Even though it is very recent a stabilizer, we had the chance to test it just after its factory release. As you’ll see all along during this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review, this gimbal for smartphone is really one of our favorites. It is the premium version of the Zhiyun Smooth Q which was also released recently. This one is aimed at being in competition with the DJI Osmo Mobile, the smartphone gimbal which currently ranks first in our ranking. The subject of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review is way more robust and reliable than its predecessors and offers quite a few very interesting functions and assets. In order to discover all its strengths, let’s start this in-depth Zhiyun Smooth 3 review in which we’ll look into our 6 usual criteria.
Zhiyun Smooth 3 review : the battery life is even better than the Smooth Q’s
Let’s start this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review, as always, with its awesome battery life. Whereas the “low cost” version already offered an insane battery life of 12 hours, this one goes even further. Indeed, you’ll have up to 14 hours of running time with this smartphone gimbal. Therefore, you’ll have any trouble at filming all day long, without taking care of your battery. Thanks to its 3.600mAh battery, the subject of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review is really the best we’ve tried in terms of running time. During our test, we didn’t have the time to really see if it lasts 14 hours but, as we had seen that the Smooth Q lasted 10 hours, we’re pretty confident that the given information are correct.
Like its little brother, the Smooth Q, this one enables you to recharge your smartphone while in use. This is something we really enjoyed during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review and we’re sure that you’ll too ! It is very important, according to us, to be able to recharge your phone while you are using it. Indeed, nowadays, our smartphones unfortunately do not offer a very good battery life. Therefore, there would be no point in having 14 hours of battery life if you’re phone gives up on you after 2 hours of video shooting. At the end of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review (which lasted approximately 5 hours, while recharging the phone) we still had half of our battery left. Well, you can understand it, the battery life is definitely a real asset of this smartphone gimbal. Therefore, we gave it a 10/10 without any hesitation in our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review.
As always, this manufacturer really does well as far as battery life is concerned. This is not the first time (and certainly not the last) that we note that real strength. If you take, for instance, the Zhiyun Evolution, the Gopro gimbal, it also offers an awesome battery life of approximately 12 hours. Today, Zhiyun’s gimbals really want to stand as THE leaders on the market, even though the competition is pretty hard with DJI, Feiyu, EVO,… The next section of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review will be about the quality and reliability of this premium smartphone gimbal.
Close look at the Zhiyun Smooth 3. Elaborately engineered by Zhiyun using top-grade aluminum material processed through high-precision CNC machining, the Smooth 3 makes your cellphone a professional device for serious content creation.Feel free to join and share your ideas in the "Zhiyun Smooth-Ⅲ Global" Group, if you're interested with it: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1819561391699791/
Publié par Zhiyun-tech sur samedi 8 avril 2017
A way better quality and reliability than the Smooth Q
The first thing that surprised us at the beginning of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review was the quality of the product. Indeed, as you could see in our Smooth Q review, we were a bit disappointed with the quality…even though its price is really really competitive. Here, it is totally different. As soon as we took it out of its box to start our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review, we were with a very solid and robust stabilizer which really did impress us at first sight. Once in our hands, we really felt like this was not a low cost product at all and we managed to confirm that all along during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review.
First, contrary to the “Q” version, this smartphone gimbal is made up of very high-quality aluminium in order to ensure robustness and lightness. This is definitely a very light gimbal but this has no consequence on the weight it can carry. Indeed, you’ll be able to support smartphones up to 0,57lbs, which is very impressive. This is further evidence of its very good quality. Therefore, you won’t have any trouble at fixing your iPhone 7 Plus (or any equivalent) on it.
As far as the support for your smartphone is concerned, we were very impressed during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review by its strength. Indeed, it holds your phone very well and you have no reason to be scared to see your phone falling down. We tried to push it very hard during our test and nothing moved. Trust us, this is very convincing ! As always, this really mattered for us during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. As you’ll be able to see at the end of this review, further evidence of the quality of this stabilizer is its “water resistance”. We will have time to come back on this later during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review when we’ll be at the functions section.
