Smartphones become more and more, nowadays, real tools to take on trips, to photograph and film what surrounds us. It is for this reason, then, that a support Gimbal could enrich the experience and offer you more fun. We tested the ZHIYUN Smooth XS, a cheap gimbal stabilized on two axes, which will certainly increase the fun, thanks to a content-rich app.
ZHIYUN Smooth XS is certainly not a professional Gimbal, but which has, first of all, a valid ally in aesthetics and form factor. It is foldable, and takes up very little when stored in a backpack, therefore absolutely easy to carry. It is also very light, around 240 grams, which makes it really comfortable to use, because it does not weigh down a lot and also allows continuous and rather long shooting. It should be noted, then, that in the package there is also a tripod, which in fact transforms the Gimbal into a precious tool to keep the smartphone immobile, for example during long time lapses but which can also be useful for a conference for smart working.
ZHIYUN Smooth XS is an entry level gimbal, and this could be noticed by the not too refined plastics, even if the rubber grip is really comfortable, as well as the rubber present in the hook turns out to be of quality, so as not to ruin absolutely the smartphones that are housed there.
In the handle there are the shutter buttons, or start recording, an analog stick to move the smartphone on the horizontal plane, or even to move it obliquely. Furthermore, there is a button to lock the smartphone on a point, and also to switch with a double click from landscape to portrait mode. Finally, there is a slider to manage the zoom.
The hook that holds the smartphone in place can be locked, in case you want to use the Gimbal as a simple selfie stick. In this regard, ZHIYUN Smooth XS is really a selfie stick, and in fact it can be stretched up to about 26 cm, great for group selfies.
As already mentioned, this is a stabilized gimbal on two axes, so it stabilizes the camera on the X and Y axes, respectively, the roll and the pitch: to put it in a nutshell, the gimbal will help you keep the horizon always in line. Obviously, lacking stabilization on the Z axis, unwanted movements and oscillations on this third axis will not be compensated for.
As already mentioned, although the Gimbal can be used with the native camera app of your smartphone, it is also possible to use it in conjunction with the app ZY Cami , by activating the Bluetooth of the smartphone. Although the numerous negative reviews on the app had left us predicting an unenjoyable experience, to tell the truth the app seemed to us absolutely responding to the needs of such a Gimbal.
There are numerous modes, from photos to videos, including a pleasant Smart mode. There is also Active Track, which allows you to frame a subject, and make the smartphone follow it automatically. It works well when the movements of the framed subject are slow and he is the only person on the scene; otherwise, with sudden movements, and many people in the background, the lock is easily lost.
With the Smart recording mode, however, the user will have access to a wide range of pre-set templates, which include selectable motion sequences, music and other special effects. A way to create a mini video on the fly with music, effects and special shots, with rotations that take place automatically.
What stunned us, however, is the Pano mode. Any Panoramic shot taken automatically by the Gimbal, which automatically turns and takes multiple photos and then merges them, was almost perfect.
ZHIYUN Smooth XS is an affordable gimbal that has so many surprises to offer. The extendable stick is a real surprise, as well as the presence of a dedicated app with smart functions increases the fun. Furthermore, the tripod in the package makes it a more complete tool and also suitable for the realization of TimeLaps and HyperLapse. Well built, albeit with cheap plastics, it is a gimbal without that it can be used very well. Naturally, it proposes a stabilization only on the two axes, with all the limitations of the case. The value for money is still very good.
Smooth XS can be purchased on amazon at this address at a price of about 70 euros, with various discounts and coupons that alternate incessantly on Amazon in this period.