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Guide for the purchase and comparison of best stabilizer or gimbal for the mobile

The camera of the mobile allows to record videos with an exceptional quality, nevertheless many do not count on a stabilization system that offers a fluid image and without sudden movements. To improve this section we have the stabilizers of video or gimbal, accessories for the mobile that allow us to point to a fixed point and soften the unwanted vibrations that occur when moving.

If you are looking for how to improve video recording with your smartphone, here we bring you a new shopping guide and comparison. We have tested the most popular mobile stabilizers and we offer you our experience after several weeks of use.

Our recommended: DJI Osmo Mobile 2

The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is the best mobile stabilizer we can buy today. We are facing a gimbal with a very nice design in hand, reinforced nylon body with great grip and despite the fact that weight is not the lightest, in hand the feeling that transmits is the lightest. What is very much appreciated when holding it for a long time.

DJI offers us a stabilizer that adapts to mobiles up to six inches and the controls are quite intuitive. It does not have rotation in 360 degrees but it is by far the most reliable gimbal. In most models we had to deal with possible problems, having to auto-calibrate every few days and fight with applications that gave failures. In the case of the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 this does not happen and it is noted that it is a more tested, tested product with a more stable application in both the iOS and Android versions.

best stabilizer or gimbal

The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is the mobile stabilizer that best feels at hand, the most reliable in all types of situations and also has the greatest autonomy. You can get it for 149 euros, which makes it one of the options with better quality / price.

We have a stabilizer that will allow us to record videos with less frights, create panoramas and timelapses in a simple way and be able to give an important quality jump to the recordings, especially in case the mobile used does not have OIS.

The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 adds a USB port to charge the smartphone itself, which together with a great autonomy of up to 15 hours will allow us to record for several days in a row. A gimbal that improves in almost all aspects to the first generation and has also substantially reduced its price. If you are looking for a product with good support and balanced, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is the easiest option to recommend among all mobile stabilizers.

Alternative: Zhiyun Smooth Q

No wonder the Zhiyun Smooth Q is one of the best selling stabilizers. We are facing a gimbal made of plastic, very light and with precise controls and easy to use. It also offers rotation in 360 degrees, three control axes and we can also adjust it to record with the mobile in both horizontal and vertical position.

best stabilizer or gimbal

Zhiyun offers us an application that has all the options that we ask a stabilizer for the mobile, allows remote control via Bluetooth and also has automatic tracking of faces and objects. When recording video is quite accurate, the panning movements are smooth and the results are those that have less unwanted vibrations.

The Zhiyun Smooth Q also stands out for a generous battery of up to 12 hours. In general, a very solid product with a very tempting price for anyone looking for an economical mobile stabilizer. While waiting for the new Zhiyun Smooth 4, the Q version is a stabilizer that meets solvency in most cases and is more reliable than the rest of the models we have tested.

How to choose a good stabilizer for the mobile

best stabilizer or gimbal

There are several types of stabilizers for mobile phones, although most of them have stabilization in three axes, different locking modes and a price that ranges between one hundred and two hundred euros. As we always used to do in these shopping guides, here we leave you with the key aspects that you must set when buying a gimbal for your smartphone.

  • Design, grip and maximum size of the smartphone: Most gimbal works with mobiles of up to 200 grams and about six inches. However there are some that offer more facilities when placing the mobile, while others are more rigid. Secondly, more than size and weight, the good grip of the stabilizer is important. Here surprisingly those with a wider grip are usually more comfortable.
  • Controls, application and monitoring: Another important section when betting on one and the other are the controls and the ease of recording with the stabilizer. For this it is essential to have a good joystick, the wider the better. Another detail is the ability to swap recording mode quickly. It is also key to the application of the brand of the device, although as we will see several brands seem to have copied each other in the application so in the end there is not much difference.
  • Limit angles and movement speed: Not all gimbal rotates in the same way. Some allow through the joystick to move in the same plane up to 360 degrees, while others have a limit that delimits this turn. Something similar happens with vertical movement, where some stabilizers admit more inclination than others.
  • Stabilization quality and modes of use: This is the main point. There are some stabilizers that usually have problems when calibrating correctly, others offer frights and others have compatibility problems. They are not products that guarantee a quality of professional stabilization at the highest level, although they do have many ways of use and possibilities. From keeping a fixed point, perform sweeps, capture panoramas, moving timelapses and track our face or a specific object, a highly recommended way that will help us automate certain recordings.
  • Autonomy: As it usually happens in most electronic products, the battery is a fundamental part to enjoy more or less of a product. In the case of mobile stabilizers we easily get a battery for several days, although there is a difference between those that use an internal battery and those that come with external rechargeable batteries.

