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Insta360 X4 Review: Steps Forward, Backward, And Bigger With Both

Aside from your smartphone the best video camera you can carry with you is one that’s small, versatile, and captures multiple angles. For the last few years, the Insta360 X line of cameras has been all of these things and more. The new X4 improves upon a lot of the X3 but comes with some drawbacks that are perplexing.

You can watch the video above for my full review or read on for the highlights.

Seeing In 360

The Insta360 X4 is an action camera that has two lenses on both sides that allow it to get a 360 degree field of view. This mean in 360 mode, the camera is actually filming everything around it and then, using the Insta360 Studio desktop or mobile app, you can reposition the footage in any way you want.

Adding a larger front facing screen compared to the X3 means framing is a bit easier on the X4 as is scrolling through the various menu options. On both counts though the X4 is mostly a set it and forget it camera since it’s filming everything around at the same time. In this way the X4 acts like multiple cameras since you can re-frame the footage endlessly. Even the microphones will focus on the sound in the direction of the footage you want in frame and those microphones do a very good job of picking up sound, especially speaking.

What’s Changed

The X4 is noticeably bigger and heavier than the X3. It measures 46 x 123.6 x 37.6mm versus the 46.0 x 114.0 x 33.1mm of the X3 and weighs 203 grams, 23 grams heavier than the X3. If you don’t have the X3 nearby, then the X4 doesn’t look that big but next to the X3, the X4 feels a lot less pocket-able – I think this is probably as big as the X line can get before they become too large for an action camera.

insta360 x3 x4

The added size comes with a bigger 2290mAh battery though and that’s need to power the upgraded 5nm AI chip which supports 8k capability. Recording at 5.7k on the X4, the highest resolution of the X3, you get 67% more battery life – about 130 minutes – or 60-70 minutes when filming in 8k.

The added size gives you bigger microphone and speaker vents but also heat dissipation which is even more important on the X4.

Hot Takes

See, the X4 gets noticeably hot shortly after you power it up and when recording in 8k you definitely feel the heat. The X4 even shows a warning when you switch to 8k to use it in windy conditions so it doesn’t overheat. Typically with a 360 camera you’re hitting record a few minutes at a time outdoors which helps mitigate overheating. But in hotter climates and parts of the world overheating is going to be more of an issue if you’re recording in 8k for any duration over 15-20 minutes.

The resulting footage does look better than the X3 with a much improved color science (still terrible at low light) and a level of sharpness that should be reduced in the settings to avoid a grainy look. The X4 is $100 more than the X3 and if you’ve already got one I don’t think this is a must upgrade. It’s a nice to have upgrade but if you film in hot climates often you might just be better off with the X3 and waiting for whatever version comes after this one. The X4 feels a lot like an in between product – the next version might be in this form factor but with a chip that runs cooler with a newer sensor giving you more battery life and improved heat dissipation for longer recording times.

Where To Find The Best Vegan Food In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

It may not be common knowledge but a fair number of Buddhist practitioners in Vietnam go vegan twice a month as part of their particular belief system. Because of this a surprising number of vegan restaurants can be found throughout bustling Vietnam, especially near Buddhist temples.

So whether you eat meat or not you can experience local Ho Chi Minh food favorites but street food and sit down. You can watch the video above and read on for some of my favorite spots.

Sit Down Secrets

  • Vegan Family Restaurant – Located in a quiet corner outside of a Buddhist temple, for starters try the gỏi củ hủ dừa (crunchy pickled coconut, pickled carrots with daikon, fresh herbs, and mint. Topped with vegan fish sauce vinaigrette (fermented pinapple juice) and crispy fried shallots. Main course, try the cà ri dê (curry made from shiitake mushroom, bell pepper, and coconut milk.)
  • Bột chiên Bàn Cờ – By the side of the road but sit down and enjoy bột chiên (Vegetarian option with eggs, fried rice flour cake, marinated in soy sauce and rice vinegar. Topped with chopped turnips and green onions with shredded papaya.)
  • Chè Hiển Khánh – It’s never too late for cold sweet soup, a Ho Chi Minh favorite. Chè hạt sen (iced lotus seed soup with longan, lychee, shredded white mushrooms, chestnuts, and tapioca).

