DJI is popularly known as a maker of drones and handheld stabilisers for cameras. Even though it has recently branched out into the action camera space with the Osmo Action, its core strengths remain in manufacturing high-quality gimbals for smartphones and cameras. Its most recent introduction has been the Osmo Mobile 3, which is its third-generation handheld stabiliser for smartphones. This 3-axis gimbal makes for a great tool for content creators, especially if your phone doesn’t have the best electronic or optical stabilisation.
The Osmo Mobile 3 gets some neat upgrades over its predecessor. It’s now foldable for better portability; has better ergonomics; and boasts of new shortcuts and gestures. We’ve been using the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 for about a week now, and here’s what we think of it.
DJI Osmo Mobile 3 design and features
The Osmo Mobile 3 is available in India as a standalone device for Rs. 8,999 or as a ‘Combo’ priced at Rs. 10,999, which includes a hard carrying case and an Osmo Grip tripod. The latter doesn’t add any height to the gimbal but it does have collapsable feet, so it can be used as an extended grip when closed or as a regular tripod. The Osmo Mobile 3 weighs just 405g, making it quite light. The handgrip and most parts of the gimbal itself are made of plastic, but the quality is very good. There’s ample rubber cladding on the handgrip for extra support for sweaty palms.
The arm of the gimbal can now be folded, making it easier to carry. You can even keep a phone mounted on it when it’s folded, which is convenient. The 3-axis stabilisation lets you perform tilt, roll, and pan actions when shooting. The front of the handgrip is where you’ll find the main buttons. These include a multi-direction joystick and buttons for recording and switching between shooting modes (‘M’). There’s a zoom slider on the left and a USB Type-C port on the right for charging.
The Osmo Mobile 3 also has a full-sized USB Type-A port on the handgrip, in case you need to charge your phone while shooting. Last, we have an ergonomically placed trigger button at the back of the handgrip, which can be used to reset the phone’s position, and depending on the number of taps, it can also be used to activate ‘Sports Mode,’ lock the tilt axis, and switch between your phone’s rear and front cameras.
The Osmo Mobile 3 has a standard tripod mount at the bottom so you can mount it on any tripod for timelapse shots, or use the bundled one if you buy the ‘Combo’ pack. In the box, you’ll find a basic quick start guide, a USB Type-C cable, a wrist strap, and a soft storage pouch. We received the combo pack for review, which also includes the case and tripod. The hardshell case is of good quality and is stiff enough to provide good protection. We just wish it was big enough to accommodate the tripod in it too.
DJI Osmo Mobile 3 performance
Before powering this device on, you’ll have to unfold it which is easily done thanks to the spring-loaded arm. The arms of the gimbal also lock in place when its folded, thanks to carefully placed grooves and latches, so it doesn’t accidentally unfold. Before you can pop your phone into the clamp begin using it, the gimbal needs to be ‘activated’. This involves downloading and signing in to the DJI Mimo app, which is available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Once you go through the setup process, which also checks and downloads any available firmware update for the gimbal, you’re ready to use the Osmo Mobile 3.
The gimbal will automatically try and centre the phone you have installed but you can also manually adjust its position by holding the tilt motor. You can calibrate the phone’s position and angle through an option within the Mimo app too. The Osmo Mobile 3 is compatible with most of today’s popular phones but not all features are available for all phones. For instance, slow-motion video and 60fps video in the Mimo app is currently only available on iPhones. Shooting at 4K is still not available on some Android phones such as the Realme X2 Pro (Review), but it is available on others like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (Review). However, even if your phone is not on the list, you’ll still be able to use all the basic features of the app. Hopefully, we should see better support in future versions of it.
We tested the Osmo Mobile 3 with a variety of phones such as the Redmi Note 8 (Review), Realme X2 Pro Master Edition, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, and Apple iPhone 11 Pro. The holder for the phone is also cleverly designed, so it doesn’t come in contact with any of its buttons, thereby allowing you to centre it properly. We noticed that all the phones we tried got quite warm after extended use of the Mimo app, and it did tend to drain their batteries quickly. When you’re not shooting, it’s best to turn the screen off or put the gimbal in standby mode to conserve power on both devices.
