Hey gang, Valkor here. Whilst in the Val-cave, I always enjoy testing out new and fun products whenever the chance presents itself. It’s cool because I get to share it with you guys and hope that it might spark some interest. Next up on the TOV chopping block comes from a new company Zhiyun. And they’ve got something for you travelers, influencers, or anyone who enjoys shooting video or taking pics. Check it out, it’s the Smooth X Smartphone Gimbal. And I wish I had one of these on my many trips to Japan because it’s pretty awesome.
When you first open the box, the Smooth X comes already folded. Given its compact size, it can easily slip inside most bags or a small, protective carrying case. Unfolded, the Smooth X is a 2-axis gimbal attached to a 10.2-inch selfie stick. At its base, you have a joy controller that can pan and tilt your camera. Below that, you have your record/shoot button (with the red dot), and next to that is your mode button. With the mode button, you have different options depending on how you will film/shoot. A single press will change to whether the gimbal will hold still or follow when you make a turn. And a double-tap of the button will put your phone into portrait or landscape mode. Finally, on the right side of the base, you have a zoom in/out button. Also, if you need to check the battery life of the device, you’ll find indicator lights and a power button on the gimbal part. The Smooth X connects to your phone via Bluetooth. Once connected, you can either use your phone’s native camera app, which you can use also use the gimbal’s controls minus the zoom in/out button. But to get the full experience, you’ll want to download the ZY Cami app.
The ZY Cami app gives you full use of the gimbal and then some. First up, there are some tutorials that show you how to use and make the most of your Smooth X. Next, there’s my favorite–the video filters aka “smart mode”, where you can choose one of five presets, stringing pieces of film together into a short clip at various angles. The video example below makes use of the “breathtaking” mode, which was shot in Downtown Jersey City. You can also use the app to edit your vids as well post to a social media network within the app (I never used this feature). Thankfully, your videos and pics are available outside of the app, so you can post them wherever you like (the videos come with a watermark). Finally, there’s a gesture control feature that will allow you to use certain hand movements to control the Smooth X; for instance, you can make the “peace” sign and it’ll put you as the focus so that the camera will keep you in focus. However, for this option to work best, you’ll want to use a tripod. The gimbal doesn’t come with one, but there is a port so you can install one in at the bottom of the device.
I’m not a true photographer, but I enjoy taking pics and vids wherever I travel. Now, I was never a fan of selfie sticks. But using a gimbal is an entirely different experience. And after spending some time with the Zhiyun Smooth X, I can jump the gun and say I’ll keep this one handy for my future travels and events because it’s pretty amazing! But first, let’s see how well the gimbal fared in the TOV Breakdown!
The Bang: Using the Zhiyun Smooth X was something new for me, and yet I had more fun than I should have. First up, it’s easy to set up and use; Actually, unfolding it initially took some care because I feared I might do too much and break the thing in half before I could get going. But when you’ve done it once, it’s a piece of cake afterward. It has a great compact design (when folded) so it’s mad portable. And it’s easy to use, with or without the app. And speaking of which, the ZY Cami app really brings the fun in taking pics and video. And I especially love the smart mode which gives your videos something of a cinematic feel to them. I wish there were more filters to play with, which may or may not be included in future updates of the app. But the app has more than enough to bring out your best. There are a few hiccups in that area, but not enough to detract you from using the device. Whether you want to show off your pics or let the influencer in you shine, then I recommend picking up Zhiyun Smooth X gimbal. It’s simple, easy to use and a whole mess of fun!
The Slack: So I have a couple of objections, just a couple. First up, sometimes the Smooth X would not connect to my phone, even though it was connected to Bluetooth. And by this I mean, when connected, and I’d push the mode button, the gimbal would not respond. This didn’t happen often, but just enough that it was noticeable. Next, the video taken through the app is a bit jittery, which you can see in the sample vids. It’s not a deal-breaker with me because the vids still come out well. But I’m hoping in future app updates it can smooth this out.
If you’re interested in adding a little flair and some style to your pics and vids, then you’ll want to look into Zhiyun Smooth X Smartphone gimbal. It’s so easy to use and loads of fun. Plus, it comes at an affordable price. Interested? Give that link to the right a click to learn more about this and much more. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving the Smooth X a 4. And it’s been Valkor tested, TOV Approved!