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Zhiyun Smooth 4 Review

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With all the new gimbals appearing on the market it seems the gimbals wars have started and the consumer will definitely be the winner. Gimbals used to be very expensive and priced out of reach of many, that is not the case anymore. It seems all the company’s that manufacture gimbals for GoPro’s, Smartphone and even larger DSLR’s have really stepped up their game in both features and competitive pricing. Zhiyun recently introduced their latest gimbal geared towards mobile filmmakers. It is packed full of features that have never been seen on a consumer gimbal before all while still keeping the price tag under $150.

Now in the written version of our review, I am not going to go all the new feature they have added, you can watch our full in-depth video review for a complete walk-through. But I will highlight some of its key new features such as the focus/follow wheel and “Gimbal Locking” just to name a few. For me, the most useful new feature they added was the ability to quickly lock the gimbal in an upright position when you won’t be using it for a bit. We have all been there, say you walking around filming a festival and you want to stop filming for a few minutes. You power off your gimbal to save battery power, but now you walking around with this device that is flopping around and you could potentially damage its sensitive motors. Now, something interesting is happening but now you have to go through the whole powering up procedure and you end up missing half of it. Zhiyun came up with a brilliant solution for this with the Smooth 4. Now when you are done filming you can just fold the main arm down and lock it into place. Doing this prevents the gimbal from floppy around like a fish out of water and also powers down the unit. Once you pop it back out it comes right back to life and you can continue right where you left off…brilliant. This is definitely a feature I would love for all gimbal manufacturers to add, it would make filming with a gimbal so much easier and less frustrating.

Another interesting new feature is the follow/focus wheel. This allows you to get really creative with your gimbal and smartphone and do things that normally were only reserved for expensive DSLR’s. The wheel can be used to perform creative focusing effects and also used to control the zoom. Creating stunning shots like the vertigo effect or dolly zoom has never been easier, albeit it does take a little practice to master it.

Zhiyun does have an intuitive app that makes using the smooth 4 with a smartphone a very powerful tool for hobbyist filmmakers. There are many filters, effects and shooting modes built right into the app such as time-lapse, pano mode, motion time-lapse and hyper-lapses. I found the app to be well laid out and easy to use.

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 does work with a GoPro Hero 5 Black or Hero 6 Black and should also work with the yet to be released GoPro Hero 7 series of cameras. There is no need for any adapters, simply put the cradle into portrait mode and I will hold the GoPro perfectly. Personally, I found using a GoPro with the Zhiyun Smooth 4 to be decent, if you will be using a GoPro for most of you filming there are better choices for you such as the FeiyuTech G6. But if you primarily film with your smartphone and just occasionally with a GoPro then the smooth 4 is a great choice.

The Smooth 4 by Zhiyun really is a nice gimbal for the price, the only negative thing I can really say about this gimbal is that it is a little larger than other gimbals but not by much and not that it makes it uncomfortable to use. It does come with a foam style case but a nice leather case would have been nice as well. Watch our full in-depth YouTube review with an unboxing, sample footage and a complete walkthrough of the buttons and menu. We even have some samples of the focus wheel in action.

Zhiyun Smooth 4: https://amzn.to/2KsgE7q

 


Zhiyun Smooth 4 follow/focus wheel.

 

GoPro Hero 6 Black mounted in the Zhiyun Smooth 4.

 

Zhiyun Smooth 4 box.

 

This is the foam style case that is included with the Zhiyun Smooth 4.

 

Everything that comes with the Zhiyun Smooth 4.


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iPhone / iPad

Best USB-C Power Bank For Your 2018 iPad Pro

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In this video review, I go over what I believe is the best USB-C power bank you can get for your new 2018 iPad Pro. One of the new features of the 2018 iPad Pro is its USB-C port, this new port supports fast charging. The charger included inside the box is pretty fast at 18 W but the 2018 iPad Pro does support even faster charging. I was in the market for a new power bank to use with my new iPad as well as many other devices I use daily, my wants were simple, I wanted USB-C with PD and a large capacity to keep all my devices running.

I already own a few USB-C compatible power banks however none of them supported fast charging or Power Delivery. PD for the most part in simple terms means it can charge larger devices such as laptops via USB-C. Not to mention many of the USB-C power banks on the market still have to be recharged by micro USB or a combination of micro USB and a second USB-C cable…and they can take up to 14 hours to recharge.

