Which 360° camera should I use with AVATOUR?

Avatour works with several different 360° cameras to enable real-time remote presence. Learn about the pros and cons of different camera options in this article.

TL;DR: the best 360° camera for most Avatour users is currently the Labpano Pilot One; good less-expensive options that works with Android phones are the Insta360 One RS and One X2.  For iOS users the only current option is the Insta360 One X. We are always evaluating new devices as they become available, and we update our recommendation regularly. We recommend buying a complete kit from us, but we can also provide a shopping list.


360° Cameras for Avatour Real-Time Capture
Camera Mobile device support Retail price (USD) Weight Battery life Ext. Pwr? Max Video Res Water resist & temp range

Labpano Pilot One

no device required $1,799 395 g ~60m

7680*3840 @ 7fps

Unrated; 0°-45° C

Labpano Pilot Era no device required $2,499 690g ~120m 7680*3840 @ 7fps

IP65; 0°-45° C

Insta360 One RS 1" 360° edition

Android $1,190 239g ~60m 6144x3072@25/24fps IPX3; -20°-45°C
Insta360 One RS Twin Edition Android $838 135g ~60m 5760x2880@30fps IPX3; -20°-45°C

Insta360 One X

iOS or Android $487 115g ~40m 5760x2880@30fps Unrated; -20°-45°C
Insta360 One X2 Android* $610 149g ~75m 5760x2880@30fps IPX8; -20°-45°C
Insta360 One R Android* n/a 135g ~60m 5760x2880@30fps IPX3; -20°-45°C

Insta360 X3

(support pending)

Android $639 180g ~75m ? 5760x2880@30fps IPX8; -20°-45°C

* Most One X2 and One R cameras do not support required wired connection to iOS devices, and cannot be used for Avatour real-time capture. See this article for more information.

† Ricoh Theta Z1 overheats after <10 min of live streaming under normal conditions

Standalone Cameras with Avatour integration

The Labpano line of 360° cameras - including the Pilot One and the Pilot Era - boast built-in touch screens and an Android operating system, allowing the AVATOUR app to run directly on the device.  They also have higher-resolution sensors than other portable devices, enabling capture at up to 8k resolution. This combination of capabilities provides unparalleled quality, ease-of-use and reliability.

Although the Labpano devices are more expensive than typical 360° action cameras, they don't require a separate phone, so the total system price is comparable. Enterprise customers who want to distribute systems for easy use by personnel without requiring use of personal cell phones should look at the Pilot devices first.

Cameras with Avatour integration on mobile devices

Another option is to combine a 360 "action camera" with a mobile device. Avatour has worked with camera manufacturer Insta360 to tightly integrate their products with the Avatour Host app. This enables us to directly control these cameras, making for a convenient experience for users. 

  • Insta360 One RS / One R: The One RS (and its older variant, the One R) is our recommendation within this category, and the device we include in our "add-on" kits.  It's a multi-purpose action camera with slightly improved image performance when compared to the One X. Its form factor is less convenient, though, and hot-swapping batteries on the One RS is impossible due to the design of its mount. With the use of a USB-C splitter, an external battery or wired power may be used to extend battery life indefinitely.

The most recent versions of the One R no longer support direct cable connection to Apple iOS devices!  Only the versions sold in Apple Stores still retain support for Apple devices.

  • Insta360 One X2: The One X2 combines the benefits of the One X (good form factor) with the improved image quality of the One R. Batteries have a long life (about 1.25 hrs) and are easily hot-swappable. Recently, Insta360 released a revised cable design which now works reliably, so we can now recommend the One X2 for use with Avatour.
  • Insta360 One X: This is our previous default recommendation, and was included in our original turn-key Avatour kits. The OneX is cost-effective and reliable, with an excellent form factor and good-quality 4k real-time capture. While its battery cannot be charged during live streaming, Avatour permits hot-swapping of replacement batteries in seconds without ending the session, enabling longer sessions with minimal difficulty. However, continuous power is impossible, and supply shortages for this camera have made it difficult to obtain. It's still a good choice if you can find it, and due to the change in iOS support for the One R, it is the only Insta360 camera currently available with wired iOS support.

Cameras with partial integration

Avatour has developed a partial integration with the Ricoh Theta series of cameras. Unfortunately, the thermal characteristics of these devices makes it difficult to recommend them for regular use.

  • Ricoh Theta V: The Theta V is an older device with inferior video capture quality to either Insta360 device above. It is unable to maintain 30fps while livestreaming and has a tendency to overheat in hot locales. However the fact that it works without a cable connection to the Avatour Host device means that it can accept external power while operating, making 24/7 continuous operation possible. This also makes it impossible for Bluetooth audio to be used, and creates an additional point of connectivity failure. We generally don't recommend the Theta V for these reasons.
  • Ricoh Theta Z1: The Theta Z1 is the highest-quality camera in the Theta line. It offers significantly better sensor and lens quality than the other devices, providing improved sharpness. However it shares some of the drawbacks of the Theta V: the lack of bluetooth audio and an additional wireless connection. The Theta Z1 is a good option for situations where continuous power is required.

Recorded 360 capture for cameras without integration

The Avatour platform supports sharing and collaboration with any standard-format 360° video asset or still image. Users of any 360° camera, such as the GoPro Fusion or Garmin VIRB 360, may record videos directly on the camera and then upload the files to the Avatour platform via the Host Console.

Live capture for cameras without integration

The Avatour Host app may also be used for live capture with any 360° camera which can deliver an equirectangular RTMP feed to a specified URL. Simply set the Avatour Host camera setting to "Other (Manual)" and copy the "Ingest URL," and paste it into your camera's livestreaming app.

We have seen mixed success with non-integrated devices, however. Some devices simply can't deliver low enough latency to be useful for real-time communications. And even for those that can, when used in this limited integration mode, Avatour is restricted in its ability to optimize visual quality and manage connectivity. The upshot is that if you're not experienced with livestreaming, we strongly recommend using one of the integrated cameras listed above.

Purchasing Avatour hardware

We recommend buying a complete Avatour kit from us - we handle installation and testing and provide a turnkey solution that will get you up and running quickly. However if you want to assemble your own hardware, please review this guide to what you'll need.