To find the best iPhone Gimbals, we researched over 25 models, then bought the top 6 gimbals available today for hands-on head-to-head analysis. We used our in-house team of videographers and research analysts to test each device exhaustively. We spent several weeks inspecting and using each model, analyzing their features & capabilities, and running them through a series of obstacle courses to compare their filming stability. When it was all said and done, it became clear which ones are the best for certain applications, which are the best deal, and which model is simply the best overall.
DJI has thoroughly impressed us with the DJI OM 5. This device offers all of the features and capabilities we've come to love from the OM series, including a multitude of custom settings and a magnetic phone mounting system. Newly, the OM 5 also has an extendable telescoping rod to add more than eight inches of overall length for better selfies or getting low to the ground for action shots. Our testing team was also impressed by the tiny size and weight of the OM 5 when collapsed, especially considering the capabilities and features wrapped into such a small package. The true icing on the cake is the ActiveTrack 4.0 integrated software which produces the smoothest shots we've seen from an iPhone gimbal to date.
Our main gripe with the OM 5 is that its mechanical panoramic panning capability is limited to a 300 degree range. While it's not a dealbreaker, some content creators may desire a full 360 degree gimbal or limitless panning for certain shots and projects. If you want an iPhone gimbal that doubles as a power bank to ensure your phone doesn't die mid-shot, you'll need to look elsewhere. The OM 5 does not have a USB charging port, and the overall battery life falls short compared to the competition. Lastly, there's no getting around it — this version is expensive. Despite these few drawbacks, we still think that the DJI OM 5 is the top choice for those who want a product with tons of features and capabilities as well as a high degree of performance.
Dimensions: 11.75" x 4.9" x 1.5" | Weight: 1 lb 1 oz
REASONS TO BUY
600 degree panning range
Plenty of adjustments and settings
REASONS TO AVOID
Must rebalance for each phone orientation
The Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus is another excellent product that has a ton to offer content creators. While still finite, the central panoramic axis can rotate 600 degrees while the secondary and tertiary pivots each rotate 320 degrees. Working in concert, the mechanical range of panning, tilting, and rolling offers a treasure trove of capabilities for photo nerds and video geeks alike. We love how customizable the settings are on the iSteady Mobile Plus. There are options for reversing the joystick controls, adjusting the speed of the pan, adjusting the speed of the zoom — the list goes on and on. Nearly every setting on the gimbal can be customized to your preferences. To top it off, Hohem packed the gimbal, the tripod, and the cord up into a nice low-profile case.
Although we prize the iSteady Mobile Plus, we found a few small flaws. Balancing is required every time you attach your iPhone, and you must rebalance to switch between portrait and landscape mode, which is not ideal. Other gimbals we tested require minimal balancing and switch between modes with the push of a button. We also found the rubber feet and thin arms on the tripod allow for a bit of swaying and wiggling during use. This can be annoying while shooting a time-lapse or other shot that requires absolutely no camera movement — in fact, it might even ruin the images altogether. Still, we think the Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus is an excellent option for those looking for an iPhone gimbal with a substantial mechanical range that can be fine-tuned beyond settings that other manufacturers seem to have overlooked.
Not everyone requires a professional-grade gimbal for their iPhone vlogging and social media posts. For a simple and affordable device, we recommend the FeiyuTech VLOG Pocket. This product collapses into a shape that will easily fit in a purse or a small day pack, and it's light. The FeiyuTech VLOG balances your phone automatically — a desirable feature for those who want to save time when grabbing those spur-of-the-moment shots or anyone who doesn't want to be bothered with the arduous task of balancing the gimbal for every single use. A particularly attractive trait of the VLOG is the price. If you want a motorized gimbal but don't want to dent your funds too much to get one, this model is a solid choice.
The condensed construction of the FeiyuTech VLOG Pocket means it also lacks some of our favorite features. This device is missing a mechanical joystick. The designers have attempted to integrate the joystick into the touch controls on your iPhone, but when you go to adjust the gimbal angle, it closes the video preview, so your adjustments are a blind guess. We found that this gimbal's motion is a bit strange to get used to compared to our top-ranked models during our assessment. That said, once you get used to operating the VLOG, it's as smooth as butter. We also happened upon a few holes in the manufacturer's claims. The 360-degree panorama is listed as 330 degrees in the fine print, but we couldn't get it to shoot any wider than 240 degrees. Also, it might technically fit into certain clothing pockets, but it sure isn't comfortable. Still, we think the FeiyuTech VLOG is the way to go for a smaller profile iPhone gimbal for a reasonable price.