In the end, as you can see, we really enjoyed this product for its quality. Yet, it is still not as good as THE reference, the DJI Osmo Mobile. Therefore, we graded it with a 8.5/10 in our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. As you’ll see in the next section of our review, it also offers one of, if not THE best stabilization for your smartphone you may find.
An almost perfect stabilization
Third part of this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review, the quality of the stabilization. As far as this is concerned, you’re bound to be very very satisfied. As a matter of fact, its 3 brushless motors really do well at stabilizing your videos. You’ll get a very smooth and stabilized image which is very close to perfection. Unless you are very very meticulous, you won’t find any vibration in your videos. There is almost nothing to say about it in this section of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review.
What we particularly enjoyed during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review was the significant effort the manufacturer did to offer even better motors. In fact, they offer a better performance than the other versions. For instance, the rotation speed has been improved by 40% and the reactivity by 35%. On paper, it’s very nice. In reality, it is even better ! Indeed, we really managed to notice the difference during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review and their very fast reactivity was so damn pleasant ! If you wish to do fast moves, you’ll really enjoy this 3-axis handheld smartphone stabilizer. Yet, if you want to do very slow and smooth videos, it is, of course, also possible ! Indeed, the motors perfectly react to every single moves you’ll do. There is nothing else to say than : we loved it !
All in all, we were so convinced by its stabilization. This is for this reason that we graded it with a 9.3/10 in our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. The grade is not better because better is perfection. Hence our little margin that we always keep if ever there is a smartphone gimbal which gives us an even better performance. For the time being, this is definitely the best stabilization we have tested for a smartphone. For Gopro gimbals, the Removu S1 or Gopro Karma Grip managed to offer something even better, but these are two distinct product families. In the next section of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review, we’ll look into the numerous and very innovative functions that you’ll find with this smartphone gimbal.
The very innovative and interesting functions
As always our 4th criterion of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review is about the different functions it has to offer. The manufacturer did not only improve the quality, reliability and the stabilization. Indeed, it has also developed some very interesting new functions. The first we want to talk about in this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review is the fact the there is now a little wheel on the side on the grip of your smartphone gimbal. The latter enables you to modify the exposure, the ISO, the white balance, the focus or the shutter speed. Well, you’ll really be able to modify your image to get the perfect one, and, we have to admit that we really did enjoy that during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. Thanks to this very good innovation, we’re now in control of the image we are shooting.
We did not have as much time as we would have wanted to do our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. Yet, we really managed to see that the manufacturer really worked hard to enable us to personalize our videos and photos. As a matter of fact, you’ll be able to modify, directly from your grip, some video and photo settings or the many control parameters of your gimbal.
Like the “Q” version, this one also enables you to shoot horizontally AND vertically. This is something very likable and we really enjoyed it during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. Indeed, nowadays, shooting in vertical is really frequent (Facetime, internet tutorials,…). In order to do so, you’ll just have to unscrew the little wheel which is in the back of your gimbal and turn it 90° on the side.
Of course, we also were very pleased to have the “usual” functions that we are now used to see in our reviews. As a matter of fact, you’ll find a panoramic mode, Time Lapses, long exposures and many more. The Time Lapse really pleased us during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. The same goes for the panoramic mode which does very well thanks to the very good 3 brushless motors.
An other function, which is less frequent is also present here : the Follow mode. Like what DJI does with the DJI Osmo Mobile or Feiyu with the Feiyu SPG Live, you’ll be able to ask your phone (and your stabilizer) to follow a face or an object. The follow is really fast and efficient and we really wanted to talk about it in this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. Indeed, contrary to the Feiyu SPG Live which only follows faces, this one is able to follow everything (like the DJI Osmo Mobile).
