Each year the camera sensors on the newest smartphones get better and better results in more and more vloggers and social media influencers capturing their content with their smartphone rather than a stand-alone camera. As you would expect with more and more people switching over to using their smartphones for their vlogs, we have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of people who are reaching out for advice on smartphone gimbal stabilizers.
If you have been involved in the vlogging space for any length of time then you will probably know that Zhiyun is without a doubt one of the dominant gimbal brands at the time of writing and their gimbal range is extremely popular with an excellent reputation. Due to this, we always see people reaching out for a dedicated Zhiyun Smooth Q review and as we always try to help as many of our readers as possible, we have decided to make this the focus of today’s article.
Now, before going any further, we just want to make you aware that the Zhiyun Smooth Q 2 is now available on the market and it is one of our favorite smartphone gimbals and improves on the original Smooth Q in pretty much every way imaginable. Although the Q2 has only ben available on the market for a number of months, it has managed to grow an excellent reputation amongst the community that shows no signs of slowing down.
That said, as the original Zhiyun Smooth Q has just received a significant price reduction due to the release of the Q2, we are still going to publish our dedicated review for the original gimbal to help any of our readers considering it as a budget smartphone gimbal. Due to being around the $70 price point after its recent price reduction depending on the retailer, it is one of the cheapest smartphone gimbals available while delivering some outstanding performance for its users.
The original Smooth Q has also managed to earn itself a solid reputation amongst the community but it failed to take off due to the awkward price point and the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 being a much better option for the price range. That said though, in our opinion if you can purchase the original Smooth Q for anything under the $85 price point then it is an absolute steal for anyone looking for some cheap image stabilization.
If you do want the absolute best image stabilization available for your vlogs though and can stretch your budget then the newer Zhiyun Smooth Q 2 and DJI Osmo Mobile 3 are much better options in our opinion. At the time of writing, they can cost between $50 and $70 more than their previous generations but are well worth the upgrade as the better gimbal modes and improve technology helps you capture the best image quality possible.
Performance And Functionality
The gimbals mounting clip is able to support smartphones with up to a six-inch screen that can be a limitation for some of the modern smartphones on the market these days but you have to keep in mind that the original Zhiyun Smooth Q was designed for use with older generations of smartphone. The ever-advancing technology, dimensions, and weight of smartphones is the main reason that Zhiyun has released the Smooth Q2 to keep up with the larger dimensions and weights of the latest phones. If you are using a larger smartphone then the Q2 is probably the better option due to it being able to support the larger and heavier smartphones with ease compared to the original Smooth Q.
Moving onto the battery life of the gimbal, Zhiyun has used its high capacity battery in the original Smooth Q that is able to provide you with up to twelve hours of running time with each full charge of its battery. Although the latest Zhiyun, Moza, and DJI smartphone gimbals can beat this, the twelve-hour battery life one the original Smooth Q can still beat the latest smartphone gimbals from Feiyutech and Evo with ease.
The Smooth Q also fully supports two-way charging allowing you to use the battery in your gimbal to charge your smartphone. As capturing 4k video footage with high frames per second rates can rapidly drain your smartphone battery, this is a great feature to keep your phone topped up with juice as required. The whole system is very easy to use and you simply use the USB port at the base of the gimbal handle for your relevant phone charging cable.
On top of this, if you are involved in something like travel vlogging or travel based social media then you may be out and away from a power outlet for days at a time. Due to more and more vloggers and social media influencers working in these niches, adding a a decent USB power bank to your smartphone camera accessories can be a solid investment. Provided you use a high output power bank it can be used to recharge your smartphone, your gimbal, and many other devices that you may have with you while out and about.
Although the gimbal sensors and gimbal motors on the original Smooth Q are starting to show their age, they still hold up pretty well due to Zhiyun always being at the cutting edge of gimbal technology. As we touched on earlier in the article, even though the Zhiyun Smooth Q is a few years old now, in our opinion it still outperforms the more modern smartphone gimbals from brands such as Feiyutech and Evo.
