Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by Photography PX
Today’s smartphones are substantially improved when it comes to stabilizing video, with the advent of Optical Image Stabilization (O.IS) and Electronic Image Stabilization (E.IS). But, even the slightest shake at the wrong moment can ruin a perfectly good video.
It used to be that gimbals were the reserve for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, many of which cost triple the price. But these days, the market has changed, and plenty of creators are exclusively using smartphones to produce content. So, it’s not surprising to see them gradually make their way down to mobile devices. Even so, no amount of software or optical design can match true three-axis stabilization for smooth footage. And, sadly, most smartphones are still prone to camera shake, especially when moving. As such, even the best smartphones continue to pale compared to a dedicated gimbal, which stabilizes mechanically with internal monitors and advanced algorithmic detection.
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Dedicated smartphone gimbals remove shake from the equation altogether. And they help compensate for unexpected movements, letting you move openly without fear. And it’s one tool to achieve professional-looking footage immediately.
But, you’ll find today’s market littered with low-cost knock-offs. So much so, it’ll make finding the right gimbal a daunting task. Not to mention, there are many things to consider from size, design, features, and build quality. And is a 2-axis gimbal better than a 3-axis one? Also, what devices are supported, both in function and weight? So to help, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten best smartphone gimbals on the present market.
10 – FeiyuTech VLOG Pocket 2
FeiyuTech’s VLOG Pocket 2 is the company’s latest ultra-compact 3-axis stabilizer.
The device itself weighs 272g and supports phones up to 250g. With the Pocket 2, FeituTech refines the folding design, making it lighter and more compact. Now, it’s even easy to slip away into a pocket or small bag, making it a must-have for traveling. They’ve also refined the physical design, upping the grip and contouring. But, crucially, it now offers the proper selection of controls, from a joystick to a function button and a zoom rocker. And these can recall and control the shortcut menu, which is perfect for one-handed operation. It connects via the Feiyu ON app, available for Android and iOS, ready for 9 hours of use. There it offers gesture control, object tracking, a dolly zoom, a sports mode, slow-motion video, panorama, and time-lapse. Other bonuses include a carrying pouch and mini tripod.
Overall, FeiyuTech VLOG Pocket 2 is an excellent suit for on-the-go creators. And it’s a nice evolution to this lineup of ultra-compact gimbals.
9 – FeiyuTech Vimble 2S
Feiyutech’s Vimble 2S is their latest 3-axis smartphone stabilizer, now with a unique trick up its sleeve.
The device itself weighs 428g and supports devices up to 210g. But new for this release is an extendable arm, letting the stabilizer double as a selfie stick. And it changes the experience by opening a plethora of new possibilities for capturing unique angles or recording above crowds. Plus, it now brings the possibility of a 360º circular panorama to the lineup. Even so, it offers a good selection of controls ranging from a joystick, a function button, a zoom rocker, a trigger, and a status indicator. It connects via the Feiyu ON app, available for Android and iOS, ready for 12 hours of use. There it offers object tracking, gesture control, the beauty mode, HDR, panorama, dolly zoom, time-lapse, and the Light Rail mode. Other bonuses include two-way charging, 1/4-20 thread, a wrist strap, and a mini tripod.
Overall, Feiyutech’s Vimble 2S is an excellent option for those with smaller devices wanting more freedom or coverage. And it’s a nice upgrade over the original Vimble 2.
8 – ZHIYUN Smooth XS
Zhiyun’s Smooth XS is the company’s latest ultra-compact 2-axis gimbal designed for socialites.
This device itself weighs 249g and supports phones up to 235g. Like the original Smooth X, this model has a telescopic handle, which extends into a stabilized selfie stick. And doing so provides a broader field of view that’s perfect for capturing the tops of crowds. However, it offers a more compact design, shaving off weight, making it downright tiny by comparison. It’s now so small it can comfortably slip into a jacket pocket without issues. But, it still obtains a healthy control layout with a multi-function button, a zoom rocker, a joystick, and status LED lights for battery life. Otherwise, it pairs with the new ZY Cami app, available for Android and iOS, ready for 5.5 hours of use. There it offers gesture control, object tracking, slow-motion video, time-lapse, glamour filters, and panorama. Other bonuses include a mini tripod and a carrying pouch.
Overall, Zhiyun’s Smooth XS is the perfect option for young social media-savvy users wanting to document their daily adventures. And its ultra-compact design is perfect if you believe pocket space is a premium while traveling.
7 – Moza Mini-MI
Gudsen’s Moza Mini-Mi is the world’s first 3-axis phone gimbal with wireless charging capabilities. Yet, it also offers outstanding performance to boast.
