I was doing some videos for my just recently created YouTube channel. I used my smartphone to take videos. However, when I checked, most of my videos are shaky and the panning speed was not consistent. The reason is that I need to manually rotate the phone while holding with my 2 hands. It was really difficult to take videos with better quality.
(This post contains affiliate links. If you click and purchase through the link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Check Disclosure here)
At first, I thought of buying a new high-end smartphone but while searching online, I found smartphone accessory that could solve my problem. The smartphone gimbal stabilizer. But, what is the best smartphone gimbal in 2020 to buy? Or what is a gimbal stabilizer anyway?
Gimbal is a pivoted simple machine that allows an object to rotate in an axis. Since the object is rotating in an axis, the movement of the object is stabilized which allows you to take stable videos. This is the technology that is being used in the current gimbal stabilizers in the market as in the DJI OSMO Pocket.
As the number of axis increases, the more the video is stabilized which you can compare the result by just watching both footage. Fortunately, most of the smartphone gimbal stabilizers nowadays are 3-axis structured. Smartphone gimbal stabilizer is an affordable alternative for the expensive handheld and action cameras. It unlocks the capabilities of your smartphone’s camera!
There few things to consider in buying a gimbal for your phone.
1. Compatibility. As with any gadgets or accessories that we want to buy, the first thing to check is whether it is compatible with your smartphone, though most current smartphone accessories now are made to be universally compatible. I think the size(L or W) of the phone would not be a problem here. Just need to check if it is Android or iPhone-compatible.
2. Capacity. Check the maximum phone weight that the gimbal can carry. Although there would not be much problem if you use it for a short time, using it to record longer videos might affect the motor operation and damage its intended rotation. This will also result to shaky or unsteady video output once the motor’s load exceeded.
3. Portability. Since we usually use gimbal stabilizer as handheld or as a single-handed device, it is an important factor that the weight is not so heavy. If the gimbal is too heavy, your hands will get tired easily, lose control of its movement, resulting to shaky video footage.
It is better to consider if the gimbal can be folded or is compact enough that it consumes less space in your bag or in your pocket when you travel. Much better if it comes with a traveling case designed for it.
4. Battery life. Traveling with your smartphone gimbal requires longer battery life. Taking videos usually takes time so your gimbal must have enough juice to keep the video rolling.
5. Features. The first thing to consider is the number of axis. Usually the more the axis, the more stable are the videos. On the other hand, the 2-axis gimbal is cheaper than the 3-axis model. You need to consider also the controls. The gimbal should have simple control buttons that should allow you to operate the gimbal with one hand just like holding a smartphone.
6. Durability/build quality. Of course cheaper gimbals cannot produce the same video quality as with the mid range and premium gimbals. You may find gimbal with cheaper price and same features, but since they are made of cheaper material to compensate for the price, the product tends to malfunction or deteriorate after only few uses.
1. DJI OSMO Mobile 3
If you liked the features of DJI OSMO Pocket, you would surely love this DJI OSMO Mobile 3. This gimbal stabilizer in designed to hold your phone unlike the OSMO Pocket which is a camera by itself. What is surprising about this mobile version is its features that you can only find in the OSMO hand-held camera.
OSMO Mobile 3 transforms your smartphone into a handheld video camera! With its 3-axis gimbal function, you can shoot a stable video footage even if you have shaky hands.
Compatibility : The DJI OSMO Mobile 3 is compatible with Android phones and iPhones. However, in order to utilize the DJI Mimo app which makes filming more professional-like, your Android phone must be running on Android 6.0 and later versions. On the other hand, your iPhone must have the iOS v. 10.0 and later versions. If you have the latest smartphones you shouldn’t be much worried because your device will surely be compatible with OSMO Mobile 3.
Capacity : As of now, Osmo Mobile 3 is not yet compatible with iPhone 11 Pro with a 226g weight. It can only hold phone’s weight of up to 200 grams to function smoothly without affecting the motors. Although you can use it with your iPhone 11 Pro for shorter footage (2 to 5 mins), it is not recommended doing so, since prolonged use will damage the gimbal’s motor.
Portability : With its lightweight body (405 grams) plus its foldable design, the OSMO Mobile 3 is portable enough that you can carry with you anywhere. It comes with a traveling case that you can easily insert inside your bag which I think all products should come with.
Battery Life : OSMO Mobile 3 will cover your entire filming day. It has an amazing battery life of 15 hours just like its predecessors, which is one of the longest. Just do not forget to charge your phone and you will have a continuous video footage even for a whole day. However, similar with other gimbal stabilizers, in order to prevent overheating of the motor, it is recommended to let the motor to cool down for some time.
