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Review: Xiaomi Mijia Gimbal – Smartphone Film Stabilizer

For those who like to take different takes or record with the camera phone, use a gimbal stabilizer This can be a great way to improve the quality of filming, but if you're interested in buying one, you need to look at the options the market offers to choose the best one, and despite the name DJI has made in this segment, there are other companies investing.

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Today we will talk about Xiaomi Mijia Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer, your positives, negatives and what to consider before you buy it. Below you check out the unboxing we made of the product.


Price

This gimbal stabilizer costs around $ 110 and can be found for up to $ 520 at Gearbest, a figure that approaches the Zhiyun Smooth-Q 3which is also costing about $ 100. More robust, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is costing around $ 130.


Design

The gimbal stabilizers seem to be following a pattern and getting more and more alike. Another stabilizer model we reviewed here, the first version of the DJI Osmo Mobile, featured a removable battery and a smartphone dock that did not fit upright.

The second version has been released with an improved and built-in battery, as well as enabling recordings in the popular social media style and a new dock for our smartphones. Following this trend, which is already present in the latest stabilizers, the Xiaomi Mijia brings these same characteristics, visible as soon as we take it out of the box.

My first impression of holding it was not positive, the handle of the device is not ergonomic, its straightness makes it more uncomfortable to handle and the 0.4760kg I look like 1kg after a while holding him.

When using a gimbal stabilizer, we are always making movements and having the minimum adaptation to the shape of the fundamental hand. There is an empty space in your hand when trying to hold it, so you have to make some effort to keep it in touch. This way, having a fuller base would bring more security and facilitate most takes.

If the joystick got a little more raised, and had a better grip on the gadget like DJI Osmo Mobile 2, it would be easier to use. Even worse when we consider the buttons just below the joystick, I need to open my hand a little to be able to click on them, and as the grip doesn't take up your hand all too often you need the help of your other hand.

I also felt little grip on the joystick, which bothers me a lot and makes the movements less precise, requiring some familiarity and skill.

The joystick could be more accurate and comfortable

These points are very clear when compared to other stabilizer models, most have curves at the base for ease of use. Finally, all of this overshadows the soft gray fabric that would make the touch more pleasing.


Drums

The Xiaomi Mijia comes with a 5000mAh battery that can last up to 16 hours according to Xiaomi. Exceeded the 15 hours DJI offered on the Osmo Mobile 2 and its 2600mAh, but because it was almost doubling the battery in mAh we waited longer too. The battery charge level shown by these four dots below, the four lit means that the battery is fully recharged.

Whenever I go out to record, smartphones' batteries run out long before stabilizers, and I have to stop to recharge them. In this sense, the Xiaomi Mijia does not offer a solution even with a long battery life, if your phone runs out of power, has to stop to find an outlet and recharge.

Since the battery is a strength of the stabilizer, as with DJI's second model gadget, which comes with a USB port to recharge the phone, the Xiaomi Mijia Gimbal could also have this feature, but the company didn't add it, a feather.

On the recharge of the stabilizer itself, it works with a micro usb connection on the base side as in the image below. The recharging cable comes in the box.


Using on trip

O Xiaomi Mijia Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer It comes with a standard tripping socket at the bottom, which makes it a lot easier when you need to go out to record, position the gimbal and use features like motion timelapse that require fixing the gadget base so that the top can be moved independently.

It is important to note that on any trip that will be able to maintain this gadget on p. The gimbal stabilizers They need a trip, which can be small but it needs to be robust and heavy. If you intend to make images with features of the app like motion timelapse, it is highly recommended that you walk with a tripSince it cannot be left standing even on a flat surface because it has a rounded base.


Upright Recordings

Not offering the ability to record with the phone vertically today would be almost absurd, with the popularization of social networks like instagram, IGTV and even with the adaptation of YouTube to aspect ratio, not bring this option, as did the first Dji Osmo Mobile's model would be a big mistake. Xiaomi has not been left behind in this detail.

In the image above you can see an example of the smartphone standing or lying down. To change from horizontal to vertical mode it is necessary to move this back which shows these two padlocks, one open and one closed. By turning to the side of the open lock you loosen the lock and you can position it in the vertical or horizontal position according to the desired position and then you must tighten it again to secure it.

This component makes a strange creak when moved and not as efficient as it should be when used it spins but does not seem to match the amount spun by the user. Anyway, it works and has a nice finish.


The application

The all Chinese manual and the QR code available in the manual leads to the application also in Asian language. As of the time I write this review, I haven't found anyone else on the internet showing the application interface in English. I had to search and watch various videos until I found the name of the app to be able to search for it in the Play store and download it.

Analysis

Check out the pros and cons of the gimbal stabilizer made for smartphones

I ended up finding a video of a Chinese reviewing in English, he showed the name of the app on the screen and was the one who knew what it was. This is how I searched and downloaded the English version. Neither site mentions a download link, or if it mentions it is in Chinese and is not easy to find. Xiaomi could have thought better of this release strategy in another language, as it had to make a minimal investment to make a translation of the product to be used.

If you are looking for the English version name of the app for the Xiaomi Mijia 3 Axis gimbal stabilizer, Mi Gimbal in the Play store and can be found as fimiApp in the Apple Store. Check out his interface below.

