The quality of videos that you can create with your smartphone is getting better every year. We are seeing constant improvements to the smartphone tech and there is also a variety of external equipment that you can use to help improve the production quality of your smartphone videos.

One key factor in creating videos is the stability of the footage. No one likes watching videos that have a shaky camera. It disorientates your viewers. 

The simple fix is to get a tripod for your smartphone, which we discussed in the article Add Stability to Your Video With the Perfect Tripod. But what if you wanted to film free handed? 

There is a solution for that too: gimbals!

Gimbals are camera stabilizers that keep your camera steady while filming. The gimbal moves the camera while you are moving to maintain balance to the shot.

In this article we review three different gimbals and present the pros and cons of each. Read on for our full review and recommendations.

How to use Smartphone Gimbals | Learn to Flourish

Zhiyun Smooth 4

The first smartphone gimbal on our list is the Zhiyun Smooth 4. The phone fits into its holder easily and it is able to rotate giving you the option to film both horizontally and vertically. Like all other gimbals, once the phone is attached to the gimbal you must adjust the stabilization to ensure the phone is stable and smooth while filming. To help you stabilize the gimbal it comes with a stand you can screw into the bottom of the gimbal. With the gimbal standing on a flat surface it makes it easier to adjust the stabilization.

There are two main settings for the gimbal which are “pan follow” and “lock.” 

“Pan follow” allows the gimbal to pan horizontally left and right while you are moving to follow your subject. It does not move vertically. 

“Lock” keeps your phone centered on the gimbal when you are moving it to keep the shot smooth. 

One small issue with this gimbal is that occasionally the gimbal might slide into frame and be seen in the corner of the footage.

There is also a companion app with the Zhiyun Smooth 4 that is used to adjust the camera settings on your phone to maximize the video quality recorded while using the gimbal. For example, the app offers additional image stabilization settings. One problem with the app is that it might not work properly if your phone isn’t updated with the latest firmware.

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 is currently listed at $129.


  • Has a stand to help adjust the weight
  • Has a pan mode and a lock mode
  • Can rotate the camera to film vertically and horizontally
  • Companion App


  • The gimbal might appear in your footage
  • App may glitch if phone isn’t updated


Osmo Mobile 2

The Osmo Mobile 2 is another fantastic gimbal that also provides the ability to rotate the camera to film both horizontally and vertically. This gimbal does not have a stand but it does have a mount that can attach to tripods. This makes it easy if you wanted to switch back and forth between filming on your tripod and free-handing a shot.

There are automatic movement settings that can be programmed into the gimbal. The gimbal will pan at the predetermined time so you don’t have to do it manually. This works extremely well if you want to create time lapse shots or capture yourself in the video.

There is also another setting that allows you to track a subject on screen. If you were talking in front of the camera and wanted to walk a particular direction, the gimbal can track your movement and follow you while filming. This features only works well if you are moving at a normal pace. It won’t work properly if you were running out of frame.

One downside to this gimbal is that it has a smooth handle grip that might cause it to accidentally slide out of your hands if you aren’t holding onto it properly. The Osmo Mobile 2 is currently listed at $170.


  • Mount for tripod
  • Can rotate the camera to film vertically and horizontally
  • Automatic movement options
  • Subject tracking


  • Handle has smooth grip
  • Can’t track fast moving subjects


Freefly Movi Cinema Robot

The Freefly Movie Cinema Robot gimbal is a step up in quality from the other two gimbals. It has similar features to the previously mentioned gimbals such as a mount thread for tripods, the ability to film vertically and horizontally, and automatic movement options. 

One unique feature of the Freefly Movi Cinema Robot is that you are able to adjust the sensitivity of the gimbal. When you move the gimbal around, the gimbal moves the phone to stabilize the shot. By adjusting the sensitivity it changes the speed and amount the gimbal moves the phone in relation to you moving the gimbal.

Their companion app offers several special filming styles for you to use. A filming style that is specific to this gimbal is the barrel roll setting that rotates the phone 360 degrees clockwise that looks like the camera is spinning upside down. However, the companion app shoots in a lower quality than it does on the actual phone, so filming using the camera on the phone is a better option than using the app. 

The Freefly Movie Cinema Robot is currently listed at $300.


  • Mount thread for tripod
  • Can rotate the camera to film vertically and horizontally
  • Automatic movement options
  • Able to set sensitivity to gimbal
  • Able to rotate while filming
  • Companion app


  • Video quality on the app is poor



Out of the three gimbals we reviewed our favorite was the Osmo Mobile 2. The Osmo is the best overall gimbal that has automatic movement options and subject tracking capabilities while keeping a lower price point. It is easy to switch between filming by hand and from a tripod which is a common thing to do.

This gimbal is well priced for its performance and provides you with a high quality product.

If you are interested in more equipment recommendation for smartphone video creation, we have articles on lenses, mics, and lights for smartphones on our blog.


Wishing you inspiration, innovation, and continuous learning!

Lorena and the Learn to Flourish Team


(Prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of publication. Learn to Flourish does not receive a share of sales or any compensation from sharing any of these products, they’re just some of our favorites!) 


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