Features : Just like what I have mentioned a while ago, OSMO Mobile 3 is packed with great features. This device is not just a holder for your phone. It transforms your phone into a hand-held camera with shooting features for professional-like shots such as Timelapse which produces stunning pictures and Slow Motion.
When it comes to video, the 3-axis gimbal allows you take stable footage even when your hands are moving, which I think is the most important feature since you will buy a gimbal device to stabilize your video footage in the first place. If you activate sports mode, you can easily capture fast-paced subjects such as when your dog chases something, or you want not to miss any moment in a basketball game. You can also customize the speed with its Dolly Zoom function.
What I like most of its intelligent features is the Active Track 3.0. Activate this feature and you will be able to track any subject you identify. Once the subject is set, the gimbal stabilizer will automatically follow every movement your subject does. With this feature you can also shoot hyperlapse footage such as a speeding boat.
This gimbal stabilizer is also perfect for taking selfies. Just wave your hand while in Gesture Control and the device will shoot a selfie for you or start recording video. DJI OSMO Mobile 3 has compact controls designed to be operated with single hand which allows capturing videos easier and convenient.
What makes OSMO Mobile 3 very useful for editing videos is the DJI Mimo app. This app alone is packed with features which allows a non-pro video shooter into a professional one. That is why you need a phone compatible with this app to make filming more interesting.
Durability/Warranty: DJI products are known for quality which is only reasonable considering they are mid-range to premium product. DJI OSMO Mobile 3 is backed up with 1-year warranty and if you apply the OSMO Shield, the warranty period extends up to 2 years.
Check latest price here.
2. Zhiyun Smooth 4
Zhiyun Smooth 4 is another great smartphone gimbal stabilizer like the OSMO Mobile 3. What makes it “smooth” is because of the smooth transition footage it can deliver. Imagine filming your dog while eating or resting and it suddenly chases a cat. Normally, there would be a delay in the scene or miss a moment since motor needs to be activated. But not in Smooth 4. By just a click of a button, the motor instantly activates and respond to the scene without delay.
Compatibility : Smooth 4 is compatible with any Android smartphones and iPhones. On one hand, in order to maximize its features you need to install its dedicated ZY Play app. Your iPhone must be running on iOS 9.0 or higher version. In case of Android phones, Android 5.0 or later versions will run the app smoothly. Fortunately, almost smartphones nowadays are running on these OS versions which should not be a big deal. Just to make sure, check your smartphone’s OS before buying devices like this.
Capacity : Similar with Osmo Mobile 3, Smooth 4 is not yet compatible with iPhone 11 Pro(226g weight). It can only hold a payload of not more than 210 grams (a little higher than OSMO Mobile 3) to function smoothly. It is not recommended mounting a heavier phone like the iPhone 11 Pro since it may damage the stabilizer’s motor.
Portability : Smooth 4 is little bit heavier than OSMO Mobile 3. It weighs 547grams which is still reasonable for a handheld gimbal stabilizer. The additional weight may have come from the motor, that is why it can support heavier load as compared with the OSMO Mobile 3, and not to consider that this gimbal stabilizer supports the phone on 3 sides, and also function as a charger for your phone. Smooth 4 is not foldable but you can retract the holder to fit any carrying case or you can reuse the packaging that comes with it.
Battery Life : Smooth 4 battery life can last for 12 hours which is a little lower than the OSMO Mobile 3 but is still outstanding and enough for daily filming. What is also an amazing feature of this device is that you can charge your phone through the stabilizer itself which ensures that your phone will not run out of power while filming. Of course, it is still recommended charging both your phone and the stabilizer before every usage to enjoy continuous footage.
Features : Smooth 4 functions also in 3-axis which allows you to capture stable shots and video footage. By activating the PhoneGo mode, you can take videos without any delay with smooth transition even when your subject suddenly moves faster or slower.
What I like about its features is the focus pull and zoom capability which allows you to take desired close-up shots easily with its dedicated hand wheel. I prefer the hand wheel more than the buttons because it is much easier to control.
Smooth 4 can also track fast moving objects automatically just like the OSMO Mobile 3. Not just human faces but any object you want as the subject.
Just frame the object to track and the stabilizer will follow its every movement which is difficult to be done manually. It also optimizes features such as time-lapse, motion lapse, hyper lapse, and slow motion which makes it perfect for filming.
Durability/Warranty: Zhiyun Smooth 4 is considered a mid to premium product and the product has a premium-built. It is backed up with 1-year warranty.
