Gimbals offer amateurs and professionals alike an opportunity to get silky smooth video. While many smartphones include built-in image stabilization, these features are no match for gimbals that stabilize video over three axes.
Gimbals use three motors to counter the shakes, wobbles, and bumps encountered when shooting iPhone video. You’ll be amazed by how much better your videos look. But not all gimbals are built equally, so which is the best gimbal for iPhone users?
Easily one of the best—if not the best—gimbals currently available for the iPhone is the Zhiyun Smooth 4. Zhiyun has a history of making excellent gimbals like the Zhiyun Crane 2 we reviewed back in 2018. The Smooth 4 is the company’s current flagship three-axis stabilizer for smartphones, with a maximum payload of 210g.
The company added a ton of hardware buttons to help manipulate both the gimbal and the camera you are filming with. This includes a focus or zoom wheel, buttons for recording and shooting stills, hotkeys for switching modes, and two triggers. Squeeze the top trigger on the back to activate sport mode, which tightens up the response time for faster pans. Double tap the lower trigger to have the gimbal automatically center itself.
Battery life runs for 12 hours, with a charging port available for charging your smartphone while you shoot. You can recharge the gimbal in around three hours. The gimbal is available in two colors; black and white. It also includes a tripod which attaches to the bottom of the gimbal and a carrying case to boot.
The only area where the Zhiyun Smooth 4 might let you down is in its software. The accompanying ZY Play app is notoriously unintuitive and often crashes. The app’s features like object tracking are inferior to DJI’s offering. The triggers and face buttons make up for this, but it’s worth considering if you’re not using a professional video capture app.
DJI is a company that’s made its name through the sale of drones and high-end video stabilizers. The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 distills that prowess into a pint-sized package. This is a smaller device than Zhiyun’s Smooth 4, though the maximum payload is similar at around 240g.
The Osmo Mobile 2 is noticeably smaller than the Smooth 4, and it lacks many of the hardware buttons. There are no triggers for activating sport mode. Instead, DJI went with a comfortable ergonomic grip, a joystick, and a few buttons for recording and switching modes.
DJI instead put more focus on their software. This makes the Osmo Mobile 2 a capable gimbal when paired with the official mobile app. In particular, their ActiveTrack object tracking technology works remarkably well for tracking people or keeping objects near the center of the frame. There’s also an auto-calibration tool which makes setting the gimbal up a breeze.
The Osmo Mobile 2 will go on for around 15 hours, and you can use some of that power reserve to charge your iPhone too. Unfortunately, there’s no tripod in the box. So, you’ll probably want to buy one separately so you can safely set the gimbal down without damaging anything.
Feiyu is another name you might find on a full-sized mirrorless or digital SLR gimbal. The FeiyuTech Vimble 2 is their current flagship smartphone stabilizer. It uses the usual three-axis design, with a maximum payload of 210g.
To make their offering stand out from the crowd, Feiyu added an 18cm extendable arm to the gimbal. This effectively turns the Vimble 2 into a stabilized selfie stick, which is ideal for traveling and for getting interesting shots that require additional reach. It’s not groundbreaking, but at least it’s different.
The Vimble includes a joypad and zoom controls in addition to its mode and record buttons. It’s capable of face and object tracking using the companion app, though you shouldn’t expect DJI levels of accuracy. You can even take five-hour timelapse photos if you have the battery to spare.
Five hours is the quoted battery life, with a charge time of less than two. You can charge your smartphone via the micro-USB port, though you’ll need to supply your own cable. While the battery life may be disappointing, the Vimble 2 is an easy to use gimbal that’s been built with affordability in mind.
4. Freefly Movi
Nothing quite compares to the Freefly Movi. The company describes the Movi as a “robot smartphone stabilizer.” The price tag reflects its fancy description. The first thing you’ll notice is that it doesn’t use the same design as most gimbals. Though it does maintain the same three-axes of stabilization to deliver smooth footage.
The Freefly Movi is a programmable gimbal with a flat bottom that you can set down anywhere. There is a myriad of modes to help tell your story. There’s Majestic Mode which smooths out bumps and maintains a flat horizon. Alternatively, Barrel Roll allows for smooth rolling motions. There’s even Movilapse which is essentially a moving time-lapse.
One of the most interesting modes is Echo Mode, which allows you to set a start point, end point, and duration. From here you can move through your scene and let Movi capture your subject with smooth sweeping movements. You’ll get surprisingly professional-looking shots with minimal effort. All of this works using the free Movi app, which lets you shoot in 1080p and 4K at whatever framerate your device supports.
Movi can also take your production a step further with aftermarket accessories. These allow you to mount external lenses, microphones, and lights. On the bottom of the device, there’s a standard tripod mounting screw. The Movi gets around eight hours on a single charge and is powered by relatively inexpensive rechargeable 18650 batteries.
5. Moza Mini-MI
Moza is another familiar face in the gimbal space, and the Moza Mini-MI is their latest attempt at a smartphone stabilizer. It’s a neat little three-axis gimbal that doesn’t break with convention too much. It does offer a few unique features to stand out from the pack though.
The Mini-MI is the world’s first gimbal with wireless charging. Provided you own an iPhone that supports it, the Moza Mini-MI will keep your phone topped up while mounted. This reduces the need to carry extra cables. It’s likely a feature that’ll become commonplace in gimbals as it makes so much sense.
Moza also upped the payload limit to around 300g, which is almost 100g more than the other gimbals on this list. This allows you to mount additional equipment to your iPhone, like a clip-on lens, an external mic, or a light for illuminating interview subjects.
You also get a variety of follow modes and a companion app with tracking and timelapse features. You can control the gimbal using the joypad, record, and mode buttons, with a battery life of around 10 hours.
The Best Gimbal for iPhone Users
A smartphone gimbal is a great way to up your mobile videography game. As smartphones are so light, most gimbals have little trouble smoothing out unwanted movement. These devices are relatively inexpensive and are light enough that you could realistically carry them around all day.
Just remember though that you could have the best gimbal in the world attached to your smartphone, but it’s redundant if you don’t get out and shoot. Looking to improve your video footage? Check out these simple tips for shooting better video.