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DJI Osmo Mobile hands-on review: The Steadicam for your smartphone

DJI Osmo Mobile hands-on review: Famed drone and camera stabilisation specialists DJI brought a new member of the Osmo family to the table at IFA 2016 with the smartphone-friendly Osmo Mobile.

DJI’s Osmo line is already changing the way filmmakers capture smooth, stable handheld footage without having to fork out tons of cash for a full Steadicam rig and an operator to wield it. There’s the Osmo and more recently the Osmo+, which adds optical zoom capabilities to DJI’s own Zenmuse X3 camera system, as well as more professional-grade options in the X5 and X5R sensors.

Despite being more affordable, pricing for the basic Osmo still kicks off at £489 and shoots up to £3589 for the company’s top of the line professional offering. So, what if you want DJI’s signature stabilisation technology but are perfectly happy with the camera built into your phone? That’s where the new Osmo Mobile fits in.

The most affordable member of the Osmo family, the Mobile starts at £289 and for that, you get the same 3-axis gimbal as the rest of the line, but the camera head is replaced with a phone mount. We tested it with a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which sports a 5.7-inch display, but it’ll take iOS and Android devices of varying sizes from the humble iPhone 5, right up to the mammoth Huawei Mate 8 (basically phones between 2.31 and 3.34 inches wide).

Once your phone is mounted into the Mobile and it’s calibrated for balance, it’s a matter of pairing it via Bluetooth to the Osmo’s hardware. Surprisingly the phone and the gimbal communicate solely over Bluetooth, so there’s no physical male microUSB, Type-C USB or Lightning connector to plug your phone into, with each product relying on its own battery.

The Osmo Mobile’s battery promises up to 4.5 hours of use on a single charge and can be fully recharged via a 1 amp power source in three hours. What’s more, as it’s removable you can swap out the batteries on the fly and DJI even sells a four-slot charger for £24 (additional Osmo batteries cost £38 each).

Along with the phone mount and gimbal, the Osmo Mobile features customisable fine-grain physical controls to manipulate your phone whilst shooting and some powerful functionality thanks to the companion DJI GO mobile app.

One of the most impressive features is the ActiveTrack ability, which is as simple as drawing a box around your desired subject from your phone’s viewfinder, after which the Osmo Mobile will automatically track that person or object within its field of motion. There’s also a panorama function, and the ability to program time lapses by marking start and end points.

The DJI Osmo Mobile is also well suited to improving standard videography and photography where a steady camera is required, such as with low light environments and it’s all wrapped up in a surprisingly easy to use and approachable package.

DJI actually launched the Osmo Mobile at IFA and it’s been on sale since September first, with the basic package starting at £289 and accessory bundles including accessories like base stations or tripods on offer for between £296 and £375. Stay tuned for a full review.

Watch our hands-on review of the DJI Osmo Mobile here:

 

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