Moza Mini-MI full review
While Moza isn’t a household name in the UK, the company has produced a smartphone gimbal that can take on the likes of the DJI and Xiaomi for less than £100/$100. Offering a range of tracking modes, a well-designed app and high-end features, the Moza Mini-MI should be considered if you’re on the market for a new gimbal – find out why in our review.
Pricing and availability
While smartphone gimbals used to cost upwards of £200/$200, the price has dropped in recent years – likely due to an influx of affordable gimbals from China. With that being said, you can pick up the Moza Mini-MI for as little as £99/$99 from the Moza website and Amazon too.
That’s £30/$30 cheaper than DJI’s Osmo Mobile 2, one of the best gimbals you can buy right now, but does the Mini-MI offer enough to tempt users away from more established brands?
In a word, yes.
Design and features
The Moza Mini-MI is ergonomic in design, with a curved handle that makes it comfortable to grip over long periods. It’s relatively lightweight at 543g, and with minimal physical controls, it’s simple to use too. Like other smartphone-focused gimbals on the market, the Mini-MI features a spring-loaded clamp to secure your smartphone, making it compatible with a range of smartphones (from 61- to 92mm width).
But while that’s standard, what isn’t standard is wireless charging. The Moza Mini-MI boasts wireless charging capabilities, allowing you to wirelessly charge any compatible iPhone or Android device while shooting. Of course, not all smartphones offer wireless charging capabilities, and that’s why the Mini-MI also features a USB port on the arm that you can use to top up your smartphone with a (short) charger.
With charging capabilities, you may be concerned about battery life, but you needn’t be; the Mini-MI features a 2100mAh battery that provides around 10 hours of use depending on what you’re doing, although that is shortened a bit if you use it to charge your smartphone. The good news is that the gimbal can be charged via a power bank while in use, allowing you to top up the battery and not miss a single shot. It’s charged via microUSB, and takes around three and a half hours to go from flat-to-full.
Let’s talk about the physical controls; there’s a joystick, five buttons and a rotating ring, all of which have two (or even three) functions. Though the buttons feature icons to help you use the various functions, there is a bit of a learning curve and you’ll find yourself buried in the manual on your first few shoots. But once it clicks, it provides easy access to a variety of shooting and follow modes without having to interact with your smartphone.
You can lock and unlock pitch, yaw and roll with a button press, as well as re-center the gimbal, flip the rear-camera towards you for a selfie, enable Inception Mode (360-degree roll) and Sports Mode (fast-tracking) –more on how they perform later.
The rotating ring can be used to zoom in using the Moza app, but it’s worth pointing out that this will be digital zoom on most smartphones and there will be a degradation in overall quality. Handily, it can also be used to scroll through the various shooting modes and camera settings in the Moza app without tapping the screen.
While the Mini-MI was designed to be held, there are two 1/4 tripod mounts on the grip – one on the bottom and one on the rear. The gimbal comes with a small table tripod, allowing you to set the gimbal down on a surface and capture video, be it a moving timelapse of a gorgeous sunrise or a piece to camera. You’ll also find two 1/4 mounts on the smartphone mount that can be used to attach a light or microphone to make your smartphone-shot videos look and sound more professional.
Admittedly, you might not initially notice a difference if you’ve got an OIS-equipped smartphone, but it’ll make a huge difference for those that don’t have it, or those that don’t offer OIS at higher resolutions like 4K.
The main draw of the Mini-MI is that it’s easy to pick up and use, with intuitive controls and all locks disabled. With a bit of practice and a lot of playing around with settings and experimenting with the various shooting modes, you’ll be able to create professional-quality video ideal for indie filmmakers and YouTubers alike.
As mentioned above, the Mini-MI has eight follow modes to choose from: Yaw-follow, Roll-follow, Pitch-follow, All-follow, All-locked, Roll-Pitch follow, Roll-Yaw follow and Yaw-Pitch follow, although most of these can only be selected via the Moza app and can’t be enabled with physical controls. The variety of follow modes allows you to choose the ideal follow mode for the subject of your video, and of course, the frame can always be tweaked by the joystick.
As well as manual follow modes, you can set up an automatic tracking mode via the Moza app. The idea is simple; you draw a box around your subject and the gimbal keeps it centered on-screen, regardless of how and where you move. It works well with large, slow-moving objects like people walking along a road but it struggles with smaller, faster-moving subjects like pets, and sometimes focuses on the background and not the frame subject.
360-degree roll axis rotation allows the Mi Mini to offer something Moza calls Inception Mode. With a triple-click, the gimbal tracks how you rotate the joystick and rotates the smartphone accordingly. It’s admittedly a niche filming mode but we’re sure that somebody will make use of it. One word of warning; make sure you enable it before rolling, as the gimbal will try to autocorrect and may literally shake in confusion if the angle is too extreme.
There’s also an advanced timelapse mode where you can select multiple angles and let the gimbal pan between them over a preset length of time. It works surprisingly well, especially when on a tripod, allowing you to capture moving timelapse sequences that can take place over minutes or even hours.
If you lose the angle or notice that the horizon isn’t level, a double-click of one of the buttons can correct it. It’s handy as it’s not a feature all gimbals offer. You can also switch between front and rear cameras and video and photo modes via the physical buttons on the gimbal, which is very handy.
At less than £100/$100, the Moza Mini-MI is a great smartphone gimbal. It combines high-end hardware capabilities with a well-designed and easy-to-use app, and wireless charging is a bonus too. There is a variety of shooting modes and settings to tweak and while it may not be too beginner-friendly, with a bit of experimenting you’ll be able to create cinema-quality video perfect for home and professional use.
The 10-hour battery life isn’t too bad either, especially as it can be charged via powerbank while still in use. Oh, and there are four 1/4 mounts for tripods, microphones and lights.
Moza Mini-MI: Specs
- 3-axis gimbal
- 143 x 107 x 290mm
- Compatible with 61-92mm wide smartphones
- 2100mAh battery
- Wireless charging-enabled
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 3.5hr charge time