Reviews |PowerVision S1

PowerVision S1 Review

PowerVision S1 Review
Review

Price when reviewed

£134

$147
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Our Verdict

The PowerVision S1 stands out from other mobile gimbal stabilisers due to the unique design and feature-packed App.
PowerVision, like DJI, is known for their drone innovation, and while the company might not be as well known as DJI, they have an impressive range of innovative products.
The PowerVision S1 stands out with a pack-down design and a nifty magnetic mounting system that reaches far beyond the S1.
The S1 does a great job for everyday use; as long you don’t push the payload, an iPhone 13 Pro without a case creates the perfect balance.
Stabilisation is generally excellent, but even using the FPV mode, it doesn’t quite have the ultra-fast reaction speeds of the OM4, but then nothing other than the OM4 does not even the OM5.
However, when it comes to size and convenience, the PowerVision excels and makes it easily the most convenient mobile gimbal stabiliser out there.

For

  • Excellent App
  • Innovative design
  • Excellent performance

Against

  • No place to attach the clamp when packed away
  • Motors could have more power

What is PowerVision S1?

The PowerVision S1 is a mobile gimbal stabiliser designed to work with any standard-sized smartphone.
OK, that’s nothing new, but in a crowded market, the PowerVision S1 manages to stand out against the multitude of other mobile gimbals with a unique and innovative design.

Unlike the usual ungainly mix of arms, clamps, grips and attachments, the S1 packs down into a single solid block that slips neatly into a backpack or jacket pocket.

The design is akin to a transformer toy with an ingenious array of doors and hinges that enable you to unfold and twist arms to transform the small block into a fully-featured gimbal.

PowerVision S1 Review
Ultimately the PowerVision S1 is one of the neatest and most ingenious designs going, and its design is matched by an equally excellent App and great performance.

Specification

  • Folded dimensions: 14 × 6 × 3cm
  • Unfolded dimensions: 26 × 6 × 6cm
  • Weight: 200g
  • Max working time: 15 hours
  • Charging time: 2 hours
  • USB output: 18W (Off) 5W (On)
  • Wireless output: 10W

Build and Handling

While the construction of the PowerVision S1 is plastic, its quality is far better than I would usually associate with mobile gimbal stabilisers. PowerVision has not only thought carefully about the design but also the materials.

Design-wise the S1 is completely different from other gimbals. Rather than showing the arms and structure of the three-axis stabilisation, the S1 is simply a neat rectangular box with nicely rounded edges.

This box is not completely without detail, as you can see the main vertical arm folded neatly against the side, but otherwise, the lines of the unit are very sleek and simple.

PowerVision S1 Review

Folding the PowerVision S1 out is a four-step process. The front door is first, then the arm is folded up, the top rotated, and finally, the mount is flipped out. Folding out takes a few seconds once you know the process.

Then on the bottom of the unit are two legs that pull out with a supporting arm that then flips down. This built-in tripod enables it to be positioned vertically, ready for the phone to be mounted.

PowerVision offer a few options for the phone mount. Firstly there’s the traditional clamp, and this features a magnetic pad that holds it in place when connected to the gimbal.

PowerVision S1 Review

The other two options I like a lot but do need to be purchased seperately. A magnetic phone case; this protects your phone like any other case, and there are options available for Apple iPhone: 11, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy: S20, S21, S21 Ultra.

The other is the universal combo which features a magnetic disc attached to any case.

Whatever approach you decide to use to mount your phone to the gimbal, the magnetic clasp holds the phone securely, and there’s a small tab to ensure the position is correct as phone and gimbal meet.

Features

First up, the PowerVision S1 is available in three colour options; black, green and blue; although these colours are purely aesthetic.

As I see it, the biggest feature is the unique folding design; this makes it a far more convenient solution when compared to other mobile gimbal stabilisers.

The magnetic mounting system is similar to the style used by DJI, but PowerVision has expanded its use. PowerVision magnetic mounting system takes the clasp well beyond the gimbal, offering a phone mounting solution that enables you to mount to cupboards, walls, car dashboards and anything else you can stick the small discs to.

PowerVision S1 Review

When it comes to the gimbal features, PowerVision has honed in on usability. The Gesture Control enables fast start-stop recording, and when you first start the App, it walks you through a few of the most common options available to you.

The S1 also offers PowerFollow & AI Tracking through the App; both are quickly selectable with the tap of an icon.

There’s also a very clever feature called PowerFollow, this is activated in the app before you LiveStream through your chosen streaming platform.

PowerVision S1 Review

Once activated this feature sits in the background until you hold five fingers up to the camera, then the AI tracking kicks in. So you can use the tracking feature from within FaceBook, What’s App or pretty much any app you can think of.

Finally, there is a dual use of the gimbal that enables it to be used as a wireless charging station, for compatible devices.

Performance

Unfolding the PowerVision S1 instantly reveals just how innovative PowerVision has been with the design. Unlike other mobile gimbal stabilisers that are instantly recognisable for what they are, the S1 could be mistaken as a case for almost anything.

