Insta360 X3 and X4 file transfer comparisons

There are several ways to get photos and videos off of an Insta360 X3 or X4 camera. I no longer have a ONE X2, and never had a ONE X, so these may apply to those as well but I cannot verify.

  1. USB CABLE: Hook camera to computer via USB, mount it as a drive and copy files over. WARNING: I was doing this during a vacation, and it corrupted the microSD card. I just read about this happening to someone else (either on REDDIT or Facebook). They were able to use a file recovery tool to get their files back. In my case, the card had already been modified so some of my files were lost permanently. Because of this, I no longer use USB to transfer files directly from the camera.
  2. MEMORY CARD READER: You can take the microSD card out of the camera and then put it in a computer (via a microSD card slot, or using an microSD-to-SD adapter, or via some form of USB card reader). This is how I do it on my MacBook.
  3. VIA MOBILE APP AND ITUNES: If you transfer files into the Insta360 App, you can then hook your iPhone to a Mac via USB cable and browse the file system on the iPhone and copy files out that way. I expect there is a way to do this on Android as well.

Speed Comparisons

The X4 has a much faster USB-C connection and can copy in a few minutes what the X3 took 30+ minutes to copy. I ran a disk speed test on the memory card via a USB reader on my Mac, and then the same test via a USB mounted X3 and USB mounted X4. All were using the same Sandisk Extreme Pro 256GB microSD card.

I used the AJA System Test utility (available for Windows and Mac) to obtain these speeds.

microSD -> SD Adapter -> Apple USB-C Reader

Write: 67-77 MB/sec. Read: 88 MB/sec.

X3 via U-Disk Mode

Write: 18-19 MB/sec. Read: 22-23 MB/sec.

X4 via U-Disk Mode

Write: 50-55 MB/s. Read: 64-72 MB/sec.

Speed and Safety

As you can see, reading the memory card directly (assuming you have a fast SD card slot or a fast USB reader) is the fastest way to go. It is also safer, since if you are using a microSD-to-SD adapter you can toggle the “write protect” switch to ensure you don’t corrupt the card and lose any data. “Just in case.”

There is also a way to move files using WiFi — with the X3 being much faster than the X2. I assume the X4 will be even faster, but that is a test for another time…

Until then…

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