I'm going to let you in on a little secret: Reviewing things might seem like it's all fun and games, but there's a lot of consideration that goes into information gathering to craft your impressions of the item that you're reviewing. 

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying in any way that it's not fun. It absolutely is. However, as a person reviewing things for other people to hopefully benefit from, you need to take multiple points of view into account. 

You need to not only be able to talk about the relevant parts of yourself and how you, specifically, are using The Thing; you also need to be able to think about how other people might use it, and what they might love/hate/have questions about. 

So with all that in mind, RideApart is currently in the process of reviewing Insta360's new X4 camera, a review will be coming in the not-too-distant future. However, please note that this is NOT that review. 

Instead, this is a rather astonished report of the X4's battery life after the first time I used it out on a ride. 

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Insta360 X4 Looks And Feels Like Just An X-Series Camera, But Maybe It's More?

We'd planned a day ride up into Wisconsin for the Slimey Crud Run (a biannual bike gathering that's been going on approximately since forever, where all kinds of bikes and riders gather for a ride and can take any route they like to get between two distinct points). Since the X4 had just arrived earlier in the week, I thought it made perfect sense to hook it up on my bike and start testing it out.

I made sure the batteries were charged and got everything ready. I used the Insta360 Heavy Duty Clamp (and its accompanying, extremely handy wrench) to crank it down securely so it could hopefully stand up to highway speeds. It's worth noting here that highway speeds are 70 miles per hour in Wisconsin, which is faster than highway speeds in Illinois, where I was riding from. 

I installed the Premium Lens Guards, and I'll tell you more about those in detail in another piece. But basically, what you need to know for now is that they're a tempered glass design with bayonet-style twist connection that are meant to help protect your lenses in the event of an impact. You know, because spending $35 on a new set of lens guards sucks a whole lot less than spending $500 on a whole new action cam after the lenses get shattered while you're out playing.

I digress.

Finding Out About The Unreal Battery Life

Insta360 X4 - Unreal Battery Life

While I haven't used an Insta360 One X3, I have used an Insta360 One X2 and the battery life on that camera is so-so. Each battery lasts about an hour, give or take, before you need to replace it with a new one. So when I'd go out riding with it, I'd always make sure to have a spare or two fully charged and ready. Not a big deal; just a thing that requires a bit of planning. 

But stopping to change batteries can get annoying, especially if you're out with other people and you don't want to inconvenience them. So then you have to make a choice: Inconvenience your friends (and pause your own fun), or just let the camera go until it shuts down because it's out of battery. 

Honestly, neither solution is ideal. But it's a thing that action cam users have to make choices about on the regular.

Anyway, it's with all this previous contextual knowledge that I mounted the X4 on my bike and hit Record. 

Now, it's worth noting here that Insta360 claims that its new, extended battery in the X4 should last about 135 minutes if recording in 5.7K at 30fps. And that if you bump it up to the 8K at 30 fps setting, the realistic expectation of battery life goes down to about 75 minutes.

This was my first test of the camera, so I just wanted to keep it simple and easy. I had it set at 4K and 30fps. While I plan to test it using other settings, I did this in part because I think that while having 8K capability is nice, it also requires a lot of processing power. Therefore, it seems likely that folks using the camera might not use it all the time.

Plus, I really wanted to know about how much battery life we could potentially stretch out of the new 2290 milliamp-hour battery that the X4 has. (For those of you who've ever dealt with VHS tapes, I think it's not too dissimilar from recording in EP mode to fit as much video as possible on your tape because you have more dreams and enthusiasms than money.)

Surprising Results

Insta360 X4 - Impressive Battery Life - Camera Screens Side-By-Side

Insta360 X4 - Impressive Battery Life - Camera Screens Side-By-Side

When I started recording with the X4, I thought that it would last a little bit longer than the battery on the X2, but I wasn't expecting a whole lot.

I certainly wasn't expecting it to still be happily recording a full TWO HOURS AFTER I'D STARTED. Nor was I expecting it to have any battery left.

I stopped the recording at our lunch stop, tucked the camera away, and didn't look at it again until later. And that's when I saw that it had a full 30 percent of its first battery left.

Did that two hours of video actually even record, I wondered?

Friends, it did. Every last boring highway mile is there. As I write this, I'm compressing the resulting two hour video into a timelapse for you that will hopefully be more interesting than the highway ride itself. (As a note, the Slimey Crud Run is about the bikes and people that show up, as well as the actual Run; how you get to/from is up to you, and plenty of people want to do that as quickly as possible.)

The resulting video file is 9.15 GB, and you can reframe it or do whatever you wish and still have 30 percent more battery left to play with before you need to switch.

Insta360 X4 - Impressive Battery Life - 2 Hour 4K Video File Size

Insta360 X4 - Impressive Battery Life - 2 Hour 4K Video File Size Screenshot

So, How Long Can You Record Before The Battery Gives Up?

That's my next question, and something I definitely plan to find out while I'm testing the X4 out. I will report back on my findings as I gather this information in the field (you know, for science). 

One other major difference between the X2 and the X4 that I should note here is that the X4 gets a LOT hotter to the touch than the X2. If you're out riding and moving and there's tons of air rushing past it, hopefully that mitigates the potential for overheating issues. 

I can't say for sure whether it does at this point, since I've literally only been out on one long ride with it so far. But rest assured, I'll be reporting back on my findings as I test the thing. Watch this space.

For the time being, color me incredibly impressed with the improved battery life. Which brings me to the elephant in the room: Why is GoPro currently going after Insta360 with the ITC? The official reasons given on paper are claims of patent infringement, and currently Insta360 has a certain amount of time to file an official response to the complaint with the ITC.

We obviously can't speculate on GoPro's motivations. But we can say that innovation, implementation, and iteration like Insta360's sure seem like things that you would, speaking in purely hypothetical terms, want to put a stop to in any possible way if you happened to be a competing action camera maker.

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