Yi Gimbal is a 3-axis stabilizer that can turn any mobile phone into a professional camera. You can take professional-quality videos or footage with just your phone, but this stabilizer ensures that the images are stable and crisp. It’s compatible with most phones with a horizontal angle of 85 degrees and up. In this blog, we will review the Yi Gimbal in detail and give you an idea of whether it’s the right choice for you.
Yi Gimbal Review
- It’s easy to use
- Smooth Footage
- 1 Button Simplicity
- High-Quality Construction
- Great Battery Life
- Mount is Camera Specific
- A Selfie Stick is not too heavy.
- No App or WiFi
What is a Gimbal?
Although it looks like a selfie stick, a handheld gimbal actually has a lot more to offer than that. It is a complicated piece of machinery that includes fast-acting motors as well as a gyroscope sensor. The gimbal senses movement, and then the motors respond by moving in the opposite direction. This makes the Camera appear static.
This is the basic idea of it. However, there are other modes of operation we will discuss later. A basic 3-axis gimbal cannot stabilize rotational movement around an axle (twisting or spinning motions). It can, however, stabilize rotational movement only. You’ll see the effect of jumping up and down in the video. Although there are limitations to the stability of a gimbal, it will improve your ability to shoot.
Design and Specifications
It was not worth the effort to format that list. It doesn’t come with a case. The box comes with a nice foam padding that you can carry around the device. However, once the device is attached to the phone, it will not fit back in the box. Amazon sells a generic gimbal cover for $15. However, it is an additional expense.
You might also be interested in these other large numbers:
- 360deg pan (5-120deg/s), 320deg tilt (3-70deg/s), and 320deg roll
- 1,700mAh battery total for approximately 8 hours of usage (claimed).
- Mount for standard tripod
- Bluetooth LE 4.0
- Micro-USB port
Once your smartphone is paired, you can use the shutter button on your smartphone to either start/stop recording or to take a picture in any camera app.
The device has three buttons: Power, Mode, and Shutter. A flat joystick can be used to control the angle manually.
The grip of the device is the 3.5cm wide, 18cm-long stick. However, it’s a simple matt black ABS plastic without any grip texture. It does its job, but it is very basic. The 3-axis stabilizer structure is located on the top, which houses three motors as well as a phone cradle. It weighs in at 420g or less than 15 ounces. It can accommodate phones between 54-86mm (2.1 to 3.4 inches) in width. This includes “plus” models. However, you might need to take out a bulky case.
However, the best fit will depend on the phone model. My iPhone X performed well, but the Sony Xperia XZ2 did not perform as well. It was difficult to use when the power button was located just below the clamps on the phone. It was a bit more off-balanced than it should have been, so I had to adjust it. The camera sensor is also closer to the device’s center, so it would sometimes capture the gimbal within the frame. It may fit some phones better than others. Your experience might be different.
Yi claims that 8 hours of battery life is possible, but I was only able to get about half. Although it’s good, you will get a longer battery life with smaller phones because they are lighter and require less counteracting.
Three modes are available on the Yi Gimbal. Access them by simply tapping the button.
Pan mode is the first. The Pan mode locks both the roll and tilt in place. While the pan (left or right) follows the movement of the stick, the tilt and roll remain in place. If you have never used a Gimbal before, this is probably the easiest thing to understand. This is great for recording things that are relatively still to the Camera, like people. You can adjust the angle by using the joystick, whether your subject is taller or shorter.
Lock mode is the second. This mode locks everything forward or wherever you place it with the joystick. This mode was the most difficult for me to use efficiently.
Pan and Tilt is the last mode. This mode is often called Follow mode by other manufacturers. This mode locks roll (although you can still roll the phone with your joystick), but pan and tilt follow your movements in a smooth way. This mode allows you to create dynamic, smooth shots by giving you maximum control.
The green LED means Pan Mode. This mode allows the Camera to follow movements along the pan axis (also known as pan-follow-mode). A red LED indicates locking mode, where all axes have been locked and the camera points in the same direction. Blue light means Pan & Tilt Mode, where the gimbal’s head tracks movement on the tilt and pan axis. When the gimbal’s head is in selfie mode, the LED will be lit. The cam rotates 180 degrees to your face.
The Yi Handheld Gimbal includes two rechargeable 850mAh batteries. They last approximately 3 hours. The included charger is required to charge the batteries. When fully charged, the LEDs on your battery charger will turn from red to blue.
The USB port at the side of your gimbal can only be used for firmware updates and cannot charge the batteries.
One small complaint is that the mechanism to hold the battery compartment in place can be fiddly.
Yi Gimbal App
Although it is not necessary to use the stabilizer, you will want to download the Yi Gimbal App. The app pairs with your device and unlocks SmartTrack mode, which is the most important feature.
SmartTrack lets you choose a subject, and then the gimbal will attempt to maintain that subject in the middle of the shot. This can be used when the gimbal is mounted on a tripod or handheld.
While it works well with clearly defined objects, I found iOS’s object selection to be a bit clunky. My dog tried zooming around the garden with me, but it couldn’t keep up. Tracking is difficult for slow-moving subjects like people. If they turn around, tracking can be lost. Although it could be useful to track the actions of moving subjects like skateboarders or car chasers, I don’t think it’s reliable enough. It might be better to use standard modes rather than risk losing the object. Instead, rely on your own skills.
The worst thing about the app, at least for iOS, is the fact that each shot is saved to a separate library. You need to save each one individually to the Camera Roll to preserve them. This can be frustrating if you have many clips. Although it would be acceptable if the app offered a Select All option, this is only for deleting clips.
There is also the difference in native phone recording capabilities. The iPhone X can record 4K at 60FPS while the app offers a reduced 4K at 30FPS. The Sony Xperia XZ2 can record stunning 4K HDR videos but doesn’t offer 4K resolution.
Although you can use the native camera app on your smartphone to capture all your clips, this will mean that you won’t have instant access to gimbal settings or the ability to track objects. It’s almost always a good idea to record at the highest resolution and framerate possible, even if the final project output will be lower quality. I found that the native Camera was useful for testing certain features.
Should You Buy Yi Gimbal?
Yi is known for entering new markets and undercutting their competition with a product that does not compromise on quality. They’re a little off the mark in this instance. Although the Yi Smartphone Gimbal may be less expensive than some other products, it offers fewer features and accessories. It’s also not easy to use the Yi Gimbal app.
This is not a bad device. It works and can capture beautiful footage. It’s hard to recommend it when there are better options available for the same or lower price. For example, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 features a focus dial and a mini tripod. Similar specifications are found in the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 for around $20 more.
This gimbal will mount your Yi Discovery Action camera. It’s made of metal and produces professional-quality footage. Yi Smartphone Gimbals on Sale for $80-90 If you have a tight budget, grab it. It’s an excellent entry-level product at this price. Anyone who shoots smartphone videos can benefit greatly from a gimbal stabilizer, regardless of their level of skill. It is a key to smooth cinematic videos.
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