The Insta360 Flow is a phone gimbal with all the trimmings
Insta360 is getting into the smartphone gimbal market with a device that aims to make it easier to film slick, stabilized, and well-framed video with your smartphone’s camera. The Insta360 Flow is a $159.99 gimbal with three-axis stabilization that’s available starting today across the US, Europe, and Japan.
The obvious competitor for the Flow is DJI’s $159 Osmo Mobile 6 lineup of smartphone gimbals. And on paper at least, Insta360 has made a decent effort to match DJI’s features spec for spec. DJI includes a tripod in the box with the Osmo Mobile 6, so Insta360 has built one into the Flow. DJI has its ActiveTrack 5.0 automatic subject tracking feature; Insta360 has Deep Track 3.0. The Flow even has a built-in 215mm (8.5-inch) selfie stick, which is the exact same length as the Osmo Mobile 6’s extension rod.
One feature the Flow includes that’s lacking from the Osmo Mobile 6 is a built-in cold shoe mount for a microphone, which wouldn’t face the same space limitations of plugging a microphone directly into the USB or Lightning port on their phones. Insta360 also advertises that the Flow can offer 12 hours of use, compared to around six hours and 24 minutes from DJI. That’s thanks to the Flow’s larger 2,900mAh battery, which is also designed to act as a power bank for your smartphone in a pinch.
“For our first smartphone gimbal, we wanted a device that goes beyond the basic functionality of a gimbal and offers a whole new way to film moments on your smartphone. Powered by our AI technology, honed over years of research and development, Flow tracks, stabilizes and edits content for you,” said Insta360 founder JK Liu.
Another interesting Flow feature worth calling out is a so-called “Shot Genie,” which is designed to recommend how to shoot a scene based on over 80 example scenarios. So the idea is that Insta360’s software can give you tips on how to film a beach versus a city’s streets. Insta360 also says its app can help edit shots together with FlashCut.
Other shooting modes include options for dolly zooms, time-lapses, and panoramas. There’s support for hands-free gesture control and a “Live Mode” that’s designed to keep you in frame while on video calls or streaming. You mount your phone into the Flow using a magnetic phone clamp similar to DJI’s mount, and the gimbal is available in a choice of white or grey.
Of course, what these specs can’t tell us is how smooth the Insta360 Flow’s stabilization is in practice or how accurate / reliable its tracking is. So although it offers a similar range of features to the Osmo Mobile 6, we’ll have to wait for full reviews to see how it performs in the real world.