smartphone gimbal
Leave tripods and selfie sticks behind this summer - try a gimbal, instead. These take your smartphone camera to the next level with pro filming features and steady shots. Image Credit: Unsplash/SCREEN POST

Big on filming cinematic shots from your smartphone? Add stability and pro angles to your videos with a smartphone gimbal, whether it’s for reels, TikTok clips or a YouTube summer vlog.

Mount your phone into the clasp and set off on your adventure – jump, run and walk with the gimbal stabiliser in your hand to capture every moment in action, free from shaky shots. If you would rather save battery on your device, check out action cameras for equally stable outdoor videos.

Some smart gimbals – like our best overall pick, the DJI OM 4 – track moving objects, so that they’re never out of the frame. They’re even capable of performing a dolly zoom (or 'Vertigo' shot) for dramatic effect, where the backdrop shrinks sans the subject, as seen in the movie by English filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. The best part? Most have controls on the stick itself for faster and easier zooms, angle changes and more.

Get the most out of your smartphone camera with our picks of the best gimbals, and receive your order the next day with an Amazon Prime membership.

1. Best Overall: DJI OM 4 SE Handheld Stabilizer

Pros

  • Foldable for easy storage
  • Gesture to remotely click selfies
  • Tracks objects
  • 15-hour battery life
  • Tripod included
  • Multiple filming features, from dolly zoom and slow motion to time-lapse and panoramic shots

Cons

  • Better optimised for iPhones, according to reviews

For the most stable results, videographers often opt for a 3-axis gimbal. This mechanism almost freezes your smartphone in the air, even if you’re moving back and forth (roll), up and down (tilt) or side to side (pan). The DJI OM 4 SE employs a 3-axis stabilisation, and clamps onto the smartphone using a quick-release magnet, meaning your phone comes right off for calls. Filming cute videos of your pet can be quite the impossible task, especially if they’re hyperactive. This gimbal uses the ActiveTrack 3.0 feature to always keep the subject of your camera within the frame. Other cool features include the famous dolly zoom, gesture-controlled remote selfies, hyper-, motion- and time-lapse with a tripod, and much more. According to the brand’s website, the OM 4 SE is compatible with most Android smartphones and iPhones; however, users of the latter have had better luck with the iOS version of the app.

2. Best for Advanced Videographers: Zhiyun Smooth 4 Mobile Gimbal Stabiliser

Pros

  • Zooms and focuses using a dial
  • Tracks objects
  • 12-hour battery life
  • Easy-to-reach hot-key buttons
  • Four stabiliser modes

Cons

  • Not user-friendly
  • Heavy

With a host of controls on the stick, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 mobile gimbal is ideal for single-handed operation. Don’t fuss with the screen when you can switch between rear and front cameras, access the camera roll, control exposure levels and take pictures and videos, all from the control panel. It doesn’t end there – you can zoom in and out instantly by turning the wheel back and forth on the side. The same knob gives you control over your phone camera’s focus, once you trigger its dedicated button on the panel. Like the DJI OM 4 SE, this is a 3-axis gimbal that lets you track moving objects, but with added control. It has four modes, each of which lock an axis so that you can make use of the other two. More advanced videographers will enjoy picking modes with just a flick of a button. This model is compatible with iOS 9.0 and above, and Android 5.0 and above.

3. Best Budget: Hohem iSteady Q

Pros

  • Detachable remote control
  • Remotely control selfies, videos, camera angle, zoom and more
  • A selfie stick and tripod in one
  • Collapsible design
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Doesn’t stabilise pan and tilt axes

If this is your first foray into gimbals, pick up Hohem’s budget-friendly iSteady Q. This is a simple single-axis gadget, which means it gets rid of shakes in roll movements, but not when you’re moving the camera from side to side or up and down. It’s a mini transformer that extends into a selfie stick, turns into a steady tripod and shoots easily in portrait mode, too. As you vlog on a tripod, it swivels 360 degrees horizontally to keep you in the frame, making panoramic photos possible, too. But, its best feature is the detachable control panel that becomes a remote control the second it comes off. This tiny device is perfect for remote group selfies, rotating your phone, zooming and switching between landscape and portrait modes. Clip the remote back onto the gimbal after you’re done, so there’s no fear of misplacing it.

4. Best for Casual Use: DJI OM 5 Smartphone Gimbal Stabiliser

Pros

  • Extension rod for selfie shots
  • Tripod attachment
  • ActiveTrack 4.0
  • Minimalistic design
  • Foldable for easy storage

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Expensive

In what ways is the DJI OM 5 gimbal better than its predecessor? For starters, this model captures more friends in one frame, since the gimbal rod extends an additional 215mm, much like a selfie stick. Then, there’s the improved ActiveTrack 4.0 feature that follows a loved one or a furry friend better for more carefree filming. It’s incredibly pleasing to the eyes, as well, small enough to fit in your pocket or bag, wherever you go. The unit also comes with a grip tripod that can be screwed on at the bottom, ideal for recording time-lapsed sunsets. However, the OM 5 does lose out on battery life (lasting for about six hours only) for its more power-hungry capabilities. More critical reviews complain of restricted movement around the axes, noting that the OM 5 is far more suited for less dynamic shots.

5. Best Lightweight Gimbal: Hohem iSteady X2

Pros

  • Detachable remote control
  • Performs dolly zoom
  • Tripod included
  • Multiple operation modes – sports, pan and tilt, follow and more
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Lightweight at 259 grams

Cons

  • App is compatible with iOS 10.0 and above; Android 6.0 and above only

Another option for someone just starting out is the Hohem iSteady X2, if you prefer a 3-axis stabiliser. Just like the iSteady Q, you can remotely toggle its main features using the detachable control panel. With this version, expect stable, smooth shots when you pan, tilt or roll your smartphone. Happy reviewers appreciate how light the gadget is at 259 grams, one even noting its excellent performance on windy days despite the weight. Enjoy gesture-control selfies, object tracking, dolly zoom and time-lapse shooting on the tripod (included), with a 10-hour battery life.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.