Best Gimbals for Galaxy S and Note Phones Android Central 2021
Many of the best Samsung phones are equipped with incredible video-centric features like 8K video, even manual controls, and ultra-smooth OIS. But no matter how good that built-in stabilization is, it's hard to beat a real gimbal for smooth and steady video, which counters against any shaky hand movements. The DJI OM4 is cost-effective, compact, and easy to use, but it's far from your only option.
Best Overall: DJI OM 4
The DJI OM 4 is the easiest way to quickly jump into shooting stable video without having to worry about carefully calibrating each axis of your gimbal. While you can fine-tune the axes a bit, the motors inside are strong enough to correct for almost any imbalance, and the OM 4's adjustable clamp can expand out large enough to fit any phone — even the Galaxy S21 Ultra (though thicker cases may give you some trouble).
DJI makes it easy to shoot stunning-looking video not just with great stabilization, but it includes hands-free gesture control and built-in preset actions like smart object tracking and timelapse. You'll need to use the DJI Mimo app to make use of these features, but if you prefer to take advantage of some of the options in Samsung's native camera app (like 8K on the latest S21 series), that works perfectly fine, too.
One of the best features is the OM 4's ability to fold in half, down to roughly the same height as the S21 Ultra or Note 20 Ultra. This makes it much easier to pack in a bag than other gimbals, increasing the likelihood you'll bring it with you on day trips and shoot some video. It also conveniently recharges over USB-C and lasts up to 15 hours per charge. The handle has simple controls and a thread mount at the bottom for attaching the OM 4 to a tripod — one even comes in the box! This is as set-it-and-forget-it and it gets.
- Convenient folding design
- Excellent object tracking
- Simple balancing and operation
- Handy app with preset actions
- No 8K video in Mimo app
- Shooting modes unavailable outside of Mimo app
- Thicker cases can be cumbersome
Most Affordable Gimbal: Zhiyun Smooth 4
Zhiyun's Smooth 4 is a direct response to DJI's popular gimbals, with a similar design and mostly plastic build. It's loaded with multitudes more controls, which could be desirable or overbearing depending on the user. Most notably it features a large dial on the side that can be used as a follow-focus or for controlling digital zoom, which can be incredibly useful at times.
Like the OM 4, the Smooth 4 features a handful of preset shooting modes, including two following modes (one that locks the roll axis and one that locks vertical pans). You also get a tripod in the box — though one downside of the Smooth 4 is that it doesn't handle heavier phones as well as the OM 4. If you have a lighter phone like the Galaxy S21, however, this is more than enough.
- Large multi-purpose dial
- Charges over USB-C
- Plenty of physical and software controls
- Lower price
- Bulky and hard to pack
- Has trouble supporting larger phones
Best Small Gimbal: Zhiyun Smooth Q2
You'd be hard-pressed to find a gimbal smaller than Zhiyun's Smooth Q2. In fact, it's hardly bigger than the phone you might attach it to, with a handle just big enough to get a comfortable grip around (though you can add extension grips for more comfortable operation using the bottom thread mount). Despite its small size, the Smooth Q2 manages steady video and long-lasting battery life — up to 16 hours on a single charge.
You probably shouldn't pick up the Smooth Q2 if you have a larger Samsung phone like the S21 Ultra or Note 20 Ultra (though it is possible), but for lighter phones like the S21 or S20 FE, it's a perfect ultra-portable solution. The Smooth Q2 doesn't pull off quite as smooth of pans as the OM 4, but it easily corrects for a natural handshake and even walking shots. It's hard to complain about a gimbal that can practically fit in your pocket!
- Incredibly compact
- Charges over USB-C
- Sturdy build quality
- 16 hours of battery
- Doesn't handle fast pans well
- Not great for heavier phones like the S21 Ultra
The DJI OM 4 is an excellent gimbal for beginners and pros alike, with easy-to-use controls and a collapsible design that makes it significantly more portable. The preset shooting modes make it easy to capture interesting shots, and you can still shoot in the native Samsung camera app to take advantage of features like 8K capture.
Best of all, the clamp should accommodate for any Samsung phone, including even the largest models like the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Much like the phones themselves, it's also built to last all day with its 15-hour battery life, and it uses the same USB-C cable as your phone for quick top-ups. If you're looking to shoot a vlog or mini-documentary on your phone, the OM 4 is a great starting point.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Hayato Huseman is a recovering trade show addict and video editor for Android Central based out of Indianapolis. He can mostly be found complaining about the cold and enthusing about prog metal on Twitter at @hayatohuseman.
Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he's writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there's a correlation.
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