Gadget review: DJI Osmo Mobile smartphone mount offers the professional touch at a high price

DJI’s Osmo Mobile is a hand-held smartphone mount that gives you steadi­cam-like control for near-professional quality video.

The DJI Osmo Mobile device sells for Dh1,250. Courtesy DJI Osmo
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“Power is nothing without control,” claimed the Italian tyre maker Pirelli in its memorable 1994 ad campaign featuring an image of US sprinter Carl Lewis wearing high-heeled shoes.

The same goes for the camera on your expensive smartphone. Sure, it can produce broadcast-quality video, but jerky movements and shaky hands often make those videos look like they were shot during a mild earthquake.

Step forward DJI’s Osmo Mob­ile, a hand-held smartphone mount that gives you steadi­cam-like control for near-professional quality video, together with some brilliant extra features thrown in for good measure.

Once you’ve mounted your smartphone and connected it via Bluetooth, the Osmo Mob­ile’s 3-axis gimbal system neutralises your minor hand movements and keeps your phone pointed in the same direction, even when you’re moving and shooting video at the same time.

The effect is transformative, giving videos a smooth, professional look that people will never believe were filmed on a smartphone. Such control especially lends itself to shooting video in low-light conditions, when image stability is at a premium.

You can start and stop recording via conveniently placed buttons on the Osmo Mobile’s handle, with a small thumb-controlled joystick enabling smooth tracking shots.

Using the Osmo Mobile in conjunction with the DJI Go app (available for Android and iOS) unlocks further neat tricks. These include ActiveTrack technology, which keeps the camera focused on a selected object (such as a dog on the beach, or your face when shooting in selfie mode), and keeps the camera focused on that object even when it moves.

There’s also an automatic panorama option that stitches nine images together to make one large picture, and a great feature that allows you to take time-lapse videos that gradually move over time (although it’s best to use this feature with a tripod or additional mount).

At Dh1,250, Osmo Mobile is probably a bit expensive for the casual user, but it is a great option for those looking to produce superior home movies, and for those who want to dip their toes into the world of professional video.​

q&a fingertip flexibility

John Everington expands on what the DJI Osmo Mobile smartphone mount can offer:

Do I have to use the DJI Go App to record video with the Osmo Mobile?

No, and in some cases it’s better not to. The app only supports up 1080p video capture at 30 frames per second (fps), with the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 both offering 60fps capture at that resolution. It’s not a problem shooting without the app, just tap the screen as usual to start or stop recording. However ActiveTrack, panoramas and motion timelapse are only available via the app.

Do I have to hold it in a certain way to take video?

Well, using it behind your back is probably a non-starter, but it’s pretty flexible. While it’s best used held vertically upright, it can also be held horizontally or even upside down, if you’re trying to film something close to ground level. When you’re in the app, a triple-press of a side trigger button will flip the phone around into selfie mode, taking advantage of your phone’s higher-powered rear camera.

It all sounds good, but I’d prefer a regular camera on a gimbal instead.

You may want to opt for the DJI Osmo, a 4K video camera on a similar mount. Again it’s not for the casual user though, costing around Dh2,799.

I'm sure that I've heard of Osmo before.

Chances are you have, emitting a high buzzing sound close to your head. The company is best known for its Phantom drone range.

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