Finally, the last function that we already swiftly mentioned in the beginning of this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review is the fact that it can work under light rain or splashes. Definitely, this is not a waterproof smartphone gimbal (and, anyway, the smartphones never are), but it can work under a light rain. Of course, don’t try to go in your swimming pool with it or you might be very (badly) surprised. Unfortunately, for the time being, this very interesting function is not very useful as 99% of the smartphones are not water resistant. Yet, we wanted to notice it in this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review.
In the end, our grade for this section of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review is 9.2/10. The next category we’ll look into will be the taking in hand and controlling of this smartphone gimbal.
The taking in hand and controlling
Let’s start by the weakness that disappointed us, one more time, during this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. Indeed, as many many of its competitors, the grip is, one more time, a bit too short according to us. Furthermore, it is an almost “straight” grip, meaning that, contrary to the DJI Osmo Mobile which has a very good shape (even if it is also short), this gimbal is quite hasard to take in hand. Hopefully, you’ll be able to add an extension as for many other smartphone gimbals. Still, we would really have enjoyed to find a longer grip, like, for instance, the one on the Zhiyun Evolution, the Gopro gimbal stabilizer.
As far as controlling is concerned, let’s start by the beginning : fixing your smartphone on your gimbal. This step is really simple and our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review is really positive as far as this is concerned. In fact, you’ll only have to set your phone on its support and adjust the balance thanks to the very intelligent balance system. We remind you, as we’ve never said it in this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review, that you should never switch the motors on if your smartphone is not fixed on your gimbal. Indeed, this would badly deteriorate the functioning of your 3 brushless motors.
The controlling of this gimbal is really easy. Indeed, the buttons work really well and you’ll easily manage to switch from one mode to the other. We had noting to complain about during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. Also, you’ll easily adjust the settings and the exposure thanks to the very innovative new wheel. Let’s remind you the different modes. The default one will block the vertical axis. That means that your horizon will always be at the same level, no matter what you do. This is not the mode we used to most during our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. In order to switch to the second mode, you’ll have to hit once the “m” button. This will enable you to follow your horizontal and vertical moves. Finally, by hitting twice the “m” button, your gimbal will rotate 180° to turn to selfie mode.
What we also really enjoy with the smartphone gimbal which is the subject of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review is the fact that you’ll be able to start/stop a video directly from your grip just by hitting one button. You don’t need to touch your smartphone at any moment thanks to the very comprehensive grip. With it, you really do control everything. Be it the image settings or the video recording, everything is so easy !
Let’s finish this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review with a point that disappointed us a little. The mobile application doesn’t work very well for the time being. We truly hope that the next update will improve this, because, for now, it’s not usable. Hopefully, this is something really easy to fix and we have no doubt that Zhiyun will correct it shortly. In the end, we gave it a 7.9/10 in this section of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. This pretty “bad” grade is due to the very short grip and the very bad mobile application (but this can be fixed). Without wasting any more second, discover the conclusion of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review with the price of the smartphone stabilizer.
Conclusion of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review
Here we are, already concluding this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review. As we’ve said in the beginning, this is really a premium smartphone gimbal. There is really a huge gap between this version and the “Q” version which is twice cheaper. In the end, this product is kind of expensive for a Zhiyun product, but we understand the reasons. Indeed, it’s currently 300$ approximately. This is the price of the DJI Osmo Mobile (depending on the days, it moves a little). Therefore, our grade for this section of our Zhiyun Smooth 3 review is 8.3/10. This is definitely THE competitor for the DJI Osmo Mobile. Let the battle start !
Just below, discover a summary of the strengths (Pros) and weaknesses (Cons) we have presented during this Zhiyun Smooth 3 review.
- Pros : The battery life, the tracking mode, the 360° rotation on the pan axis, the very good stabilization, the wheel to adjust the image and quite a few parameters and the quality and reliability.
- Cons : The price, the mobile application and the grip which is a bit too short.