A smartphone gimbal will dramatically improve the quality of your mobile video footage, simply by smoothing out any shakiness that’s typical with handheld filming.
Pop in your phone, switch on and you get all the quality of true mechanical image stabilisation. More akin to professional film making than shakey snapshots on your phone.
Mobile stabilisers have improved in the last year with the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 and now the FeiyuTech VLOGpocket.
These may just be two products from a crowded market but they stand out due to decent design and build quality.
But, while the core of what they do is very similar the two are very different. The Osmo Mobile 3 is excellent, but some might say slightly over-engineered and still despite the foldaway design a little bulky.
The FeiyuTech VLOGpocket, on the other hand, is compact, lightweight and while it may not have the directional control of the OSMO Mobile 3 it still offers outstanding stabilisation performance.
For most users, the simplicity of use and slender design will be a deciding factor alongside the price. But with the price point close to the OSMO Mobile 3 can the VLOGpocket challenge the market leader?
Smartphone stabiliser / www.feiyutech.com / £99 / $99 at time of review
I’m a big user of gimbal stabilisers and it all started with the Steadicam Merlin. It was tricky to use but the effect, after a few attempts was amazing, I loved it, but then I came across the DJI Ronin.
It was the first motorised gimbal stabiliser I’d seen, and since then I’ve invested. I have the GoPro’s Karma Grip, SJCAMs Gimbal and a variety of other stabilisers for Mirrorless and DSLR and I use them frequently.
But, when it comes to my Smartphone I take pictures and sometimes video, but not that often.
Footage from my Smartphone is excellent but it’s always shaky, which is 100% down to me, and I have in the past looked at stabilisers but always felt that they were just a touch too big, even the OSMO Mobile 3
Now the FeiyuTech VLOGpocket has arrived, it’s small, lightweight and simple and could well be my ideal.
The simple design of the FeiyuTech VLOGpocket might be minimalistic but inside it packs in the features. It doesn’t have all the buttons and slick design of the OSMO Mobile 3, but what it does have is practical usability.
The gimbal comes in two parts, the main gimbal that houses all the electronics with the smartphone clamp at the top, and then there’s the small screw in a tripod.
The entire device folds down small, just 22cm in length with the tripod attached or just 14.5cm without and weighs in at 319g. Feiyutech quote 272g on their website, that’s the weight without the tripod.
The clamp section is designed to foldout, which enables the gimbal to pack down to such a small size and makes it jacket pocketable.
Folding it out ready for use takes seconds, and the clamp is of excellent quality fitting and gripping a Smartphone quickly. The gimbal will take a Smartphone of up to 240g, which covers most phones.
In the test, I used an iPhone 7, and Huawei P30 Pro and both fitted and worked with ease.
On the grip of the gimbal are two buttons and a trigger. One button for power on, starting and stopping recording, while the other switches modes from video to photo.
On the front of the grip is a trigger grip, as standard a click and it will reset the smartphone position. Double click and the phone will flip from landscape to portrait ready for shooting on one of the social networks the name of which I’ve forgotten (Tiktok).
The VLOGpocket is also available in two colours, the black that I have and a delicate pink.
As you’d expect, there’s also an App, and this is packed with features that includes: motion timelapse, overlapping image and light-tracking.
The grip contains the battery which is integral to the build and will supply the gimbal with up to 8 hours of battery life.
Also in the box is the small tripod foot, which is handy, and a bag to keep it safe.
As an addition, there are third-party adapters that enable you to mount a GoPro to the gimbal if you want. This makes sense if you have an older GoPro, but if you have the 7, or possibly the 8, then HyperSmooth will do the job.
Build and Handling
The VLOGpocket is lightweight, far lighter than the competition, and this usually means that build quality suffers.
Here, however, the Feiutech have got the right balance, it might feel lightweight, but decent quality plastics have been used, and they’re all exceptionally well finished.
Picking the FeiyuTech VLOGpocket up for the first time and it all feels reassuringly solid, the Smartphone adds weight and the small motors inside pack in power well above their size and weight.