Check latest price here.
3. Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus: 2019 New Model
iSteady Mobile Plus in its 2019 version has able to make 3D filming possible since the gimbal can rotate in 360-degree angle. This gimbal stabilizer does not just allow you to take stable footage but with this amazing feature it will definitely bring your filming to the next level. This is very convenient instead of using a 360 app in which you need to move around to realize a 3D scene.
Compatibility : iSteady Mobile Plus is compatible with smartphones running on Android 5.0 and later versions (Samsung Galaxy 6 and above) and iOS 9 and higher versions(iPhone 6 and above) .
Capacity : iSteady Mobile Plus beats Smooth 4 when it comes to allowable payload. Unbelievably, this gimbal stabilizer can carry a massive payload of 280 grams due to its upgraded motors. This makes it compatible with iPhone 11 Pro(226g weight) or even much heavier phone. When it comes to payload, this gimbal stabilizer comes second to Snoppa Atom(310g).
Portability : iSteady Mobile Plus weighs 495 grams which is lighter than Smooth 4 but heavier than OSMO Mobile 3. However, as stated previously, this weight range is still reasonable for a handheld gimbal stabilizer. The design resembles the Smooth 4 with the holder supporting 3 sides of the phone. Similar with the Smooth 4, you can retract the holder to fit into the case that comes with it upon purchase.
Battery Life : Just like Smooth 4, the battery life can last for 12 hours which is a little lower than the OSMO Mobile 3, which I think is still reasonable considering that the gimbal stabilizer itself can act as a powerbank for your phone, so you won’t have to worry about low battery phone while filming your footage.
Features : Creating a 3D footage is made easy with iSteady Mobile Plus. The motor of this 3-axis gimbal stabilizer can rotate in 360 degrees allowing you to capture everything around you. Although there are 360 apps out there, you can not make a perfect shot or footage manually.
ISteady Mobile Plus has a Sports Mode similar with Smooth 4’s PhoneGo mode, that allows you to capture footage of fast-moving subjects as in sports. Just like the aforementioned gimbal stabilizers, you will not miss any moment if you activate this mode and the object tracker function.
The object tracker feature which is also common to most gimbal stabilizers auto tracks your set object’s movement. When the stabilizer detected your face it records every face expression you make.
Durability/Warranty: iSteady Mobile Plus is a mid-range gimbal stabilizer perfect for your budget. It also backed up with 1-year warranty.
Check latest price here.
4. EVO Shift Camera Stabilizer
EVO Shift Camera Stabilizer resembles like the iSteady Mobile Plus but is designed to take outstanding panoramic views. What is noticeable about this smartphone gimbal stabilizer is the simplicity of its controls similar with iSteady Mobile Plus. Only needed functions are made available in the control buttons. EVO Shift is not just for smartphones but can also be used for action cameras up to 220 grams of weight.
Compatibility : EVO Shift is compatible with iPhones running on iOS 9.0 and later versions. In case of Android phones, it requires Android 5.0 and higher versions. Unlike other gimbal stabilizers, the EVO Shift can be used without using its dedicated apps and can integrate with your smartphone’s camera for standard stabilization. On the other hand, using the EVO Remote app will unlock the real capabilities of your smartphone’s camera.
Capacity : Although the EVO Shift can carry action cameras, its allowable payload is not more than 220 grams. You cannot use your iPhone 11 Pro(226g weight) or action cameras with heavier weight.
Portability : The EVO Shift weighs 450 grams which is lighter than Smooth 4 and iSteady Mobile Plus. The design resembles the Smooth 4 with the holder supporting 3 sides of the phone. Similar with the Smooth 4 and iSteady Mobile Plus, you can retract the holder to fit into the storage case that comes with it upon purchase.
Battery Life : Similar with Smooth 4 and iSteady Mobile Plus, its battery life can last for 12 hours and the gimbal stabilizer itself can charge your phone which is a plus for me since you don’t just have a camera stabilizer but a power bank at the same time.
Features : Taking panorama photos is not easy. Sometimes you need special equipment or lenses and skills to do that, but the EVO Shift makes it possible using your smartphone’s camera with just a press of a button. It can capture up to 330-degree panoramic scene. With its EVO Remote App you can unleash the shooting capabilities of a phone’s camera which allows you to adjust settings manually, features that are usually found in high-end cameras.
EVO Shift also supports Object Tracking and Time Lapse which we usually find in gimbal stabilizers. Its handle is made to fit any tripod or mono pod so you have the freedom and option to take stable pictures and videos above any crowds.
