DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Review: Top-Notch, Affordable Phone Gimbal

DJI Osmo Mobile 3: Tracking And Timelapse Features, Functions & Final Thoughts

The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 can act as more than just a stabilizer for your smartphone-captured videos. It can also track motion, effortlessly stitch together panoramas, and create dynamic timelapses from its app. Check out our quick video demo footage here to get a feel for what's offered... 

While in video, photo, or hyperlapse mode, Active Track 3.0 can be engaged by dragging a box over your subject. The gimbal will lock onto on the tracked subject and follow it automatically as it moves.

dji osmo mobile 3 active track box
Drag a box to select zone to be tracked

The trigger can be configured to turn on or off Active Tracking with a single press as well. When the One-Press Active Track option is enabled, a preset selection area is outlined in the center of the frame. Whatever is in the area when the trigger is tapped will be tracked.

DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Tracking Performance

The Osmo Mobile 3's tracking quality is acceptable, but not mind blowing. The frame tends to trail the subject and can have difficulty keeping up with fast movements. If the subject is lost, it will try for a second or two to find it again. It will then disable tracking if it cannot recover the subject. Active Tracking will be useful if you are filming yourself and want the camera to move around with you. However, we found manually controlling the gimbal tended to produce better results when filming others. The Active Tracked footage above tends to be less steady. It tilts up and down during pans and wiggles back and forth when the subject is stationary. Active Track centers your subject by default, but you can reframe your subject by moving the thumbstick around.

dji osmo mobile 3 active track 3
Green brackets indicate what the gimbal is tracking

The Osmo Mobile 3 supports gesture activation with Active Tracking. After enabling gesture controls in the on-screen menu, start recording by raising your palm or putting your fingers in a V shape. It works with front and rear cameras. It uses the phone’s flash to indicate its starting countdown when using the rear camera. There is no stop recording gesture, so you still need to press the record button to end your video.

dji osmo mobile 3 panorama 180 sample
180-degree panorama sample

DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Panorama Modes

The Mimo app allows the Osmo Mobile 3 to automatically capture two kinds of panoramas: a 180-degree stitch and a 3-by-3 grid. In both cases, you just need to set the mode, aim for the center of the panorama, and tap the record button.

dji osmo mobile 3 panorama grid
The Osmo Mobile 3 automatically swivels to take a 3x3 grid panorama

The 180-degree option takes four shots from left to right and combines them together. The Mimo app does a good job of accounting for motion. It produces a high quality result, even handheld.

dji osmo mobile 3 panorama grid sample
3x3 grid panorama sample

For the 3-by-3 grid, the gimbal whips through 9 shots for a high-resolution, wide-angle view. This setting is more sensitive to movement so while it is doable handheld, we would recommend saving this one for a tripod when you can.

dji osmo mobile 3 panorama processing
Processing a panorama takes a few seconds depending on your phone

Another handy feature is the Osmo Mobile 3’s timelapse function. It can take a regular fixed timelapse or track along up to 4 selectable path points, for what DJI calls a motion lapse. The path points can be set quickly, and the motion is very smooth. Users can adjust the duration of the timelapse from 1 minute to 5 hours – or endless – and adjust the shot interval from half a second to one minute.

dji osmo mobile 3 mimo motionlapse
Pathing points can be added by pressing the blue "+" button

For an even more dramatic effect, try a hyperlapse. The hyperlapse function is intended to be used handheld. You can capture things like your hike or a car ride and condense it into a few seconds. Even without trying to keep the gimbal super still, the results are smooth and give your scene a more 3D-like feeling. Hyperlapses can utilize active tracking and capture at speeds between 5x and 30x real-time.

Stepping outside the DJI Mimo app, we can also use the Osmo Mobile 3 with our regular camera app. With our LG G8 ThinQ, for instance, we were able to use its manual video controls to capture 240 fps slow motion videos. While slow motion already reduces the effect of hand shake, the gimbal puts the results on a whole other level. Slow motion also pairs well with the FPV control mode for an otherworldly perspective.

DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Final Thoughts & Conclusion

dji osmo mobile 3 hero

The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is an impressive device. It checks all the boxes that matter for an advanced smartphone gimbal - it is effective at stabilizing footage, it is easy to use, it has long lasting battery life, and all at an affordable price. It is not a perfect gimbal, of course, but the minor flaws it has will not deter most users.

The Osmo Mobile 3 is physically compatible with just about every modern smartphone. If a phone fits in the cradle, then the gimbal will at least function on a basic level to stabilize it. The cradle supports phones up to 9.5 mm thick with a width between 62 and 88 mm. This means it can support even the 77mm wide Galaxy Note 10+ with ease. Bulky cases may need to be removed, but if they fit, the gimbal is powerful enough to work with them in place.
dji osmo mobile 3 collapsed with phone
The Osmo Mobile 3 also scores wins for quality of life experience. Unlike many gimbals, there is no tinkering with screws, no tedious axis-by-axis balancing process, and no hassle stowing it away, thanks to its well-integrated folding design. The battery life is also exceptional. We were able to go days between charges with a few hours a day of usage. The only way we could consistently kill the battery was by using the gimbal as a battery bank to recharge our phone.

Its design does lack some control and range of motion, however. The Osmo Mobile 3 lacks a roll control outside of the M button double tap to switch between portrait and landscape orientations. The FPV control mode lets users roll the camera but sacrifices a good deal of stability and precision. Similarly, the gimbal cannot rotate a full 360-degrees. This limitation is mostly relevant for Motion Lapses and Panorama shot modes.
dji osmo mobile 3 mimo app connected

Unfortunately, the software side is also a mixed bag with the Osmo Mobile 3. iPhone users enjoy first rate compatibility with the DJI Mimo app. Androids are much more limited. Android devices can only record at 30fps, while iPhones can record at 24, 60, or even 240 fps for slow motion. Some Android devices, like our LG G8 ThinQ, are arbitrarily limited to 1080p, despite being 4K capable. This is regrettable. 

DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Quality And Performance With Mimo And Without

Thankfully, the gimbal stabilizes regardless of the camera app used, so even with our G8 ThinQ we can use the Osmo Mobile 3 and capture 4K or slow-motion footage using the stock camera app. The Mimo app is necessary to unlock the Osmo Mobile 3's full potential, but it is really only essential for changing between control modes. Users can work around every other limitation of general video capture without opening Mimo, by using on screen controls.
dji osmo mobile 3 case with phone
Mimo is much more useful for users interested in the alternate capture modes: timelapse, hyperlapse, and panoramas. All three of these modes work very well with the Osmo Mobile 3. We especially enjoyed being able to quickly setup the gimbal on its tripod for a timelapse, then setup a motion path with a couple presses and let it do its thing while we work, eat, or rest.
dji osmo mobile 3 rear with phone

Of course, the bottom-line is the DJI Osmo Mobile 3's smooth performance - and it is smooth. Micro-jitters and drift are two common issues that plague gimbals. We did not encounter any drift that was not our own fault. The gimbal does sometimes produce microjitters, but that is to be expected with a device this light and compact. The Mimo app shows a warning if it suspects the phone is poorly balanced. It also has a calibration routine to improve responsiveness. We suggest running this when switching between phones or any time you feel the phone may be listing to one side or the other.

The Osmo Mobile 3 makes smartphone video recording an enjoyable experience that truly ups your game. Whether your aim is serious cinematography or just to capture home movies for the holidays, it is easy to recommend thanks to its low $129 price point (now listing as low as $115 on Amazon), great performance and incredible ease of use.

  • Compact and lightweight folding design
  • Steady and fluid camera movements
  • Intuitive controls
  • Rapid setup and teardown
  • Tool-less balancing
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Active Track 3.0 suffers from jitter
  • Phone support varies wildly by model
  • Does not offer roll control or other advanced maneuvers

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