If you're looking for an entirely different take on iPhone gimbals, DJI offers a unique product called the DJI Pocket 2. This camera/gimbal combo is a self-contained device that saves files to an onboard MicroSD card (purchased separately). However, it also uses a Lightning adapter to directly integrate with an iPhone, or it can be linked to your phone using a Bluetooth signal. Once connected, the touchscreen of the phone unlocks a wide variety of custom settings and capabilities. We were impressed by the camera resolution offered by the Pocket 2-- it's able to shoot 4K Ultra HD at a 60p frame rate and 64MP photos. This model uses DJI's Active Track 3.0 — integrated software that tracks a moving person or object. Our testing team found this version to be a great improvement upon the Active Track 2.0 offered by the original Osmo Pocket. Another improvement from the previous Pocket is the addition of a removable joystick that allows the user to manually pan and roll the gimbal arm while shooting. Finally, the Pocket 2 includes a tripod attachment that uses the industry-standard ¼" mount.
The DJI Pocket 2 is not without its flaws. Our team found that most phone cases will not work while attaching this device to your iPhone. Considering that you may be using this device while traveling or to nail those radical action shots, we must admit it is a bit unnerving to remove a perfectly good case in order to integrate your phone screen into your content creation. There's also no getting around the fact that the Pocket 2 is expensive. That said, it's a standalone camera if you want it to be, and it's tiny for those looking for a model that will truly slide into your pocket.
Why You Should Trust Us
To tackle this review, we used a team composed of our Senior Research Analyst Austin Palmer and Review Editor Ross Patton. Austin is no stranger to discerning the subtle nuances that separate great products from ones that are better left on the shelf. Over the last five years, he has reviewed hundreds of products ranging from lithium-ion powered tools to electric skateboards to snow shovels. Ross has grown up around cameras and has spent countless hours on both sides of the lens as well as many late nights in the video editing lab. He's worked on the production crew for world-class snowboard film projects, including X Games Real Snow, and produced films that have been promoted by such media outlets as Snowboarder Magazine. His experience makes him an obvious teammate for Austin to put iPhone gimbals to the test.
Analysis and Test Results
Our comprehensive assessment is divided into three subcategories, which are described in the following sections. We started our review by analyzing the capabilities and features of each device, then subjectively judged how easy they are to use, and finally conducted a head-to-head comparison of the video stability.
Which iPhone Gimbal Offers the Better Value?
These handy content creation devices have a substantially large price range between them. If you want an iPhone gimbal that is going to take your photos and videos to the next level, you may want to spend the extra dough to purchase a high-performance model. Conversely, if you're looking for a model that will cover the basics and is easy to operate without learning a bunch of settings and wordy technical jargon, a budget model is likely the way to go.
For those that want a lightweight and small gimbal that offers insane stability along with a plethora of custom settings and features galore plus an extendable rod, we think it's worth it to splurge a bit on the DJI OM 5. The Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus costs less than any of the DJI models, and unlike the DJI gimbals, it is capable of unlimited horizontal panning — a capability that many content creators may find to be crucial. If you want an iPhone gimbal but don't want to break the bank to purchase one, we recommend the FeiyuTech Vlog Pocket. This model offers the most basic features but costs a fraction of the price of competitors' devices.
Features & Capabilities
What you will specifically be using your iPhone gimbal for should be the primary factor when you go to make a purchase. If your main application is vlogging, you likely won't need the same features possessed by a model geared toward action sports. Some gimbals are great at shooting lifestyle videos, while others are more suited for motion lapses or panoramas. Some models are perfect for photographs but won't take videos.
In the current iPhone gimbal market, it would be hard to top the plethora of capabilities offered by the DJI OM 5. By connecting your phone to the gimbal arm with a magnetic clip, it's very easy to balance and easily pop your phone off to send a text, make a quick phone call, or upload a video to social media. One innovation that separates the OM 5 from the rest is its telescoping extendable arm. The added length of the device allows you to capture a larger image while shooting self-portraits or get extra low for cool and interesting action shots.
