Our regular readers have probably noticed that many of our recent articles have been based around smartphone gimbals rather than products designed for use with DSLR or mirrorless cameras. This is due to seeing so many people reaching out with questions about various smartphone gimbals that we have been trying to help as many people as possible and the questions we see are mostly in this space.
Now, we have been huge fans of the Zhiyun Smooth 4 for some time now and along with the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, we feel it had managed to hold on to the top spot of the smartphone gimbal and today’s article features the Smooth 4. As so many gimbal brands are all trying to take the top spot and marketing their products as a better option, we see comparison questions about a Moza Mini Mi vs Zhiyun Smooth 4 article pretty often. Due to this, we have decided to make this the subject of our article for today as so many people are asking about it and we have touted the Smooth 4 for some time now.
That said though, the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 has just been released onto the market at the time of writing and in our opinion, it is by far the best smartphone gimbal available on the market right now. It has managed to get off to an excellent start due to its outstanding performance and being retailed at the same price point as most other smartphone gimbals. On top of this, the Osmo Mobile 3 has quickly managed to earn itself a great reputation within the community that just keeps getting better as the weeks come and go.
Due to this, we would highly recommend that our readers seriously consider adding the Osmo Mobile 3 to their collection of smartphone accessories over both the Zhiyun Smooth 4 and the Moza Mini Mi. In our opinion, it is better to both products in every way due to it having newer technology while being retailed at a very similar price point.
Now, we just wanted to get that out the way as soon as possible as we don’t like the idea of having our readers go through our article only to get to the end for us to tell them about a new smartphone gimbal stabilizer we feel is better. That said, we will still be going over our Moza Mini Mi vs Zhiyun Smooth 4 comparison and sharing our thoughts on both of these gimbals as we see so many people reaching out about them.
Last update on 2020-01-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
As you can see from our comparison table above, the Moza Mini Mi does seem to beat the Zhiyun Smooth 4 on paper when it comes to their maximum load capacities but in our opinion, the actual level of image stabilization you get from the Smooth 4 is much better than what the Mini Mi provides. Don’t get us wrong, we feel that the Mini Mi from Moza is a great gimbal and we like the way Moza is working hard to challenge both Zhiyun and DJI for the top spot in the gimbal space but we feel they fall slightly short on this one.
Now, depending on where you purchase the gimbal, the price difference between the two is usually between $20 and $30 and although this is not much to many people who have expensive smartphones, it can make the difference to some people. If you are on a very strict budget then we feel that the Moza Mini Mi is probably the best sub $100 smartphone gimbal on the market.
On the flip side of this though, if you want the best image quality possible from your smartphone then the Smooth 4 pulls out way ahead and this shows in the reputation that it has within the community. As many people who want to purchase a smartphone gimbal are doing it to get better quality content for their YouTube channel or social media pages, the Smooth 4 has to be our recommendation to our readers.
Performance And Functionality
The Moza Mini Mi takes the crown when it comes to maximum load capacity with it being able to support up to 0.66 pounds of smartphone payload whereas the Zhiyun Smooth 4 comes in at 0.46 pounds. Although the Mini Mi is able to support a higher load capacity, we have to point out that these are smartphone gimbal stabilizers, they are designed to only support smartphones meaning the additional load capacity of the Mini Mi may never be needed by you.
Both the Mini Mi and the Smooth 4 is able to easily support the weight of the latest phones from Apple, Samsung, Google, LG, and Huawei Mobile. Once this is factored in, they also have enough load capacity available to support your smartphone being in a protective case as well as having a removable lens mounted to your phone too.
On situation where the additional load capacity of the Mini Mi may work to your advantage is if you use one of those wallet smartphone case hybrids. Depending on what you are keeping in the waller part of the case, this may knock the payload of your smartphone over the load capacity of the Smooth 4.
Both of these handheld gimbals have a solid maximum battery life with the Zhiyun gimbal coming out on top with it being able to provide you with twelve hours of battery life per charge. The Moza gimbal still comes in with a respectable ten hours per charge and we would imagine that both are plenty for the majority of our readers.
Both of the gimbals also support a two-way charging system as standard too. This allows you to use your gimbal battery to recharge your smartphone while mounted to ensure your smartphone doesn’t run out of juice early when recording higher resolutions like 4k. Just keep in mind that if you are using two-way charging, the gimbal’s maximum battery life will come down due to the power being used to charge your Smartphone too.
