Zhiyun SMOOTH-Q2 Smartphone Gimbal

9.3 Zhiyun SMOOTH-Q2 Smartphone Gimbal

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Moves easily with smartphone
  • Provides a smooth video recording option for smartphones
  • Charges with USB-C

Cons

  • Not user manual available (at this time)
DESIGN
EASE OF USE
PRICE

An incredible mobile phone gimbal made with premium materials.

A few years ago I was introduced to the gimbal. I grew up around video production so the concept of a gimbal is not lost on me, but until a few years ago, I never used one. Now, gimbals come in many shapes and forms and can be used with different camera types. My primary camera these days is my iPhone XS. They say that the best camera is the one you have with you and well, I always have my iPhone with me. The problem I’ve had with some iPhone/mobile phone gimbals is that they are large and bulky. I have used one that actually takes two hands to manipulate. In my opinion a  gimbal designed for a smartphone should be mobile — just like the phone. As it turns out, Zhiyun agreed with me and created a truly pocket-sized advanced mobile gimbal — the Smooth-Q2.

Zhiyun SMOOTH-Q2 Smartphone Gimbal REVIEW

DETAILS FROM THE KICKSTARTER ANNOUNCEMENT

Zhiyun’s new Smooth-Q2 gimbal, with its simplicity, portability, flexibility and unique design, makes this Kickstarter dream become reality by transforming an ordinary smartphone into a professional camera in seconds. Smooth-Q2’s professional features and ultra-long 17-hour battery life are ready to capture life’s important moments – the micro-USB port also allows Smooth-Q2 to act as a power bank for phones, cameras and other devices. Smooth-Q2 can directly control iOS and Android smartphone camera for photo and video taking. Professional filmmaking functions like time lapse, slow motion, object tracking and full-range POV mode make it easy to seize life’s beautiful moments and express them in your own personal style. Smooth-Q2’s control zone conveniently offers an intuitive mode indicator LED, five-way joystick with quick mode switching, a photo/record button, and supports accessories with its 1/4-inch screw hole. The lightweight and easy-to-use gimbal is built from aluminum alloy material using precise CNC technology and it features enhanced motor durability and excellent reliability and longevity. As part of its corporate social responsibility focus, Zhiyun is contributing to the Kickstarter photography, videography and art creation community, as well as non-profit film, art, technology education organizations and schools in New York, and to organizations documenting humanitarian, cultural, and historical events.

Zhiyun SMOOTH-Q2 Smartphone Gimbal REVIEW

SPECS

USER IMPRESSIONS

I was lucky enough to get a production-grade test unit from Zhiyun prior to the Kickstarter’s launch. The only downside to it being pre-commercial launch is that I didn’t get the standard packaging. My Smooth-Q2 came in a solid white box and no user manual was included. Zhiyun does a nice job of describing the gimbal’s operations and functions on their Kickstarter page, but since a ‘real’ user manual was not provided, I had a bit of a learning curve. It’s true that the Smooth-Q2 is incredibly user-friendly. Zhiyun kept things very simple with the in-line controls. There is a joystick that had an integrated push button, which selects the different modes on the gimbal, a camera control button, and a power button. That’s it. The rest of the operation is determined by how the gimbal reacts to your movements and how you move the joystick. The gimbal has a quick release clip that is really handy. Since the camera you are using is on your phone, Zhiyun thought it was a good idea to add that clip in so that you could easily detach your phone from the gimbal in order to use it. 

Zhiyun SMOOTH-Q2 Smartphone Gimbal REVIEW

As I mentioned, I had a little bit of a learning curve since I didn’t have a user manual to follow. I placed my phone in the gimbal and decided to take our dog for a walk. You will notice in the video that he darts back and forth a lot. Being 6 months old, he gets distracted a lot and makes a lot of quick stops. Needless to say, capturing smooth video of our walks can be nearly impossible, but the Smooth-Q2 helped me record some really great video of our puppy as he and I explored the neighborhood. 

The Kickstarter details state that you should be able to use the ZY Play App to unlock different filming modes. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this review, the Smooth-Q2 was not an option to connect to through the ZY Play App. That said, I was able to connect to the gimbal through Bluetooth so that I could use the in-line controls located on the handle of the gimbal. It was easy to start and stop recording from the handle of the gimbal. 

Zhiyun SMOOTH-Q2 Smartphone Gimbal REVIEW

One of the things I really loved about this gimbal is that it’s so lightweight. The specs report that the gimbal only weighs 450grams, which is a hair less than 1 pound. Paired with how well the Smooth-Q2 folds up, the weight really makes this premium smartphone gimbal worth the investment for iPhoneographers and other smartphone photographers. 

Zhiyun SMOOTH-Q2 Smartphone Gimbal REVIEW

CONCLUSION

I’m really happy that I got to test out the Smooth-Q2, but think I would get more out of the experience once I have the user manual in-hand. Zhiyun’s Smooth-Q2 Kickstarter campaign started on August 27, 2019. The super early bird price is $109 for the Standard Package (SMOOTH-Q2 Stabilizer, phone holder, wrist strap and charging cable). The optional Premium Package includes everything in the standard package, and adds a mini tripod, portable bag and phone charging cable, for a super early bird price of $119. If you use your iPhone (or other smartphone) to record life’s precious moments, you won’t be sorry if you invest in the Smooth-Q2.

For more information, visit Kickstarter.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

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