Smartphone Gimbal review - 08/2019

Are you using your smartphone to shoot Insta Stories, or do you like making videos on the go? A gimbal brings your video quality to a professional level. Never again blurred recordings or a shaky quality of the pictures. Make your videos look professional without lugging great equipment.

We've tested four smartphone gimbals, paying special attention to handling and stability. Our test winner is the Zhiyun Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal: It balances optimally, has some useful functions and ensures good recordings. Our favourite with a test score of 9.0/10!

last modified: 18.09.2019, 11:47
Winner
Best price winner
Our winner: Zhiyun Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal DJI Osmo Mobile 2 Gimpro Smartphone Gimbal Rollei Smartphone Gimbal Steady Butler

Zhiyun
Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal

DJI
Osmo Mobile 2

Gimpro
Smartphone Gimbal

Rollei
Smartphone Gimbal Steady Butler

  • Extremely good stabilization
  • Many functions
  • Tripod included
  • Wobble-free images
  • Light
  • Wobble-free recordings
  • Light
  • Light and compact
  • Clean recordings
  • Large
  • No tripod included
  • Gimbal in the picture from time to time
  • Problems with fast movements
  • Problems with fast movements

An extremely reliable gimbal with many functions and clean recordings.

A good gimbal with clean shots, but also small disadvantages.

A neat gimbal with clean results.

The gimbal provides clean recordings and is easy to transport.

Range of functions
Handling
Stabilisation
Related App
Scope of delivery Gimbal, USB charging cable, tripod Gimbal, USB-charger Gimbal, USB charging cable, bag Gimbal, tripod, USB charging cable, bag
Quality impression Very good Good Good Good
Battery life Max. 10 hours Max. 15 hours Max. 12 hours Max. 10 hours
Axes 3 axes 3 axes 3 axes 3 axes
Charging time 2,5 h 2 h 3 h 3 h
Additional warranty 12 months 12 months (battery 6 months)
Width 11,5 cm 12 cm 13 cm 12,5 cm
Height 33 cm 28,5 cm 29 cm 31 cm
Depth 5 cm 5 cm 5 cm 4,5 cm
Weight 558 g 485 g 501 g 498 g
Smartphone charging during operation No No No No
App in Apple App Store Yes Yes Yes Yes
App in Google Play Store Yes Yes Yes Yes
App necessary No No No No
App available Yes Yes Yes Yes
Object tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Vertically usable Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery monitoring Blue LED lights and via the app 3 LED lights on the gimbal and via the app Via App LED on the side and via App
Packaging High quality cardboard High quality cardboard High quality carton with pocket inside High quality cardboard with bag on the inside
Manual language GB, GER, FR GB, CHT, JP, KR, GER, ES, FR, IT, NL, PT, RU GER, GB GER, GB, FR, ES, IT
Quality of instructions Good Very good Very good Good
Test seal: Zhiyun Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal, Rating 1.7
read review
Test seal: DJI Osmo Mobile 2, Rating 2.2
read review
Test seal: Gimpro Smartphone Gimbal, Rating 2.5
read review
Test seal: Rollei Smartphone Gimbal Steady Butler, Rating 2.6
read review
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Zhiyun

Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal

Test seal: Zhiyun Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal, Rating good

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 can be completely convincing in almost all areas. Both the stabilization of the smartphone and the app of the manufacturer work perfectly. The included tripod completes the complete package. Many useful functions of the app make the Gimbal a really useful companion for making great recordings with your smartphone.

read review

Zhiyun - Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal

Winner: read review
  • For perfect Insta Stories, you should turn the Smartphone upright
  • With time-lapses, it helps to place the gimbal on a tripod
  • Hold the gimbal down to shoot a video directly above the ground
 

In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:

  • Associated App
  • Stabilisation
  • Handling
  • Functional scope


In order to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for smartphone gimbals. First, the scope of delivery is checked. In the first test runs, the functions of the devices are tested with a Samsung Galaxy S9.

