a dynamic timelapse.
Dolly Zoom: Recreate this classic Hollywood effect with the tap of a button, great for zooming in and out on a subject.
The extreme portability of the Insta360 Flow is part of what has me so intrigued about this gimbal as I've never wanted to drag along a big camera bag when I was just filming with my phone, but this could slip into my pocket or a small sling bag without taking up all the space in that bag.
We'll have a full review in the coming weeks, but this is the first time I've been interested in a phone gimbal in years.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.