18 August 2019

REVIEW: Benro 3XS Lite Smartphone Gimbal

Benro 3XS Lite Smartphone Gimbal
Hands on

Last year we reviewed a handheld gimbal designed to keep action cam videography steady. As cool as it was, the product itself was designed specifically for one kind of camera - so not a lot of universal appeal. Enter Benro with their 3XS Lite, a gimbal designed to accommodate any make and model of smartphone. We check it out...

For those not in the know, a powered gimbal keeps cameras steady. Using a gyroscopic stabiliser a gimbal will move independently, correcting for human movement. So in terms of smartphone videography, as you walk around filming, the gimbal will counter your natural swaying notion and keep the shot smooth.

However, they can do a lot more, and this new compact version from Benro is no exception. First up, one of the major selling points of the Benro 3XS Lite Smartphone Gimbal is the fact that it can fold. Gimbals can be awkward, delicate things, so being able to reduce its size and also lock into a solid, rigid shape is great. The main arm, and the two servo motors, all lock into a closed position, so the gimbal won't get bent and break in your bag.

Benro 3XS Lite Smartphone Gimbal

Take it out, charge it via the USB-C port, and connect it via the Benro app to your phone. Once a Bluetooth connection is establish you can use the very good app to control both photos and videos, and set various modes on the 3XS Lite.

By far our favourite was face tracking. Set this running, and the gimbal will move the phone to follow a selected face. This is hugely useful for vloggers and anyone needing to film themselves, as they can set up the Benro 3XS Lite Smartphone Gimbal and then move around, knowing they'll always be in shot.

Benro 3XS Lite Smartphone Gimbal

A similar mode is object tracking. Just like face tracking you can manually tap on an object in the phone's field of view and the gimbal will track as it moves. Again, perfect for people filming themselves doing action-packed stuff. Y'know, skateboarding and 'young people' things. All tracking is accomplished very smoothly and we only experienced 'drops', or lose of subject, one time out of ten.

Benro 3XS Lite Smartphone Gimbal

With a tap of a button your phone can be rotated from horizontal to vertical, and another will spin it around quickly into selfie mode. A note on buttons: at first we thought the Benro 3XS Lite Smartphone Gimbal was a little over-stocked with them. We found initially that we kept accidentally pressing one when holding it. However, once you get a feel for where they are, you'll enjoy the options given, especially considering that a couple have functions you can set yourself.

For non-action uses, the Benro 3XS Lite has a great timelapse feature. While the app takes care of snapping the pictures, the gimbal itself will move very very sloooooowwwwwlllyyy producing some awesome footage.

Still work like this is aided by the inclusion of a small folding tripod. The 3XS Lite features a standard mounting screw on the base, and although you can fit it to just about anything you fancy, the little tripod is sturdy enough to hold it and your phone aloft well. It also folds down snugly to feel like a part of the gimbal's grip, so we always left ours attached.

Benro 3XS Lite Smartphone Gimbal

The inclusion of an external microphone port is also a nice touch. You need an additional cable to hook your phone up to it, but being able to mount a larger mic on the gimbal, not the phone where it might not fit, is great and evidence that Benro have clearly thought this through and considered a multitude of users.

Regardless of your phone photography needs, everyone will find the Benro 3XS Lite Smartphone Gimbal useful. Even if you're just filming your friend's wedding, or producing a parkour YouTube epic, this gimbal has something for everyone.


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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