Looking for the best Smooth Q smartphone gimbal in 2019? Today we review the Zhiyun Smooth Q2 Smartphone Gimbal. This smartphone gimbal is the result of 5 years of research and development, and it’s certainly a showstopper!
Zhiyun was kind of enough to send us a pre-production model. As a result, we review it and its exciting new features.
Made from aluminum alloy, the Zhiyun Smooth Q2 offers a lightweight, but rugged feel. While I didn’t attempt it, it feels sturdy enough to survive a drop, or even two. It also feels especially improved over my plastic Smooth Q.
The rubberized grip comfortably fits my hand, with very few buttons to manage.
Given its ergonomics and lightweight (Less than 1 pound), I can see myself using this Smooth Q2 effortlessly for long periods. In fact, until now, gimbals were not very compact. They were bulky and difficult to carry. Moreover, it’s the main reason I haven’t shot with my first gimbal much – it just collects dust.
It works with pretty much any smartphone – any under 260gr, which is just about all of them.
Travel Addicts chose the Smooth Q2 as its Best Smartphone Gimbal for 2019 because it’s an all-around easy to use gimbal for smartphones that you can take with you anywhere. We found it especially helpful for taking our very best, professional-looking photos and videos.
Who is the Ideal User of the Smooth Q2
Considering how easy it is to use right out of the box, I think even my grandmother could use it! To me, this smartphone gimbal was intuitive, and straight forward. Admittedly, I did have to look up the specific video modes (more on that a little later), but in general, I was able to start recording some shockingly smooth video within minutes. To be sure, it took me less time to start recording a video than it did to take the Smooth Q2 out of its packaging!
Without a doubt, this gimbal is a game-changer. Considering its small size and lightweight, and since it fits in my pocket, I can see myself using this on any holiday destination I might take. Surely, the articulating arm will be slightly out of my pocket, so, I’ll be careful that it doesn’t get stolen.
Does anyone want my old gimbal? Ha!
What Makes the Smooth Q2 the Best Smartphone Gimbal?
Ask yourself, what’s the best camera you own? Of course, its the one you carry around with you in your pocket.
Compared with other smartphone gimbals I’ve seen, I think the best thing about the Smooth Q2 smartphone gimbal is its size. You see, this gimbal is small enough to fit in my pocket! The handle measures just 12cm high, and the entire gimbal is only 20cm long. It can also hold up to 260grams, which is more than enough for any smartphone.
Using the Smooth Q2 in The Field
Can’t say it any other way. It works, and works well, right out of the box.
Button operations are intuitive and straightforward.
Just press the power button for a few seconds to turn the smartphone gimbal on and off. Click the power button again for the battery status, or hold it for a few seconds to turn it off.
If you pair your smartphone with the gimbal, the red shutter button snaps photos, and starts/stops video recording. The clickable joystick also adjusts the smartphone camera’s angle. Click the joystick to select the different modes, and double click to return to the previous mode.
Also, you can use the Smooth Q2 with the ZY Play app – available both on the App Store, and Google Play.
Smooth Q2 Operating Modes
There are five operating modes to choose:
- Pan follow (PF): The camera pans as you turn the gimbal left and right. One of the favorites for travelers. Twist the handle left and right to have the smartphone pan in that direction. You will see that tilt remains locked (you can set the angle manually with the joystick).
- Lock (L): The camera direction is locked so you won’t miss a shot in any situation. The smartphone remains locked in the same direction no matter which way you move, up, down, left, or right.
- Full follow (F): The camera follows the handle movements making it ideal for day to day videography. Similar to PF, you can also make the phone tilt up and down by tilting the gimbal forwards or backward.
- POV: The gimbal allows 360° synchronous movement on all three axes, offering an immersive experience like never before. Similar to F mode, but adds the ability to roll follow as well. Twist the handle to pan the phone. For example, tilt the handle forward or backward to pitch the camera up or down. Tilt the handle to one side or the other to roll the phone into an angle.
- Vortex mode (POV lights flashing): Gives you the freedom to make 360° barrel shots. Specifically, using the joystick, you can rotate your phone 360° and works well for getting those smooth spinning barrel shots.
This Smooth Q2 is Full of Juice!
There is a replaceable 3.6v 4500 mAh (16.2 Wh) internal battery and a USB-C port on the handle for charging. Further, to access the battery, unscrew the cap at the bottom of the handle to remove the battery or replace it. Indeed, this feature will increase the lifespan of the smartphone gimbal as it will likely outlast its battery.
There’s also a micro-USB port on the arm that is supposed to allow you to power your smartphone or other devices. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any compatible cables on hand to try it.
Zhiyun says you’ll get up to 16 hours of usage per charge. Naturally, that number will quickly decrease if you’re using the gimbal to power something else.
What Makes it so Smooth?
The Smooth Q2 is fast and responsive. I found the best way to use it was when I was standing still. I’d pan left, and right, tiling, performing barrel rolls is a sinch. There’s no way I could reproduce smoothness this by hand.
But, like all gimbals, you can’t eliminate walking jitter because the road will have subtle elevation differences, and your shooting arm will also naturally move up and down as you walk resulting in a changing perspective, enough to be seen on the video. None the less, the Smooth Q2 does a great job of helping to eliminate such jitter. You can see the video below of my side by side review (Smooth Q2 vs. Handheld).
Video: Our Review of the Best Smartphone Gimbal 2019
Best Uses of the Smooth Q2
We think the Zhiyun Smooth Q2 is best-used when panning left and right, and up and down. Like all gimbal’s, walking while filming will produce some jitter. However, by filming with your smartphone attached to the Smooth Q2, you can reduce quite a lot of the jitter.
Of course, where this smartphone gimbal shines is when you interview someone. For example, keeping track of the subject, panning left and right works really well. Also, if you are filming people, buildings, or a monument that requires you to move the camera up and down and side to side, this gimbal will make your videography look professional!
I especially like the barrel shots that the gimbal allows you to create. Without this gimbal, it would be impossible to create such videos. This is just another smartphone camera trick that the gimbal allows you make.
Is the Zhiyun Smooth Q2 worth it?
We thank Zhiyun for sending us a Smooth Q2 to review. This smartphone gimbal offers everyone to become a filmmaker, virtually anytime, anywhere – and its why we think its the best. Furthermore, it’s lightweight, works out of the box, easy to use, and is inexpensive.
Rick Orford is the co-founder of this site, Travel Addicts. He has a passion for traveling, healthy cooking, wine, and making friends all over the world. Some of his other interests include investing, mentoring, and writing about finance.