While heavier than average at 543g, this extra weight lets it support phones up to 300g, making it compatible with every phone released thus far. It also helps the device offer better ergonomics, given its thick and comfortable handle. Plus, Gudsen’s packed three 1/4-20 threads for unrivaled flexibility in adding accessories. So now you can easily add both microphones and lights. But, crucially, it debuts with Qi wireless charging, letting it charge any compatible device without faffing with cables. Otherwise, it connects to the Moza Genie app, available for Android and iOS, ready for 10 hours of use. There it offers gimbal setting tweaks, time-lapse, object tracking, light painting, slow-motion video, and a dolly zoom. Other bonuses include a hardshell case and a mini tripod.
Overall, the Moza Mini-Mi is an excellent option for demanding users constantly on the go. And it offers features simply vacant amongst rivals without doing so with a ridiculous price tag.
6 – Hohem iSteady Mobile+
Hohem’s iSteady Mobile+ is their latest mid-range smartphone gimbal, ready to balance price and performance.
The device itself weighs 490g and supports phones up to 280g. It uses a modest, understated design. But, one packing a punch, without an outstanding payload rating, easily accommodating heavy devices like the Galaxy S21 Ultra. And it also offers a wider pan and roll range of 320º, uppings its versatility to help capture more unique angles than rivals. Plus, it offers dedicated buttons to switch modes and a trigger to enter sport mode. You’ll connect this device to the Hohem Gimbal app, available for Android and iOS, ready for 12 hours of use. There it offers object tracking, panorama, time-lapse, slow-motion video, beauty mode, and a dolly zoom. Other bonuses include tripod legs and a carrying case.
Overall, Hohem’s iSteady Mobile+ is an excellent three-axis stabilizer that brilliantly melds performance and price point. And it offers high-end performance, matching the best in the industry at a fraction of the cost.
5 – Hohem iSteady X
The Hohem iSteady X comes to up the standards and provides an even more compelling lightweight alternative to the Mobile+.
The device itself weighs 259g, and it supports phones up to 280g. Yet, crucially, it’s about half the size of comparable stabilizers and small enough to fit into your pocket. But it still offers a sturdy build that remains in line with more expensive stabilizers while simultaneously bests them in weight. Homhem’s streamlined the control interface to match its size. So now, it offers a simple layout with two multi-function buttons, a zoom rocker, and a joystick. And you’ll pair his device to the Hohem Pro app, available for Android and iOS, ready for 8 hours of use. There it offers time-lapse, slow-motion video, a dolly zoom, object tracking, and panoramic video. Other bonuses include a mini tripod, storage pouch and a wrist strap.
Overall, Hohem’s iSteady is now lighter, foldable, and more affordable. And it’s among the lightest gimbals to date, so it’s quite a compelling package given its performance and small footprint.
4 – DJI Osmo Mobile 3
DJI’s Osmo Mobile 3 is their third-generation entry into the popular Osmo Mobile lineup. And it’s a release that showcases they’ve listened attentively to customer feedback.
The device itself weighs 405g and supports phones up to 230g. But, this model was the first gimbal offering a folding design, solving a key pain point with smartphone gimbals. Now, it folds close, making it ultra-compact and ideal for adventures. It also adds a more comfortable 15º grip angle, improving the handling and single-hand control. Yet, it also provides a dedicated joystick, multi-function button, record button, and a battery indicator. Together, these let you navigate the app with a single hand while staying keenly aware of the remaining battery life. Otherwise, it pairs with the DJI Mimo app, available for Android and iOS, ready for 15 hours of use. There it features object tracking, gesture control, a sport mode, time-lapse, dolly zoom, panorama, slow-motion video, and the Story Mode. Other bonuses include a wrist strap and a carrying case.
Overall, DJI’s OM3 is the largest overhaul they’ve done to the line yet. And it’s an excellent 3-axis gimbal that remains a go-to choice for many wanting a powerful yet affordable alternative to the newer OM4. But an alternative that still bests most rivals.
3 – Zhiyun Smooth Q2
Zhiyun’s Smooth Q2 is the company’s tiniest handheld smartphone stabilizer and one that proposes extreme compactness.
The device itself weighs 430g and supports phones up to 260g. Yet, crucially, measuring just 20cm long, it’s both ultra-small and quite powerful too. As such, you’re unlikely to run into difficulty with most smartphones with an attachment lens. Its mount also has a quick-release latch, letting you remove it with the phone still attached, saving time. And this new model sports an aluminum construction, upping the plastic design of the original and a large silicone wrapped handle for a comfortable grip. Plus, it now has an updated control scheme with a status LCD to show the selected mode or battery life. Otherwise, it pairs with the ZY Play app, available for Android and iOS, ready for 17 hours of use. There it offers time-lapse, panorama, portrait mode, ultra-wide-angle mode, slow-motion video, dolly zoom, and object tracking. Other bonuses include a 1/4-20 thread and two-way power.
