FutureFive New Zealand - Consumer technology news & reviews from the future
Hands-on review: DJI Osmo Pocket
Wed, 5th Jun 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Our mobile phones have, pretty much pushed the need to carry around a video camera into obsolescence. Logically, DJI has now given us a movie-quality steady-camera system that fits in our pocket.

The DJI Osmo features a three-axis gimbal and a camera that looks like it's been ripped right of one of the companies Mavic Pro drones. And that's because, basically, it has. The gimbal can adjust at 120- degrees/second, smoothing out all but the shakiest camera action.

The camera can record video up to 4K at 60fps and 12MP stills. The device uses an SD card for firmware upgrades and file storage, so you are looking at a sizable extra expense if you want to record a decent amount of video.

It's a tiny device, only 122mm high and weighing 116g. It comes with a protective shell case that easily fits in your pocket or bag.

The Osmo Pocket can be used on its own or attached to your mobile phone using the DJI Mimo software app.

Whilst the Osmo Pocket on its own is easy to hold and very convenient, the nested menus on its tiny touch screen are not very user-friendly.

It takes a while to get familiar with the options, which are pretty-much undocumented in the printed literature that accompanies the device.

But once you do have a handle on the controls, the Osmo Pocket is a fully functional device without the need for a mobile phone. That being said, attached to a mobile phone, the device becomes a lot more user-friendly, if a little less convenient.

Removing the cover from the side of the Osmo Pocket reveals a little slot into which one of the USB adapters can be connected. The pack comes with a Lightning and USB-C connecter. Owners of older phones with a USB Micro B socket are out of luck.

The built-in battery is good for a couple of hours of use and is charged via a USB-C socket at the bottom of the device. The battery is built-in and cannot be replaced.

Stuffing the Osmo Pocket into the side of my Huawei Mate20 Pro, it fit snuggly and very secure, but I wouldn't let the Osmo hang there whilst just holding the phone, nor would do the same holding the Osmo. It's a two-hand job, unless you want to be dropping you phone, the Osmo, or both.

Connected to your phone, the Osmo is controlled by the DJI Mimo app. Mimo's home page is packed full of easy-to-understand instructional videos to get the most out of the device.

I strongly recommend watching these prior to using the Osmo Pocket, unless you like deciphering esoteric menu systems.    

The Mimo app makes choosing your photo and video option much easier. Even though it's all available to you via the Osmo Pocket's little screen when being used independently, using the phone's bigger screen and more logical layout is much better. Similarly, using the bigger screen is better for focusing your shot.

It's not just the gimbal and camera that DJI have borrowed from their drones. A number of the recording modes will be very familiar to owners of DJI's flying cameras that have been using the DJI Go app.

Selecting one of the special camera programmes can result in some amazing shots. First-person view mode allows you to film smooth video in the direction of the gimbal, like a first-person-shooter.

With Active track, the Osmo Pocket follows the assigned subject. In Selfie mode the camera switched on FaceTrack to keep you in the frame. 3x3 Panorama creates a large-size image packed full of detail. Motionlapse makes smooth moving timelapse photography. Nightshot allows you to take tripod-free night shots.

The DJI Osmo Pocket is a great device for creating smooth, professional-looking video and stable, tripod-free photos.

On its own it's a very conveniently pocket-sized device for capturing moments quickly on-the-go. Team up the Osmo Pocket up with your mobile phone, and you've a movie studio, complete with steady-cam, in your hands.