Welcome to our ultimate Removu S1 review that we have decided to publish to help any of our readers who are considering adding the S1 to their collection of GoPro or action camera accessories. We have noticed a steady number of people asking about this hybrid gimbal over the last few months and have decided to share our opinions on it.
Now, as the Removu S1 is a hybrid gimbal stabilizer, you have to realize that it fits more of a jack of all trades master of none role within the gimbal space. In our opinion, a dedicated wearable gimbal like the Evo SS will outperform it when it comes to wearable image stabilization. Likewise, a dedicated GoPro handheld gimbal like the Karma Grip will outperform it when it comes to handheld image stabilization too.
The real strength of the Removu S1 comes in its versatility and ability to quickly and easily be switched from a wearable gimbal to a handheld gimbal while providing you with decent image stabilization in both capacities. If you are into your extreme sports then this can be an excellent way to capture your adventures in the best image quality possible for a relatively low price tag too. Over the years since its release, the S1 has also managed to earn a decent reputation within the GoPro gimbal community.
If you are looking for a versatile gimbal stabilizer that you can switch between wearable mode and handheld mode within seconds, then we would definatley say that the Removu S1 leads the pack. Since its release onto the market a few years back, the gimbal has also received a few price reductions to help keep it as competitive as possible presenting a potential bargain for you.
Performance And Functionality
On top of this, the Removu S1 can also indirectly support some cheap GoPro alternatives too. Although this is not an officially listed or intended feature, due to many budget-friendly action camera brands essentially duplicating the GoPro range, their third-party cameras share the same dimensions as an official GoPro too. This means that they have the potential to fit in the mounts of the Removu S1 to be used with the gimbal.
That said though, we would always recommend that you use an official GoPro action camera where possible. Not only does this ensure optimal image quality due to the excellent performance of the GoPro range but it also ensures that your camera will definatley mount to the Removu S1.
When it comes to the maximum battery life of the S1, the officially listed battery life of the gimbal is three hours but we have seen multiple reports from users confirming that they have been able to get as much as five hours of battery per full charge of the gimbals battery. Now, there are a few things to factor in for this with the two main variables being the weight of the GoPro you are using as well as what you are actually doing with the gimbal.
For example, the latest GoPro range has the Black version coming in at around 0.25 pounds with the White version coming in at around 0.2 pounds. This lower payload requires less power to stabilize helping to extend the battery life as much as possible. Additionally, if you are doing something like downhill mountain biking on a rough course, there will be a large number of rapid vibrations for the gimbal to correct. If you compare this to something like a leisurely ski down a mountain where the gimbal has a pretty easy job, the power required is much lower.
In our opinion, you should be expecting a three-hour battery life out of the Removu S1 and if you get more than this just treat it as a bonus. When the gimbals batteries are empty, they can be recharged back to full in around three hours via a regular power outlet. Although we have not tried it ourselves, we have seen some people confirm that they carry a power bank with them to charge their batteries while out and about on the go to keep the gimbal topped up while away from a power outlet.
As you would expect from a relatively modern gimbal stabilizer, the Removu S1 also supports some popular gimbal modes too. Now, unlike the more modern gimbals that can support around ten modes, the Removu S1 offers three. These are pan mode, lock mode, and follow mode. You are able to quickly and easily switch between the different modes via the mode button on the side of the gimbal to help ensure that the gimbal is providing you with optimal performance for whatever you are using it for at any given time.
User Interface And Control System
You can see the two main control systems for the gimbal in the image above, the primary system is to the left of the top LCD panel and also serves as the control system for the gimbal when being used in its wearable capacity. The secondary system is shown below the bottom LCD panel that serves as both a control system when used as a handheld gimbal while also serving as a remote control too.
The Joystick on the interface is also very responsive, even if your hands are wet or cold allowing you to manually pan or tilt the gimbal head as required during your session. Additionally, all of the control buttons on the system are also very responsive and allow you to quickly and easily tweak the performance of the Removu S1 to meet your needs.
This allows you to keep the same level of wireless remote control while out and about using the Removu S1 as a wearable gimbal without having the bulky handle with you. The remote control panel also has an independent battery life of five hours meaning it should long outlast the battery life of the actual gimbal itself.
All in all, we are big fans of the control system of the Removu S1 and wouldn’t change anything on it. It offers some excellent control while also ensuring that the gimbal is as easy as possible to control for anyone who is brand new to using a gimbal and does not have hours of time to spend learning how to get their gimbal to work. We are confident that most of our readers will be able to take the Removu S1 out of the box, mount their GoPro to it and quickly get about capturing some high-quality video footage with the gimbal.
Build Quality And Design
That said though, Removu has done a pretty solid job of pulling it all together and realistically are the only brand on the market right now who offer a decent quality hybrid gimbal in our opinion. The design ensures that you are able to quickly and easily switch between both wearable and handheld mode when required while offering decent performance as each.
When it comes to build quality, the majority of the gimbal is made from aluminum to ensure that it is as lightweight as possible while still keeping its robust nature. Due to many people who use the Removu S1 being extreme sports enthusiasts, the robustness of the gimbal is a great feature. It is also free exposed or loose wires or electronics too while also been rated as both rain and splash-proof but please note that the gimbal IS NOT waterproof and should not be submerged.
The OLED panel on the gimbal is very bright and easy to see too ensuring that you are able to quickly and easily see the information that it is displaying. On top of this, it also actually gives you a battery status reading rather than some competing gimbals that just have a low battery LED that will flash. On the Removu S1, a quick glance at its OLED panel will tell you a percentage rating of battery life so you can plan the rest of your session accordingly.
Although the gimbal motors on the Removu S1 are a few years old now, they still perform well and can outperform some of the gimbal motors used by competitors with ease too. The motors coupled with the Removu balancing algorithm ensure that you are provided with some buttery smooth image stabilization at all times to help provide you with the best image quality possible.
The actual handle on the Removu S1 is also rubberized to offer additional comfort for you when holding it and using it as a standard handheld gimbal. This ensures that you can hold the Removu S1 for as long as required to capture the video footage that you need without your hand or arm aching or cramping. Additionally, a nice little feature on the S1 is that the base of the handle can be opened up to store spare SD cards in it for your GoPro action camera too.
The Removu S1 comes with a number of GoPro mounts included with your purchase as standard, including one for the GoPro Hero Session and they all use the quick and easy Removu twist-lock system rather than awkward thumbscrews. This gives the Removu S1 a massive advantage of the competing hybrid gimbals at the time of writing as you can quickly and easily mount or unmount your action camera as required.
All in all, we feel that Removu has done an excellent job with the S1 when it comes to design and build quality. They have essentially set the standard for hybrid gimbals and to date, the competition has not even been able to come close to what the S1 is able to offer you.
That said, we have embedded the official user calibration video above for any of our readers who may have issues with the balancing or calibration procedure for the S1. If you are using some older GoPro camera bodies then you may have to use the counterbalance weight that is included when you purchase your S1 to increase the payload to the working minimum or to help offset the weight of the camera.
That brings our Removu S1 review to an end and just as we said back at the start of the article, the S1 will never beat a dedicated wearable gimbal-like the Evo SS or a dedicated handheld gimbal like the Karma Grip but it is the undisputed king of the hybrid gimbal range.
The S1 also has a number of independent third-party reviews online that you can read if you wish. These offer a totally independent insight into the performance of the gimbal from action camera users who use it as their go-to gimbal of choice.