Best Gimbals for Galaxy S and Note Phones Android Central 2021
Samsung's latest phones come with incredible video-centric features like ultra-smooth OIS and, in some cases, even 8K capture with native editing tools. 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 Osmo Mobile 3 is cost-effective, compact, and easy to use, but it's far from your only option.
- Best Overall: DJI Osmo Mobile 3
- Most Affordable Gimbal: Zhiyun Smooth-4
- Best Small Gimbal: Zhiyun Smooth-Q2
- Best for Pros: Freefly Movi Cinema Robot Stabilizer
Best Overall: DJI Osmo Mobile 3
The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 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 Osmo's adjustable clamp can expand out large enough to fit any phone — even the Galaxy S20 Ultra (though thicker cases may give you some trouble).
DJI makes it easy to shoot stunning-looking video not just with great stabilization, but with built-in preset actions like smart object tracking and timelapse. You'll need to use the DJI Mimo app to make use of these presets, but if you prefer to take advantage of some of the features in Samsung's native camera app (like 8K on the latest S20 series), that works perfectly fine, too.
One of the best features is the Osmo Mobile 3's ability to fold in half, down to roughly the same height as the S20 Ultra or Note 10+. 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 Osmo Mobile 3 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
Great for beginners and pros alike
The Osmo Mobile is lightweight, compact, easy to use, and comes with several templates for easy, eye-catching shooting.
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 Osmo Mobile 3, 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). Perhaps the Smooth-4's biggest advantage is its support for the popular FiLMiC Pro camera app, which unlocks a myriad of manual video control — but considering how many new features are built into Samsung's own camera app, you may not need this.
- 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
Most Affordable Gimbal
Focus pulling on a mobile gimbal
The Smooth-4 is a handy gimbal that features a handy dial on its side that can be used for focus pulling or digital zooming.
Best Small Gimbal: Zhiyun Smooth-Q2
You'd be hard-pressed to find a gimbal smaller than Zhiyun's new 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 S20 Ultra or Note 10+ (though it is possible), but for smaller phones like the S10e or S10, it's a perfect ultra-portable solution. The Smooth-Q2 doesn't pull off quite as smooth of pans as the Osmo Mobile 3, 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 S20 Ultra
Best Small Gimbal
A gimbal as small as the phone it carries
The Smooth-Q2 is one of the smallest gimbals on the market, yet it still manages to offer smooth video with virtually any phone.
Best for Pros: Freefly Movi
Freefly is well-known for its cinema-grade stabilization equipment, and while the mobile Movi stabilizer won't run you five figures like many of the company's higher-end products, it certainly isn't cheap. It also isn't designed quite like the other gimbals on this list; the Movi features a flat base that lets you rest it on surfaces without a tripod, while the side handle lets you operate it manually with several hardware controls.
The Movi supports panning, tilting, and even toggling to selfie mode during in-hand operation, and when it's stationary you can even set it to carry out these movements automatically using its excellent companion app. Like the Osmo Mobile 3, there are plenty of preset shooting options to choose from — you can get perfectly smooth orbiting shots around a subject, shoot repeatable pans using Echo Mode, and more. There's even a mount on the Movi for attaching an external microphone.
- Fantastic companion app
- Panning, tilting, and more
- Sits flat for programmed movements
- Ability to add counterweights
- Mount for adding a microphone
- Doesn't fold down
Best for Pros
An advanced stabilizer for precise camera movements
The Freefly Movi isn't cheap by any means, but it's worth the money if you're looking to shoot pro-grade video with your phone.
The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 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, even the largest models like the S20 Ultra and Galaxy Note 10+. Much like the phones themselves, it's also built to last all day with its 16-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 Osmo Mobile 3 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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