Durability/Warranty: EVO Shift is also a mid-range gimbal stabilizer backed up with 1-year USA parts and labor warranty.
Check latest price here.
5. Feiyu FeiyuTech Vlog Pocket
Feiyu Tech Vlog Pocket as the name suggests is the gimbal stabilizer made for video bloggers. What is outstanding about this device is its portability. It is so light and compact that you can insert it in your pocket perfect for travel blogging. This is the lightest smartphone gimbal stabilizer so far!
Compatibility : Vlog Pocket is compatible with all iPhones and Android phones with 42mm to 88mm width. Since it can run even without the dedicated app, OS version is not much concern unlike other gimbal stabilizers. Similar with the EVO Shift, it can integrate with your smartphone’s camera for standard stabilization even without the dedicated app.
Capacity : Feiyu Tech Vlog Pocket can support a payload of up to 240 grams which is next to iSteady Mobile Plus(280g). Your iPhone 11 Pro (226g weight) will definitely fit this gimbal stabilizer including the Pro Max (width 77.8mm).
Portability : Vlog Pocket is the lightest gimbal stabilizer so far! It is unbelievably light with only 272 grams of weight. Similar with OSMO Mobile 3, this gimbal stabilizer is foldable. When folded its size is about the size of an iPhone 8 which makes it possible to be inserted in your pocket or inside your purse.
Battery Life : Its rechargeable battery’s life can last up to 14 hours in standby mode but only 8 hours run time. However, since you cannot take 8 hours of footage continuously, the battery life is still enough for your whole day filming. It does not have a power bank-charging function unlike the preceding 3 gimbal stabilizers.
Features : Another great feature of this device is its ability to balance your phone even without manual adjustment unlike other stabilizers. Just center your phone on the clamp, and the gimbal stabilizer will automatically balance it with its powerful motors allowing you to go filming instantly with a press of a button! Shifting from portrait to landscape is also made easier with a single press of a button.
Vlog Pocket also supports Object Tracking, Time Lapse and Panorama, which we usually find in gimbal stabilizers. Moreover, this stabilizer can capture overlapping shots which makes photos more creative than ever.
Durability/Warranty: Vlog Pocket is also a mid-range gimbal stabilizer backed up with 1-year warranty.
Check latest price here.
6. Snoppa Atom
Snoppa Atom is the most unique of all gimbal stabilizers. It does not just support charging, but it can also support wireless charging. When you put your phone in the holder, wireless charging is activated which allows you to take video footage without any worry of low battery phone.
Atom also stands out from its competitors when it comes to payload. It can carry an enormous 310gram phone without affecting its stability. Similar with the Vlog Pocket, you also do not need to manually balance your smartphone and switching from portrait to landscape is as easy as a press of a button.
Compatibility : Atom is compatible with iPhones running on iOS 8.0 and later versions and Android phones running on Android 7.0 or higher. To fully optimize your gimbal stabilizer you need to install the Snoppa app which will also allows you to customize your shooting parameters.
Capacity : Snoppa Atom can support a payload of up to 310 grams which comes first when it comes to weight it can hold but can still function normally. Even the heaviest smartphone today will surely fit on this gimbal stabilizer.
Portability : When it comes to being portable, Snoppa Atom competes with FeiyuTech Vlog Pocket and OSMO Mobile 3. Although It is not that light as the Vlog Pocket, the gimbal stabilizer can be folded to fit in your pocket. It has almost the same weight as the EVO Shift(450g) with 440 grams of weight.
Battery Life : Snoppa Atom also won in this category. Its battery life can last up to 24 hours which is so far the longest among smartphone gimbal stabilizers. This is perfect for filming in remote areas where you are away from power source. Aside from its charger-function, it also supports wireless charging which is common to the latest phones.
Features : Similar with Vlog Pocket, this stabilizer can balance your phone automatically without the need to adjust phone manually or need for counterweights. Just center your phone on the clamp, and you are ready to go filming with a press of a button!
Shifting from portrait to landscape is also made faster with a single press of a button. Another unique feature of this gimbal stabilizer is its built-in MIC jack which allows you to attach a microphone to better the voice recording.
Snoppa Atom also has a Facetrack, Object Track, Motion Time Lapse functions which we usually see in gimbal stabilizers.
Durability/Warranty: Snoppa Atom is a premium-priced gimbal stabilizers because of its outstanding features backed up with 1-year warranty.
Check latest price here.
After checking the above top 6 best smartphone gimbal stabilizers in 2020, I would say that the OSMO Mobile 3 matches my filming need. Every gimbal stabilizers has its own unique features to fit every user’s need and preference.