Zhiyun Easy 5S evaluation: Massive and absolutely charged

Smartphones are dramatically bettering their digital picture stabilisation with every era, as such, exterior stabilisers are now not the need they as soon as have been, not less than for informal customers.

Nevertheless, in the event you’re extra severe about your smartphone filmmaking, a gimbal can actually elevate the smoothness to the following stage, in addition to supply helpful extra options.


Zhiyun is aware of this, and as a substitute of concentrating on the mass market, has come out with one thing that is aimed squarely at prosumer-level content material creation, the Easy 5S.

It is a smartphone gimbal that appears prefer it means enterprise, it is large, weighty and lined with tactile guide controls – making it the polar reverse of DJI’s tiny and light-weight Osmo Cellular 6.

So, how does this device carry out? We have been placing it to the check to seek out out if such a hefty smartphone gimbal is sensible in 2023.

Zhiyun Smooth 5S


Zhiyun Easy 5s

This gimbal will not be for everybody, it is extra of knowledgeable filmmaking device than a cell phone accent, but when that is what you want – then the Zhiyun Easy 5S does the job effectively.


  • High quality appear and feel
  • Tactile and exact controls
  • Lengthy battery life
  • Works with heavy payloads
  • Wonderful vary of movement

  • It is fairly big
  • App options behind a paywall
  • No fast switching between vertical/horizontal


  • Dimensions: 311 x 168 x 52 mm, 625 grams
  • Constructed-in fill mild, non-obligatory magnetic lights

First issues first, this can be a very giant gimbal, to the purpose the place it is about the identical measurement as a few of Zhiyun’s mirrorless digital camera gimbals. It does not fold right down to a smaller measurement, both, so it is not probably the most moveable choice for travellers.

Zhiyun Smooth 5S (1)

This design works to its benefit in some regards, although. It has a particularly snug grip, for starters, and the bigger controls make it simpler to regulate with precision.

The burden can also be a bonus in relation to stability, because it’s simpler to maintain your arms and arms regular when gripping one thing with a bit extra heft to it. In fact, this additionally signifies that you may really feel this gimbal weighing down your backpack.

We’re testing the white model, which has a reasonably daring look, with contrasting black accents that remind us of a stormtrooper from Star Wars. We’re very keen on the design, however in the event you desire one thing extra refined, it is also out there with knowledgeable darkish gray end.

Zhiyun Smooth 5S (21)

A brand new characteristic for this mannequin is the addition of a fill mild, located on the rear of the smartphone clamp. This has an adjustable brightness, managed by a wheel on the entrance of the gimbal, and it will get surprisingly vibrant. It is a heck of quite a bit brighter than the LED unit in your telephone, and it additionally has a lot better diffusion, so shadows aren’t fairly as harsh.

The drawback of this design is that it solely works with the rear digital camera. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to add extra magnetic lights that clip onto the highest and backside of the clamp, and they are often positioned backwards for selfie taking pictures – or to complement the principle mild with extra lumens.

You get one in every of these magnetic lights in the event you go for the combo pack, which additionally comes with a pleasant carrying case, or they are often bought on their very own for about $30 every.

Zhiyun Smooth 5S (18)

One factor that is value noting with these lights, is that the built-in fill mild will at all times be lively once they’re in use. The dimming controls are common, so irrespective of which approach they’re oriented, all hooked up lights will shine on the similar brightness.


  • Max payload: 280 grams
  • 360-degree panning, 259-degree roll, 209-degree tilt

The design of the Easy 5S signifies that it wants balancing earlier than use, and you probably have a bigger telephone, you may probably have to redo this each time you unlock the arms. That is as a result of approach that the arms fold into one another, if you could prolong previous the two.5 marker, then the horizontal arm will hit the pan motor, so you may want to slip it again to a shorter setting.

Zhiyun Smooth 5S (15)

Fortunately, balancing is a reasonably painless course of, you solely actually need to fiddle with a single adjustment level, slightly than the three-point system discovered on some skilled mirrorless gimbals.

After getting the steadiness level discovered, it is merely a case of remembering the place it wants locking on the numbered slider, after which you’ll set it up pretty rapidly every time you utilize it.

What’s extra of a ache, is that you just additionally have to rebalance when switching from horizontal to vertical recording. That is one thing that may be achieved with a few button faucets on competing gimbals, and right here it is rather more of an concerned course of.

Zhiyun Smooth 5S (26)

Nevertheless, whereas that is all a little bit of faff, particularly in comparison with clip-and-go options just like the DJI Osmo Cellular 6, it could actually yield higher outcomes. That is very true you probably have an unusually weighted telephone, just like the top-heavy Vivo X90 Professional that we examined with, or in the event you like to make use of clip-on lens adapters.

