smooth q review

Today, we are going to review on ZhiYun’s latest gimbal, the Smooth-Q.

Smooth-Q move like moviewsOverview

Recently, ZhiYun released it newest gimbal which they called Smooth-Q, which is the successor of the Smooth 2. When I first saw it, I was quite shocked because it is a 3-axis gimbal that is able to be used for both smartphone and camera and surprisingly it is lower than 150USD.

If you do not know what a gimbal is or what to know more about it, I have written a elaborate post, discussing the types of gimbals, how it works and many more information about gimbals which you can check out by clicking here.

Features

Real Time Device Charging (5V, 2A)

smooth-q mobile charging on the go The Smooth-Q comes with a unique feature that allows your device, be it phone or camera to be charged via usb at 5V, 2A which is the average output for a power bank, during filming. However, many users have reported that charging is not possible while filming especially when using a large phone like the iPhone 7 Plus because there is no excess space for the cable to fit in and also due to the unevenness of the phone, there would sometimes be stabilising issues. Having said that, action cameras in general have no problem whatsoever because it is small and compact enough.

Another thing to note about the smooth q is that its battery capacity, of 3400mAh, is tremendously large as compared to other gimbals in the market, for instance the DJI Osmo Mobile which has only 980 mAh. Thus, it is definitely capable of charging your device on the go and you shouldn’t worry about it running out quickly.

Portrait, Landscape Mode

smooth q landscape and portrait orientationThe Smooth Q also features both landscape and portrait position for your device. Though this is not something that camera users use, and more for something phone users would tend to do more often, I feel it will be useful especially when it comes to social medias, like Snapchat, Instagram, etc.

As mentioned above, some users reported that larger phones have problem charging while filming. However, when the device is held in portrait mode, there would be surely be sufficient space to charge while using.

Standard Tripod Mount

Smooth-Q Bottom MountSimilar to the DJI Osmo Mobile, there is a 1/4″ standard thread mount that can mount the gimbal onto any thing such as tripods or stands, which you could use if you were to use the panorama or time-lapse mode to stabilize the gimbal so that it won’t fall.

Controls

smooth-q panels controls

Panning CVT Joystick

The panning stick on the top right is for panning and adjusting the camera position into your likings. However, many users have reported that it is quite laggy and can be quite a hassle especially when you want to take panning shots for panorama, etc. Otherwise, it performs very nicely and accurately and also has magnitude scrolling, ie. scrolling a little will pan slowly and vice versa.

W-T Slider

As you can see from the WT slider, there are 2 ends, one W another T, which by the way stands for Wide Angle and Telephoto respectively. This provides zooming for your phone when you use the application.

However, one crucial downside of this feature in the Smooth-Q is that it zooms in by interval and not gradually, hence I feel that it is really not usable unless you are deliberately making that effect.

On-Off, Start-Stop Button

The button with the red dot in the bottom left is in-charged of switching on and off the gimbal. It can also start and stop recording for the ZhiYun Camera or ZhiYun Assistant App (Android/IOS). Switching on and off is done by pressing and holding whereas starting and stopping for recording is simply done by pressing.

Shooting Modes:

The button at the top left is for you to change the mode you are currently in.

smoothq different axis, pan, roll and tilt axis

There are 3 modes, pan following modes, locking mode and following mode. 

For Pan Following Mode, the device will pan following the movement of the stabilizer. However, the tilt and roll axis are locked. Tilt and roll axis can be controlled by joystick manually.

For Locking mode, all axis are locked, keeping the camera stable and pointing in one direction. All axis can be controlled by joystick manually.

Lastly, for the Following mode, all axis are unlocked and the device will smoothly follow the movement of the stabilizer. Joystick can be used  to manually control the device.

A slight disappointment of this would be that you have no reference as to which mode you are in and hence, sometimes it might get a little confusing.

Smartphone App

ZhiYun Assitant App HomepageThe app is called ZhiYun Assistant App which is available for Android and IOS and it is done by connecting the phone to the gimbal through bluetooth.

