Remember Hohem and iSteady X? It made my DJI Osmo Mobile redundant thanks to the compact and foldable design and unparallel stabilising performance for your mobile phone. Now I have Hohem iSteady X2 on my hands and not much changes on the surface. In fact, if it wasn’t for the darker shade of grey, I’d have a hard time telling one from another. Hohem iSteady X2 (AmazonUK, AmazonUS, Hohem Store) comes with a remote – and that changes a lot! Especially for a solo video creator on a budget.
Hohem iSteady X2
Digital image stabilisation moved miles ahead, and it’s pretty decent. It will cost you a pretty penny too. From mind-blowing 360 shots of the Insta360 ONE X2 to digitally corrected smooth action pieces shot on Insta360 Go2, we’re spoiled for choice. Nothing beats physical stabilisation and gimbals like Hohem iSteady X2 are the best budget way to tackle the problem.
Anyone with a rich wallet could consider a gimballed camera like mOrange (90FUN) or FIMI Pocket, but you already have a decent camera in your phone and for an extra £80 you can stabilise the footage beyond your expectations. Now with an option to remotely control it too, which is something I’m particularly excited about.
Hohem iSteady X2 is identical in design to the previous model. Same foldable design that makes the gimbal pocket ready, the same button layout that brings a directional joystick, Zoom slider and 2 utility buttons to your fingertips. It also comes in 2 colours to match your personality (or more likely level of dirt on your gadgets).
It means that the changes are on the inside.
What’s new in Hohem iSteady X2
The first improvement is the battery. Hohem iSteady X was able to outlive my mobile phone, which is fine but renders your video setup useless. Hohem iSteady X2 can (and should) be used as a USB-C power bank. It shares the power with your mobile phone to ensure your video rig lasts as long as it can. There is no point in having power in your gimbal if your phone’s camera is dead.
Another physical improvement (there are software changes too) is the included remote. It’s a small Bluetooth gadget that lets you control the basic functions of the gimbal for up to 10-15m away (range dependent). I appreciate the controller a lot – as having the ability to walk away from the camera and adjust settings or frames is life-saving for solo creators, but there is room for improvement.
The remote is incredibly small, it’s a perk and a disadvantage at the same time. There is no place on the gimbal to store it, it’s hard to navigate it without looking at it and it will be easy to misplace. Fortunately, it has a leash loop to keep it secure around your wrist, but the only leash provided was for the gimbal itself. This begs for a 3D printer ring that goes around the gimbal and stores the remote when not in use!
What got me interested were the grooves on each side of the remote indicating that this small gadget should slide into something. While Hohem iSteady X2 has no compatible slots, I found another product from their lineup – which incorporates the same gadget. Mystery solved!
What made me switch gimbals, was how portable Hohem iSteady X was. As both share the same design, it’s still the case. The gimbal gits inside the pocket and can be deployed in about a minute – important if you want to capture something as quick as possible.
Included mini tripod is handy if you want to rest the device on a flat surface or get a couple of more inches of reach for that perfect selfie video/photo.
My critique will hit the same notes as in the previous model since both devices share the same design. Thicker (rugged) phones will be hard to use and power buttons are relatively simple to accidentally toggle when mounting the camera and obscure it. My Xiaomi Mi 11 phone has a balance point which completely obscures the power button – fortunately, I can wake the phone with the in-screen fingerprint sensor.
Lastly, the gimbal won’t be compatible with any cases thicker than your stock silicone case. It’s a shame as using a gimbal in any action shots could result in the phone dropping to the ground. It’s not that the grip is poor, but the extra protection is always welcomed!
Just as before, the stabilisation of mechanical gimbals is great. Whether you walk or run with Hohem iSteady X2 – the footage remains very smooth, giving you that cinematic feel. Stabilisation works with the Hohem app and with other camera apps, as the gimbal does the balancing separately from the phone.
Once balanced and powered on, you get to enjoy stabilised video from both: the selfie and main cameras.
There is an optional, dedicated app Hohem Pro which you can use to take advantage of the Hohem iSteady X2 advanced features. The gimbal will work without it, but you will be missing some cool options to improve your workflow.
Face tracking is pretty good. Now with the options to make it all snappy, you will struggle to lose face track using the app. This applies to the main and selfie cameras. Granted, fast movements don’t look as good, but it’s up to you to decide how smooth you want the follow movement to be.
Object tracking is decent as well especially, that tracked objects can be of various sizes. Unfortunately, even with obvious objects (good colour contrast and shape), the app is not able to recover from the lost track. You will have to select the object again.
This time around Hohem Pro app has gesture recognition. Supported are 2 gestures: V (made with 2 fingers) and HiFive (whole palm with spread fingers) these will start and stop the video and take pictures depending on your camera mode.
Since there is a remote now, I care less about it, especially since I can use the remote without the Hohem app.
Hohem Pro comes with a couple of movement templates to try, which come in various forms – from timelapse movements to dolly zoom and hipster rotation. These will set the gimbal in the correct position and guide you in the process of going through the motion. These are called “Moments” and each comes with a short tutorial on how to use it.
Things that I didn’t like
The biggest issue for me is the imposed limit on camera framerates. I can shoot videos up to 8K30FPS, but the Hohem Pro app limits me to 4K30FPS. This time around all AI features are present across all resolutions and I can manually select each camera, but the limitation is still there.
I would appreciate the option to run at higher resolutions/framerates supported by my camera even if this is not fully supported by AI features. I guess I can always default to my stock camera app and take the advantage of the remote.
Hohem iSteady X2 (AmazonUK, AmazonUS, Hohem Store) is a cracking little gimbal. It keeps your camera steady, remote and gesture controls make it easier to use by solo creators and travellers and the editing suite in the Hohem app turns amateur videos into footage with a bit of flair without spending hours on it. If you are on a budget, it’s the next best thing you can take on your holiday to keep your memories shake-free. Let me know how would you take advantage of the gimbal remote options in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.