Flipping open the door before rotating around the arm, folding down the feet and finally popping the mobile phone into position takes a few seconds. Moreover, because the design is solid, there’s no arm wobble as you attach the phone.

Before powering on, the mobile App needs to be downloaded and installed “Vision+S1”. As the app loads, it shows a visual guide of unfolding the gimbal, which is useful and initially runs you through a few gesture controls that you can use.

PowerVision S1 Review

Then, as you switch on the gimbal, a quick pairing process is carried out before the S1 is ready to use.

Lifting the gimbal off the table surface instantly shows a decent amount of power within the small motors. The iPhone 11 Pro that I used for the test was supported well, and moving to the left and right at a moderate speed was well compensated.

As a matter of course, I kept my phone in a hard protective case; I found that while the clamp of the S1 was large enough to hold the phone in the case, it restricted the quality of the balance.

For the best results, it was better to remove the phone case.

In use, the gimbal reacts quickly and is one of the better mobile gimbal stabilisers that I have used recently. The phone was well stabilised for normal use, and I was generally impressed.

I have found that there is a little position shift of the phone, which is annoying, and setting the gimbal down and just rechecking the phone’s balance generally helped to sort this out.

I also found that the amount of movement offered through the small joystick on the handle was a little restrictive compared with some of the other gimbals on the market, but then that is the price you pay for such a compact design.

When it comes to the stabilising ability of the S1, is on a par with the likes of the Zhiyun Smooth 5 but lacks the outright power and reaction speed.

As ever on the gimbal itself are a range of on-handle controls that enable you to start and stop recording, zoom in and out, and manually take control over the axis.

The delay between tapping record and the camera recording is minimal, and most direct actions through the app are fast. Generally, the App and gimbal respond quickly and reliably.

The zoom feature is activated by pushing up or down on the small side switch. It’s a simple approach that works, although it’s difficult to zoom in and out smoothly. However, it’s a nice option to have and does help to compose the shots you want.

The small joystick is perfectly positioned for thumb control. This is well designed and gives you the ability to tilt and swivel the camera’s position as required. While the joystick offers a good amount of control, it also highlights the limitations of some of the movements through the axis, especially the tilt.

In general use, the gimbal works incredibly well. It responds quickly and helps you to shoot smooth footage with your mobile phone easily.

It does hit its limitations when the speed of the motion picks up and when the size and weight of the mobile phone being used is close to the maximum payload limit.

When it comes to the app there are two app features that really appealed to me, and those are AI tracking and gesture control.

Both features can be switched on by tapping the icons on the app interface. Through the use of the App, I found that activating gesture control was incredibly useful as it enabled me to quickly activate the three most common features I needed from the App.

These included; start and stop recording, taking pictures, and a gesture of a flat palm will switch on the AI tracking.

As soon as the tracking has activated, a box will appear around the face of the person in the shot, and the gimbal will then keep up with that person’s movement. The gimbal’s speed is impressively fast, and if it loses the person, it does a decent job of reconnecting once that person comes back into the frame.

Another feature that I like within the preview window is the ability to touch to increase or decrease the exposure. It’s the same functionality you get from within the standard camera app, but it’s good to see.

PowerVision S1 shines out in the mobile gimbal stabiliser market as something different.

PowerVision has struck a balance between design, functionality, and performance, making the PowerVision S1 one of the best mobile gimbal stabilisers out there.

Final thoughts

The PowerVision S1 stood out from the moment it arrived. The design is completely different from any other gimbal stabiliser I have looked at and shows real innovation.

One of the biggest issues with these gimbals is usually how to transport them. They’re rarely small and almost always fiddly with arms, handles and stands that are difficult to pack away.

For example, I use a DJI OM4 regularly; it offers industry-leading stabilisation and is easy to use; however, it’s an absolute pain to transport.

The PowerVision S1 might not have the motor power or reaction speed of the OM4, but it’s several up on the design.

PowerVision S1 Review

As well as the very convenient pack down design, I also like the magnetic clasp. This magnet is part of the PowerVision mounting eco-system, so I now have a connector in the car, one by my desk, and I’ve ordered another couple for some other locations.

When I want to use the S1, I unfold and connect with no clamps, no fuss; it’s nice and easy.

The design of the S1 is what now makes this one of my favourite gimbals, the smooth, no-fuss case design is small, so it easily slips into a bag or jacket pocket. Then when needed, it’s quick to unfold, at least once your know-how.

The performance is good, not as good as the OM4, but better than most other gimbals, and then there’s the App.

The App is one of the most integrated and well-designed apps out there. It’s intuitive and easy to find everything you need, and gesture control and AI tracking are excellent.

The App also offers a range of templates, and as I’ve seen with other manufacturers’ apps, these are always good fun when you first start using the gimbal but then fade away into the background. There’s enough in and around the App to help get you started and hopefully hooked on making great videos.

The PowerVision S1 is easily one best as a mobile gimbal stabiliser solution out there. A little more power in the motors would truly challenge the DJI OM4.

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