Overall, Zhiyun’s Smooth Q2 is an excellent option for the price. Sure, it’s the baby brother to the higher-end Smooth Series. But even so, it packs an ultra-compact footprint with a punch that shows fixed designs can come without compromises.
2 – Zhiyun Smooth 4
Zhiyun’s Smooth 4 is arguably their most popular 3-axis gimbal to date and quite a reputable release amongst the community.
The device weighs 547g and supports devices up to 210g. But, crucially, the Smooth 4 provides an unrivaled control interface compared to the competition at this price. Not only does it offer a joystick and rear triggers, but it also has several hotkey buttons, pre-programmed for additional functions, along with dedicated buttons for shooting modes. Not to mention, there’s also a control dial for zoom or focus pulling to boast. Together, these deliver a more tactile experience and reduce the need for the touchscreen. Otherwise, you’ll connect it to the ZY Play app, available for Android and iOS, to customize the gimbal settings for 12 hours of continuous use. And it provides time-lapse, panorama, multiple exposures, long exposures, object tracking, a dolly zoom, HDR, and slow-motion video. Other bonuses include a tripod, axis locks, a ¼-20 thread, two-way charging, and a sport mode.
Overall, the Smooth 4 continues the company’s dominance and shows its long-standing expertise in stabilization. Sure, it’s technically older and larger than their Q2, but it remains excellent nonetheless. And it’s a solid option for traveling creators wanting to keep things simple and direct.
1 – DJI Osmo Mobile 4 Phone Gimbal
DJI’s OM4, now on its fourth generation, improves on the already class-leading OM3 strengths. And it comes to market debuting new magnetic mounts and a refined compact design.
This device weighs 422g, with the holder, and supports devices up to 290g. But, crucially, DJI includes two styles of mounts. You can either use a more traditional spring-loaded Phone Clamp or the new Ring Holder. This connection takes things a step further by attaching to the phone directly to create a permanent mounting point via adhesion. But, either connection saves time and snaps on quickly for simple, hassle-free connections. They also guarantee perfect placement every time, removing the need for calibrating the device. Otherwise, this device uses DJI’s Mimo app, available for Android and iOS, ready for 15 hours of continuous use. And it provides panorama, a sport mode, slow-motion video, time-lapse, a dolly zoom, gesture control, SpinShot, and subject tracking. Other bonuses include an included wrist strap, tabletop tripod, and storage pouch.
Overall, DJI’s OM4 is class-leading and refines an already excellent fan favorite. And it merely takes the already proven successes of the OM3 and ups the standards with better connectors and more powerful motors.
What to Look For in Smartphone Gimbals?
Type of Stabilization
This is the most critical factor, as stabilization is ultimately the gimbal’s sole purpose. Thus, how well it keeps a phone stable is vital. There are two types of gimbals, which are either 2-axis and 3-axis. 2-axis gimbal stabilizes for Tilt and Roll. While 3-axis gimbals also add the Pan axis. While 2-axis gimbals are more affordable, 3-axis gimbals are best because the extra stabilized axis provides smoother results. And it’s worth spending the extra if you want the best stabilization available. Otherwise, 2-axis gimbals are sufficient.
You can find gimbals with varying battery sources. Some use standard AA batteries, which you’ll have to replace regularly. Others use rechargeable batteries that recharge using USB connections. Generally, AA batteries last longer but are slightly less convenient. While rechargeable batteries are more convenient but they have shorter run times. But, given the convenience, rechargeable batteries are best.
While most gimbals only weigh a few pounds, the extra weight can add up. And even if it’s not that heavy, it will still cause fatigue over time. So, generally, the lighter the gimbal, the better. And the best gimbals remain light without sacrificing performance.
It’s important to find a gimbal that works with your smartphone, both in weight and operation. Not all gimbals work with all devices, and the compatibility varies. Many also don’t work with iOS or Android altogether. So you’ll want to visit the manufacturer’s site and double-check the compatibility section beforehand. Additionally, not all gimbals work with the phone’s stock camera app. Instead, some options only work with a dedicated camera app. So it’s also worthwhile to review the app to make sure it fits your needs.
If bonus features like dolly zoom, time-lapse recording, slow-motion video, and object tracking are essential to you, consider them while shopping. Not all gimbals offer these features so that they can be a deciding point between similarly priced models.