Tech review: Highly portable DJI Osmo Pocket shoots great photos and videos

The DJI Osmo Pocket camera is a portable gimbal camera that is capable of great stable videos and stills.
The DJI Osmo Pocket camera is a portable gimbal camera that is capable of great stable videos and stills.PHOTO: DJI

The DJI Osmo Pocket camera, as its name implies, is meant to fit your pocket.

It measures 121.9 x 28.6 x 36.9mm and looks more handle than camera. But its tiny camera, which sits on a mechanical gimbal at one end, is a capable unit that takes 12-megapixel photos and records 4K videos at up to 60 frames per second (fps).

DJI has also managed to squeeze a 1-inch touchscreen display into the handle, that you swipe up and down to control the gimbal.

Below the display are two buttons for power and shutter release, with the latter indicated by a red dot. Between the display and the two buttons is a removable plastic tab that hides the Universal port. You can slide in the included USB-C adapter or Lightning adapter into this Universal port to connect the Pocket to an Android smartphone or an iPhone.

On one side of the handle is a microSD card slot. At the bottom is a USB-C port for charging. There is no tripod mount. You will need to fork out extra moolah to get the Pocket's extension rod, which comes with a tripod mount. You might also want to get the Pocket's waterproof case, as the Pocket is not water resistant. The case lets you use the camera underwater to a depth of 60m. Both accessories are not available yet though.

You can use the Pocket without a smartphone but it works best with one, using the DJI Mimo app. Not only do you have a bigger display as a viewfinder, the Mimo app has an intuitive interface that makes changing settings and switching through the different modes a breeze.

If not, you will need to remember which way to swipe on its small display for different functions. Swipe down for Settings and swipe up for functions such as Recentre, Selfie and Follow. Swipe right to browse through recorded videos and still images. Swipe left to bring up the various modes available. There were times when I couldn't remember the direction to swipe to get to the functions I want.


The DJI Osmo Pocket camera has managed to squeeze a 1-inch touchscreen display into the handle, that you swipe up and down to control the gimbal. PHOTO: DJI

Like other Osmo models, the Pocket has the Panorama, Slow Motion, Time-lapse and Motion Time-lapse modes.

My favourite mode is Motion Time-lapse, which lets one create beautifully panned time-lapse videos that look professionally done. You just need to select a scene, then move the camera to another scene - you can have up to four scenes - and start recording. Easy.

There are two other nifty features - ActiveTrack and FaceTrack. With ActiveTrack, just drag a rectangle on the Mimo app to select the subject and the Pocket will track it accordingly. With FaceTrack, the camera will automatically recognise a human face and lock it in the centre of the frame. It worked great in my selfie video tests, locking on to my face as I walk.

  • TECH SPECS

    Price: $519

    Image sensor: 12-megapixel 1/2.3-inch

    Display: 1-inch touchscreen

    Lens: 26mm f/2.0

    Sensitivity: ISO 100 to 3,200

    Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

    Weight: 116g

    RATING

    Features: 4/5

    Design: 5/5

    Performance: 4/5

    Battery life: 3/5

    Value for money: 4/5

    Overall: 4/5

    ST Tech Editor's Choice

The 4K videos I recorded by the Pocket were sharp and detailed. Unless you are using the camera while running like a mad man, videos you shoot whether walking or jogging will look like they were shot using a camera dolly.

Even without an external microphone, the Pocket was able to capture my voice clearly in breezy conditions.

Despite its small image sensor, the still images captured are surprisingly sharp. Even images that were shot at night do not exhibit too much noise artefacts.

On the downside, the camera only has a fixed focal length at 26mm, with 80 degrees field-of-view. It is not really wide for selfie videos. You will need the extension rod to get a wider angle.

Battery life is rated 140 minutes for full HD video recording at 30fps. In my tests, the battery level dropped to 60 per cent with around 30 minutes of 4K video recording at 30fps.

Verdict: It might be a tad expensive at over $500, but the DJI Osmo Pocket is a fantastically-portable gimbal camera that is capable of great stable videos and stills.