Zhiyun Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal Review


Given that Zhiyun is one of the largest manufacturers of portable gimbals, it is not unexpected that the new Zhiyun Smooth 4 is already being hailed as the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 competitor. The Zhiyun Smooth 4 appears to have a decent chance of succeeding in replacing the Osmo Mobile 2 as the go-to smartphone gimbal of the present day because it is priced similarly and has more functionality.

In this review of the Zhiyun Smooth 4 gimbal stabilizer, I'll examine what it does in detail, provide my initial thoughts, walk through its many controls and shooting modes, and then give my final opinion. Please be patient as this review is a bit lengthier.

Why Is It Used?

The most recent iPhones and Androids are equipped with strong cameras that capture amazing images and can record clear 4K video at 60 frames per second.

It makes sense that many individuals are giving up their cumbersome DSLR cameras and video recorders in favor of utilizing their smartphones for everything.

If you're starting to take smartphone videography seriously, you've probably dealt with camera shake at some point. Even if your phone has excellent optical image stabilization (OIS), the camera shake will still be visible if you're moving about while recording.

A 3-axis gimbal stabilizer, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is intended to virtually eliminate camera shake. Three brushless motors will move three pivots in three axes—pan, tilt, and roll—when your phone is mounted on the gimbal. Your camera will remain stable since these revolutions are the reverse of the camera shake.

I go into more technical detail in this article, but hopefully you now completely get the benefits of using a motorized gimbal like the Zhiyun Smooth 4 for filming.

First Impressions

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 is shipped in a light and robust grey styrofoam box that is relatively ordinary in appearance.

The only extras are a charging wire and a modest yet useful tripod.

It's good to see Zhiyun embracing modern technology, as opposed to the majority of gimbals (including the DJI Osmo Mobile 2), which still use Micro USB ports. The charging cable is of the USB-C variety. The days of carrying two USB cables everywhere are finally over.

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 immediately stands out as being bigger and more sophisticated than other gimbals. The Smooth 4 features a large number of buttons and knobs to play with, in contrast to the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, which is small and just has the bare minimum of controls.
The gimbal's arm will automatically lock into place when you align it with the gimbal's head, which is a convenient function. This means that while it's not in use, the arm and clamp won't be able to swing around freely.

One of the more cosmetically beautiful gimbals available, it also features a chic blue LED battery indicator and a smooth metal Zhiyun strip at the top. The Zhiyun Smooth 4's build quality is average due to its plastic structure, nevertheless.


The Smooth 4 was surprisingly simple to put on the numerous phones I used to test it. Simply open the clamp thanks to its adjustable spring-loaded design, and when you let go, it will grab the phone firmly.

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 is compatible with practically all smartphones, even larger ones like the Samsung Note 9, with a maximum supported payload of 210g. The Smooth 4 was tested to its limits and experienced some balancing challenges due to the 208g iPhone XS Max.
To balance your device when the gimbal is held upright, you should slide the clamp along the rails after loosening the screw at the back of the clamp when setting up the Zhiyun Smooth 4 with a new device. When turned on, the gimbal will automatically level your smartphone, but if you don't balance it properly at first, it will wear out the gimbal's motors and reduce battery life.

Are the Smooth 4 and other action cameras compatible?
GoPros are unofficially supported by the Zhiyun Smooth 4. My GoPro fit well in the clamp, and I had no trouble recording with it. But the situation is far from ideal. This is due to the fact that numerous buttons and other features on the Smooth 4 are made useless.

Using the Zhiyun Smooth 4 to control

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 has many controls on the hand grip, in contrast to the DJI Osmo Mobile 2. This means that changing settings like the exposure level or resolution on your phone's display is rarely necessary.

The focus and digital zoom can be changed using the dial to the left of the hand grip. This capability will tempt the more inventive filmmakers as most gimbals don't allow you to manually change the focus. There were no noticeable increments in the digital zoom, unlike with other gimbals that include a physical digital zoom button.

When pressed, the button in the center of the controls will activate the camera's flash, giving the user yet another convenience. There are definitely occasions where you want to turn on the light while recording, even if I didn't end up utilizing it much.

Using the controls on the gimbal to access menus, zoom in and out, turn on the flash, and other functions saves a lot of time and effort.

The majority of these features only work while you're using the ZY Play app, which is a significant limitation. The ZY Play app is respectable, and its most recent update has fixed a number of problems that it used to have with Android users. However, I find it annoying that so many gimbal features are dependent on an app.

Joystick is missing
A joystick that may be used to electronically pan and tilt the camera is a common feature of gimbals. This is a feature of both the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 and the original Smooth Q from Zhiyun.

Pan/tilt joysticks are absent from DSLR gimbals and the premium Movi Cinema Robot for cellphones.

So, is it significant or not?

In my opinion, the inclusion of a joystick in smartphone gimbals is more of a gimmick than anything else. To me, part of the fun is panning and tilting with your own hands. In the past, using these joysticks was a pretty awkward experience.

Be aware that the Smooth 4 lacks a joystick, whatever your opinion on them.

Shooting Modes

Three standard gimbal shooting settings are available on the 3-axis Zhiyun Smooth 4.

The first method maintains a level horizon by panning and following. To put it another way, the gimbal will follow your motions to the left and right (along the pan axis) but will oppose any that aim the camera upwards or downwards.

The second setting is the following mode, which implies that it will mimic your pan and tilt axis motions. If the camera rolls to the left or right, the gimbal will counteract those motions to keep the camera parallel to the ground. However, it will lock the roll axis.
The third and final mode is locked mode, which locks all three axes. Thus, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 will maintain the orientation of your camera and maintain focus on the intended object. This is helpful for mounting it on a car or filming what is happening on the stage during a concert.

MobileGo Mode
The Smooth 4's "PhoneGo" mode, which can be accessed by depressing the trigger button on the grip's rear, is a nifty little function. Speeding up the motor, essentially makes the gimbal more responsive to movements. It's convenient when you want to record abrupt shifts in direction.

Picture Modes
Many different types of photos can be easily taken by using the ZY Play app.

solitary-shot pictures (very simple thanks to a dedicated snap button on the gimbal)
Panorama photographs (180-degree and 3-by-3-panoramas)
Motion timelapse and timelapses
Dizziness Effect
I've never seen a smartphone gimbal with the vertigo effect setting, which is a photography effect. Despite the fact that I didn't use it frequently, it's a cute little camera effect.

FiLMiC Pro App – A supported third-party app

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 requires to be utilized with the ZY Play App, therefore most users end up utilizing this app to record their videos.

The app is fortunately among the top gimbal companion apps. Even though Android used to have significant problems, many of the main problems have been fixed.

But a lot of folks, like myself, just don't like utilizing the gimbal companion applications to record video. Since they simply aren't the best available, we're willing to give up some gimbal features in order to employ superior shooting software.
Fortunately, Zhiyun and the FiLMiC team have teamed up to provide native support for the Zhiyun Smooth 4 in the FiLMiC Pro app. You will actually want to use this wonderful third-party app, and you can now change settings using the Zhiyun Smooth 4's in-built controls.

Excellent all-around image stabilization was offered by the Zhiyun Smooth 4, living up to its name. The camera shake was fully reduced when moving or running. Its stabilization performance was unquestionably comparable to that of the DJI Osmo Mobile 2.

When you wish to emphasize the speed in your films, the "PhoneGo" setting can make the motors even more snappy. The motors were highly responsive.

a battery's life
Built-in lithium-ion batteries allow the Zhiyun Smooth 4 to record for up to 12 hours.

As a result, most users won't have to worry about the batteries being a problem, placing it among the best gimbals for battery life.

It's frustrating that, in contrast to some other gimbals, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 can't also serve as a portable power bank despite having a great battery.

using the Zhiyun Smooth 4 to capture images
Because it's simple to film in both portrait and landscape orientations, Instagram celebrities who want to instantly publish videos to the site won't have any difficulties.

I also discovered that I was utilizing the included tripod accessory as a handgrip extension. By doing this, I was able to take low-angle pictures without having to stoop down as I normally would.

I can admit, though, that the Zhiyun Smooth 4's feel in my hands made filming with it less enjoyable than it might have been with other highly regarded gimbals.
In my hands, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 seemed a touch unnatural for two reasons. First off, the ergonomics aren't all that great. Second, I was always focusing on which button to push due to the overwhelming quantity of controls rather than on more crucial issues like how to frame the photo.

excellent image stabilization
incredibly quick and quiet motors
Various video and photo shooting modes are available.
ability to use the gimbal's controls to quickly alter recording settings
Certain features are exclusive to the ZY Play app.
For some ergonomics, having too many controls will be perplexing.

Overall, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is a gorgeous piece of equipment and an excellent rival to the lauded DJI Osmo Mobile 2.

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 and DJI Osmo Mobile 2 are unquestionably the smartphone gimbals to take into consideration inside this pricing range.

For the "technical" filmmaker who is continuously altering minute settings while recording, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 offers more functions. Since the Zhiyun Smooth 4 features tactile controls for that, you no longer need to touch the screen of your phone.
The Zhiyun Smooth 4's control layout, however, felt overly intricate and convoluted. The majority of users will actually just want to press the record button and ignore the gimbal. Therefore, the more ergonomically superior, smaller, and simpler DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is definitely a better option for the majority of users.

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