The interface is not complicated, although complex. I didn't miss any important settings for using the gadget. You can change all camera settings through it, including stabilizing footage in case of conflict.

One of the positives in the way the app works is when saving images to an iPhone. You don't have to use iTunes to transfer files, because the app moves all images and videos to the smartphone gallery folder, this makes it a lot easier. Detail, you have to select the captures made and select the move option to have it move to the folder.


Capture Modes

With the app you can record and take photos normally using the button. Some modes depend on your camera specifications, such as hitchcock mode and slow motion. I did the Xiaomi Mijia tests with a Galaxy S6 and an iPhone X, these modes were only available on the iPhone and were restricted to the rear camera of the smartphones. Check out the demo video made by Xiaomi.

The main focus of the gadget is filming, but as it brings the possibility of taking pictures, it also shows some settings that can be used. In the photography part you can set to manual or automatic mode. In manual mode the available options are three, ISO, shutter speed and white balance.

Video recording modes are already five when your smartphone supports all, hitchcock, move-lapse, time-lapse, slow motion and standard. You can take a picture while recording, if you want to capture any frame you found interesting, just click the button with the camera icon.

Application interface with selected default shooting mode

In the application interface demo video above, I demonstrate how to switch between photo and video mode, this part can be a bit confusing until discovered. By clicking on the camera, the application hides the icon and shows its functionality. Then you get used to it and it's all right.


Hitchcock

A reference to filmmaker Hitchcock is the effect that this mode is one of the most famous techniques applied in the director's films and that has been well known since its first appearance in the 1958 film Vertigo and for this reason, also known as vertigo effect. Check out some examples on the video below.

What this mode does for you gives you the ability to choose the duration of the take and how it will start and end the camera zoom. I found the gadget interesting to bring the option, but I found it easier to do this manually because it has the zoom button on the back.

If you don't know how to do the effect, here is the basic explanation of how to do it manually. You choose a zoom, which can be the maximum or the minimum. Once you have framed the object you will zoom in or out as you change the zoom while holding the object in the frame.


Move-lapse

The way move lapse A function that mixes time-lapse with motion. At first, even updating the firmware, this mode did not work in our tests. We contacted Xiaomi trying to find out why, but the response did not change the situation.

According to the company, they are not selling their products through the global website, so there is no way to help with that.

To my surprise, after much searching the internet, I found no such demonstration on the application screen. I did not find any content producer using it, and in what I watched, some jumped that way when it came time to introduce, I believe that because they are facing this same problem that I.

The update took a while, but it arrived

The lack of support from the Chinese company and the delay to release an update that would allow the use of a feature that was announced with the gadget, undoubtedly a big negative point. Once we received the gadget, I upgraded to the latest version and it still didn't work. Support didn't even hint at updating again or warn that an update would be coming soon.

I had already given up when I turned on the device and saw that a new update was recognized. The installation took about five minutes. To install, the gadget must be connected to the phone and at the end of the process it is restarted.

It, in my opinion, is one of the biggest differential features in stabilizers. With a handheld gadget you can create effects like the ones that appear in the series opening House of cards As in the video below, something that would only be possible with a much more expensive stereo.

With it working normally, you simply select from which point the gadget will move, can be both horizontally and vertically, and determine a duration for the movement. Once the frames are selected, you click start recording, it moves to the first frame and starts capturing. The use of a tripod is fundamental to ensure the effect of the mode.


Time lapse

With time-lapse you can set a capture interval between frames and a time for the smartphone camera to be recording. Automatically the app calculates the duration of the final video. You can also set the app screen to darken while capturing images.

When choosing time-lapse mode, you will have the options as shown below. It is very important to set the appropriate capture range for your scene. If you are going to capture a landscape over a longer period of time, it is more interesting to choose a longer capture interval, if you are going to move around the city and record moving people, it is generally nicer to choose a shorter time interval.

Note that just like motion-lapse, time-lapse also lets you darken the screen during recording and shows the final take duration just below the settings.


Slowmotion

In this feature the gadget changes to a higher frame rate, enabling the slow motion effect. Remember that this mode only works if your smartphone is able to record at least 240 frames per second, less than that the app does not offer the function.

The app does not save a slow-motion version in the smartphone gallery, when playing in the app's native player, it slows down the playback speed, causing the desired effect. To use the slow motion effect, you need to import the file recorded at the highest frame rate to your computer and change the playback speed yourself in a video editor.


Pattern – Sample images

So you make the most of the catch. You can use the joystick, the zoom button on the back, the photo and video button to assist in recording.

All buttons can be used in other modes as well, but are much more used when you are recording in normal mode. Check out some of the images that I made in Florianpolis Botanical Garden using this shooting mode only.

In some jacks of the above video I use a tripod and the joystick and in others I make the movements with the hand and I use the joystick.


Recording

There are a number of issues to consider when evaluating a gadget as good or bad. Some details are more discreet but have a direct impact on how intuitive the device is in time to be used for recording. An example is the zoom button that appears in orange in the photo below. It does not have a very usual format but I found its location quite intuitive, and as there is another button below, you can use the same finger to switch between the two.