Insta360 Link 4K Webcam Review
Insta360 has been on a roll with product launches over the past year. This included the X3 candy bar style camera, the A RS, and the ONE RS Twin Edition modular action camera. Recently, the company made the move to webcams with the 4K AI Powered Insta360 Link. After testing it, here are my thoughts on this 3-axis gimbal 4K webcam, including how it compares to Apple’s Continuity Camera.
Insta360 didn’t hold anything back for the 4K webcam link. It features impressive hardware and software that delivers a crisp and responsive experience. Whether you have a Studio Display and are looking for a better webcam or want something that can easily be used for Mac desktops, MacBooks or even PCs for improved video quality, here’s what you get:
Insta360 Link Specifications
- 3-axis gimbal design – still very compact
- LED status indicator
- Available resolutions of 4K @ 24/25/30 fps or 1080p and 720p @ 24/25/30/50/60 fps
- HDR support for 1080p and 720p
- Aperture ƒ/1.8
- ISO: 100-3200
- White balance: 2000-10000K
- Shutter speed 1/8000-1/30s
- 35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 26mm
- Display field of view: 79.5°; Horizontal field of view: 67°
- Digital zoom up to 4x
- AI auto-tracking
- Autofocus and auto white balance
- Tracking, Portrait, Whiteboard, DeskView and Overhead modes
- Automatic privacy mode is activated after 10 seconds in standby
- Two noise-canceling microphones
- USB-C connectivity (C to C cable included plus C to A adapter)
- Integrated clip system and 1/4″ thread for easy mounting
- Mac and PC compatible
- Price: $299 or with a set of tripods $329
My friend Jordan 9to5Toys has done an amazing job of going deeper into all the features and capabilities, so watch their video for a professional photographer/videographer’s perspective.
I’ll continue in my review below with what the Insta360 link offers compared to Apple’s Continuity Camera that comes with macOS Ventura.
Insta360 Link vs Apple Continuity Camera
Apple’s Continuity Camera feature lets you use iPhone as a Mac webcam and comes with Center Stage auto-tracking, desktop view, and more. Although you get fantastic image quality without having to buy new hardware, the solution has some notable downsides.
Let’s start with the desktop view. It was a nice demo of Apple on stage at WWDC, but it turns out that in real life the functionality is quite limited. This is because the iPhone lens can’t move to get the correct angle on your desk, it uses a cropping software/trick to get the shot.
This is what Apple’s Continuity Camera looks like with iPhone in desktop view (iPhone mounted just above my monitor). Yeah…not really usable unless I readjust how the iPhone is mounted.
In contrast, with the flexibility of the 3-axis gimbal, here’s the same shot (same mounting point above my monitor) with the Link’s DeskView:
Auto Tracking: Tracking Apple’s Center Stage vs. Link’s AI
Apple’s Auto Center Stage Tracking first appeared with the iPad Pro. It’s since come to the Studio Display webcam (which received harsh reviews even after an update) and will soon land on all Macs with macOS Ventura via iPhone with Continuity Camera.
In my use with Continuity Camera so far – official release slated for October – the half-second lag is so annoying that I end up turning it off. In addition to lag, tracking isn’t smooth.
In my time with Insta360 Link, I was very impressed with the automatic AI tracking. It’s so responsive and fluid.
In addition to AI tracking, it is possible to customize it to slow, normal or fast. I’ve found Slow to be still much more responsive than Apple’s Continuity Camera and the Any Speed Link provides much smoother tracking. I’m not sure I would personally need the quick setting, but for streamers or performers I could see it being invaluable.
Link image quality
Insta360 offers truly impressive image quality with 4K resolution and its free software to customize your video image.
I have a very harsh afternoon sun in my office with white walls and Link can always give a fantastic and balanced image. If you look closely, you can even see my rogue silver eyebrow hairs!
You can just take Link out of the box and use it without downloading the Link Controller app for Mac/PC. However, you do get excellent fine-grained control that anyone wanting a quality webcam won’t want to pass up.
Another handy feature is to set different presets not only for image settings but also for gimbal/camera positioning.
And honestly, I thought gesture control wouldn’t be something I would use, but I found it reliable and convenient for changing modes with simple hand signals.
Insta360 Link Summary
There are so many other aspects to dive into that I could write a few thousand more words about the Link 4K webcam. But I’ll stop there and say that, as my colleague Jordan found, this is the best webcam I’ve used so far.
- Ultra-sharp 4K resolution
- 3 axis gimbal
- Superior AI auto-tracking
- Portrait, DeskView, Overhead and Whiteboard modes
- Fine grain image and camera control
- Compact design with convenient clip or thread option for mounting
- A step above Apple’s Continuity Camera
- USB-C connectivity