The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 has long been our favorite smartphone gimbal for shooting smooth videos, but now it has a new, significantly cheaper rival in the form of the Zhiyun Smooth X.
Zhiyun already makes some popular camera gimbals in the form of its Crane range, and the Smooth X builds on its beginner-friendly Smooth Q2.
The Smooth X is slightly different from the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 in a couple of significant ways. Firstly, it’s a two-axis gimbal, rather than DJI’s three-axis affair – this means you get stabilization for the roll and pan axes, but not the tilt axis.
The latter helps to negate up and down motion, so whether or not you’ll miss this depends on the kinds of videos you’re looking to shoot.
Still, on the plus side, the Smooth X looks genuinely pocketable, thanks to its folding design. The Osmo Mobile 3 has a similar design, but is a little too big for pockets. Zhiyun’s gimbal also has an added secret power in the form of a built-in aluminum telescopic rod, which helps it extend up to 260mm further.
One of the DJI Osmo Mobile 3’s best features is its smartphone app, with features like ActiveTrack letting it smoothly follow subjects for pro-looking results. And Zhiyun makes similar claims for its Smooth X, stating that its ‘intelligent follow’ feature can follow objects in real-time, with gesture controls also letting you start a video or take a snap by waving your hand.
We’ll have to test the two gimbals side-by-side to see which one has the better software smarts, but one other difference we can be sure of is battery life. The flipside of the Smooth X’s smaller size (it weighs 246g, compared to the 405g Osmo Mobile 3) is an inferior battery life, with the pocket gimbal lasting for a maximum of 5.5 hours per charge. That’s only about a third of its DJI rival.
Still, the Osmo Mobile 3 doesn’t have a selfie stick mode and is also significantly more expensive. The Zhiyun Smooth X will be available to buy from the end of May for $60 / £60 (which converts to around AU$110). We’re looking forward to testing it next to its DJI rival very soon.