EVALUATION

Hohem iSteady Pro 4 Review: Feature-Rich Budget Action Camera Gimbal

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Hohem iSteady Pro 4

9.20 / 10

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The new quick-release mount is both its best and worst feature. If you don't mind wiggling the camera around a bit to change your modes and settings, or you do so before mounting it completely, this is a con worth putting up with considering the many other advantages and overall performance of the Pro 4.

Key Features

  • Quick mounting, quick release clip, to easily to mount camera
  • Water resistant
  • Can charge your camera while recording
  • 3-axis Stabilization & iSteady 5.0 algorithm
  • 3-axis Control/Mode Switch/Trigger
  • Extension Screw Hole on Middle/Bottom of Handle
Specifications

  • Brand: Hohem
  • Maximum Payload: Not officially stated
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Waterproof: IPX4 splash proof
  • Battery: 3600mAh
  • Camera Control: Compatible with most recent GoPros
  • Weight: 365g
  • Max Camera Size: Height: 51mm; Depth: 30mm
  • Range: Pan: 600° Roll: 320° Tilt: 320°
Pros

  • Easily mount cameras
  • Can support most action cameras
  • Gimbal + camera can last about 3 hours on a single charge
  • Excellent app that connects quickly and is feature-rich
  • Side Battery Indicator
Cons

  • Gimbal doesn't fold down as compact compared to some competing models
  • Remote Start/Stop Recording & Mode changing is limited to GoPros
  • Cameras with larger screens are obstructed from the back
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Hohem iSteady Pro 4
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Three axis gimbals like the Hohem iSteady Pro 4 are an easy and cheap way to dramatically up your action camera video quality. For the past few weeks, I've been using it with the DJI Osmo Action to test its performance with walking, running, and more artistic motions. In addition to helping with unsteady action, they can give you a more cinematic look, or let you program keyframes for very specific movements.

In the past few years especially, we've seen several tech products released with buggy software and underdeveloped features—with the promise of updates to fix everything later. In a breath of fresh air, the Hohem iSteady Pro 4 actually feels like a complete package, free of any major issues. I was especially surprised by how well the companion Hohem App worked, providing users with reliable connectivity and advanced controls and settings.

What's Included

You'll find everything you need to get the gimbal set up and connected to your action camera.

  • iSteady Pro 4 Gimbal
  • Mini tripod/extended handle
  • USB Type-A to C charging cable for gimbal
  • Three type of camera charging cables (Type C, Micro USB & Mini USB)
  • Carrying Case

The case feels well made and is large enough to fit some of your smaller camera accessories such as batteries, cords, and mounts.

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-7

Design

The almost all-black gimbal is made of a high-performance composite plastic that is very lightweight at just 365 grams. The gimbal's build quality feels ok but it doesn't give off a premium feel, which at that this price point is understandable. It has taken a few dings and falls without any issue. With its plastic build, though, I imagine a fall on its corner or hard surface could cause the body to crack.

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-6

While their site doesn't officially share the max payload supported, they state that the gimbal is compatible with most small form factor action cameras and 1-inch sensor compact cameras that are of similar size to the Sony RX0, with a maximum height of 51mm and depth of 30mm.

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-28

Hohem iSteady Pro 4 Features

3-Axis Stabilization

The Hohem iSteady Pro 4 features the latest iSteady 5.0 anti-shaking algorithm. Having not tested previous Hohem gimbals, I'm can't say how much of an improvement this is, or whether it's down to software of hardware upgrades, but I can say that it does a good job at stabilizing walking and running. Similar to most other gimbals, you'll still get that bobbing effect in the Z-axis, but it's obviously a huge improvement compared to not using any gimbal.

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-14

That said, most modern action cameras like the Osmo Action include very powerful electronic stabilization, that when paired with a gimbal can provide even more impressive results. Even when running full speed, the combination of physical and electronic stabilization kept the horizon almost perfectly leveled. Paired together, you can achieve nearly perfect stabilization with hardly any bounce in the Z-axis. Your footage will almost look like it was captured on a drone.

That said, even if you find the electronic stabilization that your camera features to be "good enough", you may have noticed that it struggles or produces weird artifacts in low light. In situations where electronic stabilization can't be used a gimbal like the iSteady Pro 4 will help out dramatically.

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-15

Rotation & Speed

With the exception of panning, neither of the Axis of the iSteady Pro 4 can exceed 360°.

  • Pan 600°
  • Roll 320°
  • Tilt 320°
Hoem iSteady Pro 4-21

For simply capturing the action in front, or turning the camera around to face you, the lack of infinite rotations may not be a limitation. However, I'm used to being able to spin my larger gimbals in any axis infinitely, and so I did find the iSteady Pro 4 to be a bit limited with some of the movements I wanted to capture. If for instance, you wanted to capture a time-lapse that involved more than 2 full rotations in any axis, this gimbal would not be able to do so.

