The DJI Osmo range has come a long way. Attending the product launch a few weeks ago it was clear the device has improved with every model reducing the price, adding a load of new features and improving the battery life. The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is best in its class making it the must-own Gimbal on the market.
Sure, it looks a bit dated and there’s a couple of features that aren’t as polished as its perfected stabilization, but the overall product is something every content creator or just someone who appreciates mobile video and photography should own.
In short, the device lets you mount your smartphone into the arms of the holder and holds it up using a bunch of stabilization algorithms and sensors to keep it perfectly stable at all times. The big draw here is that it can fit almost, if not every smartphone on the market making it the most versatile Gimbal around.
The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 looks a bit dated. While it is a new model and features everything but the kitchen sink in it, the overall device’s look and feel is a turn-off. I reviewed the grey model and I could not get excited about showing it off in public because it just does not look at all flashy.
The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 can hold up to a 7.08-inch device, features a rubberized grip for extra comfort and stability, has a 15-hour battery life and can snap together in a compact form so you can pack it away in the nifty travel pouch that comes with the more expensive combo.
It took a few days of use before I mastered unclipping and unfolding the device and the goes for putting it away. There are grooves and holes where the device needs to snap into in order to close it properly but I was scared to break something so I often just left it out of the pouch. Opening it up is easy enough once you get the hang of things and the buttons on the handle give you enough control thanks to their large size the grip on the control stick.
On the one side, you have a switch that controls the zoom factor of the camera when using the app and on the other side there’s a USB Type-C charging port and a USB port that you can use to charge other devices. Yes, the DJI Osmo 3 can charge your smartphone while you have it mounted on the device too. Another fantastic feature you never knew you needed until ti wad there.
When the device is folded it takes up very little space but there’s a catch. The combo pack which you can buy comes with a screw-on tripod which comes in handy more often than you think. The problem, the tripod does not fit inside the carry case leaving it rattling around in your bag and you worry about losing it at the same time.
There’s also room for a wrist strap at the bottom of the device for extra comfort in case you are worried about dropping the mount.
Form and Functionality
Clipping on a phone was simple. No more screws or anything complicated. You just stretch open the arm and slide your phone the right away around. There is an instruction sticker on the device that shows you the right way to face your phone in case you are not aware. The arm features an indented design which grips the rim of your phone and not the side of it to prevent the device from pressing any buttons on your phone. This is a smart and effective way to avoid any extra button pressed during use.
The best way to use the DJI Osmo 3 Mobile is to make use of the DJI Mimo app. After turning on the device, syncing is pretty simple and once you have found it and connected your phone to the mount, it will automatically connect every time. The app features a load of ways to use the Osmo and is the best way to make use of the device.
Sure, you can go with your native camera app, which I did most of the time, but you lose the ability to use the zoom toggle as it only works right now if you are using the DJI Mimo app. The app has some great ways to shoot content that automatically then makes use of the device’s various movements to create something magical. The “Pano” shot, for example, moves the arm around and takes 9 photos which are then pieced together to make a perfect ultra-wide shot stitched together.
In terms of video, the app allows you to do some cool things like track a moving object with the new ActiveTrack 3.0 in which the arm will move and focus on the chosen object as it travels across your location. It also allows for gesture controls which sees you use the palm of your hand to tell the phone to take a photo. It is a great feature but limited in its capacity to two “palm” and “V” gestures.
The “Story” mode has also been built with social media in mind where you can take cool short clips with a specific arm movement, zoom factors and even music. However, DJI missed a huge opportunity here as the Story Mode can only be filmed in landscape and cannot be filmed at all in portrait. This means when you upload it to Instagram it will be in the wrong orientation and be centred in the middle of your story.
My favourite mode has to be timelapse which automatically rotates the device a sit takes photos and stitches them together to create an awesome compilation of an environment or movement. You can also choose paths for it to follow to mix things up
— GLITCHED (@_GLITCHED_) September 21, 2019
That aside, the app serves its purpose for those that want to adjust the smaller details of your shot. ISO, shutter speed, EV and much more can be tweaked in the settings so you can take the perfect shot and film the perfect clip. Depending on your device, you can also change the filming resolutions to 4K 60 FPS and HD. I used the iPhone 11 Pro during this review process and the app had to update to support its new ultra-wide ad wide lens so if I wanted to use the camera to its fullest I had to use the native app and lose out on the tweaks. I am sure they will update the app soon.
The Osmo 3 then has a selection of tools on the device at your disposal. You can double-tap the “M” button to switch it from portrait to landscape, triple tap for stow position. You also have the movement stick which is fantastic to control the arm of the device.
But what is an Osmo without its stabilization? Mobile 3 is perfection when it comes to keeping things stable. No handshaking, bouncing around or wobbles at all. It is absolutely incredible in everything you try and shoot and film. The buttons make it easy to rotate and move your phone around and you can jog with this in your hand and it will look like a drone is flying through the air.
After a while, you just forget our stable the device really is and start making use of all the cool features and tweaks the app and buttons provide. The combination of the two make for a filming and photography experience like no other. The response time is great too with almost no noticeable input lag between the buttons, analogue and the device. You press the capture button and it takes a photo, simple.
Sure, it is not all perfect and some features need work like the ActiveTrack 3.0. You just draw a square around an object you want to track and it works until something comes in the way of it, it moves too fast. It is a cool feature but it needs work as chances are, it won’t record a full video that you intend on doing.
The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is the next step in mobile stabilization Gimbals. As a content creator, I would honestly take it with me everywhere (if I owned one). You never know when you will need to take a cool landscape photo, timelapse of a view or just track something moving. It opens new doors of things to shoot and shoot brilliantly at the same time. The app will most likely change with features as time goes by but already, the device on its own is just so innovative that it will forever change the way you approach mobile filming and photography.
This DJI Osmo 3 review was based on a sample unit borrowed to us over a period of two weeks. The device sells for R1,999 in SA and R2,299 for the combo including the tripod stand, carry pouch and wrist strap.