What our tests are based on?

The recommendations of our purchasing guides are based on previous experience, the fruit of several years of testing and analyzing all types of technological devices. In the stabilizers for the mobile we have opted for five gimbal that we have been testing for about two weeks.

best stabilizer or gimbal

All the models chosen are from Chinese manufacturers and it is that the options at the moment are quite limited. We have opted for the best selling models focused directly on mobile, since there are also stabilizers for action cameras but these have been out of the comparative. The chosen ones have been the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, a cheaper and more current model than the original Osmo Mobile, the popular Zhiyun Smooth Q, the Feiyu SPG, EVO SP Pro Gen 2 and the AIBird Uoplay 2. Five models that are also relatively easy to find in different distributors.

To analyze them we have used them for several weeks intermittently. At the beginning we tested them individually for a couple of days to see how they were used, how they behaved and what they stood out for and then we took them all to the park a couple of days to compare them and perform the video comparison.

best stabilizer or gimbal

We have mainly used a Google Pixel 2 XL for video tests. Also a Xiaomi Redmi 5 and Redmi 5 Plus to test them with a lower quality camera. In all cases, on the one hand we have done tests with the own application of each manufacturer of the gimbal and on the other hand with the native camera of Google without the OIS of the activated Pixel.

Except for the AIbird Uoplay 2 with which we have had enough problems, the rest of the stabilizers have spent their battery a minimum of one complete cycle, being the recommended gimbal those we have squeezed more. The tests have gone from walking with them, making movements of all kinds, sweeps, using all the functions that allows the application and in general making a varied use of video recording. In short, use them in different situations to check how they work and get an idea of ​​their advantages and failures.

Continue Reading: DJI Osmo Mobile 2: The best mobile stabilizer now also competes in price

Design: Thick and thin stabilizers

The design of the stabilizers is very important because the body is practically the whole device. We do not have a screen, there are no speakers and not even the internal processor is differential. A good gimbal is basically characterized by having a comfortable grip and by having an appropriate stabilization system.

When testing the various gimbal we can classify them into two groups according to their thickness. On the one hand is the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 and Zhiyun Smooth Q, which are characterized by having a thicker grip and then there are alternatives such as the EVO SP Pro Gen 2 where despite having a much more premium finishes, at the time to use it we end up getting tired before. A strange sensation since in the latter the materials are excellent, but having a wider handle we believe that it adapts better to the hand. In another step are the Feiyu SPG and the Aibird Uoplay, with a thin and light body but a somewhat flimsy construction.

best stabilizer or gimbal

The design of the stabilizers is very important although we want to highlight two aspects: a firm grip system but with ease to put and remove the mobile and a good grip in hand, where normally the widest gimbal are better.

Although not all are equally large and tall, the truth is that the difference in size is not a very important factor to opt for one or the other. Yes it is the system of subjection. All the stabilizers analyzed are compatible with devices up to six inches like the Pixel 2 XL we have used, although it is true that in some cases we touch the limit and adapt much better to smaller screens. In stabilizers like the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 or the EVO SP Pro Gen 2 we have no problems in placing and removing the phone, but others like the Feiyu SPG have a more rigid grip and sometimes I have even feared for the health of my smartphone.

In addition to the materials chosen, ranging from the reinforced nylon of the Osmo Mobile 2 to the plastic of the Zhiyun Smooth Q, the difference in construction is also seen in the anchors and swivel rings. In some gimbal we have several wheels to place the phone correctly and in different positions, but in other gimbal like the Aibird Uoplay 2 these systems are directly screws and nuts, more uncomfortable to configure to our liking and with a much more rudimentary aspect.