Particular attention is paid to fast motion sequences, stable support, and handling. In the course of the test the apps will be downloaded.

All available functions of the apps will be tested and filmed with the devices. Here, too, attention is paid to fast motion sequences, stable hold and handling. Finally, it is evaluated whether the stability is also shown in the video material.

In order to rule out mistakes and to ensure the stress of everyday use, each test takes place in several rounds.

The test criteria are given percentages depending on their importance. The final score is then objectively calculated from the test criteria using an algorithm.

Product selection

Our product selection is based on an observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).

The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.

As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.

Gimbal in use
Gimbal in use

You are on the road and would like to take a photo or video. It doesn't matter if it's the beautiful beach or if it's pictures from your bike tour to the Alps. There are enough moments for beautiful shots and moments for eternity.

Exactly here lies sometimes the problem, because sometimes it is not possible to be able to take pictures stable. Although the last few years have seen an increase in the number of cameras, thanks to the smartphone, enormous technical advantages, an image stabilizer is still sometimes necessary.

And this is exactly where gimbals come into play. Because the inconspicuous helpers make it possible to take good pictures, whether photo or video, without an image stabilizer in the device. And so that you know what a gimbal is and how gimbals prove to be enormously helpful, especially with smartphones, this article will cover exactly these topics

The last few years drones have been common to use. For many people, it is already everyday life to own one and let it fly. Today's drones give the opportunity to clamp the smartphone under the drone.

This makes it possible to take spectacular pictures to your heart's content. And this is where the Gimbals system comes from. The camera is stable and fixed and thus enables stable shots. SLR cameras need an image stabilizer just like today's smartphones.

And exactly for such cases, the Gimbals have become mobile. You can mount your camera or smartphone in this tripod and take stable and great pictures and photos or videos. A gimbal is a tool that many people don't know about when it comes to stable shots. Since the demands of gimbal use are always different, more and more different types have developed. Gimbals which are worn on the chest and fixed with a belt or a vest, conventional tripods, and the freedom of the gimbal have no limits.

Meanwhile, there are even devices for the Smartphone or the conventional camera, on which the most important functions can be controlled and operated by the push of a button. And so it is sometimes no longer even necessary to select something on the end device. Often this is already comfortably possible via the gimbal - an enormously helpful invention. In times of Internet and Youtube, the Gimbal has its place in our society more than ever. Professional content creators on the Internet almost only use the Gimbal, because such good recordings are possible if the device can not be given stability.

Thus, stable and beautiful recordings can easily be made, which can be distributed in seconds on the Internet. We will come to the differences between a gimbal and a steadycam later. The gimbal is more than just a more expensive Selfie stick.

It combines stability and enormous foresight. One must say quite clearly that good Gimbals do not have to be expensive. Beginner devices are usually already for a few euro to have, more expensive devices are suitable here mostly for already experienced users.

A gimbal is a clear helper when working with drones, smartphones or reflex cameras. It is far more practical than a Selfie stick, for example, and yet combines numerous functions that make it very convenient to use in practice. Gimbals usually have numerous keys which can be used to operate various functions. If you want to start a recording or take a photo, this is no problem. Often you can easily start the shutter release.

So it is not even necessary to select functions on the device itself. These functions save time and nerves, especially when you need to react quickly. Furthermore, a gimbal is very versatile. It gives the respective device, e.g. with Smartphones enormously comfortably, 360° freedom of movement. Due to the built-in bearing, you can take stable pictures and not only rigidly from one perspective. And exactly Gimbals have the nose, in comparison to other holders and tripods, quite clearly in front.

Every user is different. Whether you just want to make a few stable shots during a bike tour or whether you want to produce videos for the Internet, the demands are always different here. Gimbals are available in different forms and with different functions. In the end, every user finds exactly the gimbal they need.

