The Flowmotion One smartphone gimbal was a promising smartphone gimbal by a popular startup that was originally funded via the popular crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter. Although it originally aimed to only raise $30,000 the excellent marketing campaign brought so much publicity to the project that it ended up managing to raise a massive $1,325,241. This further added to the popularity and attention the project was getting and the company behind the Flowmotion One gimbal was able to take thousands of preorders.
Now, unfortunately, just like many tech companies, Flowmotion declared bankruptcy in May 2019 sending a letter to their customers and issuing a press release confirming the bankruptcy declaration and saying there will be no refunds or additional shipments of the gimbal. This means that if you are to purchase a Flowmotion One, it will be second hand and in our opinion, should be avoided in favor of the Zhiyun Smooth 4.
If you look at a number of the reports on their Kickstarter page, many people who received the gimbal have had a bunch of problems with it anyway and we have seen reports of people trying to sell faulty gimbals due to try and get some of their lost money back. On top of this, the Flowmotion One relied heavily on its marketing campaign and sales team rather than technical expertise and the gimbal had a number of technical issues from the get-go.
This is one of the main reasons that there are so many low-quality gimbal stabilizers on the market right now and why so many gimbal companies fail. Brands like DJI and Zhiyun are dominant because they know what they are doing and hire the best possible people from around the world to work on their gimbal ranges.
Even if Flowmotion had not had to declare bankruptcy and the Flowmotion One did not have the issues it had, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is still a much better gimbal. It has a better load capacity, better battery life, better image stabilization, a better build quality, and a much lower price tag. Additionally, it also has one of the best reputations going amongst smartphone gimbals too.
Although we were initially seeing a bunch of people reaching out each month for a Flowmotion Gimbal Review, the recent confirmation that Flowmotion is now bankrupt seems to have raised a bunch of questions based around what the best Flowmotion gimbal alternative is. Due to this, we will be going over the Zhiyun Smooth 4 for the rest of the article as we feel (and the community seem to agree) that the Smooth 4 is the best smartphone gimbal on the market right now.
Performance And Functionality
On top of this, the Smooth 4 also has a better maximum battery life coming in at twelve hours of power per charge of the gimbals battery. This should be plenty for the vast majority of our readers to capture all the video footage that they need while out and about with their smartphone between charging opportunities.
If you are involved in the travel vlogger space or some other niche where you may be away from a power outlet for days at a time then some videographers have taken to carrying a USB power bank with them. Not only does a high capacity USB power bank allow you to recharge your gimbal as required but it also allows you to top up your smartphone’s battery when needed too.
Once the battery on the Smooth 4 does run empty, you are able to recharge it back to full in as little as three hours via a regular power outlet on the wall. If you are using a USB power bank to recharge the gimbal then the recharging time is going to depend on the capacity of the power bank as there are a large number of different outputs available.
As most people who look to add a 3 axis gimbal to their collection of smartphone camera accessories are usually vloggers, you can see how the combination is able to help increase the image quality of your video footage. In this increasingly competitive vlogging space, image quality is everything and having smooth video footage can help to convert a viewer into a subscriber.
The Smooth 4 also comes with the latest balancing algorithm from Zhiyun too that they have developed over the years with each new release of their gimbal range. This ensures that any movement that the gimbal sensors detect is quickly processed with the appropriate correction being sent to the gimbal motors to ensure that your video footage on your smartphone is as smooth as possible.
The gimbal motors on the Smooth 4 are excellent too and much better than the motors on the Flowmotion One. They are high torque meaning that they have all the power needed to allow them to quickly and easily make the required corrections to stabilize your video footage even if you are taking part in an activity where your smartphone is being bounced around at a rapid pace.
The Zhiyun Smooth 4 also comes with a bunch of gimbal modes included with it as standard. Although the level of image stabilization that the gimbal is able to provide blows the Flowmotion One as well as the majority of other competing gimbals out the water, these gimbal modes are definitely the cherry on the cake and beat anything the competition has to offer. The point of view mode and pan lock modes are excellent and the follow mode can make vlogging really easy.
As you would expect from the latest smartphone gimbal from a brand like Zhiyun, the Smooth 4 offers the best possible performance and functionality on the market right now. It is easy to see why it has such a large customer base as well as why people who use the gimbal with their smartphone of choice have posted so many glowing reviews of the gimbal online.
User Interface And Control System
The additional buttons are for more intermediate and advanced gimbal users who like to customize the performance or mode of their gimbal for use. This allows anyone to get the most out of the gimbal no matter their level of experience using a stabilizer. On top of this, if you are brand new to using a gimbal, the Smooth 4 offers all of the more advanced features as you decide to try and get more from your gimbal helping to future proof yourself and not have to upgrade your gimbal anytime soon.
The system on the Smooth 4 is based around a joystick, various buttons, and a magic wheel that allows you to operate the gimbal efficiently without having to invest hours into learning it. Zhiyun has also done a solid job of ensuring that the control interface for the stabilizer remains responsive for you even if your hands are wet or cold too ensuring you can use it in all conditions. One of the main complaints that we say for the Flowmotion One gimbal was that its control system could lock up and not respond if used in cold weather.
Although the Flowmotion One was very easy to balance, the Smooth 4 has a very similar balancing system making it ideal for anyone who has never used a gimbal stabilizer before. So many people new to using a gimbal worry about actually balancing it due to some nightmare stories from a few years back but these are all from old and dated gimbals.
Modern gimbals like the Smooth 4 all have a much more streamlined balancing system that allows you to quickly and easily balance the gimbal. Additionally, as smartphones are so lightweight, usually being under 0.4 pounds, it is really easy to balance them anyway and on top of this, the high powered motors on the Smooth 4 ensure that they are able to stabilize even if you don’t balance the gimbal correctly.
The balancing process is fully explained in the user manual that is included with the gimbal but there are a number of tutorials on YouTube too that go over the process in depth. That said, we doubt that many people will need to resort to watching the YouTube videos as the process is so simple and straight forward anyway.
Build Quality And Design
This ensures that the gimbal is both lightweight and robust as possible while also being cheap. This makes it very easy to hold the gimbal for long periods of time to allow you to capture all of the video footage that you want with the gimbal due to it being so lightweight. Some competing gimbals for smartphones are surprisingly heavy considering that they are meant to support such a light device and end up causing your arm to ache during use.
Due to the gimbal being so robust you can rest assured that it is tough enough to take any bumps coming its way without issue. Be it during use or while packed in your bag for transit, the Smooth 4 is surprisingly robust considering the small size and low weight of it.
Well, we really wish we could have posted a full Flowmotion gimbal review but due to Flowmotion going bancrupt we thought it would be best to go over what we feel the best alternative is as that is what we are seeing most people ask about. As we mentioned, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is definatley our favorite smartphone gimbal stabilizer on the market right now and in our opinion, it is a better gimbal to add to your camera accessories than the Flowmotion One anyway.