Here we leave a small comparative table with the dimensions, weight, compatible phones and movement of the gimbal that we have tried. Although normally we should not get carried away by the numbers, in the case of the stabilizers much less since they are not always a good indication of the lightness they transmit or how practical they are when putting the phone.

DJI OSMO MOBILE 2 ZHIYUN SMOOTH Q FEIYU SPG EVO SP PRO GEN 2 AIBIRD UOPLAY 2
DIMENSIONS 295 × 113 × 72 mm 285 x 118 x 105 mm 336 x 110 x 35 mm 278 x 105 x 102 mm 302 x 112 x 102 mm
WEIGHT 485 grams 450 grams 350 grams (without battery) 265 grams (without battery) 381 grams
COMPATIBLE PHONES From 58.6 to 85 mm
up to 8.9 mm
Up to 6″ and 200 g 50 to 80 mm Up to 6″ and 225g Up to 6″
MOVEMENT ± 170º / ± 170º ± 360º / ± 320º ± 360º / ± 320º ± 360º ± 360º / ± 310º

Only the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, but not the first generation, the Zhiyun Smooth Q and the EVO SP Pro allow to place the mobile in a vertical position with double adjustment system. In the rest we can also record with the mobile in that position, but we must place the gimbal in a fixed position and rotate the grip, so it is not very comfortable.

On the contrary, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 has a stop on the turn and can only turn 170 degrees to one side and another, that is, the equivalent of 340º. The rest of the gimbal do allow us to give the whole turn in 360º, which is useful if we want to make wider panoramas or make a sweep that gives the whole turn.

Connectivity and controls

Each stabilizer has a series of buttons and controls, although in general they all follow the same pattern. We have a microUSB port to charge the device that is usually in the upper part of grip, an on / off button that in some cases also acts as a trigger, a button to change the mode of use, a joystick and an additional wheel for the zoom.

Details such as the USB port for charging the phone, a good joystick or the battery LED are what differentiate the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 or the Zhiyun Smooth Q from the rest of the models.

best stabilizer or gimbal

The placement of the buttons is quite similar and almost all have them in the upper part of the handle, something logical since that is where we will have our fingers when holding it. On the preferences, it is better to have the zoom wheel on one side, the trigger button better that is separate and at the joystick level the best ones are the widest. Although here the best brands as DJI, Zhiyun or EVO have a similar appearance in the controls .

Some gimbal bet on a battery in the form of an external battery that is inserted from the bottom, while the newer ones already opt directly for an integrated battery. A section, the battery where we really appreciate having a USB port to feed back the phone while using the gimbal. An addition that we only find in the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 and the Zhiyun Smooth Q, the two recommended stabilizers.

It is also interesting to have a good battery LED. In the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 we have four LEDs that will go off as the battery runs out, in the Zhiyun Smooth Q and in the EVO it will flash, while the LED of the Feiyu SPG will also indicate us graphically through green and red colors if the gimbal is well stabilized.

Comparison of applications: Too similar

To use the mobile stabilizers we have two options. The first is to use the native camera of the mobile and that’s it, the second is to download the official application of the gimbal manufacturer. This is the recommended option, since it is through these applications that we will extract all the potential from the stabilizer.

best stabilizer or gimbal

What is happening? Basically, many of them are only in English and the designs are not exactly as original as possible. In fact these applications could well go through a random camera application.

Although the most curious comes once we tried different applications and is that to our surprise, almost all are similar and even some as EVO and Zhiyun have exactly the same design in your application.

  • DJI GO: The DJI application for the camera follows the most classic design. We have right and left adjustments, panorama options, timelapse, face tracking, interchange between front and back camera, record or take photo, broadcast live on social networks, access the gallery and more. Its strong point is that it is quite stable, has no problems of synchronization via bluetooth and although it has room for improvement, the cost of battery is not so high.
  • EVO Gimbals: The EVO app allows us to remotely control the stabilizer and we have options to do sweeps and timelapses. We do not miss any adjustment although the design is more rudimentary. In the case of face tracking, it gives us a lot of problems and strangely it does not allow us to access the internal gallery of videos saved from outside the application. A lack of synchronization that has been a small headache to share the videos.
  • Zhiyun Play: The application of Zhiyun has a design identical to that of EVO but it does not share that storage problem, it has fewer connection problems and it is noticeable that it has been updated more often.
  • Feiyu ON: The application of Feiyu is the most basic of all. We have a trigger, option to perform panoramic, filters and from the settings menu we can choose the speed of panning and tilt. But we miss the possibility of doing timelapse or follow concrete objects.

