Whether it’s simply taking selfies or broadcasting for business cellphone technology has changed many aspects of our lives. As the capabilities of cellphone cameras have evolved they have become the primary audio/visual device for most users. Unfortunately, man still has the limitation of two hands which presents a problem when working with a cellphone. Designed to be handheld, it requires all of that hand to hold and stabilize it. In order to use the all important shutter button, play/stop button, etc. requires some nimble finger movement or the other hand. We have all witnessed the end result of this game of concentration. A dropped phone or an accidental stumble is often the result. And while the selfie stick goes a long way to removing the need to hold the phone, they don’t all seek to solve the problem of how to snap the picture or video.
The iSteady X from Hohem seeks to eliminate that problem with some some success. However, I do see opportunities for improvements in future models.
Usually a prefix of “i” means only one brand can use a cellphone device. For my fellow green people, I can assure you this gimbal stabilizer is good for any phone.
The iSteady X is currently priced at $69.99 U.S. on the Hohem website. Advertising 8 hours of life on a charge, a light design and a list of one click options the iSteady X sounds good on paper. Looking at the design I felt a bit of nostalgia, like a blast from the past I saw hints of Nintendo’s R.O.B. With the company’s premise and previous experiences I set out to see what this gimbal was capable of.
Included in with the iSteady X are a usb charging cable, travel pouch, a mini tripod and a wrist strap. An instruction manual is included, the instructions are very simple and redundant. I mention redundancy because you will notice on the back of the box there is an app associated with the gimbal. So prior to using this device you need to travel to your appropriate app store and download the app.
My first impression of just the iSteady X in the box was that it was heavy. While sometimes this would be packaging a check of the website listed the gimbal at about 259g. While this alleviated my fears of cheap construction, it also makes the iSteady X feel like a hammer. Coincidentally a hammer also has a starting weight of about 8oz and With the camera mounted the iSteady X does feel top heavy like a hammer. I am concerned about carrying it during more outdoor adventures.
The grips that hold the cellphone in place are strong. So strong that it can be difficult to get your phone in at times, potentially painful. You also want to make sure when you place your phone in the mount that it is centered, so it can take a little time to get it right. I hesitated to release my grasp on my phone because of how limp the arm feels when not powered on. I wondered would it hold?
Long pressing of the Power button brings the gimbal to life and centers the camera. Any concern about arm strength is removed once the iSteady X springs to life. I found the joystick on the iSteady X to be remarkably responsive. There was no lag between joystick/gimbal movement but the moves are smooth there is no stagger noticeable in videos. Tapping the power button once flips the mount from landscape to portrait instantaneously. Press the power button twice and the mount recenters for you.
To the left of the joystick is a Zoom button. To the right of the Power button is the Shutter button. This shutter button also switches which phone camera is in use. These are the two areas where the iSteady X does stutter and sputter. Part of my dismay with these two button functions is their use requires the Hohem App. I am not a fan of software for a companies sake, so I am apprehensive of 3rd party going onto my phone.
When you launch the app you enter the instruction manual I mentioned earlier. You have to launch the camera portion of the app to take advantage of all the Zoom and Shutter button functionality. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the app, it does prove the iSteady X has the button operations programmed perfectly. Similarly it uses
The tripod should be listed as handle/tripod since I would imagine it would be hard to use the iSteady X without it attached. Also, I have to admit the construction of the tripod is sturdy and the grips on the legs work great.
When not in use the iSteady X does fold away easily and it does reduce the size for transport and portability. The travel pouch isn’t quite big enough for the iSteady X by itself so it’s a struggle to wrestle the tripod in as well.
I was happy to discover my native phone app did respond to the Shutter button. However it did not Zoom and I could not switch from front to back camera.
I noticed that the Zoom button actually turned up my volume. It would be nice to see true Bluetooth connectivity so the Hohem app wouldn’t be a requirement.
The iSteady X from Hohem provides a tough gimbal stabilizer with only one problem.
- Strong grip on phone mount
- Gimbal arm adjusts to any movement to maintain stabilization
- Gimbal arm moves smoothly on an axis allowing tilt camera angles easily
- Joystick very responsive
- Convenient handle/tripod for additional filming options
- Weight, bulky and top heavy (for what it does I can’t imagine any other design)
- 3rd party software
- Travel bag doesn’t accommodate (minor)