Unlike some other smartphone gimbals, there are few controls on the grip, essentially hit the record button and that instantly sets the camera recording through the App.
You can then stop filming and switch to stills to take a shot, or double click the trigger and the phone spins to enable you to shoot for Tiktok, I’ve still no idea what this is.
There is, however, no joystick control, the Smartphone is mounted and if you want to turn it to look left, right up or down then you have to tilt or rotate yourself to do so.
This, to be honest, is no bad thing.
But, like market-leading DJI OSMO Mobile 3 there’s far more to the VLOGpocket than just being a simple gimbal.
Open up the App, and you have more options, and for me, the motion timelapse stole the show. Essentially you select the option, tap the screen, rotate the head or tilt it and tap the Plus symbol and then pick another spot.
As there’s no joystick to move the head, you have to do this part by hand, physically moving the head which is a little doubting, but it all seems to work.
Once all the points have been set, you can then hit record and off it goes. The feature works exceptionally well.
As with the OSMO Mobile 3, there are also subject-tracking options, and this seemed to work well.
There’s also a Dolly Zoom feature that I’m quite excited about although as yet I’ve been unable to capture anything that looks any good. I think this is a mode that takes practice, or skill, anyway something.
Overall the design of the VLOGpocket is simple, but for that simplicity, you have a product that’s compact, easy to use and works. I like it a lot.
From the outset, the VLOG pocket was exceptionally easy to use. From the initial set up; which involved charging, unlocking each of the axis with a quick twist, to mounting the Smartphone, all couldn’t have been easier.
Once switched on and the App loaded the communication between the App and VLOGpocket was smooth and trouble-free. A click of the mode button and it would switch between stills and video, tap the trigger and the position resets again all simple.
There’s little that’s complex about the basic operation of the FeiyuTech VLOGpocket, mount the phone, hit record and get going.
The quality of the stabilisation is excellent, as good as the OSMO Mobile 3 just without the ability to use the joystick to alter the direction.
It’s also smaller, lighter and feels more agile, and when it’s not in use, you really can slip it into a jacket pocket. It is possible to pop it into a jeans pocket, but it’s uncomfortable.
The App is a significant part of the design and function, and again, it’s well designed. There are a few items which need refining, especially with the advanced features.
The motion timelapse is excellent, but the way the App works looks a little slapdash, likewise with the Dolly Zoom, I can see what it’s doing but at the same time, I can’t.
On the other hand, the filter effects are fantastic and some of the best that I’ve seen, they are slightly over the top but will instantly give your video clips that stylised look and feel that everyone wants these days.
It’s also quick and easy to review footage with all clips being readily accessible through the App or download directly to your image library. There’s no need to hunt around the phone to find out where they’ve been hidden.
FeiyuTech VLOGpocket Review Verdict
The VLOGpocket is compact, lightweight and extremely easy to use. It stabilises your footage to produce professional, smooth fluid footage that’s ideal for use when vlogging.
Build quality and design is simple yet effective, there’s no joystick control, but is that needed when this gimbal has been designed for vlogging.
If you’re filming your self and the background, then why do you need to turn the head in another direction?
The overall simplicity is a huge advantage as is the size, and while the primary function is simple, there are plenty of additional advanced features for those looking for something a little more in-depth.
The Motion-lapse and tracking features both works well, and the Dolly Zoom does something, although I can’t seem to skill what it does.
But it’s the built-in filter effects that are available through the App which stand out.
However, there is the question of price, and on most stores, that price is around the £100 price mark. This might not seem much, but then the OSMO Mobile 3 is priced at around the same amount.
They’re both excellent, but the features of the OSMO Mobile and the build quality do both have the edge. But, and this is big but, the VLOGpocket is smaller more versatile due to that compact size, and it’s simple to use.
It doesn’t have the joystick, but then do you need it, it’s designed to be simple with a few advanced features in the App.
It’s a tough call, but then another search across the global market place and I found the VLOGpocket for £60, and that’s a bargain.
If you want to shoot professional-quality vlog video on your Smartphone, you need a gimbal stabiliser, and the VLOGpocket at a reasonable price can’t be beaten.