Our choice therefore is the DJI application followed by Zhiyun’s. We have not named the application of the AIbird UoPlay 2 but we have not been able to test it directly. In the stabilizer box offers several QR codes to download, but it does not have Android version and in fact from its website gives error. A serious support problem that has depreciated a gimbal that since good start has not transmitted good feelings.

best stabilizer or gimbal

We will need these official apps to take advantage of all the functions of the stabilizers, but we will not get rid of connection problems and limitations that we do not have in the native camera.

The applications of the stabilizers allow us to choose the speed of sweep, choose between walking and sport mode and configure the sensitivity of the gimbal. It is also from official applications where we autocalibrate the device. A point where once again the DJI application stands out as the most accurate.

best stabilizer or gimbal

All applications have an important limitation and is that although the phone can record at 4K / 60fps, from these apps we can only do it at 4K / 30fps, or 1080p / 60fps if it serves us with a lower resolution. A problem where we are shown that gimbal software and mobile camera hardware do not always get along.

Stabilization quality, usage modes and video recording

The gimbal has several modes of use depending on how we want to record. Through a dedicated button we will exchange one way or another. The five have a different mechanics, although the sequence of touches changes. While for example in the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 with a touch serves to change, in others we will make a combination of touches.

The default mode is the sweep mode, where the camera remains fixed at the same height. The second is a variation, where we also have tilt and the gimbal will move on all three axes. Finally, we have a fixed mode where although we will rotate the mobile will always point to the same place. Here it is worth noting that for example in the Zhiyun Smooth Q or the Aibird Uoplay 2, if we have the fixed mode the joystick will be blocked, however in the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 the manual control is always available in case we want to choose the movement.

Sweep, tilt and fixed are the three common modes of use in all mobile stabilizers. The difference is that in some it is easier to change modes or control extra aspects such as the joystick.
best stabilizer or gimbal

Another issue that we have noticed at the time of recording is that the stabilizers do not usually get along with the OIS of the mobile itself. In our tests we have either used the corresponding application or the Google camera without the activated OIS. In the moments where we have activated it, we have appreciated that the advantage of the gimbal is not so much and in fact more jerks are produced, something that happens in a uniform way since we have not noticed that in some it affects more than in others. Here we leave you with some test videos that we made.

Movement

The first test was done with a repeated movement walking through a park. Here our favorite has been the EVO SP Pro Gen 2 since it has been the most fluid movements and least rattle. The ones that least satisfy us are the Feiyu SPG and in this case the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, although in quick shots it is more reliable that day it generated mixed feelings.

In general, the EVO stabilizer usually hits and takes very good shots, however it costs more to get the mobile is well stabilized. Once on your site, yes it stands out above the rest. The Zhiyun Smooth Q, although we notice the movement, it also hits a lot.

Accelerated movement

In more difficult movements such as climbing a hill, going down a flight of stairs or running is where stabilization really is felt. Here when we compare with the phone to dry the difference is huge and even compared to the OIS Pixel 2 XL, the stabilizers provide a plus.

This time the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is the one we like the most, especially when we accelerate the march. The EVO SP Pro Gen 2 also achieved a good level, but its application did not want to save the video.

Panning

Another movement very made with the stabilizers and that with the mobile to dry would be difficult to realize is the panning. In this case we have done it with the joystick of the gimbal, although at the end of each video there are also up and down movements produced by hand to see how it behaves when pointing the other way.

Of all of them, the EVO SP Pro Gen 2 is the fastest, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 the one that softens the movement the most and the Zhiyun Smooth Q is on the average.