It allows the user to alter several camera functions that most gimbals apps have such as the camera ISO, exposure and white balance. Also, app is generally very user-friendly and easy to use.

A lot of gimbals that I have encountered with had problems connecting and thus I thought that this would be quite a headache to connect, but the connection really seamless and reliable and most importantly, very easy to connect with no problems at all.

Face and Object Tracking

This is a unique feature that only a few gimbals have and I thought it was quite cool for ZhiYun to include in Smooth Q.

Many users have reported about the tracking being only decent and not excellent because the tracking isn’t very good and sometimes it just stops tracking. Furthermore, this problem mostly lies in IOS, not Android. I think it has something to do with the limit of the operating system and I hope that they will fix it soon.

Specs

Battery and Life:

26650mAh

8 Hours continuous stabilizing without device charging

2 Hours to fully Charge

Axis Rotation:

Pan: 360˚

Pitch: 320˚ (-135˚ to 185˚)

Roll: 320˚ (-30˚ to 30˚)

Weight:

440g (15.5 oz)

Maximum Supported Weight For Device:

220g

Colours: 

Black, Gold, Space Grey, Rose Gold – Really reminds me of the colour scheme for the iPhone

Operating Temperature Range:

-15˚C to 45˚C

Durability:

Splash-Proof

Ports:

Input – MicroUSB for Charging of Gimbal

Output – USB for charging or powering the device

Included Accessories: 

MicroUSB cable

Carry Case

English Manual

Using Together With An Action Camera

Action Cams on Smooth-Q thieye t5e yi 4k
Thieye T5e & Yi 4K Action Cams on Smooth-Q

You can simply attach your action cam to the holder. However, although it is tight enough, it isn’t super tight & stable. So if you were thinking to bring it to fast moving places such as roller coaster rides or holding while running, you might want to consider getting an adapter for it.

gopro, action camera adapter for smooth-q
Left: PGYTech Right: iKnowTech

If you own a GoPro, SJCAM, Eken or any other similar build cameras, you can buy the iKnowTech adapter at about 12 USD from Amazon, or the PGY adapter at 17 USD from BangGood.

Smooth-Q Vs Vimble C

ZhiYun Smooth-Q FeiYu Vimble C
vimble c vs smooth-q vimble-c vs smooth-q
Rolling and Tilting Axis: 320˚ Panning Axis: 360˚ Panning, Tilting and Rolling axis: 320˚
Requires separate adapter for action camera Comes with foam pads for action camera
12 hours battery life 5 hours battery life
Maximum Load: 200g Maximum Load: 220g
Object and Face Tracking Face Tracking
Cannot use while charging Can use while charging
Able to charge other devices Unable to charge other devices

Best Places To Buy The Smooth-Q Gimbal

Best Buy Link

Summary

Build Quality

The gimbal I feel is really well-built, with metal casings on the top where the rotation occurs and the buttons and slider felt very solid.

However, one thing that I noticed was that the holder or the grip was made of plastic which felt a little weak to me. Having said that, it should be nothing to worry about as there is a hard shell case which comes together with the gimbal to protect it. Thus, I feel this is a commendable thing done by ZhiYun.

The gimbal can definitely handle large phones, such as iPhone 7 Plus, as they claim that it can handle phones or devices up to 6 inches. With that said, if you wish to put some other accessories, such as an external microphone or another lens, you have to bear in mind the additional weight caused by that as it can only handle about 50g worth of accessories if used together with a iPhone 7 Plus. (Gimbal can only handle up to 220g)

Stabilization

As for the stabilization, after seeing the footages, I have to say it praiseworthy because at half the price of normal 3 axis gimbals, such as the DJI Osmo Mobile, I feel that the stabilization is the same if not better than that of its counterpart.

Lastly, is it worth?

To me, it is definitely worth and a good gimbal to have and purchase because it costs only about $140 and no where have I seen something like this at this price point. I feel it is a good entry level gimbal, be it whether you are using it for your smartphone or action camera.

