Mobile photography and videography has become the go-to for many. With new phones like the iPhone 12 Pro Max with sensor-shift stabilisation or the Vivo X50 Pro with an inbuilt gimbal, we are seeing mobile photography being taken to the next level. However, all of these smartphones cost a pretty penny and not many of us can afford them. But there are ways you can improve video quality for much less. I tried one such nifty gadget, the Hohem iSteady X, which is a compact and lightweight smartphone 3-axis gimbal.
At Rs 6,990 the Hohem iSteady X feels like a good deal. But is it so? Here we will take a look at how the 3-axis smartphone gimbal performed in real life and if you should buy it or not.
Hohem iSteady X: What I liked about it?
Travelling around with the iSteady X is quite easy as it folds up and can easily fit into your pocket, and it is quite light to operate. Though during these hard times of the pandemic, I was not able to take the gimbal out much. However, I did take it out a few times to test, and it surely did help get some good stabilised shots.
The Hohem iSteady X is built out of plastic, due to which it is extremely light to lug around. Hohem has not skimmed out on the details; this one has intricate buttons, joystick and all of the locking mechanisms to hold the gimbal straight when not in use.
Controlling the gimbal is very easy with its power button, trigger button and the joystick. The joystick is used to control the movement of the gimbal to get the perfect shot, whereas, the two buttons have multiple assignments. The trigger button functions as a shutter button and a video recording button. The power button doubles as an orientation button. The LEDs on top of the joystick indicate the battery and standby status. Apart from these, there is also a zoom rocker on the side, that comes handy in various shooting situations.
The gimbal has a free size clamp, which can hold even large devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. At first, I was afraid when putting such a large phone inside, but it did not fall or slip.
The stabilisation was not up to the mark of a professional gimbal. But for enthusiasts who are just starting out, it is a great tool. The gimbal was able to minimise a lot of jerkiness caused by unsteady hands. However, it did go for a ride, when I was jumping around with it. Most of the videos captured with this came out good and usable for video montages or even complete YouTube videos if you roll like that. It is a good tool for vloggers who travel a lot on foot and like recording themselves on their phone screen.
The iSteady X also doubles as a pocket tripod, when you do not want to use it as a gimbal. You simply need to screw in the tripod stand that you get with it, and you are done. Now place the contraption where you want and start recording your video or taking pictures.
Hohem iSteady X can last for around five to eight hours on a single charge. It takes around three hours to charge it up to 100 percent from 0.
Hohem iSteady X: What I did not like about it
The first thing I did not like about the Hohem iSteady X is the Hohem Pro app that is used to control it. The app does not seem as polished as I would have liked, and the camera software it uses feels ages behind the ones we currently have in our phones. It does have integrated tutorial videos to teach you how to use the app.
The app controls the gimbal settings and if you would like to change anything, you will have to get inside of the app. Else, you can simply start recording in your normal camera app, but without the button controls of the gimbal.
You cannot turn on the gimbal before attaching a smartphone to the clamp, as it would then start shaking wildly and then shut down. I thought it was a problem with my unit, but it appears to be a method for the gimbal to gauge the mobiles weight and perform a calibration. So keep that in mind.
The gimbal design and its 3-axis motor limits the area in which the smartphone can be tilted up or down to a few degrees. This makes for jerky videos when trying to take long or wide shots.
Who is the Hohem iSteady X meant for?
At Rs 6,990, the Hohem iSteady X is a good starting point for budding videographers. Especially if you are planning to make YouTube videos, Reels and more, this is a good investment. The only thing that puts me at a dilemma here is the app design, which currently needs a lot of work, and the ability to use the stock camera app instead of the Hohem Pro’s integrated version.
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