ho chi minh city noodles

On The Streets

  • Mrs Diep Che Dessert – Amazing street food stall serving dessert. Order the chè khoai môn (taro with tapioca and coconut milk) and be happy.
  • Vo Van Tan – Pick a short stool to sit on and order some amazing noodles. Bún thịt nướng (Grilled marinated seitan served atop vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, pickled vegetables, carrots, seasoning and a savory vegan fish sauce.) To drink, try nước mía (sugarcane with durian).
  • Cao Thang – Incredible sticky rice selection not to be missed. Must order bánh tráng kẹp xôi đậu xanh (grilled rice paper filled with sticky rice and mung bean paste (đậu xanh). Served with shredded coconut and sesame seeds).

ho chi minh city noodles

At many of these vegan places you can mix and match dishes, ingredients, and tweak to your particular preferences. For those of you heading north, be sure to check out Hanoi’s best vegetarian restaurants.

Where To Find The Best Vegetarian Food In Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam is a paradise of food and its capital city, Hanoi, is famous for a number of dishes and drinks. Although meat is an important part of Vietnamese cuisine for various cultural reasons finding vegetarian and vegan local foods isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Many dishes are vegetarian in their traditional form while some require substitution.

You can take a tour of Hanoi’s vegetarian food in the video above or read on.

The Word To Know

For those of you looking to order food in Hanoi or elsewhere in Vietnam, the word to know is “chay.” Pronounced like the word tea (you can hear it in the video here) this means without meat. By saying “chay” at the end of your order (for example bahn mi chay) is asking for a vegetarian version of the famous Vietnamese sandwich. Anytime you see the word chay on a menu it’s a strong indication that the dish is meatless (though not necessarily vegan).

hanoi vegetarian food vietnam

Vegetarian Food Spots To Try – Old Quarter

  • Xôi xéo – Sticky rice and corn with mung bean. It’s not for everyone, some may find it bland, but ended up being one of my favorite foods in Hanoi. Play around with different toppings, like eggs, get a picked cucumber salad, and cold beer. https://g.co/kgs/LqVnTN8
  • Bánh mỳ chay – Vietnamese sandwich with egg omelette, green papaya, cucumber, carrots, coriander, chilly, and mushrooms sauce. Long lines throughout the day but worth the wait. https://g.co/kgs/Xmw3msZ

A Taste Of Sweets

  • Cốm and Côm xào – The former is sticky green rice with lotus seeds and coconut. It’s like a little ball of sweetness something I can describe as a coconut gummy bear flavor. Served underneath is green rice stir fry with coconut and coconut dipping sauce. https://maps.app.goo.gl/evgaMJbkcp5QpM3W6
  • Che chuoi nuong – Grilled banana inside sticky rice with coconut milk, fresh coconut, peanut, and tapioca. There are several versions of this warm winter soup served year round. https://g.co/kgs/8EApbS9
  • Che khuc bach – Sugar water cold soup cooked with jasmine flower, condensed milk, chocolate, green tea jelly , and almonds can be found at the same spot as che chuoi nuong.
  • Coconut ice cream – Fresh coconut water, condensed milk with coconut cream. Served on the street, perfect for the hottest days. https://maps.app.goo.gl/At6HAQ8mahUP1G4JA

vietnamese sweet soups

Classic Hanoi Dishes

  • Bánh xèo chay – Crispy pancake made of wheat, turmeric, coconut milk , green onions, mung bean filled with bean sprouts, eggs, and tofu. One of those foods perfect before or after a night. https://maps.app.goo.gl/LnYK9j4jKtE9scNEA
  • Banh cuôn chay – Rice roll with shallots and soy dipping sauce with chilly and lime. One of the most unique flavors and consistencies of food I’ve tried, one of my favorites in Hanoi. https://g.co/kgs/JGwNazA

Best Coffee I’ve Had

Egg coffee is a uniquely Hanoi beverage. Strong Robusta coffee with cream and egg yolk, C.O.C. serves the best coffee I’ve had anywhere. The ambiance is helped by its hiding spot you get to through some alleyways and narrow stairs (https://g.co/kgs/VdeXBjM).

Like many other places such as Turkey where you wouldn’t expect to find vegetarian food Vietnam’s broad use of fresh ingredients as a base makes omitting meat in common dishes possible. Remember to make sure the sauces aren’t meat or fish based if you’re a strict vegetarian and enjoy eating in one of the best places to travel.