Face tracking

A curious function offered by these gimbal is the tracking of objects, although basically we will use it with our face. It is designed to record vlogs and the idea is that through the official application we can select our face and the mobile will automatically focus there.

Face detection and tracking works well, although at the moment of truth it is quite limited. The one that works best is the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 as it quickly detects our face, has no problems in following it and it is the gimnal that will detect us again in case we have left the plane.

In the EVO application we have had many problems because when selecting the face it almost always gives an error and does not detect it. In addition, when we have finally managed to detect it, it is very easy for us to lose track of ourselves in a fast movement and the gimbal does not know what to do. The application of the Zhiyun Smooth Q also has problems in recognizing the object, although once detected it works quite well since the turning movements are faster and it is easier to chase us as we move.

Panoramic and hyperlapse

From the official application of each gimbal we can also take advantage to make panoramas that go from a set of 3×3 images to panoramic ones in 330 degrees. All follow the same mechanism but the gimbal with a better built body have fewer problems to perform the movements of the panoramic. The DJI and the Zhiyun clearly stand out, while the AiBird and the Feiyu SPG that have a stiffer body go more in fits and starts.

Another very practical function is the possibility of doing timelapses and hyperlapses. In the Feiyu ON application we do not have this feature but in the rest yes. The results that can be obtained are very good and it is another of those functions that justify the investment in a stabilizer for the mobile.

One type of recording we can do is timelapses with movement. We will choose several points, the duration of the video and the gimbal itself will begin to turn slowly. The DJI system seems more fluid and when choosing several points you do not stop for a few microseconds in each one. On the contrary the Zhiyun Smooth Q in spite of having a good stabilization we see that it does not finish making a timelapse fluid and the phases are very noticeable.

Battery: Which models hold more time

In addition to the design and recording quality, another important aspect is the battery. In general all stabilizers endure several days of use. We have been testing them for several days and draining their battery a couple of times each. All except the AIBird Uoplay 2, a model that has given us many problems and where we decided to remove it after a couple of hours. Even so we offer you in the comparison table your official autonomy data.

best stabilizer or gimbal

The model that offers the most battery is the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, with about fifteen hours of autonomy. In spite of being the one that we have tried more intensively, always it has been between those that more endures. In a second step we find the Zhiyun Smooth Q and the EVO SP-Pro Gen 2. In this case the technical difference is small and at the moment of truth the results between one and the other differ little. In fact, we ran out the same morning.

The one that is slightly below is the Feiyu SPG. In this stabilizer we opt for an ICR 22650 battery of about 3,000 mAh and where we get about seven or eight hours. In our tests, the Feiyu SPG was the first to run out . Here we leave the comparative table with the hours of autonomy offered by the stabilizers for mobile and their corresponding load times.

About the loading time it seems important to note that they are obtained with a 5V / 2A charger. In some models like the Feiyu SPG a charger is incorporated, while in models like the Zhiyun or the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 we will do it through the microUSB cable.

The autonomy of mobile stabilizers has taken a great leap from previous years, mainly by the passage of removable batteries to integrated batteries. These last numerically do not have so many milliamperes-hour, but in the tests we ended up obtaining a considerably higher autonomy.

Better stabilizer for the mobile: The candidates

To choose the best mobile stabilizer candidates we have opted for those models with better reviews and more sales success.

The first chosen was the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, but we have left out the first generation. The reasons here are quite obvious and is that this new model has come down in price, improved in battery and offers almost equal benefits. Without a doubt it could not be missing from the list and it has been confirmed as our recommended gimbal.

Another rival that has convinced us by its ease of use is the Zhiyun Smooth Q, also much better than the Smooth C. We could not include it because Zhiyun Smooth 4 is not available, although we will add it to the comparison as soon as we can thoroughly test it.

The third chosen was the EVO SP Pro Gen 2, a stabilizer of American origin that allowed us to see what differences there are between one type of gimbal and another. The Evo Shift 3 has been left out, a model with a less premium design but a more competitive price.

Finally we added the Feiyu Tech SPG, a manufacturer that has many models but many of them focused on action cameras. Also the AIbird Uoplay 2, a stabilizer of which we had received good references but finally believe that it is not at the level of the rest of the models compared.

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