The quality of video – and photos – you can get from a phone has increased steadily to the point that you can use one in place of a ‘proper’ video camera in many situations. Plenty of YouTube channels are shot on iPhones as well as Android phones these days.
Stabilisation has been one area of constant improvement, but no amount of software or optical trickery can match a three-axis gimbal for smooth, stable footage.
This is the same type used on many drones and it means your viewers are less likely to feel nauseous while watching compared to simply holding your phone in your hands.
There are lot of gimbals available, but it’s important to note that the companion app is just as important as the hardware if you want to get creative and shoot motion timelapses, as well as being able to use all the physical buttons on the gimbal itself.
Most gimbals use Bluetooth to talk to your phone and while some buttons might work in your phone’s stock camera app, some will only work if you use the companion camera app.
Being forced to use a sub-standard app can ruin the experience, which is why it’s a good idea to read reviews such as those below before making your choice.
The good news is that prices have dropped significantly since phone gimbals first appeared a few years back, so even if your budget is small, you should be able to buy a good one.
Best phone gimbal reviews
1. DJI OM 4
The OM 4 is DJI’s latest gimbal and considerably more portable than the Osmo Mobile 3 below.
It is a tricky choice between the two, though. Ultimately, the OM 4 is just about worth the extra money over the Osmo Mobile 3 combo thanks to the convenience of the magnetic mount. But if you can do without the carry case and tripod and want to spend as little as possible, there’s still a strong argument for the standard Osmo Mobile 3.
Both make it simple to shoot smooth video and the app is brilliant.
Ultimately it could come down to the prices you see when you’re about to buy. If you find the Combo package for the 3 available for the same price as the basic version, it’s a great deal.
Read our full DJI Osmo Mobile 4 review
2. DJI Osmo Mobile 3
The Osmo Mobile 3 is still one of the best phone stabilisers you can buy.
Arguably you should go for the Combo version which comes with a carry case and tripod, but if you really don’t need those you can save some money.
It’s essentially the same as the OM 4 above, but without the magnetic clamp. This means it’s a bit bulkier, but since it still folds up, it’s more portable than some other gimbals here.
Read our full DJI Osmo Mobile 3 review
3. Joby Smart Stabilizer
Joby’s Stabiliser isn’t as user friendly as DJI’s OM 4. You’ll be referring to the manual a lot to get to grips with how the various modes and functions work. But if you shoot videos of yourself for Tik Tok, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms, the Joby Smart Stabilizer does a good job at a good price.
The stand-out feature is the built-in telescopic ‘selfie stick’ that allows you to be further from the phone, so is useful if your phone lacks a wide-angle front-facing camera, as many do.
Read our full Joby Smart Stabilizer review
4. Zhiyun Crane M2
It may not be quite as versatile as the marketing suggests, the Crane M2 is primarily designed to stabilise compact system cameras, but can also work with phones and GoPros.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to buy accessories to mount a phone or action cam and swapping cameras is far from seamless, but if you want to carry around one stabiliser to cover multiple devices, the Crane M2 does the job well.
Great battery life, solid performance, and an impressive array of stabilisation modes are enough to make up for slightly clunky controls – just make sure your camera is compatible before you commit.
Read our full Zhiyun Crane M2 review
5. Zhiyun Smooth 4
Not simply a DJI clone, the Smooth 4 offers some features you won’t find elsewhere but although the ideas are commendable, execution could be better.
It still does a good job at stabilising your phone’s video though.
Read our full Zhiyun Smooth 4 review
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