Vlog Pocket 2 Gimbal REVIEW
Can a gimbal make phone videos look smoother than hand-held? Find the answer in CHARLES JAMESON’S Vlog Pocket 2 gimbal review.
Mobile phones can do a shitload of things these days. But one thing they can’t do very well often happens when you shoot a hand-held video. The video images tend to wobble a lot, because your hands and arms are naturally never all that steady. Something I hope I’d be able to overcome during this Vlog Pocket 2 Gimbal review – hopefully, a way to easily remove the wobbles.
And the video wobble is typically even more prominent if you choose to use your phone’s telephoto lens option to get closer to the subject you’re videoing. The telephone lens magnifies everything. Including wobbles!
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Me, I often video my daughter doing stage musicals, using a hand-held crusty old iPhone 8 Plus. Which – in telephoto mode – does tend to somehow smooth out the wobbling to some extent. But it’s still there.
So ideally, we’re better off using a gimbal. Which, in a nutshell, is a hand-held battery-powered gadget you clamp your phone onto, activating its physical and electronic mechanisms to stabilise your phone’s movements horizontally or vertically.
Once your phone is carefully placed in the gimbal’s clamp and you click the power button, suddenly the gimbal will keep your phone on the straight and level, no matter how wobbly your walk or previous hand-holding experiences have been. It basically smoothes everything out in terms of movement.
And a gimbal is also useful for other things, such as filming yourself from arm’s length without a wobbly camera. Or having it (at least with this gimbal) atop the mini-tripod attachment and plonking it on a desk or table and videoing yourself for an online meeting, video, etc.
Okay, let’s take a closer look at features in this Vlog Pocket 2 gimbal review, from Chinese gimbal maker FeiyuTech.
On the left (obviously) is the box it came in. In the middle, we have the USB C charging cable, the folded gimbal itself, and the detachable tripod – which is a cylinder you screw onto the gimbal base, and it has fold-out wings as compact tripod legs.
Then there’s the very brief paper instruction sheet – which folds out to A3, with one side all in Chinese, the other in English. And there’s also the soft grey pouch, to carry or store the gimbal in.
In the instruction sheet, as well as a ‘getting started’ overview, there’s also scannable barcodes for additional information and features, such as the gimbal’s app, Feiyu ON. This app is on the Apple app store, but so far hasn’t been rated all that well – it’s currently rated 1.9 (out of 5), the average score from 33 ratings.
I downloaded the app to check it out and decided not to use it, simply because it wanted my email address, and it also required me to ‘Regist’ (sic) and log in. I could see no reason to provide an email address to simply use an app to collaborate with their gimbal.
The instruction sheet also has scannable barcodes that take you to a tutorial – and FYI here’s that link. And there is also the barcode for the gimbal’s Detailed Manual. And there’s also a bunch of useful tutorial videos on their website relating to this gimbal.
Once charged, as outlined in the instructions, the second step is to ‘unlock’ the gimbal’s various ‘three-axis clamps’ – which are simply little manual ridges and notches that keep the gimbal tight/locked when you store it. Gently pulling the gimbal joints out of lock-down makes the gimbal all very fluid and moveable.
And then you carefully place your phone in the gimbal’s spring-loaded clamp, which keeps a tight grip on the phone. When doing this, you also have to ensure the phone is centred and balanced. Takes a few attempts to get this right.
Here’s how the instruction sheet indicates you do this. I found steps 4-6 a bit confusing at times during this Vlog Pocket 2 gimbal review, but I eventually got there.
When all this is done, we click the gimbal’s power button to activate the internal systems, which dynamically manage the gimbal’s limbs. And with power on and holding the gimbal in your hand – voila – the phone is now horizontally (or vertically if you choose) stable, thanks to the gimbal dynamics now in live operation.
Aside from the power button, there are three small main buttons sitting just in front of your thumb to the right of the bigger button on the left – what the instruction sheet calls the ‘joystick.’ With your thumb on that, you can push it up, down, left or right, to manually adjust where your phone camera is pointing.
The three smaller buttons to the right of the joystick cover these functions:
Function button – which has different functions for single tap (‘switch among common workplace modes’), double tap (‘switch between landscape/portrait mode’), triple tap (‘enter standby mode/wake up’), and five tap (‘initiate the gimbal’ – gimbal wake up).
Photo button – single tap takes a photo (via Bluetooth to your phone), or press and hold for ‘continous shooting’.
Video button – single tap to start/stop recording. Again, via Bluetooth to your phone.
At the front of the Vlog Pocket 2 is the bigger ‘trigger button’, and it has a range of features too. Press and hold it to lock position, and release that hold to go back to normal. Double-tap to re-centre, and triple tap to flip between front and rear cameras on your phone.
Being able to switch between having the camera point towards you or away from you requires use of the app, so I wasn’t able to test that feature.
Overall the gimbal worked well. I gave it a walk in a park and tried out all the above features. And they all worked, although it would probably take a few more sessions to feel totally at home with how it all operates.
A compact, workable gimbal. The included instructions were rather unclear, but there are links to videos and other material on the manufacturer’s website that are helpful. And it’s a pity the app related to this gimbal is not rated well (at least on the Apple app store), and requires an email address. Bluetooth connections went well, although it’s disappointing that it does not directly enable switching between front and rear cameras without using their app.
I also found it a bit odd in terms of the charging cable plug being not as common as many USB cables. No issue, I guess, unless you lose the cable.
So yeah, in my Vlog Pocket 2 review I was overall fairly happy with this product, apart from the above-mentioned annoying glitches.
- The Vlog Pocket 2 is available from Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi.