Smartphone Stabilizer

Review by Dave Williams

Video comes hand-in-hand with photography, and as gear-junkies we’re often looking for things to help us capture better images without breaking the budget. To stabilize video footage shot on our smartphone and iron out the bumps, the Zhiyun Smooth-XS collapsible gimbal does a pretty good job. This pocket-sized gimbal features a foldout tripod incorporated into the handle, so it can fit in compact spaces amidst our gear. Coming in at $74.99, it’s fair to say you get decent value for your money. 

The rock-steady footage this gimbal allows is just what you need in most cases, and it’s uncanny to watch the phone stay balanced when you rock the handle from side to side. The Smooth-XS doesn’t do much for vertical stabilization—for that you’d need the next model up—but for lateral motion, it’s spot-on. 

Combined with the ZY Cami app, the controls on the gimbal allow you to zoom in and out, as well as turn the camera or set a tracking point. These controls are intuitive, which makes everything a little bit easier when it comes to control, particularly when shooting in selfie mode when it can be more important at times to allow your thumb to work on autopilot. Without the app though, these controls won’t do anything. 

In the box, you’ll find the Smooth-XS along with a USB-C charging cable, a wrist strap, and a soft pouch. The tripod element is detachable, and there’s a tripod thread as well so you could attach it to a conventional tripod or a selfie stick, if you so desire. In addition, the handle slides out by 10​​”​​ for a little extra reach. The phone is attached to a spring-loaded grip which is sufficient for most smartphones in cases. 

Overall, the construction of the Zhiyun Smooth-XS is obviously plastic, but for this price, it’s a great tool. ■