The DJI OM 5 offers many modes and settings. On top of the standard photo and video modes, this models can shoot hyper lapses, motion time-lapses, auto-stitched panoramas, burst shots, active track, Dyna-zoom, and sport mode. There is also a setting called "clone me" that takes three individual photos queued by audible timers and then stitches them together. This is a fun and creative way to capture some selfies that you won't soon forget.
One capability that we found to be especially impressive with these models is the 3 x 3 automatic photo stitch. Once the device is in place for a photo, the gimbal takes a grid of 9 images by pushing one button. The app then stitches them together for you, creating a photo that captures a larger area at a higher resolution that is in the same dimensions as a single photo.
Don't let the size of the DJI Pocket 2 fool you — this little gadget has an impressive list of capabilities. First of all, it is a standalone camera that does not require you to link it to your phone if you don't choose to do so. It can shoot time-lapses, motion lapses, hyper lapses, slow motion, and the same 3 x 3 auto stitches as its larger cousin, the DJI OM 5. Living up to its name, not only will this device slip into your pocket, with its microsized dimensions and weight, you will hardly notice that it's there.
We were shocked to discover that the Pocket 2 can shoot in 4K Ultra HD up to 60 frames per second. When you're ready to check out your shots, you can either put the removable Micro SD card directly into your computer, or you can plug the camera directly into your iPhone, where the settings are even easier to dial in. Unlike the other models, this device does not require you to use a phone. However, if you want to use your iPhone for a screen to either view what you're shooting, review footage, or change settings, there is an included attachment for mounting your iPhone directly to the device.
One huge improvement that DJI made between while upgrading the Pocket to the Pocket 2 was the addition of a joystick. This attachment slides right into the same compartment as the phone connections and adds a multitude of controls.
The Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus lacks a few of the DJI gimbal capabilities, such as the 3 x 3 auto stitch, but it has a few fantastic capabilities of its own. This model has the capacity to spin 600 degrees on its panoramic axis, which allows for more possibilities if you're looking to get super creative with hyper lapses.
The iSteady Mobile Plus has its own version of sport modes, fast-tracking, Dyna-zoom (also known as "Hitchcock Mode"), and even face tracking. We appreciate that this model has a tilt and roll range of 320º that allows you to either shoot from underneath or above your subject without causing discomfort to your wrist.
If you're looking for a simpler iPhone gimbal that still has plenty of features, we think the FeiyuTech Gimbal VLOG Pocket is a score. Although this version lacks a physical joystick, it makes up for it with a ton of photo modes. It's capable of freehand panoramas, ultra-wide angle, 360º pano, fast pano, 180º pano, photo capture, overlapping image, and light trail mode. It does not lack video capabilities either — it can make hyper lapses, its version of Dyna-zoom, slow motion, and a video version of light rail mode.
The Zhiyun Smooth 4 offers a unique feature — it has a dial that is specifically dedicated to focus. For those that are looking to get those shallow depth-of-field shots, this model might be worth checking out.
Ease of Use
How difficult or easy these devices are to use is another important element to ponder prior to making a purchase. Unless you're a techie who's searching for a device with an abundance of features and settings, there's no need to purchase a model that's a pain to program and learn how to use. On the flip side, if you are a serious content creator, you may not mind taking the extra time for setup or learning the intricacies of a complicated device.
As far as installation, setup, and out of the box to shooting time, you can't beat the DJI Pocket 2. There is no balancing or unfolding or even attaching it to your iPhone at all if you don't feel like it — just take the device out of the case, and with the push of a couple of buttons, you can be shooting. If you want to incorporate your phone screen into your shoot, there is no required Bluetooth pairing because you can link it using the lightning port on the bottom of your phone. If you do wish to use Bluetooth, we found the pairing with the DJI Mimo phone app to be a simple task for the Pocket 2 as well as the DJI OM 5 model. One downside to the Pocket 2 is that changing settings can be challenging on the tiny screen that is often difficult to see.
