The best Android video cameras come equipped with all sorts of amazing manual video controls, so why not pair those cameras with the best smartphone gimbals that’ll ensure ultra-smooth, cinematic video? With the wide availability of portable, easy-to-use, and best of all, affordable gimbals for your phone, there’s no excuse to shoot shaky cam footage — unless you’re just a huge fan of The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield. The DJI OM 4 is the best smartphone gimbal you can buy, but there are plenty of other options to up your next vlog quality.
Best Overall: DJI OM 4
DJI has long been a major player in the smartphone gimbal space, starting with the original Osmo Mobile. The OM 4 is the latest addition to the lineup, with a dead-simple magnetic design that actually separates the mount from the rest of the gimbal, allowing you to attach your phone in a matter of seconds and get to shooting.
You can rotate or reposition your phone for better balance and varying angles if you so choose, and the OM 4’s motors have been upgraded to handle even the heaviest of phones better. The motors can correct for just about any imbalance, albeit with a slight toll on the 15-hour battery life, and the OM 4 charges over USB-C as all modern devices should.
Best of all, DJI’s Mimo app has all sorts of preset actions that make it easy to capture stunning shots. ActiveTrack 3.0 is an excellent object tracking mode that pans the camera to follow a subject, and there are plenty of other templates like hyper-lapse, panorama, and more.
The OM 4 doesn’t have quite as many complex movements as the Freefly Movi, but like the Osmo Mobile 3 before it, the OM 4 can fold in half to take up as little space in a bag as possible. The portable form factor and ease of use make it a better fit for most people.
- Magnetic mounting system
- Handy app with preset actions
- Portable, lightweight folding design
- Simple balancing and operation
- Excellent object tracking
- Doesn’t work with some larger cases
- Missing some advanced features
DJI OM 4 3-Axis Gimbal
Great for beginners and pros alike
The OM 4 is lightweight, portable, easy to use, and comes with several templates for simple, eye-catching shooting.
Most Affordable Gimbal: Zhiyun Smooth 4
The Zhiyun Smooth 4 closely resembles the OM 4, but with far more physical controls on the handle. There’s a handy dial on the side that can be used for either focus pulling or digitally zooming (you can set this for yourself within the companion app), and as with DJI, there’s a small tripod included in the box for resting the Smooth 4 on a flat surface.
With the Smooth 4, you get many preset shooting modes, including various object-tracking settings, and the general stabilization from the gimbal is just as smooth as you’d expect. Unfortunately, the Smooth 4 doesn’t handle heavier phones quite as well as the OM 4, which can at times strain the motors and lead to unwanted battery drain. Still, this is a fantastic option with some unique and convenient features for a bit less than the OM 4.
- Large multi-purpose dial
- Charges over USB-C
- Plenty of physical and software controls
- Tripod included
- Bulky and hard to pack
- Has trouble supporting larger phones
Most Affordable Gimbal
Zhiyun Smooth 4 3-Axis Gimbal
Focus pulling on a mobile gimbal
The Smooth 4 is a handy gimbal that features a handy dial on its side that can be used for focus pulling or digital zooming.
Best Small Gimbal: Zhiyun Smooth Q2
If you want the smallest gimbal you can get your hands on, look no further than the Zhiyun Smooth Q2. It’s shockingly tiny, coming in at roughly the same height as a modern plus-sized smartphone. It also weighs next to nothing; this is undoubtedly the most compact, portable gimbal on the market. It’s also nicely built, with an aluminum design that bests DJI’s plastic build on the OM 4.
The Smooth Q2 lasts for up to 16 hours, depending on how much weight you’re putting into its clamps, and conveniently recharges over USB-C. There’s also a thread at the bottom of the gimbal that you can use to mount the Smooth Q2 on top of a tripod or add an extension handle for a more comfortable grip. Despite its small stature, the Smooth Q2 handles surprisingly well, balancing even large and heavy phones without a problem.
- Incredibly compact
- Charges over USB-C
- Sturdy build quality
- 16-hour battery life
- Doesn’t handle fast pans well
- Filming vertically is awkward
Best Small Gimbal
Zhiyun Smooth Q2
A gimbal as small as the phone it carries
The Smooth Q2 is one of the smallest gimbals on the market, yet it still manages to offer smooth video with virtually any phone.
Best Lightweight Gimbal: Feiyutech VLOG Pocket 2
Feiyutech’s line of affordable gimbals typically focuses on DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, but the VLOG Pocket 2 is made for, well, vlogging, with a foldable design that makes it incredibly portable and a clamp that can hold phones up to 250g in weight. That means it should be able to hold even some of the heaviest phones like the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Whichever phone you mount on the VLOG Pocket 2 will benefit from the same three-axis stabilization as on the other gimbals on this list, and you can film in either horizontal or vertical orientation. There are numerous shooting modes, including pan, follow, and panorama, and the VLOG Pocket 2 automatically balances itself, so you don’t need to worry about manual calibration.
- Lightweight folding design
- 3-axis gimbal for balance
- 1.5-hour charging over USB-C
- Supports 250g payload
- Relatively short nine-hour battery life
- Control app doesn’t support 4K60 video
Best Lightweight Gimbal
Feiyutech VLOG Pocket 2
So light you almost forget it’s there
The VLOG Pocket 2 tucks into your pants pocket with ease and supports over half a pound without a hitch.
Best for Multiple Cameras: Hohem iSteady Multi
The Hohem iSteady is a bit heavier than the other options in this list, with an aluminum design and larger overall frame. Still, it’s incredibly versatile in exchange, able to be used not just for your phone but for smaller dedicated cameras like an action camera or even a point-and-shoot like Sony’s RX100 series. You get roughly 8 hours of run time with the iSteady — though that figure will vary depending on the weight of the phone or camera you’re mounting — and it’s packed full of all the motion presets and tracking features you’d expect.
If you are using the iSteady with your phone, you can connect to Hohem’s app using Bluetooth or the included Micro-USB cable to control those preset actions and plenty of other features from time lapses to rolling and tilting movements. With the added bulk and weight, this won’t necessarily be your first choice if what you’re after is the most compact gimbal possible, but it’s a great and relatively affordable solution for videographers with multiple types of compact cameras in their arsenal.
- Mounts small cameras as well as phones
- Six customizable stabilization settings
- App features several preset actions
- Includes protective carrying case
- Great on-handle controls
- Larger and heavier than other options
- Just 8 hours of battery life
Best for Multiple Cameras
Hohem iSteady Multi 3-Axis Gimbal
Works great with action cameras and point-and-shoots
The iSteady Multi is a great option for vloggers that want to shoot with action cameras like GoPros alongside their smartphones.
There are plenty of great gimbals to choose from these days, but most people will be well-served by the DJI OM 4. It’s affordable, well-made, portable, and easy to set up and use. The simple controls on the handle keep your mind on the shot rather than on the gear, and being able to toss your phone on with the magnetic mount and start shooting without worrying about perfect balance is a game-changer for casual shooting.
Even better for beginners and pros alike, there are plenty of preset camera movement options in the DJI Mimo app that allow you to easily shoot tracking shots, panoramas, time-lapses, and more. The fact that the battery lasts through an entire day of shooting and recharges with the same cable you use to charge your phone is just smooth icing on the cake. What’s not to love?
Once you’ve decided on a mobile gimbal, why not pair it with one of the best Android video cameras?
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and video editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman.
Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he’s writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there’s a correlation.
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