Additionally, the gimbal's default settings feel a bit slow with its movement when controlling the axes yourself. If there's a quick moment you need to capture, it is best to turn the gimbal with the twist of your wrist rather than rely on the joystick.

Sport/Power Mode

The iSteady Pro 4 can keep up with fast action really well. If you need that extra oomph, you can use the back trigger button which activates its sport mode. Unlike its default power setting, which prioritizes being smooth and steady, sport mode ensures that the gimbal is keeping up with wherever you are pointing it. I whipped this around quickly and it didn't miss a beat or ever feel like the motors were struggling. Going back to its rotation, things can get a little weird though if you are trying to roll or tilt too quickly where you've exceeded the limitations of the axis before it could catch up. In my extreme tests, this occurred mostly with the tilt axis.

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-2

Quick Mounting System & Rear Screen Obstructions

I would argue that one of the biggest limitations with gimbals of all types and sizes is camera mounting. They either take too long, don't involve a quick release system, or require constant rebalancing. The Hohem iSteady Pro 4 is one of the few systems that work efficiently, making it one of the fastest and easiest to set up. The Pro 4 introduces a new quick-release clip mounting design. It has a spring buckle clip that is pulled over the front of your gimbal and attached at the top. The camera is snug and will stay in place even with quick and high-force movements. I never felt concerned that the camera was in danger of falling out.

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-29

Because of how light these cameras are you don't even need to be that precise with the placement of the camera itself on the mount, and you can actually move it around quite a bit if you need. If you want an even faster way of attaching or removing your camera, you can keep the buckle clip attached and just slide the camera in or out if you slightly pull the tension support of the clip outwards. If you're going for the quickest setup or you find yourself limited to just using one hand, the Hohem iSteady Pro 4 is one of the best options.

There is a big downside here, however.

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-17

As I soon found out, the mounting frame which keeps the camera from falling out from the back can be really obtrusive to a rear screen. I was surprised because Hohem actually states "unobstructed view" as one of their key features of the gimbal. Because almost all of your controls are now done with the rear touch screen, any amount of screen blockage, especially in the corners, could make changing settings or modes extremely difficult. While the mount gives you some flexibility for moving your camera around, I had to frequently shift the camera around so that I could touch parts of the screen without the mount being in the way. With most newer action cameras featuring similarly sized rear touch screens, there is a good chance that this will affect them similarly.

Battery Life and Charging

The gimbal has a 3600 mAh battery, from which you can both power the gimbal and your action camera (or any other small device connected to it). At the top of the gimbal within the mount, there is a Mini USB port which is intended to charge your action camera while it's attached. On the handle of the gimbal there is also a USB Type A output if you want to use the gimbal to charge other devices like your phone. Next to that port, is the Type C input for charging the gimbal itself. For such a small and rather inexpensive gimbal, the iSteady Pro 4 has a great selection of connections.

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-5

Powering the gimbal alone, you can expect anywhere from 10-14H of battery life depending on how much the motors are stressed during use. When powering the gimbal and charging your action camera simultaneously, battery life is closer to 2-3 hours. This alone is a strong selling feature as it helps you continuously power your camera without needing to swap out batteries or carry a separate power bank.

IPX4 Splash-Proof

The iSteady Pro 4 is IPX4 splash-proof, making it resistant to splashes and safe to use in lighter rain or snow. With most action cameras being water proof now, its great to see gimbals being able to keep up a little better and not get damaged as easily. That said, you'll still need to exercise caution. This is still not waterproof, so do not try submerging this or expect it to survive a fall in the pool.

Advanced Connectivity… But only for GoPros

On the iSteady Pro 4's handle, the On/Off button also can Start/Stop your video recording when pressed once, or if double pressed, change your shooting mode from Video or Photo. Unfortunately, these advanced controls are limited to the GoPro Hero 5 through 10. Having these controls right next to the other gimbal buttons would be great for other cameras and especially with that limited rear touch screen area I previously mentioned, I do wish it was compatible with non-GoPros as well.

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-4

App Connectivity

Hoem iSteady Pro 4-22

The companion Hohem App connects quickly and makes advanced controls, key framing, and customizing settings a breeze. Even compared to my larger and more expensive camera gimbals from DJI and Zhiyun, I found this process to be much easier and more reliable.

Image Gallery (3 Images)

After initially pairing, reconnecting to the gimbal over Bluetooth was fast and automatic. Using the virtual joystick to control the gimbal is fun to use and has minimal latency from my tests. Additionally, you can also customize your advanced settings including dead zones and motor strength. In motion-lapse mode, you can set several keyframes and change the entire duration of the movement, however not the duration between the individual keyframes. I hope that future software updates can bring this feature.

Final Thoughts

The Hohem iSteady Pro 4 is a breath of fresh air: everything worked out of the box and was very intuitive to use and set up. The new quick-release mount is both its best and worst feature though. If you don't mind wiggling the camera around a bit to change your modes and settings, or you do so before mounting it completely, this is a con worth putting up with, considering the many other advantages and overall performance of the Pro 4.

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