REVIEW: DJI OM 4 – Good Gimbal, But Too Shackled To Its App
Best known for its drones, China’s DJI has also for a few years run a decent line in cameras and related accessories. Its new sub-$250 OM 4 smartphone stabiliser could entice content creators – but is it worth the price?
Physically, the OM 4 is a sturdy beast. Its pistol-grip handle feels nice and solid in the hand, and its collapsible three-axis gimbal arm doesn’t feel like it’ll snap in half in a stiff breeze. It charges through USB-C and boasts 10 hours of battery life, which isn’t bad, and also comes with a USB-A slot to charge your phone from as you go.
Also on the handle are the controls: a lock-on trigger; a zoom slider; a thumb joystick; a record/capture button; and a multipurpose button (marked M) whose functions include powering the device on and off, entering and exiting standby, and switching between portrait and landscape mode.
Of those, the zoom slider and the record button control phone functions directly, so require a Bluetooth connection; the multifunction M button can also switch between photo and video mode in the DJI Mimo app.
Overall, the controls are fine. The joystick pans left and right, and tilts up and down, with a good range of movement – at least a full 180 degrees side-to-side, and less than that up-and-down. You do have to dig into the Mimo app to change the speed, though.
The lock-on trigger is decent, keeping the phone pointed straight ahead as the gimbal moves while you hold it down. If you want to force the gimbal to track a specific target – such as a person’s face – you’ll need to use the Mimo app, where you can lock on to a subject with a quick squeeze of the trigger. Tracking works pretty well, as you can see in the video below, where the camera follows a rolling ball right up until it falls off a table without needing to move the phone. It can’t track at higher zoom levels, though – I found about 3.0x is its upper limit.
When using the zoom slider and record button, you’ll also get the best results in the Mimo app. I tested them out in two other apps – Samsung’s native camera app, and Filmic Pro – and found that, while the record button did work in the native app, the zoom slider didn’t. Filmic Pro did connect to the OM 4 separately through its own interface, and it works well – just be aware, if you’re planning to use Filmic Pro, that the zoom slider changes the function of the joystick rather than zooming.
To attach a phone to the gimbal, DJI has included a magnetic clamp which grabs onto the sides of your device, as well as a ring holder for smaller phones. Attaching and removing a phone from the OM 4 is therefore pretty quick, though obviously putting the clamp itself onto your phone is going to take a bit more effort (if not all that much).
One issue with the OM 4 that immediately stands out, however: the clamp doesn’t play well with cases. If you have a larger phone, you’ll likely need to remove it from its case to fit it into the clamp, as even the alternative ring holder with its sticky back is not recommended for use with phone cases.
Additionally, those who have phones with side buttons close to the centre – such as the Samsung Galaxy Note20, for example – will have trouble with the clamp, as attaching it in a balanced way will mean its arms press right down on the buttons. My S10 5G mercifully avoids having it touch the Bixby key, but only just.
At $239 from JB Hi-Fi, the OM 4 is a decent entry point for amateur smartphone videographers and content creators, though it’s held back by its reliance on DJI’s proprietary Mimo app. It does what it’s supposed to, and you can’t ask for much more than that – except maybe for a more case-friendly clamp.
- Solid build quality
- Works well when coupled with DJI Mimo app
- Great battery life
- Quick to attach and detach clamp from gimbal
- Affordable price point
- Clamp doesn’t work well with phone cases or central side buttons
- Functionality limited outside Mimo app