Of all the smartphone gimbals currently available on the market, DJI Osmo Mobile 2 and Zhiyun Smooth 4 are arguably the most talked about devices among filmmakers. Not only do both have similar price tags, but they also come with a plethora of identical features while having the reputation of must-have accessories for smartphone videography.
Of course, there are a few significant differences between the two rivals worth mentioning that may be even more important when it comes to making an informed decision which one to buy. To put things into perspective, the next video comparison exposes each product’s strengths and weaknesses thus helping you pick the better overall option for your workflow.
First and foremost, both devices come equipped with similar accessories and universal 1/4″-20 mount on the bottom, but the Smooth 4 also provides a detachable base which can be extremely convenient when shooting motion timelapse videos. In terms of charging options, the Osmo Mobile 2 uses a Micro USB port as well as a USB Type A port to charge your smartphone, whereas the Smooth 4 utilizes only a USB-C port.
So, if you need additional power for your smartphone, the only option you have is utilizing the Mini USB port found on the tilt axis of the Zhiyun gimbal, which apparently isn’t the most convenient solution, especially while shooting, so keep that in mind.
Other than that, it’s important to note that each gimbal differs in terms of how it handles motion. The Smooth 4 gimbal, for instance, has a greater range of motion than the Osmo Mobile 2. The Smooth 4 is also able to keep the camera incredibly still while the gimbal body is moved around. On the other hand, the Osmo Mobile 2 tends to come off-axis, showing bias to a more upright position for the gimbal’s orientation.
The next point of comparison found between the two gimbals is how they perform when stabilizing footage. While neither gimbal is perfect, the Smooth 4 provided the most stability in the test shots. In comparison, the Osmo Mobile 2 was also relatively stable, even though presented a more noticeable up-down motion which is a common flaw of most 3-axis single-handed stabilizers.
In terms of operation, the Smooth 4 performs superior over the Osmo Mobile 2. While DJI’s gimbal has an ergonomic and simplistic layout of a joystick and a few buttons, the Smooth 4’s abundant inclusion of shortcut buttons, scroll wheel and zoom ring allows for more on-the-fly adjustments while shooting.
This prevents the need to use the touchscreen during operation. Plus, the Smooth 4 features a pan follow mode which the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 shamefully lacks. However, the Smooth 4’s flat rectangular shape makes the grip on the gimbal slightly awkward, which could be a bit frustrating for some users.
Lastly, the apps that each gimbal uses possess some very noticeable differences. For starters, DJI’s app for the Osmo Mobile 2 turns out to be superior to the Zhiyun’s offering. With excellent object tracking, a simple interface and top-notch video preview quality, DJI’s mobile app is more straightforward to use when trying to operate the gimbal.
On the other hand, Zhiyun’s mobile app is slightly unpolished and complicated, not to mention the fact that the object tracking feature is pretty flimsy as it tends to lose track of the selected object. In addition, the image quality from the app is far inferior to what’s found in the DJI app and the native iPhone camera app. While the Zhiyun’s app may be slightly overwhelming to use, it’s paramount when it comes to gimbal’s operation as it enables you to take advantage of the shortcut buttons found on the gimbal itself.
Ultimately, which smartphone gimbal you purchase will depend entirely on your needs. Some filmmakers may be more inclined to look into the Zhiyun Smooth 4 mainly due to its greater range of motion and more versatile physical controls. Others who simply need a basic gimbal for their workflow may find the simplistic software and hardware design of the Osmo Mobile 2 to be a better overall fit, but again, it all comes down to your personal style of shooting and feature set you prefer the most.