I decided to go with the Anker 30W PowerCore+ 26,800 mAh with USB-C PD, this package also included a USB-C cable and a 30 W PD charger. This power bank can charge at 30W and is powerful enough to charge some of today’s USB-C laptops and MacBooks. The included 30W charger can recharge the power bank in as little as 4.8 hours, and can also be used to charge USB-C devices directly such as USB-C smartphone or in my case a USB-C iPad Pro and because its 30W it will charge my iPad significantly faster than the included stock charger that comes with the 2018 iPad Pro. But what’s really nice is the power bank can charge my iPad Pro at 30W as well resulting in almost an hours difference than using the stock charger. This power bank also has 2 USB-A ports for charging using a standard USB cable. You can purchase an optional 3rd party case for it. It keeps all the accessories together in one convenient kit and if you have it packed in a camera bag or backpack keeps it and your other gear protected. Watch my YouTube review of the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 mah 30 Watt USB-C Power Bank with PD down below.

USB-C PD Power Bank (USA) https://amzn.to/2Sp1FyM
USB-C PD Power Bank (CAN) https://amzn.to/2PbfUVX

 

 

Anker PowerCore+ 26,800 mAh USB-C PD supports fast USB-C 30W charging of your iPad Pro 2018.

 

Size comparison of 2018 iPad Pro to the Power Bank.

 

Anker PowerCore+ 26,800 mAh USB-C PD.

 

Ports include 2 USB-A and 1 USB-C PD

 

The package includes a 30W USB-C PD charger.

 

Everything included in the box of the Anker PowerCore+ 26,800 mAh USB-C PD

 

Optional 3rd party case exterior shot.

 

Optional 3rd party case interior shot.


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iPhone / iPad

iPhone XS Max Smart Battery Case Review

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If any of you are familiar with my YouTube Channel you know I am what I would call a minimalist YouTube creator, and by that I mean I film and edit all my YouTube videos on an iPhone with some editing done on an iPad. The reason I chose to be a minimalist creator is purely out of convenience and at the end of the day, the quality is quite good.

Apple last week announced a new accessory for the iPhone XS series and that being a new smart battery case. There is a version for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. The price is the same for all 3 models and that is 129 for US customers and 179 for Canadian customers…ouch! Even with the high price tag, I thought that this new battery case would be quite beneficial to me considering I am what I would call a power user, I film YouTube segments every day, I am constantly editing and posting/managing social media so the demand on my battery can be quite substantial. Now really I can not complain about the battery of the iPhone XS Max, most days I can get by without having to recharge or top off, but there are those extra demanding days where I find my battery dead mid-afternoon with quite a bit of work still needed to be done. This Is where this new smart battery case will come in super handy.

Upon receiving my Apple smart battery case earlier this week I was actually surprised at how small it was, now don’t get me wrong this case is massive and it does add a lot of bulk to your phone, but in the photos online it looked bigger than what it turned out to be. Needless to say, this case is definitely not for everyone, it could be quite cumbersome for the casual user. In typical Apple fashion, they don’t really give a lot of specs about the device, Apple tends to present information about user experience, Apple states with the iPhone XS smart battery case you can expect 37 hours of talk time, 20 hours of internet usage and 25 hours of video playback. So really you can expect to get an extra 50% to 70% longer usage out of your phone. The smart battery case as of right now is only available in black and white. As for the design I was quite pleased, the smart battery case is styled similarly to the silicon cases they sell, which I am a big fan of.  With all my iPhone over the past few years, I have always used the Apple brand silicon cases. They fit great and have a nice sleek minimalist look while still offering decent protection.

The new iPhone XS Smart battery case supports wireless charging, so if you have a QI wireless charger it is fully compatible. The case can be charged independently from your phone either by lightning cable or even by just laying it on a wireless charger, There is a tiny LED light on the inside of the case to signify charging. There are many cheaper battery cases available on Amazon, I have never used any third party battery cases so I cannot make any statement to usability or quality, however, one benefit to using the genuine Apple brand is that the Smart battery case integrates nicely into the iPhone operating system. You can get both your iPhone battery level as well as the battery level of the battery case bu swiping from the left as long as you have the battery widget set up.

All in all a nice battery case for the iPhone XS lineup, a bit pricey and a little bulky but perfect for those who have a demanding battery usage.

 

 

 


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