We discovered that we received considerably smoother outcomes with the Easy 5S, and we suspect that plenty of that is right down to the balancing. The DJI choice provides mainly no changes, so the motors need to work a lot more durable to maintain issues steady – though there’s quite a bit to be stated for its comfort.

One other issue that helps out quite a bit is the big selection of movement on all axes. This implies which you can go from excessive to low angles seamlessly and easily, whereas gimbals with a extra restricted vary are likely to hit their limiter, leading to a pointy judder in your footage.

The pan axis can spin infinitely, which makes the “vortex” mode work particularly effectively. And whereas it is not a characteristic that we have a tendency to make use of fairly often, its implementation right here might be the very best we have seen on any smartphone gimbal. It additionally signifies that topic monitoring is rather more versatile, however extra on that later.

Software program and options

  • 2 hours PD quick charging, as much as 24 hours runtime
  • ZY Cami and StaCam for iOS and Android

The Zhiyun Easy 5S’s battery seemingly lasts without end, we have had our pattern unit for some time now, it is solely been charged as soon as, and it is displaying no indicators of needing a top-up.

Zhiyun Smooth 5S (9)

Zhiyun says you’ll be able to count on as much as 24 hours of runtime on a cost, and when you think about that the majority steady photographs are a couple of minutes at most, these 24 hours go a really good distance. This mammoth runtime may additionally make it a good selection for movement timelapses over prolonged durations – if that is your type of factor.

When it comes time to cost, it is achieved so by way of a USB-C port on the deal with, which is roofed by a rubber bung. The Easy 5S utilises fast-charging USB-C PD tech, which signifies that with the suitable charger, it’s going to go from flat to full in round 2 hours.

There’s additionally a USB-C output discovered close to the telephone clamp, which you should use to cost your telephone from the gimbal’s battery. Nevertheless, the design of the clamp signifies that it is troublesome to take action. You will want a right-angled USB-C/Lightning cable, and you then’ll need to hope that it does not make your telephone stick out too far to steadiness correctly. That is positively a characteristic that may very well be improved.

Zhiyun Smooth 5S (24)

Zhiyun has two separate apps that work with the Easy 5S. There’s ZY Cami, which is a general-purpose app that is aimed on the mass market, and StaCam, which is a extra skilled providing, permitting entry to extra guide controls and superior options.

We are able to see the logic right here, Zhiyun desires to maintain ZY Cami accessible and easy for the common person, whereas nonetheless making extra skilled instruments out there in StaCam. The best way that it is achieved is fairly clumsy and unintuitive, although.

To us, it makes extra sense to have a single skilled app for the Easy 5S. Nothing else about this gimbal is focused towards the common client, so why would the app have to be?

Zhiyun Smooth 5S (13)

What’s extra irritating is that a number of the superior options like the flexibility to make use of LUTs and focus peaking are locked behind a paywall. You will want Zhiyun’s Prime+ subscription to entry them which is able to price you a further $24.99 / £22.49 per yr, or $2.49/ £2.29 monthly.

You additionally need to exit the StaCam app and go to the ZY Cami app as a way to subscribe to options which are solely out there in StaCam, which is bizarre. There is a free trial to Zhiyun Prime included within the field, however to not Prime+, so it is all horrendously complicated and pointless – particularly since we do not suppose that these options ought to price additional.

Rant apart, the apps do their respective jobs fairly effectively and do not require any of the sideloading malarkey that DJI requires on Android gadgets. In them, you may discover all the common gimbal options like the flexibility to document movement timelapses, hyperlapses, panoramas and the like, in addition to complete beautification options, if that floats your boat.

Zhiyun Smooth 5S (12)

Probably the most necessary app options, in our view, is topic monitoring. That is current within the ZY Cami app, however not StaCam (for some motive). It really works effectively with human topics, but it surely’s not fairly on par with DJI’s system and is extra positively extra simply confused when there is a lack of distinction.


The Zhiyun Easy 5S is a distinct segment product that is designed for severe filmmaking with a smartphone. It forgoes comfort and portability in favour of high quality and tactility.

In some ways, it achieves what it units out to, the {hardware} is great, the steadiness is high notch and the compatibility is unparalleled.

The software program is a particular ache level although, it is complicated and it desires extra of your hard-earned money. That stated, each characteristic that we wanted was out there at no cost, and nearly all of the time we are likely to shoot with the telephone’s native digital camera app for the optimum high quality anyway.

The Easy 5S additionally works with Filmic Professional, in the event you use that, however this wasn’t one thing we have been in a position to check.

In case you’re seeking to take your smartphone filmmaking to the following stage, and do not thoughts carrying round some cumbersome tools to take action, then we predict the Zhiyun Easy 5S is a wonderful choice.