How To Visit The North Cape In Norway

Europe’s northern most point and wild weather swings might not be your first thought for a summer vacation but if seeing wild elk, whale watching, and stunning natural views sound like your kind of trip, Norway’s North Cape has something for you. The land of the midnight sun, Hege Jacobsen recently joined an episode of the foXnoMad Podcast on how to plan your trip to North Cape.

Getting There

Although it’s a bit remote, getting to the North Cape is pretty straightforward once you get to Norway. You’ll want to get to Alta (the one in Norway, not Alta in Utah which is also great for hiking by the way) and from there you can either take a bus or rent a car. A drive from Alta to North Cape takes roughly 3-4 hours but keep in mind the weather can change rapidly and potentially slow you down.

What To Do

The North Cape is where you want to be outdoors but to best enjoy it, make sure you dress appropriately. Summers are generally chilly while some days climate change shines and it can get quite warm. Take a look at any given 7 day forecast and you’ll be taken on a roller coaster of icons with plenty of precipitation possible on any given day.

North Cape Norway Costs

Norway is expensive there’s no other way to put it. There are ways though you can travel to North Cape on a budget as Hege explains in the episode. For a unique experience up in the Arctic circle with plenty of hopping off points around Norway, North Cape might just be the perfect next destination for you with family or as part of a solo trip.

 

Patagonia’s Black Hole Wheeled Duffel Is Grounded

Finding a travel bag that’s just the right size – not too big but not anxiety-inducing small isn’t easy but Patagonia’s Black Hole Wheeled Duffel comes close but doesn’t work where you might need it most.

You can watch the full review in the video above or read on.

Less Shiny But Still Glossed

The Black Hole is a long standing line by Patagonia and the wheeled version of this duffel is 70 liters and comes in several color options, black, buckhorn green, and touring red. Patagonia says this redesign of the Black Hole is less shiny then the previous versions but make no mistake, the recycled polyester rip-stop used here is noticeably glossy.

patagonia black hole wheeled duffel

The hard plastic back is covered with the same polyester but has a matte finish and contrasts nicely with the shinier elements. The Black Hole 70 liter version measures 70 centimeters by 35.5 by 30 centimeters and the use of polyester here makes it about 25 grams to a kilogram on average lighter than similarly sized luggage in this price range that uses nylon. The reduction in weight also comes with better weatherproofing since it uses TPU-film laminate.

Keep On Rolling

The wheel bolts are placed on the outside and exposed which has lead to other users reporting damaged, dented, and misaligned wheels, especially when the Black Hole gets chucked about by baggage handlers. I haven’t had any problems and it might not be a problem for you depending on how you use this bag.

patagonia wheeled duffel 70l

There’s also a lack of handles on the Black Hole. Being a duffel, you have a large snap-able grip on the front that goes over the main opening of the bag but there are no other handles on the sides, making it difficult to get a hold of at certain angles. There’s a plastic handle on the bottom of the Black Hole but a flimsy fabric grip on the top, making for an uneven hold. In situations where you’re just throwing the Black Hole into a car trunk or back of a truck, it’s not an issue. For train overheads or airport luggage carousels though you’re going to miss those handles which are common on most other bags.

Spacious Gravity

Patagonia have really maximized the interior space giving you a large 70 liters to work with. There is one big bucket with no interior dividers and there’s usable space right into the corners. Internal compression straps give you a little more room if you pack softer items like clothing that can be tightened down.

The interior space is good for gear or longer trips and it’s one of the roomier 70 liter bags I’ve come across (though from the outside it doesn’t look that big). To me, the Black Hole is a good back for hauling gear for fishing, skiing, or hiking, that’s going to go right into a car. It’s also good for family road trips but doesn’t have the best feature set for airports. Trust me, you’ll be looking for those side handles in a lot of situations so while the size of the Patagonia Black Hole 70 liter is spacious without feeling excessive, carrying all of that weight, at least on planes, will have to wait.

Asking Indians What They Really Think About Pakistan

A few years I ago I visited Pakistan and asked locals if they could say one nice thing about India. After that video was posted many said that trying the same thing in India would go sideways and nobody would have anything nice to say.

Well, I went back to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) which is known for its active student political base during contentious elections. With feelings of nationalism, pride, and general rhetoric in the air, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

You can watch the video above to see the slow start but once people opened up, I was surprised at what Indians had to say about their neighbor, Pakistan.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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