The quality of the movies smart phone cameras produce is getting better and in some cases it even exceeds the quality of tradition cameras. Not only portability and processing power, but also the use of artificial intelligence make that smart phones become a primary device for shooting videos. A drawback using smart phones is that they do not have the ergonomics for video shooting. And although some of them have some degree of image stabilization, this is rather limited. Luckily there are gimbals on the market to solve these issues, but a fully equipped gimbal is still very expensive. Until now: the marSoar Glide gimbal is a promising 3 axis stabilized gimbal that costs only a fraction of the price of the a-brands. But does it live up to these promises?
“Handheld 3-axis gimbals are used in stabilization systems designed to give the camera operator the independence of handheld shooting without camera vibration or shake. Powered by three brushless motors, the gimbals have the ability to keep the camera level on all axes as the camera operator moves the camera.” Wikipedia
Specifications as stated on GearBest
- FPV Equipments: Gimbal
- Functions: Video
- Battery: 7.4V 1800mAh LiPo (included)
- Number of Axis: 3
- Weight: 495g（exclusive of phone)
- Precision: ±0.05°
- Pitch / Pan / Roll: 330°
- Load weight: 95-220g
- Applicable Phone Size: 59-88mm
I did not know the brand Marsoar but according to their corporate website they have been in business for over five years. Remarkable is that the only product they are currently marketing is the Marsoar Glide. Since this is their only product I hope it is a high quality product with outstanding features.
Regarding the gimbal in general, I hope it improves the movie quality by making movement much smoother and better stabilized. The trade-off will probably be a slight decrease in comfort. Because filming with your smart phone attached to the gimbal weighs more and is a bit more awkward than filming with just your smart phone.
The packaging feels premium: the outer cardboard box contains a marketing print with it’s features. It has a white inner box which contain foam compartments to hold the gimbal and the USB cable steady in place.
The package weight is about 0.82 kg and its dimensions are 34.80 x 16.40 x 0.85 cm (L x W x H). For reference: about one third the size of a shoe box.
What’s in the box
The package contains the gimbal, a USB Cable and a manual in English and Chinese.
The product features as stated on Gearbest:
- Imaging stably, splice the picture with exquisite and natural details
- Automatic face recognition and object tracking, capture something in motion clearly
- Available to quickly locate and precisely zoom the shot you desired
- Support to panoramic shooting, making a more comprehensive and powerful visual field
- Horizontal and vertical shot switching with ease, adapting to various shooting needs
- Equipped with a 1800mAh battery, up to 8 hours of standby time
- Adopt high-performance composite material, scratch-proof and wear-resistant
- Ergonomic design, comfortable to hold and easy to use
Build Quality & Design
The design of the MarSoar Glide gimbal looks like all competitors, not a unique design. But on the other hand, it looks simple and feels solid.
Portability / Mobility
The marSoar Glide is a device you mainly use when walking around. But you can also screw it on a tripod. With its integrated 1800 mAh battery (8 hours of use) it is aimed for mobility, but storing it in your bag is a bit of a hassle. The axes are not locked when the gimbal is powered which make the gimbal wobbely and not easy to store in a persistent way. There are cases for other gimbals, but we haven’t found any specific for the marSoar Glide yet. You can use the protection of the original packaging, find your own case or even use a big sock to keep it in place.
The marSoar Glide itself
The gimbal is made of plastics but has a very stable feel. It has blue indicator LEDS for battery indicator and a coloured indication LED to tell which mode it is. You switch the gimbal on and off by pressing and holding the power button for 3 seconds (the battery indicators switch on one at a time. To move the direction phone there is a joystick you can control your thumb. On the left side a sliding button is located to zoom the camera in or out, which is intended to be controlled also with your thumb. The location of this button makes it hard to use it when operating the gimbal with your left hand, but I found myself (as I am left-handed) quickly using my right hand when I needed to zoom the image.
And there are even more buttons. On the back of the gimbal, a trigger is located to reset the gimbal to its base position (quick pull) or activate the lock mode (keep the trigger pulled). On the front there is a record button, which you can use to take a picture or start video (short press), switch between picture and video mode (long press) and switch between the front and back camera of your phone (double short press). The working mode button toggles between “following mode”, “pan following mode” and “locking mode”. These modes create the smooth effect and allow the phone to automatically stay focus on the subject and to follow it. As you might have guessed, it takes some time to get to know the gimbal and to learn how to operate all the buttons.
On the right side of the gimbal a battery charging port is located (with a rubber cap to seal it of). On the bottom of the unit you find a 1/4 threaded hole so you can put the gimbal on for example a tripod.
Getting the gimbal up and running
Installing your phone in the gimbal is very easy. The mount can hold normal sized smartphones but also bigger ones like the iPhone XS or the Galaxy Note. When you attach your phone and you switch the marSoar Glide on, it calibrates itself. You don’t need to connect your phone or have the app installed to work with the gimbal. You can activate the camera via the touchscreen on your phone and use the joystick to control the position of the phone. More advanced functions like face lock will not work without the app and a Bluetooth connection.
The marSoar App
So the app
You can have a look at one of the A-Brand gimbals, the DJI Osmo Mobile is a similar 3-axis gimbal. This retails for a little below 300 euros.
When you want to consider a cheaper option, you can check out the the DJI Osmo Mobile 2. The important difference is that the Osmoar is 3-axis and the Osmo just 2-axis, so less stabilized. It is still almost twice the price but has a bigger battery (2600mAh vs 1800mAh). For the rest, feature and quality wise the devices are nearly similar, you just pay a little extra for less buttons on the remote. Good to know: both the Osmo and the Marsoar have 1/4 20 UNC mounting thread on the bottom. So you can use Osmo accessories for the Marsoar Glide.
Pro / cons
- High quality product for a reasonable price.
- When you use it you will shoot smoother and better movies.
- The tracking functions are useful.
- When you get used to it the remote controls work pretty well.
- It integrates well through the Marsoar App.
- It takes some time to get used to the controls.
- The gimbal misses a carrying case or pouch for safe transportation.
At the price point of around 70-80 euros, the Marsoar Glide is a good addition to the gimbal market. Its quality is high and it is rich in features. Gimbals with similar features and 3 axis stabilization of A-brands are way more expensive than the Marsoar Glide, which makes the Marsoar a very good buy.
If your like to shoot movies with your smart phone and you want to take it to the next level, the MarSoar Glide is a good investment. Next to the basic stabilization functions it offers different tracking mechanisms to improve your movies. When attached to a standard, it offers also useful features like panoramic shots and time-lapses. Take into account you have to get used to the controls. It is also a bit inconvenient to carry the gimbal around lose in your bag. Because of its shape and size, I would recommend to find a case or pouch for carrying it around (these are not included).