CES 2018: DJI's Refreshed Smartphone Video Gimbal Is Now Way Cheaper and Whole Lot Better

By Alex Cranz on at

Videos shot on smartphones have a very specific, very low-rent aesthetic. A whole host of stabilisers are available on the market that try to improve that aesthetic—eradicating the shaky cam look so you can actually see whatever the smartphone’s camera is looking at. DJI even has one! The original Osmo Mobile was a pricey handheld stabiliser with some good ideas and a whole lot of big flaws. The Osmo Mobile 2, announced today, looks like it improves on almost every point of contention, and even better, DJI has slashed the price. This thing costs just $130 ( £96).

The original Osmo Mobile made waves because, using the same gimbal tech found in DJI’s drones, it provided a really steady image. And thanks to a small joystick, it was easy to move the camera around, grabbing relatively cinematic footage with nothing but the Osmo Mobile rig and a smartphone. It was particularly a boon for livestreamers, who could use the accompanying DJI Go app to stream directly to Facebook and YouTube Live with little investment or training.

But the original Osmo Mobile also had terrible battery life—usually only 3-4 hours, drained the phone quickly, and had a bad habit of overheating. I had at least one livestream a month fail because of an Osmo problem—to the point that sometimes we’d just settle on using our phone because ugly footage was better than no footage at all.

DJI promises that these problems have been fixed. The company claims the battery now lasts up to 15 hours on a charge, and that it also can charge the phone directly from its battery. You can even plug in your own microUSB battery pack for additional juice. There’s no word on the heat issues, but the controls have been simplified and buttons have been added for zooming, so you don’t have to interact with the phone itself to zoom in for a shot.

DJI also claims the Osmo Mobile 2 is lighter, thanks to an all nylon construction, and while the original Osmo Mobile required you to mess with screws to take your phone in and out, the new frame is spring loaded. I played with an pre-production unit recently and was surprised at how locked in that phone was. It did not budge.

The new Osmo Mobile 2 also lets you shoot in portrait or landscape.

The DJI Go app, which the company also assured Gizmodo is much improved, is no longer limited to livestreams, long exposures, and some mild video stabilization. Now there are multiple timelapse modes too. And two of them, Hyperlapse and Motion Timelapse, allow you to record a timelapse while the Osmo Mobile 2 is in motion.

But let’s be real, the best feature of the Osmo Mobile 2 is the price. At $130 ( £95, but probably closer to £130) it is less that half the price of the original, and more in line with the price of no name gimbals available on Amazon. While the price might be steep for a lot of people, it’s a perfect price for parents looking to raise their memory chronicling game, or budding filmmakers eager to try out a quality gimbal. As for whether its as good as DJI promises—we’ll hopefully know more when the Osmo Mobile 2 becomes available on Apple.com January 23rd, or when it goes into wider release in mid-February.

We’re live on the ground in Las Vegas at CES 2018! Click here to read our complete coverage.


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