ZhiYun Z1-Smooth-C handheld gimbal Review

This week we've had the opportunity to get to know the ZhiYun handheld gimbal, a device that holds a smartphone steady. Users are able to utilize this powered device to capture near stutter-free video footage with their smartphone – iPhone, Samsung phone, Android or Windows Phone – any sort of phone. The setup is relatively easy, including a charge of this gimbal's batteries, a power button, and a tracking initiation button. Once it's ready, your phone will stay pretty gosh-darned steady in space.

I was skeptical, at first. I didn't think a device this small would be capable of doing what the company that makes it suggested it would be able to do. I didn't know the brand offhand – despite my best efforts, such a situation also makes me wary of low-quality hardware.

To my surprise, this gimbal worked. It worked very well. The very brief demonstration of capabilities you're going to see here was captured with a Samsung Galaxy S7 using 1080p 60fps video, so it's very unforgiving.

This video captures the original audio and framing from the smartphone, as well, to make it clear how much noise the gimbal makes and how many jostles we had along our short journey.

Of note is the absolutely lack of sound this gimbal makes whilst on the go. Units we've used in the distant past have made recording sound a nightmare, motors buzzing the whole video through. With the ZhiYun Z1-Smooth-C, it's silence.

In addition to being able to stabilize a smartphone like this Galaxy S7 right out the box, there's software you're able to use to re-calibrate the 3-axis stabilization for different odd devices. Notice the slight angle at which this whole video is captured at – a bit of a tilt to the right would have been smart before we left the house.

On the device are four buttons. One engages power for the whole device, while another turns on stabilization. Two more buttons adjust the up/down angle of the smartphone, enabling you to tilt the camera up to the sky or down to the ground while filming or before you begin.

This device is powered by a couple of rechargeable batteries which come with their own recharging station which is, in turn, powered by a standard micro-USB cord.

The company suggests that this device is similar to the gimbal that Apple sells in Apple Stores – the "Feiyu Tech G4" which comes in at $299.95. While we have yet to test that device, on the surface it would seem that the ZhiYun Z1-Smooth-C's price of $230 (Amazon price at the time of this article's publication) seem like a real deal.