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Review Zhiyun Smooth 4 – A Gimbal for your smartphone

Review Zhiyun Smooth 4 - A Gimbal for your smartphoneLet’s take a walk with the review of the Zhiyun Smooth 4. The “Smooth 4” is a Gimbal for your smartphone. It allows you to create some pretty smooth videography with your smartphone. With the ever-expanding space of smartphone Gimbals, Zhiyun has crafted itself as a formidable force in this market.Review Zhiyun Smooth 4 - A Gimbal for your smartphone

I’m experimenting with a Gimbal such as the Smooth 4 for the first time. I don’t have other points of references except for OIS (optical image stabilization). If you’re interested to see how the Gimbal performs check out the little production I put together at the bottom.

Zhiyun Smooth 4 on Banggood

What I can tell you is my experience with such a device. I will be using the Pixel 2 XL in combination with the Smooth 4 and the ZY Play. I’ll also include some footage of what I captured and some post edits you can see right below.

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 comes in at a low price of $97.99 via Banggood.com and as much as $135 on Amazon. From searching online and looking at other options the Smooth 4 appears to be in a league of its own and quite inexpensive.

It comes in a styrofoam type of case which is nice and compact. Inside the container you’ll find a mini-tripod, charging cable, the gimbal and the owners manual. The mini-tripod attaches firmly at the bottom of the Smooth 4 and allows for hands-free operation.

First thing I did is lookup video information on YouTube on how to work with it, get tips & how-to videos. You can get a lot of information via YouTube. I’m going to be using this with an Android smartphone and my choice of device is the Pixel 2 XL.

Zhiyun Smooth 4 A Gimbal for your smartphone

While looking at options on the market I noticed something unique to the Smooth 4; There’s a wheel on the side. The idea is to zoom in and out mainly, but also pressing the back trigger and using the wheel will pan/tilt the smartphone!

I spent several hours just trying to get things the way I wanted them to be. I’m getting more comfortable with it over time.

The combination of pressing the back trigger and using the wheel can be one fun task. I can say it’s not as easy as it looks. I do have a lot more to learn and I’m going to keep at it.

Just above the power button is your pan-follow and lock mode. As the names would imply one of them follows your wrist movement, while the other remains in the same position. I forgot many times to set to pan-follow and only realized a bit after I had started the recording.

I’m sure I can fix a few of these mistakes in post-edits after right?

The Gimbal can accommodate many sizes of smartphones, what you need to pay attention to is the balancing required with the extended arm and adjustable wheel rivet. If you don’t do this part you’ll end up being crooked to the tilt.

The “Smooth 4” offers two types of connections. A micro USB port to charge your smartphone. A USB-C to charge the Smooth 4 itself. The use of the micro USB port is puzzling. I will be sourcing out a cable specifically for this purpose.

Zhiyun Smooth 4 A Gimbal for your smartphone 2

The Gimbal is used in conjunction with the ZY Play app which you can get for iOS and Android. The Android app is limited in features and by the phone model you can use with it. I’m hoping that this gets worked on more and that we can get more of the features working.

One of the features that Zhiyun taunts is the Vertigo effect also known as the “Dolly Zoom”.

The dolly zoom is commonly used by filmmakers to represent the sensation of vertigo, a “falling-away-from-oneself feeling” or a feeling of unreality, or to suggest that a character is undergoing a realization that causes them to reassess everything they had previously believed. – Wikipedia

It would potentially work if the zoom function wasn’t jerky. Zooming in and out with the ZY Play app jumps frames VS smooth zooming in and out. It also doesn’t take into account the various telephotos lens that some smartphone has.

Subject tracking on the Smooth 4 is pretty balls on! I had a good time letting the device follow someone. Being able to square off the subject properly before starting the process of tracking was a bit tricky. Nothing like trials and errors to better your grasp of how this works­.

Whether I’m standing, walking or actively filming in a crowd, the Smooth 4 earned its name.

“The Smooth 4” offers a lot to its users if you take the time to learn about all the functionality that it provides. If you take to YouTube, you can learn a lot of different technics, trick and a lot of tips.

This isn’t without issues as noted earlier in the article. The ZY Play for Android has come far, but it needs to go further and provide additional support for smartphones and include more of the features from its iOS counterpart.