The Insta360 Flow is a phone gimbal with all the trimmings

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Insta360 enters the smartphone gimbal market with a device that aims to make it easier to film smooth, stabilized and well-framed videos with your smartphone’s camera. The Insta360 Flow is a $159.99 gimbal with three-axis stabilization available starting today in the US, Europe and Japan.

The obvious competitor to the Flow is DJI’s $159 Osmo Mobile 6 range of smartphone gimbals. And on paper, at least, Insta360 has made a decent effort to match specification for specification of DJI’s features. DJI ships a tripod in the box with the Osmo Mobile 6, so Insta360 has one built 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 (8.5in) selfie stick. exactly the same length as the extension rod of the Osmo Mobile 6.

A built-in selfie stick? Certainly.
Image: Insta360

One feature the Flow includes that is missing from the Osmo Mobile 6 is a built-in cold shoe mount for a microphone, which wouldn’t have the same space constraints as connecting a microphone directly into the USB or Lightning port on their phones. Insta360 also advertises that the Flow can provide 12 hours of use, compared to approx six hours and 24 minutes from DJI. That’s thanks to the Flow’s larger 2900mAh battery, which is also designed to double 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 by years of research and development, Flow tracks, stabilizes and edits content for you,” said Insta360 founder JK Liu.

The Insta360 Flow with a connected phone.
Image: Insta360

Another interesting Flow feature worth mentioning is one called “Shot Genie”, which is designed to recommend how to shoot a scene based on over 80 sample scenarios. So the idea is that Insta360’s software can give you hints on how to film a beach versus the streets of a city. Insta360 also says the app can help edit footage along with FlashCut.

Other shooting modes include options for dolly zooms, time lapses, and panoramas. There’s support for hands-free gesture controls and a “Live Mode” designed to keep you in the picture during video calls or streaming. You mount your phone in the Flow using a magnetic phone clamp, similar to DJI’s mount, and the gimbal is available in white or gray.

Of course, what these specs can’t tell us is how smooth the stabilization of the Insta360 Flow is in real life or how accurate/reliable the tracking is. So while it offers a similar set of features to the Osmo Mobile 6, we’ll have to wait for full reviews to see how it fares in the real world.