Chills, Spills, and Thrills: How Insta360 Tests its Action Cameras

Insta360 showed exactly how it makes sure its action camera are rugged enough for real-world use in a new behind-the-scenes video.

Insta360’s Ace and Ace Pro action cameras, which were co-engineered by Leica, debuted in November. The line promises high-quality images in a rugged and compact design.

“With Ace and Ace Pro, we rigorously test our units to ensure maximum durability for the toughest action out there. From drops, to extreme temperatures, even immersion… all in the name of producing an action camera ready for anything,” the video’s description reads.

Now, users can see just how rugged these cameras are. In a minute and a half, Insta360 puts the Ace Pro through the ringer. This starts simply enough, with continuous button presses and a hinge test that cycles the touch screen up and and down ad nauseam. Then, viewers start to see the Ace Pro dropped. It’s a small distance, but still. Ouch.

Viewers are treated to more button presses, backed by a chorus of beeps until a cord is inserted and removed continuously. It’s all very tame so far. Even the small drop many photographers would expect standard gear to withstand. Where’s the action for the action cameras?

It’s coming.

A row of Insta360 Ace Pro action cameras covered in frost.

After seemingly deciding the USB port is up to snuff, the Ace Pro gets a violent shake during the high vibration test. Things are getting more serious, but it still feels more like an intense massage for the camera rather than a high-stakes durability test. If the vibrations were a sleepy massage for the cameras, then the ball bearing drop test would certainly wake them up as the sphere lands with a thunk.

Around the one-minute mark, viewers really get to see the Ace Pro in action. After some more little drops, Insta360 ups the ante with greater distance and speed. The Ace Pro is then put in a chilling chamber, the temperature reading -30°C before a person dunks them a case of the cameras in water. While submerged, the cameras’ buttons and recording are testing, capturing footage underwater to test for waterproofing.

It was a hard day for these Ace Pro units, but hopefully curious users will see what they’re made of before taking the plunge and purchasing one for themselves. The video is also bookmarked should anyone want to see a specific part of the testing process.

Image credits: Insta360