Lifestyle blogs are enormously popular on Youtube, with Youtuber mostly taking viewers into their world in the form of minute-long videos. Holding a gimbal would become strenuous and inflexible in the long run. This is why these versatile helpers have been further developed and there are now also products that are fastened to the chest with a belt or worn as a vest. There are products attached to the vest or belt that can be completely adjusted. This eliminates the need to constantly hold the gimbal and gives you complete freedom of movement at all times.

With many other tripods, the device falls out when tilted strongly. Here Gimbals know how to convince with a somewhat different approach. The respective device - especially here smartphones are very popular - does not fall out of the guide despite tilting and turning.

And it is precisely these advantages that make the combination with the smartphone so versatile and of such high quality. No matter what you are doing: The Gimbal in combination with your mobile phone gives you flexibility and freedom of movement.

The cameras of today's smartphones have made enormous progress in recent years. In some cases, they can even surpass the quality of today's generation of popular SLR cameras. Even if the cameras of many smartphones have a stabilizer, a gimbal is still made for use on a smartphone. The triggering on the screen is not necessary and everything can be done by the little helper. Numerous devices also offer the option of using a small wheel to adjust the zoom at different levels.

This makes it easy to take pictures in which zoom is needed. Gimbals are simple but very functional devices. Therefore there are devices for beginners as well as for experienced users.

Only the functions differ from each other. Very praiseworthy is also here the sometimes very favorable price. Sometimes it doesn't even take a fortune to buy a high-quality gimbal.

However, the device not only holds your smartphone and thus enables stable recordings but also rotates to a certain extent. The design allows a gimbal to rotate or tilt at the touch of a button.

Other tripods usually don't offer these functions. If you want to shoot a video in which you cook a dish, you'll love the gimbal's features. Because apps usually have features to fix them as a point of view. Then the gimbal follows you with the lens and turns its tripod. This results in photos and videos, which were not obvious before that such a helper was used here. So Gimbals are wonderful little helpers that give flexibility and quality to the shots of different kinds.

Gimbals, especially for Smaprthones, are very functional and convince with a variety of functions. And as helpful as gimbals may be, you should consider one or the other before buying because there are certain features of quality. On the one hand, you should inform yourself beforehand about what movements the gimbal can perform. There are devices, especially in the low price ranges, that either turn or tilt. A characteristic of quality is the versatility in the movement so that with a qualitative gimbal they can be operated differently. Often these devices are used for moving pictures and there is turning and tilting can be an advantage for flexibility and a guarantor for quality.

In addition, the fact that all components are included in the purchase speaks for a good gimbal. A gimbal must of course also be recharged, as the energy is consumed by its use. Even though gimbals have many features and functions, an extra app is usually needed to use them. Functions like the zoom or the viewfinder are available in the gimbal, but can often only be used in combination with an extra application. Therefore you should inform yourself in advance about the application, how the stability is and which system is used. Not every smartphone can be used with every gimbal. This is not possible if, for example, the app is primarily usable with Android, but you have an iPhone. Therefore, you should inform yourself about the operating system of the app before purchasing it.

Furthermore, you should inform yourself if there is a separate app available for download. There is usually a corresponding application available for download. However, there are some Gimbals that don't have their own app to download. This can limit the number of functions of the gimbals. Sometimes the recordings require a certain amount of height. And in order not to get a nasty awakening later, you should inform yourself about the possible installation of a so-called monopad. These long tripods give you the possibility to take airy pictures. However, this does not work in combination with a gimbal. Therefore you should make sure that the gimbal is compatible with a monopad. If not, you might have to buy another gimbal in the long run, which means new acquisition costs.

Another aspect that speaks for the quality of the gimbal is the supplied lens. The device gives you the possibility to zoom. An extra lens is needed for this. However, you will soon find that such a lens is very helpful for certain shots and therefore you should ask yourself whether a lens for a different focal length is included in the scope of delivery before purchasing such a helper.

