Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3: what’s the difference?

The Insta360 GO 3S, an evolution of the GO 3 launched last year, introduces 4K shooting capability for the world’s smallest action camera. What are the differences between the two cameras? What improvements does the new version bring? Is upgrading from GO 3 to GO 3S really worth it? Find out all the answers in our full Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3 comparison.

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3: design

insta360 go 3s vs go 3 design
 Insta360 GO 3SInsta360 GO 3
Dimensions (L x H x W)GO 3S: 25.6 x 54.4 x 24. 8 mm
Action Pod (folded screen): 63.5 x 47.6 x 29.5 mm
Action Pod (screen unfolded): 63.5 x 86.6 x 29.9 mm
GO 3: 25.6 x 54.4 x 23.2 mm
Action Pod (folded screen): 63.5 x 47.6 x 29.5 mm
Action Pod (screen unfolded): 63.5 x 86.6 x 29.9 mm
WeightGO 3S: 39.1 g
Action Pod: 96.3 g
GO 3: 35.5 g
Action Pod: 96.3 g
Touch screen2.2 inches2.2 inches
Internal memory64 GB or 128 GB (depending on model chosen)32 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB (depending on model selected)
WaterproofingGO 3S: waterproof up to 10 meters (IPX8)
Action Pod: splashproof (IPX4)
GO 3: waterproof up to 5 meters (IPX8)
Action Pod: splashproof (IPX4)
Operating temperaturefrom -20°C to 40°Cfrom -20°C to 40°C

At first glance, the Insta360 GO 3S looks very similar to the GO 3. The two cameras are almost identical, with just a few surface details to distinguish them. The Insta360 GO 3S retains the unique design of its predecessor, comprising two main elements: the camera module and its docking station, the Action Pod.

The camera module retains its thumb-sized oval shape, with a single button to start and stop recording. The GO 3S is slightly thicker (+1.6mm) and slightly heavier (39.1g vs. 35.5g) than the GO 3. Internal memory is in this section, with two capacity options for the GO 3S (64 or 128 GB), while the GO 3 also offers a 32 GB version. For divers, the GO 3S offers greater freedom, with water resistance to 10 meters, compared with only 5 meters for the GO 3.

The Action Pod housing, into which the camera is magnetically inserted, is identical to the previous version in every respect: from the flip-up 2.2-inch touchscreen to the various buttons, not to mention the USB-C port for recharging. Water resistance hasn’t changed either: the device is still not waterproof, only splash-proof. In fact, the “S” added to the GO 3S is the only real difference: the GO 3S’s Action Pod can even accommodate the GO 3’s camera module.

Both models feature a magnetic face on the camera module and Action Pod, enabling rapid attachment to metal surfaces. Both cameras are available in black and white.

insta360 GO 3S pub1

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Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3: battery and autonomy

 Insta360 GO 3SInsta360 GO 3
BatteriesGO 3S: 310 mAh
Action Pod: 1270 mAh
GO 3: 310 mAh
Action Pod: 1270 mAh
AutonomyGO 3S: 38 minutes
GO 3S + Action Pod: 140 minutes
GO 3: 45 minutes
GO 3 + Action Pod: 170 minutes
Charging timeGO 3S: 80% in 23 minutes, 100% in 35 minutes
Action Pod: 80% in 47 minutes, 100% in 65 minutes
GO 3: 80% in 23 minutes, 100% in 35 minutes
Action Pod: 80% in 47 minutes, 100% in 65 minutes
Loading methodGO 3S : Action Pod
Action Pod: Type-C
GO 3: Action Pod
Action Pod: Type-C

While most of the differences between the two cameras are in favor of the Insta360 GO 3S, autonomy is the exception. Although the camera and Action Pod are equipped with the same 310 mAh and 1270 mAh batteries respectively, the GO 3S has a shorter battery life than the GO 3.

The Insta360 GO 3S module can film for 38 minutes, while the GO 3 can record up to 45 minutes, offering an extra 7 minutes. What’s more, the combination of camera and Action Pod enables the GO 3S to film for 140 minutes, compared with 170 minutes for the GO 3, a difference of 30 minutes.

