Tired of shaky videos? A smartphone gimbal is the key to stabilizing your clips and can help you achieve smooth shooting. Finding the right one can be a challenging task, though. Giants like DJI and Zhiyun are taking the market by storm, but there are a few smaller names worth considering. Today, we’re doing just that with our Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus review. Let’s find out if it’s the right fit for your camera bag.
What you need to know about the Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus
- Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus: $89/£109
The Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus targets the mid-end smartphone gimbal market. It’s not quite as expensive as premium products like the Zhiyun Smooth 4 or the DJI Osmo Mobile 4, but it’s also not cheap at $89. At this price point, Hohem aims to find a balance between price and performance. This gimbal competes closely with the likes of the Moza Mini S Essential and the Feiyutech Vimble 2S.
This device is still graced by three-axis stabilization. This means the unit can keep tilt, roll, and pan smooth. It has a 1,800mAh battery that can keep the device alive for 12 hours, reaching full charge in approximately 3.5 hours. The product weighs 490g and measures 50 x 100 x 200mm. Its max payload is rated at 280g and the mount supports devices measuring 58-89mm in width. The Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus is available only in black.
The Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus looks very low-key, but it packs quite a bit of value under that modest design. Payload weight limit is usually a concern with stabilizers, but that’s not the case here. Devices like the Zhiyun Smooth 4 and Feiyutech Vimble 2S struggle to hold heavier smartphones like the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The Moza Mini S Essential and the DJI OM3 (260g and 230g, respectively) are two off-the-shelf examples of smartphone gimbals that can take a fair amount of weight. Yet, they are both blown out of the water by the Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus’ 280g payload capacity.
I also loved that the stabilizer offered a lot of freedom of movement. Its mount can pan a mighty 600 degrees. Rolling and tilting are limited to 320 degrees, which is very good when stacked against most competitors. This level of versatility makes the accessory much more manageable, allowing you to capture more unique angles and scenes. Not to mention it’s something even the high-end smartphone stabilizers lack. The $100 Zhiyun Smooth 4 is considered to be pretty good at this, with 300-degree panning and 240-degree rolling/tilting. These pale in comparison to Hohem’s specs.
Battery life is promised up to industry standards at 12 hours on a full charge. This was true of our testing as I used it for a total of eight hours across three days and still had some juice to spare.
The button layout is remarkably straightforward and functional. The joystick lets you move the smartphone camera around. There’s a zoom/focus rocker on the left. A couple extra buttons let you power/record and switch modes. There’s also a trigger button you can hold to enter sports mode or double press to re-center the phone. It’s a minimal layout to learn, and the most complicated part is likely memorizing the four shooting modes: Pan follow (PF), Pan and Tilt Follow (PTF), All Lock mode (AL), and All Follow (AF). All other functions are within the app.
I am not a huge fan of the app as it’s very temperamental. That said, the main layout is pretty clean and all features are accessible with a few taps. Some features are only accessible via the app, such as object tracking.
The facial recognition and tracking support works like a charm. The 600-degree panning capability made it very easy for the unit to follow me wherever I went. Other features within the Hohem Gimbal app include panorama, time-lapse, motion time-lapse, hyper-lapse, slow-motion, and more. There’s plenty to experiment with.
Stabilization is smooth and fast and up to par with the best out there. This comes as no surprise given it has motors powerful enough to carry 280g devices.
What’s not so good?
The most obvious downside is build quality. It’s made of cheap plastic with a rubberized palm rest on the front and a small and flimsy tripod. The entire experience just lacks the quality you come to expect from the main competitors. There’s also no lock for the arms and holder, so the arms will just swing and flap around. To put it simply, the design leaves a lot to be desired.
In addition, the zoom button feature doesn’t offer a smooth experience. Zooming is jittery and frequently lagged, which doesn’t look good if used mid-video.
Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus review: Should I buy it?
I came into this review with few expectations. I was left surprised by what the Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus can do for $89. It may look and feel like a low-quality product at times, but the device performs just as well as the most expensive smartphone gimbals. In fact, it trumps them in certain areas, such as payload, panning limits, and following performance.
The Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus performs like a high-end smartphone gimbal, but costs as much as the mid-tier ones.
There are plenty of fun features such as face tracking, object tracking, and plenty of shooting modes. Video quality is pleasant from the app too. Then there are filters, panorama, and multiple types of time-lapse options. It’s a very full package for the price. The Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus performs like a high-end smartphone gimbal, but costs as much as the mid-tier ones.