The Osmo Mobile 3 lets you capture professional-looking stabilised videos without much effort. This is especially useful on phones that don’t have electronic stabilisation or don’t do a good job of it. The Redmi Note 8, for instance, shoots decent quality 4K videos in the day but without stabilisation. The Osmo Mobile 3 fixes this, making an otherwise unusable video clip look like it’s been shot on a much more expensive phone.
We even tried capturing a video while zoomed in, which exaggerates shakiness from even tiny movements. Even while walking, the gimbal made a world of a difference. If you have a high-end phone with optical stabilisation, shooting in low light is still challenging. Having a stabiliser for such situations makes a noticeable difference to the final output.
Besides standard photos and videos, the Mimo app also offers other shooting modes and features too. It lets you capture professional-looking motion timelapse videos, where you can set the path the gimbal will follow for the duration of the timelapse. Hyperlapse videos are also possible, and the end results looked very good to us, even with a budget phone such as the Redmi Note 8.
‘Story Mode’ lets you create short stories easily. All you have to do it pick a template and follow the guide to capture short clips, which are then automatically stitched together with transitions, on-screen text, and music. You also have the option to share these clips immediately on social platforms.
For panoramas, you can select a 180-degree shot or a wider one, which captures a lot more angles. However, with the latter, the end result didn’t always look good and we noticed some inconsistencies in the stitching at times. Also, the Osmo Mobile 3’s gimbal still has a limit to how far it can rotate, so you can’t take 360 degree photos or panoramas on this one.
The Osmo Mobile 3 also features ActiveTrack 3.0, which is available through the Mimo app. You can select the object you want to follow through the viewfinder, and the gimbal will automatically track it to ensure it’s always in the centre of the frame. It worked very well with people, but not so much with fast-moving objects. There’s a Sport Mode which can be engaged when you double-press and hold the trigger button. This enables active tracking on the object in the centre of the frame and increases the speed of the motors, so the gimbal can pan and tilt more rapidly. ActiveTrack 3.0 can also be enabled by showing a palm or ‘V’ sign gesture to the camera, but this needs to be enabled in the app’s settings.
Other gestures include a double-tap on the Mode button flip the phone horizontally or vertically; and a triple-tap on the trigger button to switch between the front and rear cameras. You can also opt to enable ‘Quick Menu,’ which lets you use the joystick to navigate through all the shooting modes, so you never have to reach for your phone’s screen.
DJI claims a battery life of up to 15 hours. With actual usage, we found the battery life to be closer to 10 hours, which is still not bad. We think this should be more than enough runtime for whatever you’ll be filming at a stretch. The Osmo Mobile 3 can be used while it’s charging so you could technically use it for a lot longer. Charging it fully took us about two and a half hours when it was connected to a 10W adapter.
The DJI Osmo 3 is an incredibly fun gadget and a must-have accessory for any serious content creator. Even for casual users, it’s a very handy accessory to have when you’re on a holiday or if you simply love making home videos. The best part is that it’s easy to use, and it can make videos shot even with a budget smartphone look more professional. We love how compact it gets when folded up; the subject tracking feature works well on people; and the Mimo app offers useful shooting modes. We hope that DJI updates the app to support more resolutions and framerates on a wider selection of Android phones.
The starting price of Rs. 8,999 is very good considering the performance and features that this device offers. We‘d recommend putting in a bit more money and getting the ‘Combo’ bundle, as the hardcase is a must-have if you travel a lot and the tripod is very handy for timelapse shots.
Price: Rs. 8,999 (Base model) ; Rs. 10,999 (Combo model)
- Comfortable and portable
- Very good stabilisation
- Easy to use
- Useful companion app
- Decent battery life
- Object tracking could be better