Smartphone cameras are getting better and better with each new flagship release, so why not pair those cameras with an equally excellent gimbal 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. These are the best smartphone gimbals for upping the quality of your next vlog.
DJI has long been a major player in the smartphone gimbal space, starting with the original Osmo Mobile. The OM4 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 OM4’s motors have been upgraded to better handle even the heaviest of phones. The motors can correct for just about any imbalance, albeit with a slight toll on the 15-hour battery life, and the OM4 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 OM4 doesn’t have quite as many complex movements as the Freefly Movi, but like the Osmo Mobile 3 before it, the OM4 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
Great for beginners and pros alike
The OM4 is lightweight, portable, easy to use, and comes with a number of templates for easy, eye-catching shooting.
Most Affordable Gimbal: Zhiyun Smooth 4
The Zhiyun Smooth 4 closely resembles the OM4, 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 a number of 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 OM4, 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 OM4.
- 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
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 without a doubt the most compact, portable gimbal on the market. It’s also nicely built, with an aluminum design that bests DJI’s plastick-y build on the OM4.
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
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 for Pros: Freefly Movi
The Freefly Movi is a camera stabilizer with built-in panning, tilting, and more for stunning stationery or handheld video. It condenses some of the best tech from industry-grade gimbals to the mobile space and supports even the heaviest phones thanks to the ability to add counterweights. The flat bottom allows you to sit the Movi down without the need for a tripod, and you can use the dedicated app to program different camera movements without ever having to touch the gimbal.
This is one of the priciest mobile gimbals on the market, but it’s well worth it for all of its filming capabilities. If you prefer to take matters into your own hands versus programming moves in an app, the Movi supports both one- and two-handed operation, and can even dynamically switch between portrait and landscape orientations — or anywhere in-between.
- Fantastic companion app
- Panning, tilting, and more
- Sits flat for programmed movements
- Ability to add counterweights
- Mount for adding a microphone
- Doesn’t fold down
Best for Pros
An advanced stabilizer for precise camera movements
The Freefly Movi isn’t cheap by any means, but it’s worth the money if you’re looking to shoot pro-grade video with your phone.
There are plenty of great gimbals to choose from these days, but most people will be well-served by the DJI OM4. 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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