Another thing I want to point out would be that it is able to charge your device on the go, and this is especially useful for me because my action camera that I use, the Eken H9R or action cameras in general runs out of battery pretty quickly and I feel this is a good feature to have, to ensure I am able to film the whole day without having to worry about it suddenly dying.

I would be mostly using this for my action camera and more rarely on my phone because I like the general feel and wide FOV of action cameras. Also, my phone doesn’t usually have much storage left,  (I use a iPhone 6S by the way) and therefore I would prefer to use my camera.

**Disclaimer: I do not own this product but I have used and tried it before who belongs to a friend who owns one .**


That’s it for my review of the ZhiYun Smooth-Q gimbal. If there is anything else you wish to know about, or anything you want to discuss, please feel free to drop a comment down below and I’ll be sure to reply to it! Thank you for reading and have a nice day. 🙂

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20 Comments

  1. This looks like an awesome gimbal for beginners with many useful features. The 3-axis looks like it would definitely come in handy as well as its higher capacity battery. I think this is a great choice and a nice step-up from the Smooth 2 as you mentioned. I like the idea of using this with a GoPro as well!

    1. Yes I totally agree with you. Anyways, thanks for reading and have a nice day!

  2. Hey,
    I think that the Gimbal is a good buy from reading your review. When I am video recording with my iPhone and my battery be low, I need a quick charge or to be charging while recording if possible. The Gimbal does just that and more. I think this would be a good buy. Thanks for the review. It really does makes the buying process easier.

    1. Hi Kendrick. Glad you find the post helpful.

  3. I never imagined that this type of product could develop in this way, now if I think that could use it every time I go out with my wife and for the professionals of the photograph is very helpful. I love it. It looks very professional, but it’s simple.
    thanks!

    1. Hi I totally agree with you, never imagined it could too. Anyways, glad this post helped. 🙂

  4. I am really new to the action cam, gimbal, and accessories market although I am starting to do some research on what to buy as my next website project will require a good camera for making films. This particular gimbal sounds like a pretty good deal at around $150. You did a really good job explaining the pors and cons of this device. Is there one gimbal in particular that you would recommend over others?

    1. I actually really recommend the Smooth-Q gimbal because it is very worth for its price under 150. I generally like things not too expensive and hence the only gimbals I can recommend which does a decent job would be the ZhiYun Smooth Q, which is what this review is about and the Vimble C by FeiYu (will write a review on it once everything’s finalised) because both are the only ones I feel decent for its price.

  5. “battery capacity, of 26650 mAh, is tremendously large” That is the Battery Type 26650 and the capacity of Smooth-Q is 3400 mAh.

    1. Thanks for pointing this out!

  6. I have question: In order to use the joy stick, zoom functions, etc. ; do you need to use the ZhiYun App or can I use another App and still retain these functions?

    1. Hi, it’s only available with the ZhiYun App.
      However, I’ve heard of others who uses other apps to control? What app are you thinking of using with?

  7. I just received mine today and even though I only used it for 30 minutes I’m very impressed. Can’t wait to make my first video with it next week and put it up on YouTube!

    1. Wow, that’s great to hear! What’s your Youtube channel? I Will be looking forward to it!

  8. Hi, awesome stuff here, thank you for this. Would like to hear about your experience using it with an action cam, has there been any issues so far?

    1. Hi James, so far not much. It used to have some calibration issues but after the firmware update, it’s all really stable.
      The only problem I can think of that still persists is that rarely, the app crashes randomly.

  9. Hi, I have a GoPro Hero 4, planning to get the Smooth Q. Is it possible to use the tracking mode?
    Great sharing btw.

    1. Hi Peter. Thanks for your feedback.
      The tracking mode is only available if you use your smartphone. Hence, it’s not possible to use tracking mode on your Hero 4.

  10. Hi can i use this with the phone’s default camera app? Does the stabilization work if i use other apps than the zhiyun app? How is this gimbal for the occasional still photos?

    1. Sure, there wouldn’t be any problem using the default camera app. The stabilization will still work.
      What do you mean by occasional still photos though?

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