You may not have thought it possible before, but gimbals are actually used in a wide variety of ways. In combination with smartphones and cameras, they are very popular. However, they are also used in many other places and situations. Drones are a popular area where gimbals are used. The camera or smartphone is simply plugged into the drone and shots can be taken at lofty heights. Drones are the ideal scale for taking photos and videos. But drones are not the only place where gimbals are used. Smartphones are also popular for the use of gimbals, as mentioned in detail above. It is not only the use for hobby recordings that makes a gimbal so versatile. Especially Content Creator and Youtuber enjoy the advantages of qualitative Gimbals.

There are also mobile drones that use gimbals and are used by companies. This usually happens when, for example, pipes have to be checked and a mobile drone makes sense. Gimbals are used in various designs to enable stable recordings to be made precisely at this point. The use with classic SLR cameras is also very popular with gimbals.

Before the gimbal came into fashion, there were, of course, other ways and means to ensure stable recordings. Although the Steadycam is still in use, it has become less and less popular in recent years. The reason for this is explained in the next section, which compares Steadycam and Gimbal. The Steadycam is a mechanical suspension, which the cameraman or the camerawoman carries around itself. The stable suspension should enable wobble-free shots. If by the kind of the mechanics with a Steadycam actually free admissions can be made, a deficiency, which was improved with a Gimbal later, reveals itself here. Although the Steadycam gives the possibility to make wobble-free shots, the perspective is not dynamically selectable. This means that the camera films frontally, like the cameraman, is closed frontally. Thus, when using a Steadycam, the filming person is always bound to have to turn towards the subject to be filmed. During longer video or photo sessions, this sometimes very rigid posture can become very stressful.

Work continued on the system of mechanical suspension of the Steadycam. It was only a question of time that the weaknesses of the Steadycam would be replaced by a new system. The result is the Gimbal. The basic system of the Steadycam has been preserved but has been replaced by automatic. That means: The gimbal ensures with its electronics to be able to enjoy full freedom of movement on the one hand when filming or shooting photos. On the other hand, there are no limits to creativity when shooting. The basic system of the Steadycam was further developed and the result are gimbals that give full freedom of movement and full comfort when shooting photos or filming video recordings. And here the most serious difference between Steadycam and Gimbal shows up.

Steadycam and Gimbal are of course not the only possibilities to make stable recordings possible with appropriate devices. Another option is the Selfie stick. Even if a certain stick is necessary, which fits for the respective mobile phone, the Smartphone is in a stable device. Although such sticks are primarily used for Selfies, as the name suggests, this stick can of course also be used for video recordings.

A Selfie stick is, of course, less flexible than a Gimbal. Nevertheless, it can stabilize the mobile phone and make later stable recordings possible. Of course, there are still some well-known gadgets for stable recordings. For smartphones, there are still manual optical image stabilizers. These devices are attached to the lens from the outside and ensure stable recordings. As advantageous as these small devices are, unfortunately, they are not available for every type of mobile phone. In any case, you have to find out in advance if there is an optical stabilizer for the camera.

Stable shots are not the only way to get the most out of your camera. And so there are several more gadgets to power the camera in your smartphone for great shots. As mentioned above, there are gimbals and the Selfie stick. However, there are regular tripods for the smartphone. However, since it can sometimes be tedious to have to press the record button on your smartphone tripod every time, there are wireless photo triggers. This allows you to trigger the recording at the touch of a button. The flash in the camera doesn't always ensure that the pictures are well enough lit. Here there is a plug-in LED flash as additional gadgets.

Simply plug it onto your smartphone and the surroundings are well lit. Of course, you can also use a normal flashlight to provide enough light. Attachable lenses allow you to work with different focal lengths. To avoid running out of memory or battery when you're on the go, we recommend you buy an extra memory card and a Powerbank, a mobile charger. For example, if you want to shoot outdoors, you can buy a smartphone holder for your binoculars. This allows you to make recordings in the woods without any problems. If you want to make professional recordings with your smartphone at home, you can use a photo box. This is sufficiently illuminated and gives you the opportunity to take good pictures of your desired motif on a transparent background. So you see, there are a lot of additional gadgets, whose versatility allows you to get the most out of the camera of your smartphone.

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