A few readers asked me to review the Smove Mobile which is a 3-axis smartphone gimbal being heavily marketed across Instagram and other social media streams.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with gimbals, they are basically a device you mount your phone on to drastically reduce camera shake and make the recording a lot more smooth. Or in this case, smove.
Upon checking out their website, it was immediately obvious that Smove’s marketing was far superior to that of all the Chinese gimbal manufacturers out there. No lousy spelling mistakes, boring technical specs and uninspired marketing imagery. Instead, we get a nice and catchy name and cool kids vlogging with the gimbal.
While the company’s marketing is on point, what about the gimbal itself? I recently did a write up for what I consider to be the best iPhone gimbals for this year, so what about the Smove? Let’s take a closer look in this review.
The Smove Mobile can accommodate phones with a width of anywhere between 57-84mm. Size wise, that covers every iPhone and almost every Android out there.
The maximum payload is 210g. For reference, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 weighs 201g and the iPhone XS Max weighs 208g. Therefore, on paper at least, the vast majority of phones can be mounted on to the Smove.
However, the reality with pretty much any gimbal you buy is that the max payload is somewhat exaggerated. Mounting a heavier phone like the iPhone XS Max will put far more stress on the gimbal’s motors and drain the battery faster. Not only that, the gimbal will also struggle to stabilize.
Therefore, I always recommend going for a gimbal that has a max payload that leaves some room to spare. My current favorite gimbal, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, for example, has a maximum payload of 240g. If you have a phone weighing over 200g, I wouldn’t recommend the Smove Mobile.
Weighing 428g, it is significantly lighter than the Osmo Mobile 2 (485g) and Smooth 4 (547g), despite housing a built in selfie stick.
Being lightweight can be seen as a plus, but at the same time there is no denying this gimbal doesn’t feel quite as robust as some of the others. Costing $159, the Smove Mobile doesn’t have the premium build quality one would hope for.
One of the nice things about the Smove Mobile is that it’s got some unique features compared to other gimbals.
The most obvious one is the built-in, 7-inch extendable arm. This makes those all-important selfie-shots far more convenient and opens up new possibilities for various crane shots and underslung shots. While I personally don’t feel like an extendable arm is a must have feature, I can certainly picture some people finding it incredibly valuable.
Another feature I like is the fact there is a USB charging port located on the cradle (or phone mount) itself. While almost all smartphone gimbals double up as a powerbank, a lot of them only feature a charging port on the grip, which isn’t quite as tidy as having a short cable connect your phone to the charging port right beside it.
Using the Smove Mobile
Mounting your phone to the Smove Mobile is simple, and it features one of the simplest mounting mechanisms out there. Simply slip your phone into the spring loaded clamp and make sure it is fully secured and balanced properly.
The gimbal has three main shooting modes: pan, follow and locked.
- Pan: the gimbal will follow panning movements but keep the roll and tilt axes locked.
- Follow: the gimbal will follow all up/down and left/right movements but keep the roll axis locked.
- Locked: the gimbal will keep its orientation fixed.
These are pretty much the standard shooting modes you’d expect a smartphone gimbal to have. 90% of the time, your experience with the gimbal will be spent using one of these modes and let the gimbal work its video-smoothing magic.
There are some extra tricks you can employ when filming, like pulling the trigger at the back of the grip to temporarily lock the pan and tilt axes or using the joystick to electronically pan and tilt with more precision.
The Smove Mobile also features some other modes like motion timelapses and face/object tracking. I don’t find myself using these so won’t comment on these any further.
A Rebadged FeiyuTech Vimble 2?
I didn’t want to reveal this right from the get go but as soon as I got my hands on the Smove Mobile it was obvious that the gimbal is just a rebadged FeiyuTech Vimble 2. The Smove Mobile even has Feiyu Tech branding on it at the back of the mount.
I have previously reviewed the Vimble 2 and gave it a score of 8/10. It is a decent gimbal for the price and the extendable arm is a unique selling point.
The Smove Mobile costs roughly $70 more despite being the exact same gimbal with a different name stuck on it. What’s more, Smove don’t even bundle the mini tripod in the box, and instead sell it separately as a separate accessory!
- 🎾【 3-Axis Precision 】Eliminates shake video and allows you to easily shoot pro-quality, cinematic-like footage in various situations with your smartphone.
- 🎾【 Bluetooth Shutter Button 】Vimble 2 can control the phone camera by the shutter button and Vicool App allows for more fantastic operations, meets panoramic photography and fast cutting.
- 🎾【 Extension Freely 】The handheld gimbal stabilizer added 18cm long extension bar enables you to slide out the gimbal and capture wider angles, which offers more possibilities when taking selfie or group photo.
- 🎾【 One Button Quick Zooming 】 New trigger button with quick setting function, sets free your hand while shooting. Built-in Zoom slider in the handle, easier in operation but more professional in production.
- 🎾【 Wide Compatibility 】he gimbal stabilizer work with iPhone series / HUAWEI P9 / Mi 5 / MEIZU MX6 / SAMSUNG S8 / S7 or other Android phones with the similar dimensions.
Private labeling products is nothing new and there’s nothing wrong with the practice. And we’ve already seen it before with Evo Gimbals rebadging Zhiyun gimbals as their own. But with the Smove Mobile, the $70 markup for a bundle that contains less than the original FeiyuTech Vimble 2 bundle seems excessive to say the least.
- 7 inch extendable arm allows for more creative freedom
- Good stabilization performance
- Struggles with heavier phones
- An expensive FeiyuTech Vimble 2
The Smove Mobile itself is not a bad gimbal. But it doesn’t present good value for money. It is exactly the same gimbal as the FeiyuTech Vimble 2 which costs just $90 at the time of writing. With no improvements in hardware or software, it is simply too difficult to justify the additional cost.
I’m a photographer and the chief editor of Capture Guide. I now live in Santa Barbara, California but spent several years across parts of South America working as a journalist with my trusty old Nikon D7100.