FeiyuTech vimble 2 Smartphone Handheld Gimbal Review

FeiyuTech vimble 2 Smartphone Handheld Gimbal Review

Buy it at Amazon: FeiyuTech Vimble 2 Smartphone Handheld Gimbal [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Eliminates shaky movements and creates smooth motion video with your phone, but Bluetooth is unreliable and app crashes often.

The Vimble 2 comes in a semi-rigid zippered carrying case that's got a handle on one side, though no shoulder strap. Inside you'll find the gimbal, a wriststrap, a small tripod with ¼"-20 screw that can be attached to the bottom of the gimbal. When folded up, it extends the length of the handle by several inches allowing for a better two-handed grip and when open you can stand the gimbal up hands-free. In the zipper pocket you'll find the microUSB charging cable and instructions manuals in Chinese and English. On my unit, the tilt axis motor's metal accent cover wasn't adhered properly and had fallen off, though I was successfully able to stick it back on. Other than that, the construction is mostly a lightweight plastic, with a rubberized phone grip that can accommodate phones with widths of 2.25" to 3.25" and with max weight up to 210g. On the side against the motor is another rubber bumper for your phone to rest against. There's a microUSB port covered by a rubber door on top of the mounting arm that's supposed to allow you to charge your phone off the gimbal's battery, but it requires a special cable which is not included. All three axes have a limit of 320° rotation and cannot continuously rotate in the same direction past a certain point, so you won't be able to get 360° pans or revolutions and may encounter resistance or odd behavior from the gimbal in certain positions that approach those limits.

The mounting arm can be extended about 1.5cm to allow you to balance the roll-axis depending on the weight of the phone you use. The positions are marked so that you can easily set it to the same spot each time you attach your phone. The mounting bracket can also be rotated 90° to put your phone in portrait mode for filming vertical video and panoramic photos. On the handle are the LED status light, 4-way joystick for manipulating the position of your phone, a mode key, and a Bluetooth shutter/record key. On the right side is a slider that allows you to adjust the zoom of the camera when the gimbal is paired to your phone over Bluetooth and on the left hand side is the microUSB charging port for the gimbal's battery covered by a rubber door. Opposit the thumb controls is a trigger accessible with your index finger for locking the orientation of the camera. Towards the bottom of the handle is a small bridge where you can attach the wriststrap for extra security. In the hand, the gimbal is pretty light at 0.5 lb and is comfortable to hold and operate. Charging takes several hours, and when the battery is full, it can run for 5-10 hours depending on usage. This gimbal also serves as a selfie-stick with a telescoping handle that adds an extra 7 inches of reach while stabilizing. The column extends and retracts by simply pulling and pushing the pan axis motor in and out of the handle.

Due to the restrictive size of the phone mount, for most larger phones you'll find that you need to remove your phone case in order for it to fit in the bracket. Another issue I found was that due to the camera and charging port placement on my phone, I wasn't able to charge my phone in landscape mode while using the gimbal. In portrait mode, however, charging the phone would not have been an issue. Before turning on the gimbal, you may need to do some minor balancing by adjusting the side-to-side position of the mounting arm to get your phone as close to level as possible; however, it doesn't need to be perfect. You'll need to download the Vicool app and pair to it via Bluetooth if you want to use all the features of the gimbal. Unfortunately, I found the Bluetooth performance on the gimbal to be inconsistent, sometimes pairing, and sometimes not pairing and oftentimes disconnecting at some point during use. Some features are not available if the gimbal isn't connected to the app via Bluetooth either, for example zooming with the slider on the handle, using the onboard shutter for snapping photos or starting and stopping video. Bluetooth is also required for adjusting the gimbal and camera settings like motor power and speed, calibration, and wireless updating of the gimbal's firmware.

In addition to normal photo mode in the Vicool app, there's also a panoramic and time lapse photo mode. For time-lapse videos, you can setup the pan and tilt speeds in the auto rotation menu. The time-lapse function worked well and resulted in a pretty cool fast-forward style rotating video clip. The other feature that I though worked well was the face tracking feature, although your face has to be well lit and you should be at least several feet away from the camera otherwise it may not follow you correctly. One feature that didn't work at all during my testing was the object follow feature. You would think that because face tracking worked, this would work just as well, however, I couldn't get it to capture or follow any object and most of the time the app would just crash when I entered the mode. In general the app doesn't seem to be entirely stable most times and in addition to the Bluetooth connection cutting out, the app would also crash fairly reguarly, like in the middle of filming which was frustrating.

As for stabilization performance, the gimbal did a nice job with its primary function. There's a few quirks with setting the pan, yaw and tilt speeds just right and you have to try and avoid approaching the rotational limits otherwise the gimbal can change position unexpectedly, but with practice you can get pretty smooth shots. The deal breaker for the app though is that the video recorded in the app doesn't have great quality. The compression used dropped plenty of frames making footage look choppy. The video captured using the stock Android camera app with the gimbal was much smoother with a consistent frame rate, but the drawback is that you cannot use the onboard shutter and zoom controls. Overall, as a stabilizer the Vimble 2 will remove most of the shake and wobble from handheld filming with your phone. The Bluetooth connection isn't the best and the app could use a lot of work as it crashes a lot and doesn't capture great quality video. However, if you can live without the physical zoom and shutter controls, there's no reason why you can't use a different camera app while stabilizing with the gimbal.

Buy it at Amazon: FeiyuTech Vimble 2 Smartphone Handheld Gimbal [Affiliate Link]


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