In addition to this, Zhiyun probably has the best balancing algorithm on the market right now and although the tech from DJI and Moza is very similar to the Zhiyun algorithm, we feel it is ever so slightly out ahead. This ensures that the data from the gimbal sensors is processed as quickly as possible with the correct adjustment being sent to the gimbal motors to stabilize your smartphone. This ensures that even though the gimbal is a few years old, its detection and correction of motion is excellent and holds up well to some compeating gimbals.
Although showing its age when it comes to the supported gimbal modes, the original Smooth Q does come with full, follow, and lock modes as standard to help ensure that you have the easiest possible time when recording too. Although some of our readers may never need or use these gimbal modes, they can actually be used very effectively to help enhance your video footage, especially your b-roll with minimal effort or experience required on your part.
When you factor all of this in as well as the fact that the Zhiyun Smooth Q is so cheap at the time of writing, it is really easy to see why it is growing in popularity amongst the community. Even though its successor, the Smooth Q2 is in full swing, the original Smooth Q presents an excellent, more budget-friendly gimbal for your smartphone and its easy to see why it has so many glowing reviews from the community.
User Interface And Control System
The joystick offers some excellent control over the gimbal’s head while in manual mode allowing you to quickly and easily adjust the position of your smartphone as needed. All of the buttons on the Smooth Q’s control interface are also very easy to press with the gimbal actually registering the button press too. One of the main problems with the entry-level gimbals on the market back when the original Smooth Q was initially released was that the gimbals would struggle to register the button press, especially if the hands of the operator were cold of wet.
Thankfully though, Zhiyun used the control system technology from their mirrorless and DSLR camera ranges on the original Smooth Q to fix this issue. This means that the buttons and joystick are extremely responsive no matter what conditions you are working in. On top of this, the system is also very easy to switch between the various supported gimbal modes within seconds too.
All in all, Zhiyun has managed to make a great little control system that is very easy to use while offering some great control of the actual gimbal and its performance. Not only does the system emphasise its ease of use for anyone new to gimbals but it also offers some solid advanced control for any advanced gimbal users looking for something for their smartphone too.
That said though, the Zhiyun app does offer some great, quick and easy access to the settings of your Smooth Q too. Although the standard config of the gimbal will more than met the needs of the vast majority of our readers we know some people like to customize their gimbal settings. The app is the quickest and easiest way to do this at the time of writing but again, it is far from needed to get some great image stabilization out of the app.
Build Quality And Design
Not only is the gimbal very lightweight being under one pound of weight but it is also very robust too. If you are working in a travel niche and know that you will be moving around via plane with your kit on a regular basis this really works to your advantage. Not only does it ensure that the Smooth Q is light enough to not tip you over your luggage allowance but it also ensures that the gimbal can take plenty of bumps without breaking when in transit.
The design of the Smooth Q is excellent too and it allows you to quickly switch the orientation of your smartphone from landscape to portrait within seconds. This ensures that you are able to capture something in landscape mode with dimensions ideal for a platform such as YouTube then switch to portrait to capture content ideal for something like Instagram. Some compeating gimbals have an annoying and awkward system but the process on the Smooth Q is quick and easy to help save you time.
Another great thing about the Smooth Q is that its handle grip is extremely comfortable and well put together too. This ensures that you can easily and firmly grip the gimbal for long periods of time without getting any aches or cramps in your hands. On top of this, the easy grip on the handle allows you to get a firm hold if you are in light rain too so you have the peace of mind that you will not accidentally drop your gimbal and smartphone too.
That brings our Zhiyun Smooth Q review to a close. As we mentioned earlier in the article, if you have the budget available and want the best possible image stabilization and image quality then the Smooth Q2 is the better gimbal. That said though if you are on a tighter budget the original Smooth Q is a great cheap gimbal that can offer some solid performance even in this day and age.
If you have not quite decided then you can click here to read some reviews of the Smooth Q that have been posted by external users. They offer a great, independent perspective on the gimbal and its performance from third-party users who have used it for a long time and may help you decide on your new camera accessory.