Apart from this difference in power consumption affecting their autonomy, both cameras use the same non-removable internal battery system. What’s more, in both cases, the Action Pod acts as a wireless charging station for the camera, enabling it to be recharged several times from a full charge.

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3: photos and video

 Insta360 GO 3SInsta360 GO 3
OpeningF2.8F2.2
Focal length equivalent to 35 mm16 mm11 mm
Photo resolution4000×2250 (16:9)
2880×2880 (1:1)
3968×1472 (2.7:1)
4000×3000 (4:3)
2560×1440 (16:9)
2560×2560 (1:1)
1440×2560 (9:16)
2936×1088 (2.7:1)
Video resolution4K up to 30 fps
2.7K up to 30 fps
1080p up to 50 fps
2.7K up to 30 fps
1080p up to 50 fps
Idle time2.7K at 100 fps
1080p at 120/200 fps
1080p at 120 fps
Photo formatJPG
DNG
INSP
DNG
Video formatMP4MP4
ISO range100-3200100-3200
Maximum video rate120 Mbps80 Mbps
Color ProfilesStandard
Bright
Flat
Portrait
Standard
Bright
Dish
Audio modesWind reduction
Stereo
Directional enhancement
Wind reduction
Stereo
Directional enhancement
Photo ModesPhoto
HDR photo
Interval
Starlapse
Photo
HDR photo
Interval
Starlapse
Video modesVideo
FreeFrame
Timelapse
TimeShift
Slow Motion
Pre-registration
Loop recording
Interval video
Video
FreeFrame
Timelapse
TimeShift
Slow Motion
Pre-recording Loop recording

Resolution and image quality

This is where the GO 3S and GO 3 differ most. With its new sensor – the real reason for this model’s existence – the GO 3S can film in 4K at up to 30 frames per second, while the GO 3 achieves a maximum resolution of 2.7K at 30 fps. Video throughput is logically higher on the GO 3S: 120 Mbps versus 80 Mbps for the GO 3.

Other resolutions are similar between the two models: 2.7K at up to 30 fps and 1080p at up to 50 fps. However, in slow-motion mode, the GO 3S takes the lead with higher frame rates: 2.7K at 100 fps and 1080p at 200 fps, while the GO 3 only offers 1080p at 120 fps.

In terms of photography, the GO 3S also outperforms the GO 3, with a resolution of 12 MP compared with just 6.6 MP for the GO 3.

As for image quality, the GO 3S naturally benefits from its higher resolution. Comparing photos and videos of the two models, we can see that the GO 3S’s images are sharper and more detailed, especially in the background, with trees and clouds better defined. However, both cameras handle backlighting equally well, producing well-lit faces even in these conditions.

A point to consider for close-up enthusiasts: the GO 3 has a shorter focusing distance than the GO 3S. On identical photos, the foreground will be blurred over a greater distance with the GO 3S (a few tens of centimetres), which can be an important detail depending on your use.

Modes and features

The Insta360 GO 3S and Insta360 GO 3 offer a variety of similar photo and video modes. Here is a list of common modes:

  • Horizontal (16:9) and vertical (9:16) video formats
  • FreeFrame mode for filming using the entire sensor and deciding on the format at a later date
  • Photo modes: single photo mode, HDR photo mode, Interval mode, Starlapse mode
  • Video modes: Timelapse mode, TimeShift mode, Slow Motion mode, Pre-recording mode, Loop recording mode
  • Standard, Vivid and Flat color profiles
  • FlowState stabilization system
  • Two microphones with three audio modes: Stereo, Wind Reduction and Directional Enhancement

However, the latest release, the GO 3S, is distinguished by several new features not found on the GO 3 :

  • Easy Switch mode: switches from horizontal to vertical format simply by rotating the camera.
  • MegaView FOV mode: a new wide-angle mode that reduces edge distortion for straighter, sharper images.
  • Interval video: captures videos throughout the day at regular intervals, which are then compiled by the AI to create an original montage.
  • Gesture control : trigger photos and videos with a simple wave of the hand, with voice control also available.
  • Statistics overlay: integrates data from your Garmin or Apple Watch device for enhanced visualization.
  • Apple Find My: compatible with Apple’s location system for easy camera retrieval in the event of loss.
  • Color profiles: the GO 3S has an additional Portrait profile.

Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3: price

insta360 go 3s test price
 Insta360 GO 3SInsta360 GO 3
GO 3S camera onlyfrom €239.99
from €249.99
Standard packagefrom € 399.99
from €339.99

Although the GO 3S was launched at a lower price than the GO 3, the price of the GO 3 standard pack is now logically lower than that of the GO 3S, starting at 339.99 euros for the former, compared with 399.99 euros for the latter.

Both packs come with the same accessories, offering a wide range of uses:

  • Magnetic pendant: a magnetic base connected to a necklace that can be placed under a sweater or T-shirt, allowing the camera to be worn at chest level.
  • Easy Clip: a bracket for attaching the camera to a cap, dog or cat collar, or for adjusting the camera angle when attached to a magnetic pendant.
  • Swivel mount: a magnetic mount with swivel arm for the camera or Action Pod, which can be stuck anywhere thanks to its reusable adhesive base.

Both cameras are also available in theme packs with accessories for different activities. Although these packs are not identical for both models, there is, for example, the action pack with its various vertical and horizontal supports, or the aquatic pack with its handle and waterproof case.

Camera modules for Insta360 GO 3S and Insta360 GO 3 are also available separately. Interestingly, the GO 3S module is less expensive, starting at 239.99 euros, or 10 euros less than that of the GO 3. Great news for those who already own the GO 3 Action Pod!

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Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3 conclusion: the GO 3S is superior, but the GO 3 has its strengths

As we’ve seen, the GO 3S is 90% identical to the GO 3, sharing the same docking box on both models. The main differences between the Insta360 GO 3 and the Insta360 GO 3S lie in the latter’s new features, including the ability to shoot in 4K, which is a major plus in favor of the GO 3S.

Insta360 has taken advantage of this update to add practical new features such as Easy Switch mode, which automatically switches between horizontal and vertical formats, and gesture control to trigger photos and videos remotely. The GO 3S also offers an enhanced Slow Motion mode with improved performance.

However, the GO 3 retains a number of advantages over its successor, including longer battery life, shorter focusing distance and a more attractive price.

GO 3S advantages 👍🏻

  • 4K resolution
  • Waterproof to 10 metres
  • Enhanced slow motion (100 fps at 2.7K and 200 fps at 1080p)
  • New features: Easy Switch, gesture control, etc.

GO 3 benefits 👍🏻

  • 7-minute longer autonomy
  • Shorter focusing distance
  • More affordable price

I’m torn between the Insta360 GO 3S and the Insta360 GO 3. Which one should I choose?

Choose the GO 3S if you want the best image quality. With 4K, you get a sharper, more detailed image, and extra room for cropping. The GO 3S also offers better slow-motion performance and additional features that may come in handy. And if you like diving, the camera module can go twice as deep underwater.

Choose the GO 3 if you’re on a budget: 60 euros less for the basic package is not to be sneezed at. What’s more, if you need to focus on objects or subjects close to the camera, the GO 3 performs better in this respect.

I already have the Insta360 GO 3. Should I replace it with the GO 3S?

It all depends on your requirements. If you’re happy with the 2.7K resolution, don’t dive and the current modes meet your needs, then an upgrade may not be necessary. On the other hand, if you’re looking for better image quality and are interested in the new features, it might be worth upgrading to the new version. What’s more, being able to to purchase just the camera module simplifies the decision even further.

Read the full reviews of each camera in this Insta360 GO 3S vs GO 3 comparison :
➡️ Insta360 GO 3S, full review: the 4K version of the GO 3!
➡️ Insta360 GO 3: our complete test