Video cameras sure have evolved since the first VHS camcorder that I bought 16 years ago. That thing was HUGE and crazy expensive. If I remember correctly, we bought it on payments and it took about a year to pay it off. Today I have a video camera that captures much better video than the camcorders of yesteryear and it is small enough to fit in my pocket. Smartphones have all but replaced point and shoot cameras and camcorders. We capture video every day with our phones, but can we improve what we capture? The Smoovie Pocket Video Stabiliser has been designed to do just that. Let’s see if it succeeds.
What is it?
The Smoovie Pocket Video Stabiliser is a device that holds your smartphone and uses a handle and a dangling weight to provide extra stabilization so your captured video will be smooth and less jittery than video captured by just holding the smartphone in your hand.
What’s in the package?
Smoovie Pocket Video Stabiliser
Design and features
There are three main parts to the Smoovie. There’s the handle, the weight and the phone holder.
The handle has a standard 1/4″ mount on the bottom side that can be used to attach the Smoovie to a tripod or selfie stick.
The angle of the handle can be adjusted up and down depending on what is most comfortable.
The weight is a telescoping aluminum tube with a steel weight at the end. The length of the tube can be adjusted from a minimum of 5.75 inches to a maximum of about 10.5 inches.
The phone holder is an adjustable spring loaded clamp that has a rubber covering on the upper edge and rubber “feet” at the base. There is supposed to be a rubber base foot on each side, but my Smoovie came with one of the base feet missing.
The rubber feet can be pivoted out of the way if your phone has volume or power buttons in the center of the side. Moving the feet out of the way can prevent the buttons from accidentally being activated.
To use the Smoovie with my Nexus 6P, I had to move the rubber foot out of the way. Once the phone is wedged between the jaws, you can tighten the plastic screw on the side lock in the phone angle. This screw is not in a very good spot and is hard to access when the phone is in the holder.
The gimbal part of the handle has a magnet embedded in it. A second magnet is embedded in the curved part of the plastic opposite the handle. See arrow above. These magnets are supposed to keep the phone from wildly swinging left to right as you walk around. In practice, I found that the magnets weren’t strong enough to help keep the swinging at a minimum.
Instead of relying on the magnets, you can slide the attached rubber damper under the gimbal dish to add extra stabilization. The damper is thin at the end and gets thicker, so you can customize how tight you want the action to be.
See it in action
I wasn’t able to notice much of a difference when using the Samsung Note 7 with or without the Smoovie. That’s probably due to the fact that this phone has built-in image stabilization. I assumed I’d be able to see a difference with the Nexus 6P which does NOT have image stabilization, but I really didn’t. Do you notice a difference?
When it comes to providing better image stabilization, I don’t see that the Smoovie offers much help. The only thing that I can see that this phone accessory is good for is if you shoot a lot of low to the ground footage. The Smoovie’s handle helps you capture that type of footage while you’re walking because you only need one hand to hold the phone instead of two hands. But other than that, I really don’t see an advantage to using this accessory.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Smoovie. Please visit their site for more info.