Zhiyun Smooth 4 Review

Get It Here

Latest Videos!

There has been a lot of hype around the new Zhyiun Smooth 4 smartphone gimbal. And its with good reason, the hardware is amazing. This is definitely the film makers gimbal. But I feel that the software still has a lot of growing up to do. Heres what I like, what I don’t like and what I would change on the new Zhyiun Smooth 4. 

The Zhyiun Smooth 4 currently retails for $139… thats the same as the new DJI Osmo Mobile 2. But I feel each gimbal targets a different segment of the market which I will get into in the versus video. If you want to pick this gimbal up and make something much more amazing than me I’ll have links in the description below and if you use the links it really helps out the channel. 

First lets go over what you get with the Smooth 4. The Smooth 4 comes in a hard styrofoam carrying case thats very similar to what the Osmo Mobile 2 comes included with. You also get a foldable base adapter that screws into the universal mount found on the bottom of the gimbal. And you also get a USB-A to USB-C cable for charging. The gimbal it self is made mostly out of plastic and weighs in at 750 grams with an iPhone 8 plus installed and 820 grams with the base adopter attached. This gimbal is definitely on the bigger side compared to other smartphone gimbals out there. But the Smooth 4 should be compatible with almost every smartphone out there given that it has a max payload of 210 grams. For comparison the iPhone 8 plus weighs in at 148 grams, the iPhone Ten weighs in at 174 grams, the pixel 2 XL weighs in at 175 grams and the Galaxy S9 plus weighs in at 189 grams. 

Zhyiun also advertises as battery life of 12 hours on the smooth 4 and it charges via the USB C port on the side. But the battery life here is very variable because depending on what phone you’re using, how well you have it balanced and how much you’re moving will all play a factor in how much of a battery life you’ll actually get. Unfortunately you can’t use the USB C port to charge your own phone… Instead you have to use the micro USB port found on the tilt axis of the gimbal. And personally I don’t have any micro USB to USB C cables or Micro USB to lighting cables or any adaptors for that matter. I feel the Smooth 4 should have came included with a USB-A port instead or at least let you charge stuff via the USB C port. Cause right now I think its going to be very hard to charge your phone using the gimbal. And if you decide too shoot in 4k with your phone you're really going to need to constantly recharge your phone. 

But the smooth 4 does a really good job of keeping your phone on axis no matter how much you move around. Not once has the gimbal ruined my shot because of how I was holding the gimbal or cause I moved in a certain direction. It also requires a good amount of torque to reposition your shot which I personally really like. I also haven’t experienced any over heating issues either. And the gimbal itself stays very quite so your not going to get any squeaking in your shot. But do keep in mind... Unlike the smooth Q, the smooth 4 is not a 360 degree gimbal. 

Now if you do decide to invest in a gimbal obviously it's going to smooth out your video but it's not going to be perfectly smoothed out. You're still going to get a little undulation, but you can always just smooth that out even more by adjusting the way you walk and hold the gimbal. Zhiyuns ZY play app also lets you choose between having electronic image stabilization on or off. For the most part I've been using it with EIS turned on but if you use it with EIS turned off then you're going to get a slightly wider filed of view. 

But the biggest feature the smooth 4 has to offer are the manual controls and the zoom wheel. And like I said at the beginning of this video, the smooth 4 is the film makers gimbal cause you can manauly adjust all of your settings using the physical buttons. Personally one of the things I hated about the Osmo mobile 2 was having to use the touch screen to adjust my settings and in the process messing up my shot. With the zoom wheel you can also precisely adjust the zoom and you can also pull focus. 

But unfortunately even though there is a slew of physical controls to control your camera settings there is no joystick to tilt or pan the camera… you have to do it manually. And personally I was surprised at first cause I assumed there was a joysitck. And there have been multiple times where I would have liked to have a joy stick. And I think zhyiun should bring some tilt and pan functionality with a software update by maybe quickly double pressing the flash button in the center and using the center dial to precisely adjust your pan movement. And maybe double pressing the crosshairs so you can use the zoom wheel on the side to presicely adjust the pan. I don't know... There's so much you can still do with the hardware here but I'm still amazed there's no joystick. 

And in order to get the most out of the smooth 4 you’re better off using zhyiun's zy play app. Or else you're not going to be able to use the physical controls. For the most part the zy  play app does a good job of getting good image quality for your camera… the image quality is much better than what you would get using the Smooth Q’s app. But I did notice the image quality wasn't as clear when you zoomed in on something compared to the iPhones native camera app. Just like most other gimbals the smooth 4 can be used to capture various panoramas, but unfortunately I found that it would only work 75 percent of the time and that's me being generous. If you're out getting panorama shots and burning daily light the last thing you want to see after a day of shooting is messed up panoramas. And finally let talk about the active tracking, its mostly useless. The tracking feature losses the subject very easily and you cant move the gimbal too fast. But since this is software I hope zhyiun will address these issues with updates. 

But finally lets about lets talk about the handle. like I said at the beginning of this video… this is a pretty big gimbal. And in most cases its a two handed gimbal. But I cant get over how much I hate the handle… its so not ergonomic. Its really just a rounded off rectangle and the gimbal never rests comfortably in the hand. And the plastic it self is also very slippery. So like I recommended with the Osmo Mobile 2… you better jerry rig a wrist strap to this guy or else you’re going to have a bad time when you inevitably drop it.

So heres the verdict on the Zhiyun Smooth 4… its does what its supposed to do very well, and thats keeping your phone on axis no matter how much you move around without almost never snagging or adding unwanted background noise when the motters are working. The physical control buttons let you quickly and easily adjust your capture settings on the fly so you can get the best shot. But I do feel there is still room for improvement and refinement in the ZY play app. We need better app stability, and better active tracking. I also think Zhiyun should give us physical pan and tilt controls though a software update. But if you’re a mobile filmmaker the Smooth 4 is still a great tool to have.