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DJI Osmo Mobile is a smarter handheld stabilizer for your phone (hands-on)

The three-axis gimbal turns an Android or iOS phone into a steady movie maker complete with subject tracking and full camera control.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
3 min read

The camera stabilization tech that makes video from DJI's drones look silky smooth is now available for you to use with your phone.

The $299 Osmo Mobile (AU$499, £289) is a three-axis motorized gimbal with an adjustable phone mount. The gimbal uses its motors to counteract any shake or movement to keep all your shots steady -- whether you're standing still, riding in a car or chasing your kid down the sideline.

The stabilization in and of itself doesn't make the Osmo stand out from other phone gimbals. What makes the Osmo Mobile different is the DJI Go mobile app. Once you connect your phone to the Osmo via Bluetooth, the app gives you full control over the camera and a couple extras to take advantage of the stabilizer.

One of those is ActiveTrack, a feature borrowed from DJI's drones, which lets you follow a subject simply by drawing a box around it with your finger. Once it locks on, the gimbal will pan and tilt automatically to keep the subject in your shot.


ActiveTrack uses the gimbal's motors to keep your phone's camera on the subject you choose.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Another feature, this time taken from DJI's Osmo cameras, is Motion Timelapse. Instead of the static timelapse clips you can capture with other cameras, the Osmo Mobile lets you capture the passing of time while the camera tilts and pans through a scene at the places you choose.

The Osmo Mobile can also take high-resolution panoramas by snapping nine photos as it pans across a scene and then stitches the shots together. The Go app will let you live stream to YouTube and -- thanks to the stabilization -- take handheld long-exposure shots.

On top of that, you get physical controls like a joystick for panning and tilting the camera and separate record and shutter release buttons. The joystick is customizable, too, with adjustments for sensitivity as well as inverting pan and tilt, or locking it to only do one or the other. You can also just manually move the camera with your hand into position so you can set your shot just right.

DJI Osmo Mobile more than just another phone gimbal (pictures)

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A trigger on the front falls under your forefinger. Press and hold it and the camera locks position so you can raise and lower your hand while the camera stays aimed on your subject. Double-click the trigger and it centers the camera, while a triple tap switches your phone from the back camera to the front for selfies on the fly.

Though there is no tripod mount built into the grip, there is an accessory mount on the left side that works with an extension rod, which in turn can be mounted on a tripod. DJI also sells bike and vehicle mounts that can potentially turn your phone into a stabilized action camera.

A removable battery in the handgrip is rated for up to 4.5 hours of use and can be fully charged in 2.5 hours. An extra battery runs $35, £28 or AU$59.

I'm still testing out the Osmo Mobile. But so far it's an impressive device and it's competitively priced against other gimbals that don't offer nearly the same amount of features.