The DJI OM 5 is easy to operate in some respects. The magnetic clip on this device essentially removes the task of balancing once you learn the best spot for it on your phone or if you permanently mount the magnetic sticker on your phone or case. It's very ergonomic, and the joystick and zoom buttons are in natural places, so long as you are using the gimbal with your right hand. It's easy to unfold, and we love that you can double click the main button, and it will automatically switch between portrait and landscape mode. If you find a situation where you'd like to utilize the extension rod on the OM 5, it will take a bit of extra time to adjust, albeit only a few seconds.
Overall, the OM 5 is not very intuitive to use for beginners. There isn't a button on the gimbal to change between modes other than photo and video, so you end up doing quite a bit of swiping on your phone. To be honest, we had to look up quite a few processes while learning this device. That said, once you've got it dialed, the controls and settings become second nature.
Another iPhone gimbal that will have you shooting in a matter of seconds is the FeiyuTech Gimbal VLOG Pocket. It's straightforward to set up — just unfold the gimbal, center your phone in the clip, turn it on, and you're going.
This model has some pretty cool ways it makes life easy for the user. It defaults into panning mode, and clicking the function mode enters lock mode. Like the OM 5, double-clicking the function button on the Feiyu switches between portrait and landscape mode. Simply pressing and holding the trigger enters follow mode, and double-clicking the trigger resets the gimbal. We were disappointed with the lack of a joystick on the handle as we feel that they make it much easier to track subjects and adjust the gimbal for the various lapses that the VLOG Pocket offers.
The Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus has its strengths and weaknesses regarding its user-friendliness. We aren't fans of the balancing for this model. You have to balance your iPhone by hand every time you use it, and to switch between portrait and landscape mode, you'll have to go through the process again. However, we did find the user interface to be pretty solid. The mode button selects a different feature depending on how many times you click it in a row, and there's a helpful diagram on the handle.
If you press the shutter button once, it will take a photo, and twice will start or stop video. The zoom slider can be swapped around to a focus slider, which is fantastic for those looking to use manual settings. The Hohem app is similar to the DJI app in the sense that it takes a bit to learn how to change settings. But, again, if you're looking to go for a lot of manual cinematic settings and tricky effects, the iSteady Mobile Plus is a great choice.
It is imperative that an iPhone gimbal films smoothly for action shots. For the first part of this section of our review, we tested each model in the lab to see if there were any abnormal jerks or movements, as well as tested them in follow and sport modes. We created an obstacle course for the next portion and repeatedly rode through it on an electric skateboard while holding the devices in the same position. We then rode the skateboard on a single-track dirt trail while chasing our resident hound dog Broadus and doing our best to keep up and film him running. Finally, we scrambled around the slickrock of Southern Utah while filming to see how well each model was able to adapt to the movement of dynamic filming. We compared all of the footage side-by-side, and finally, we inspected the sturdiness and rigidity of the tripods included with each model.
The most stable model that we have tested to date is the DJI OM 5. This model employs DJI's Active Track 4.0 — software that uses advanced algorithms to track subjects as steadily as possible.
The Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus is very stable, but we found that in sport mode, we couldn't get it to react quite as quickly. We were also surprised that the tripod included with this model has a small footprint and is pretty flimsy, especially considering how tall this device is. We noticed a bit of swaying while shooting panoramas and time lapses in relatively moderate wind.
The DJI Pocket 2 did exceptionally well in our obstacle course testing. It essentially stayed dead straight while a few other models tended to sway or start filming to the side. However, without using the physical joystick attachment and with its tiny screen, it can be challenging to track a subject moving quickly or erratically, especially if you are moving as well. This model also lacks a tripod, although it does include an attachment with a standard ¼" tripod mount if you choose to use one for static shots. DJI offers quite a few attachments and accessories for the Pocket 2 such as waterproof housing if you don't mind dropping cash on upgrades.
While using the FeiyuTech VLOG Pocket around the lab or at home, it felt good but fell a bit behind in our action shot and obstacle course testing. We thought that the tripod was stable and that the motion lapses and panoramas that we shot turned out looking fantastic.
These devices are a fun and entertaining way to take your content-creating game to the next level. From making a fun video of a birthday party to creating mountaintop panoramas to shooting sunset motion lapses on the beach, they will improve your iPhone footage. We hope you have as much fun with your new toy as we had testing them and that you come up with some phenomenal content.