One thing that more and more vloggers and smartphone videographers are starting to do is carry a USB power bank with them while recording. This allows you to recharge your smartphone in your downtime and if the output level of the power bank is enough, you can also use it to recharge your gimbal too. This probably won’t be needed for most of our readers but if you are involved in a niche like travel where you may not be able to recharge your gear for days at a time, it could be worth looking into.
This is done by Zhiyun’s excellent detection and correction system that is one of the absolute best available at the time of writing. The gimbal sensors in the Smooth 4 are excellent and are able to detect even the slightest movement in the gimbal head during use. The gimbal then uses its state of the art balancing algorithm to work out how best to stabilize the detected movement and then tells the gimbal motors the correct counter-movement to make. The high torque gimbal motors then carry out the movement resulting in the smoothest video footage possible.
This process all happens so quickly that everything looks instant to the user with you not really being able to see that there was a stabilized movement in your end footage. We have said for some time now that the Zhiyun and DJI systems are way out ahead of the competition and Moza is quickly catching up leaving brands like Feiyutech and Evo for dust.
As we touched on earlier, the gimbal space has pretty much been a two-horse race between DJI and Zhiyun for years now and we are pleased to see that Moza is going everything they can to break into the top bracket. Their new Moza Aircross 2 for mirrorless and lightweight DSLR cameras is absolutely outstanding and we are looking forward to seeing what their next-generation smartphone gimbal can do.
User Interface And Control System
Both the Moza Mini Mi and the Zhiyun Smooth 4 come at their control systems from totally different angles and although they are both good for their target market, the better option for you will depend on your needs and level of experience. Due to this, we are going to actually tie both gimbals in this area as they both score a bunch of points in one area while dropping them in another. We have done a break down of each system below to share our thoughts on each interface and explain why we feel this way.
On the flip side of this though, if you are an advanced videographer, the Mini Mi offers little to no advanced customization via its control interface limiting what you are able to do on the advanced side of thing. In reality, though, the vast majority of people who we see wanting to pick up a smartphone gimbal want something as easy as possible to use so this really isn’t an issue in this space.
Zhiyun has pretty much used a dumbed-down version of their interface from their professional-level mirrorless and DSLR camera gimbals to their smartphone range. Although we personally love this as we are geeks and like to tweak with gadgets to see what we can get them to do, we doubt much of the target market will really need the advanced features of the Smooth 4.
Build Quality And Design
Both of the gimbals ensure that you can quickly and easily rotate the smartphone mount between horizontal and portrait orientations within seconds. If you are a vlogger or social media influencers then we are sure you already know that horizontal video footage does better on YouTube where portrait video footage does better on sites like Instagram. Being able to quickly switch between the two orientations ensures that you are able to capture the required video footage for both platforms without issue.
Both brands are doing everything that they can to ensure that the Mini Mi and Smooth 4 are as small and lightweight as possible while still being robust. That said, we feel that this is another area where the Smooth 4 is able to sneak ahead of the Mini Mi but this is expected due to the higher price tag allowing them to use lighter materials that are still as robust as possible.
We also feel that both gimbals have a very comfortable hand grip on their handles too. This ensures that you are able to comfortably hold the gimbals for long recording sessions without getting aches or cramps too. Many smartphone gimbals overlook this simple yet very important factor for some reason but both the Smooth 4 and Mini Mi are very comfortable to hold.
That brings us to the end of our Moza Mini Mi vs Zhiyun Smooth 4 comparison article and as you can probably tell, we feel that although the Moza Mini Mi is a solid cheaper gimbal, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 does sneak out ahead and is a better addition to your camera accessories. As we mentioned back at the start of the article though, the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 has just been released and is jam-packed with all the latest tech, is around the same price as the Smooth 4 but is a better gimbal.
If you would like to read more about the Zhiyun Smooth 4 then we have our dedicated review online and there are also a large number of independent reviews from third-party owners of the Smooth 4 who have published their own reviews too. Additionally, the Osmo Mobile 3 has managed to get off to an excellent start and already has a bunch of glowing reviews from the community that you can read if you wish.