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Multitask with this selfie stick
DJI Osmo Mobile
EVEN though smartphone makers have made great strides in mobile-device cameras, there is still a distinction between these camerasand more professional camera equipment.
Drone maker DJI hopes to change all that, with a rather sophisticated selfie stick that adds camera tracking, handheld stabilisation and Bluetooth controls to your smartphone, so that it delivers professional-looking footage. The three-axis Osmo Mobile is primarily a handheld gimbal that aids in delivering smooth-looking handheld video recordings, at a fraction of the price of high-end stabilisation equipment. DJI had previously launched similar handheld gimbals, but those fancy systems came with their own built-in cameras. As the iPhone 6s Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7 and Note 7 are capable of shooting quality footage, the device merely offers the promise of smoother handling.
When a three-axis gimbal is attached to a camera, it allows the user to move the gimbal, but the camera itself remains in a fixed position, and this produces smoother video footage. DJI has had plenty of experience on this front, as it has added gimbals to its high-end drones. This allows the drones to record smooth-looking videos, even though it might be swinging violently due to air currents, or erratic flight controls from the pilot.
The gimbal here comes with a bracket that supports devices of any width between 5.8 cm and 8.5 cm. Once the Osmo Mobile has been paired with the phone using the DJI Go app for Android or iOS, the Osmo Mobile calibrates for the mounted phone.
The Osmo Mobile can be held in four different orientations, with the camera on top or at the bottom of the handle, in portrait mode and with it pointed forward, as if you were holding a flashlight. Since the app uses Bluetooth, it keeps the Wi-Fi connection available to allow an Internet connection to the phone, to stream live video feeds.
The device's handle offers the usual camera and video buttons, as well as a navigation joystick for making adjustments to the angle of the bracket. There is a front trigger button where three presses in succession allow the user to toggle from the front camera of the phone to the rear - and vice versa.
In situations where extended hand movements do not allow a comfortable hold on the Osmo Mobile, two quick presses will reorientate the gimbal. The app itself comes with several features, such as for making time-lapse and motion time-lapse videos, but the most important one is the active tracking.
Simply draw a square, on the screen, on the object that you want tracked, and the camera will pivot and focus on it when the object starts moving, or if your hand can no longer physically move to follow the subject.
Flip the camera around, and you can use the tracking feature to keep tabs on your face, for when you want to make vlogging videos as you're performing a task, or even walking down a street. Because there is no built-in camera, battery life for the Osmo Mobile clocks in at an impressive 4.5 hours. One curious thing to note is that the 3.5 mm jack is actually used for charging the unit with a proprietary 3.5 mm cable, and not for attaching a separate microphone for better audio pick-up.
The high price point means that this is more than just a smart selfie stick, but if you have ever needed self-tracking and to record shake-free video on your smartphone, the Osmo Mobile is the updated selfie tool to get.
DJI Osmo Mobile
Dimensions: 61.8 × 48.2 × 161.5 mm
Weight (with battery): 201g
Battery: 980 mAh