DJI and Zhiyun are the two giants in the smartphone gimbal market, but they’re definitely not alone. There are some smaller names that offer quality stabilizers and Moza is one of the main ones. Today we’re taking a look at the Moza Mini S Essential smartphone gimbal. Is it good enough to sway you away from the big-name competition? Find out in this Moza Mini S Essential review.
See also: The best smartphone gimbals you can buy
What you need to know about the Moza Mini S Essential
- Moza Mini S Essential (Mini-SE): $79/£89/€89
The Moza Mini S Essential targets the mid-end smartphone gimbal market with a price that is lower than giants like the Zhiyun Smooth 4, DJI Osmo Mobile 3, and DJI Osmo Mobile 4. It’s no cheap knock-off, though, and you can see that reflected in its spec sheet. For example, there’s three-axis stabilization (pan, tilt, and roll), which isn’t a guarantee with affordable stabilizers.
The 2,200mAh battery is rated for eight hours, and should charge in 1.5 hours. The product weighs 498g and measures 116 x 95 x 317mm unfolded (130 x 68 x 195mm folded). Its max payload is rated at 260g and the mount supports devices measuring 58-88mm in width. The Moza Mini S Essential is only available in black.
I was ecstatic to find out that this smartphone stabilizer can carry a reasonable amount of weight. The Zhiyun Smooth 4 has a maximum capacity of 210g, while the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 can only hold 200g. The DJI Osmo Mobile 4 gets closer at about 230g, but that costs nearly twice the price. Other stabilizers I’ve tested had trouble holding larger, heavier devices like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which was something the Moza Mini S had no issues with.
Battery life, while not among the best of its kind, is also pretty good for the price you are paying. This unit is estimated to operate for eight hours on a single charge. I tested the device for about six hours over the course of a week and still have battery to spare.
One thing that also left a good impression was the design. The device has an off-centered, yet balanced body that is very unique. It’s not just for looks either, as the odd delineation makes for a more ergonomic grip with an angle and forward-leaning weight. The best way to describe it is that you can hold it like you would a firearm. This is great for long video shoots, as the straight-up stance and flat surface of other gimbals can cause some joint strain with prolonged use. It’s also very convenient to be able to fold up the device into a super-portable size. Even the box it comes in is way smaller than your usual gimbal enclosure.
Stabilization is smooth and fast. The Moza Mini S Essential can keep up with fast movements, which is always a plus for action clips. It lacked that jittery movement you see in lower-end gimbals, making for pleasant results. The lack of buttons also makes the experience very simple to learn and get used to. There are also cinematic presets you can use to get cool angles and effects within the app. Also included is the ability to track objects, use gestures, add filters, shoot in slow motion, create time-lapses, and more.
What’s not so good?
The Moza app — it’s not great. In all fairness, I have yet to try a gimbal application I actually like as they all seem confusing and oddly put together. The Moza Mini S Essential is no exception. You have to manually connect to the device each time you access the app, the shooting mode barrel seems to overlap the recording button, half the icons aren’t self-explanatory — there’s definitely a learning curve to this app.
While stabilization and performance are great, there is a limiting factor to the Moza Mini S Essential. It doesn’t have much freedom of movement. The unit can pan 270-degrees, roll 315-degrees, and tilt 200-degrees. This may seem reasonable on paper, but I found myself constantly reaching the limits, especially during object tracking. You pretty much always have to point the gimbal in the general direction of your subject. Move a little too much in any direction and you might hit a limit.
Build quality is pretty good for the price, but the more expensive competitors certainly beat it by a stretch. The Moza Mini S Essential feels like it’s made of slightly cheaper plastic, and button feedback is not as reassuring as we would hope.
Moza Mini S Essential review: Should I buy it?
The Moza Mini S Essential isn’t perfect, but it strikes a great balance between price and value. Not to mention it may be the best option for those with heavier smartphones, thanks to its outstanding 260g payload limit. Stabilization is great, battery life extends further than most users will need, and controls are simple. The design is very unique and comfortable too, which could make it a better bet for long shooting sessions.
The Moza Mini S Essential strikes a great balance between price and value.
Considering all the benefits and touting a price tag that is over $20 less than its closest competitors, it’s easy to overlook some of the downsides, such as the lack of freedom of movement and slightly less premium build quality. Regardless, the Moza Mini S Essentials covers the essentials (it’s in the name after all) and it does so very well.