Smartphone cameras are getting more advanced these days, but it will always lose out to DSLRs and traditional video cameras when it comes to stabilisation. Certain smartphone cameras do have OIS built in, but they help more with photos than in videos. This is where the DJI Osmo Mobile comes in.
What Is It?
The DJI Osmo Mobile is essentially a smartphone camera stabiliser, which not only enhances videos taken on your smartphone, but adds additional recording features as well. It uses the same stabilisation system from the original DJI Osmo, but instead of a Zenmuse camera, the top is fitted with a smartphone holder.
The DJI Osmo Mobile weighs 500g, including the removable 980mAh battery. You can easily connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth v4.0 and manage the settings using the DJI GO app.
Is It Any Good?
Seeing how good the stabilisation was on the original DJI Osmo, I had no doubts about how it would perform with a smartphone. It fits smartphones that are between 58 – 85mm wide, and to put things into context, the iPhone 7 Plus is 80mm wide. Putting on a smartphone, once you figure it out, is surprisingly easy. There’s a large knob on the back that lets you loosen and tighten the clamps, and once your smartphone is in the comfort of the rubber inserts, you’re ready to start filming.
Build quality on the Osmo Mobile is fantastic. Everything from the handle to the buttons feels durable and firm, and the smartphone holder parts are not flimsy. Because the smartphone clamp uses a knob, the phone is very snugly secured with zero chance of falling out while moving.
What I really liked about the Osmo Mobile is that you can choose to use it with or without the DJI GO app on your phone. Should you choose not to use it with the app, you still get amazing stabilisation and manual controls from the Osmo Mobile and your stock camera app. That being said, if you do connect the Osmo Mobile to the app, you’ll be introduced to features like timelapse, motion timelapse, ActiveTrack (automatic face tracking), as well as extra trigger button functions.
The user interface of the DJI GO app is fairly straight forward and easy to understand. The timelapse and motion timelapse features are easy to use, and the face-tracking feature works superbly. After indicating your subject in the frame, the Osmo Mobile initiates tracking and constantly follows the subject wherever it moves. If you’re out of frame, it will continue searching until you reappear on your smartphone camera’s viewfinder.
Bluetooth connection is very stable and I didn’t have any issues trying to reconnect the DJI Osmo Mobile and my smartphone. If the battery on the Osmo Mobile runs out, I could always either buy a spare to swap the batteries out, or charge the Osmo Mobile on the go with a power bank using the USB to 3.5mm audio cable.
On the original Osmo, I could barely squeeze an hour’s use, but with the Osmo Mobile, battery life is spectacular in comparison. Because it isn’t occupied with operating a Zenmuse camera and the recording is entirely done from your smartphone, the Osmo Mobile’s 980mAh battery is used only to operate the gimbal’s stabilisation system. During my time with it, I was able to use the DJI Osmo Mobile continuously for three and a half hours before running out of battery.
The Bad Stuff. Tell Me.
There isn’t much to dislike about the DJI Osmo Mobile. Most of the issues I faced with using it are related to stabilisation. While stabilisation is great, that’s only when the user isn’t moving about too much. When you’re walking, it’s obvious that the footage show slight bobbing and when you start running, the stabilisation can get pretty wonky. That being said, it could also be the smartphone’s OIS kicking in.
The device I was recording with was the Huawei Mate 9 and it has OIS built-in. Unfortunately, there is no way to turn off OIS and it really contradicts with the Osmo Mobile’s stabilisation. Theoretically speaking, phones without OIS work best with the DJI Osmo Mobile. Finally, the Osmo Mobile does not assist the smartphone with autofocus, so you’ll need a good smartphone before even considering the Osmo Mobile.
Should I Buy It?
If you’re a vlogger and are comfortable with recording from your smartphone, I’d say the DJI Osmo Mobile is worth the RM1,299 price tag. It would have been better if DJI priced it slightly lower than the RM1,000 mark to appeal to a larger demographic, but as it stands, you’re getting a lot for the price you’re paying.
Some might argue that there are Chinese-made hand-held gimbals for smartphones that cost a fraction of the DJI Osmo Mobile, but you don’t get the same premium build, excellent software suite, and warranty assurance the Osmo Mobile has.