If you want to take mobile creation to the next level, adding a gimbal can help ramp up your production quality. And with the new ZHIYUN Smooth-X, it doesn’t even cost very much. Starting at just $59.99, this mashup between a two-axis gimbal and a selfie stick is an affordable way to up your mobile game. Head below to see the video and check it out in action.
As a mobile-focused gimbal, the Smooth-X is small and portable. Zhiyun has plenty of other larger systems, but this is meant to be easy to stuff in a pocket, bag, or the optional protetcive case by folding it down and locking it into a solid position. The standard package comes with just the gimbal for $59.99, but for $10 more, you can also pick up the handy tripod and a carry case for everything.
At its core, the Smooth-X is a two-axis gimbal mashed up with a selfie stick. It’s pretty slick. The handle extends up to 260mm and the gimbal can rotate to get the best angle for your shot. By connecting via Bluetooth to a mobile device, the controls on the Smooth-X make it easy to start recording.
All of the control buttons are on the handle to help use your phone on the gimbal. On the left is a mode button that will toggle between a follow mode that turns the camera when you turn and a stabilized mode that will keep its direction no matter how you turn the gimbal. A double press will move the camera from landscape to portrait mode.
The four-way button can be used to pan the camera and adjust the angle. And lastly, there is a record button to make starting videos and taking photos easy without pressing any buttons on your device.
Setting up the Smooth-X
Getting the Smooth-X unpacked and set up for the first time wasn’t intuitive, but once I got used to the steps it was simple and makes sense. To get started, first you unlock the handle by turning it 90 degrees, then bend the angle of the handle out a bit. With that angle, the handle can then rotate past the phone clip and lock into place.
With the handle set up, then you can mount a phone into the holder. Just use your hand to pry apart the spring-loaded grip and place your phone between them. I tried to get the phone as close to the middle as possible without pressing any side buttons.
One of the things that make the Smooth-X so user friendly is that you also don’t need to calibrate anything. Once the phone is mounted, you can turn it on a get some smooth video.
ZY Cami app
To take full advantage of the controls on the Smooth-X, though, the ZV Cami App is needed. After making an account, you can connect the Smooth-X. While controlling the Smooth-X from the app, you can use the buttons located on the handle. These let you change mode, start and stop recordings or take photos, zoom and pan, and rotate the phone.
There are also complete controls for editing videos within the ZV Cami App, if you want to take advantage of those. I haven’t spent much time editing in there.
Smooth-X: easy and intuitive
With the gimbal and app all set up, using the Smooth-X is very easy and intuitive. While you can only do it in one direction, the gimbal will keep its orientation as you transition from holding it upwards or down. Folding and repositioning the gimbal makes it easy to get the angle you want.
For some added control, you can also enable gesture tracking in the ZY Cami app. With this enabled, just make a V gesture and the phone will start recording a video and track to keep you in the frame. This is a great feature for creators who don’t always have someone around to help shoot.
With the internal battery and USB-C charging port, you can expect to get 3-4 hours of run time before the Smooth-X will need more juice.
Overall, I’m pretty surprised by how affordable the Smooth-X is. Of course, it’s only a two-axis gimbal so it won’t be as smooth as three-axis systems. But that makes it incredibly portable, and the features built into this selfie-stick gimbal mashup are impressive for the $60 starting price. Everything feels solidly built so far, and the ZY Cami App is powerful and easy to use.
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