Zhiyun Smooth XS Review: Best budget-friendly iPhone gimbal gets better [Video]

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Smooth XS setup on desk with iPhone 8

Following pretty closely after the July release of their Smooth X gimbal, the Zhiyun Smooth XS offers similar functionality with some slight updates and new color options. Expanding on that portable mobile gimbal footprint, the new gimbal is easier to set up with the sliding arm and comes in at $75. Head below to watch the video and see it in action. 

At the core, the Smooth XS, just like the Smooth X, is a small and easy-to-use two-axis gimbal. It can fit in a pocket to be ready for any adventure and takes just a few seconds to get it up and running. It works with Android and iPhones and supports weights up to 235g.

Even Easier to Set Up

But what does set the Smooth X and Smooth XS apart the most is how to get it set up. With the Smooth X, it was a little confusing at first but makes sense once you get a hang of how the gimbal works. On the new Smooth XS, though, it is very easy to get working. Just slide up the arm that holds the phone and unlock the handle by turning it. Mount a phone and unlock the motor at the phone, and it is ready for smooth shots.

It’s a good idea to try and balance your phone a bit on the gimbal, but getting it perfect isn’t necessary. Just power on the gimbal once it’s installed in the secure clip, and the motors will take care of the rest.

Smooth Operator

Once up and running, the Smooth XS easily helps to create smooth motion for photos, videos, hyperlapses, or panos. In the standard mode, the gimbal will follow the direction that the handle is turned, but there are controls to customize how the gimbal functions.

Smooth XS: Video

Smooth XS: All the Controls

Taking a look at the input, the Smooth XS has a thumbstick to control the orientation of the phone, a mode button, a record button, and a zoom button.

The mode button controls quite a few different functions. A single press will toggle between pan-follow mode and pan lock. So, depending on whether you want the camera to turn with your movement or stay locked in one direction, it’s easy to toggle between.

A double-tap will flip the orientation between portrait and landscape modes quickly and smoothly.

Triple-tap the same mode button to re-center the orientation if you’ve gotten out of whack with the thumbstick.

More than just a gimbal

The gimbal head can also rotate up to 90 degrees to get the right angle. Adjusting the angle makes it much more comfortable while filming so you don’t have to hold the gimbal at a funky angle and also makes selfies easier to snap.

Beyond just a gimbal, though, the Smooth XS can also double as a selfie stick. By extending the telescoping handle further out, you can position the camera further away for wider selfies or even just to get a higher perspective. Attach the tripod, and you can push the camera even further away to get more in the frame.

ZY Cami App

Zhiyun has also built some nice functionality into the ZY Cami app. In the app, you can control camera res and frame rates, shooting modes like pano and slow motion, or hyperlapse and even some video editing.

Another feature in the Cami app is gesture control. With this enabled, the camera will recognize gestures like a peace sign to start recording and track the moving subject. Combined with the tripod, and this makes getting more shots while filming solo easier.

Wrapping Up

Overall, just like the Smooth X, the Smooth XS is a very portable and easy-to-use mobile gimbal. Set up is a breeze, the two-axis motors are strong and smooth, and the ZY Cami app makes creating mobile content seamless. If you don’t mind the grey color and clunkier setup, though, you can snag the Smooth X for $60, which is still a great deal.

Buy Zhiyun Smooth XS

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