In recent months DJI has unveiled a number of products aimed at content creators. Chief among these is the Osmo Pocket, a handled recording device that’s designed to tempt vloggers into dropping their go-to camera.
While we don’t fall into the vlog category, we do create content, which invariably revolves around attending events and as such are intrigued by the potential of the Osmo Pocket.
We decided to take the handheld device for a spin over the last two weeks, comparing it to some of the other Osmo-branded devices we’ve tested out recently, and these are our thoughts.
A conversation starter
Being in the world of consumer technology, we often review all manner of gizmo and gadget, many of which get curious glances and the inevitable, “What is that?”.
Never before have we had so much interest in a product we were reviewing than the Osmo Pocket, namely because its form factor leads to a lot of questions – is that a power bank? What kind of camera is that? Who makes that?
As such there is a certain coolness factor that comes with carrying the Osmo Pocket, as it’s a device that few people actually seem to be using.
Now that we’ve spoken about the Osmo Pocket being a conversation piece, much like an expensive chronograph or intricate tattoo, let’s look at the design of the device.
Firstly it’s small and rectangular, tipping the scales at only 116g, and true to the name can fit into your pocket, if that’s your thing. It does however come with a carrying case, that also doubles as a form of protection.
Being as compact as it is, the Osmo Pocket is packing a lot of technology into the lower portion of its body, which houses 875mAh battery, small screen, operational buttons, smart pin adapter and more. The real action though is happening up top, with the three-axis gimbal camera the start of the show.
One of the most satisfying elements of the Osmo Pocket, apart from capturing great video and time lapses, is the way it starts up. A long press of the power button, which also doubles for a few other features, prompts a series of moves from the camera head before it gets ready to shoot.
A similar process happens when powering down, but either way, there is something innately cool about whipping out your Osmo Pocket and starting to film something.
Keeping it steady
Shifting to the actual camera quality, DJI has opted for a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor that delivers 12MP. There’s also an 80 degree field of view, and for basic filming setups or vlogging, it is more than adequate when it comes to quality.
Here it can muster up to 4K UHD recording at 60fps, but most of the time the Full HD (1920×1080) resolution at 60fps or 120fps will do the trick.
In this respect the experience is akin to what we’ve seen of the Osmo Action.
As for the image stabilisation it works a treat here. Short of running, the Pocket will keep things smooth, so if you plan to be walking while shooting, it will ensure things are kept steady throughout. watching playback you can certainly tell the video is shot by a walking subject, but there is no unsightly warping to worry about.
If you do intend to use the Pocket to vlog, or interview, we highly recommend getting a mic, as the wind noise picked up natively on the device while recording is less than ideal. Here the aforementioned smart pins can assist with a bunch of mic accessories, so that’s one thing to consider if you plan to invest in the Osmo Pocket.
We were also pleased with the amount of video we could record, with it boasting up to 140 minutes from a fully charge battery. This is almost double what you’ll get from most mirrorless cameras or DSLRs that are not connected to any charging accessories, so if you plan to make shorter videos around the 10 to 20 minute range, the Osmo Pocket will stand you in good stead.
A couple of pain points
It’s not all peaches and cream with this device, and while it is indeed compact, its size isn’t the best if you’re cursed with pork sausage fingers like some of us in the office. As such quickly switching between settings or options on the screen can be difficult at times, as well as the smart pin and microSD card slot proving finicky to work with at times.
This is more of an anecdotal problem, and as such is not quite a dealbreaker. It’s also worth mentioning that you’ll need to buy a microSD card as there is no internal storage on offer.
That said having used the Osmo Action, which was released after the Pocket was, the former yields the better overall performance in our view. This especially as the form factor features a bit more utility, as well as having a larger screen on the back to navigate the menu and settings.
Yes, we’re aware the Osmo Action is aimed at the GoPro crowd, but is can also pull the job off if needed to shoot video for vlogging purposes.
The Osmo Pocket feels like a truly innovative device, and if you are looking to swap your conventional camera for something more compact, it can definitely do the job. There are a few drawbacks though, with the form factor not being to everyone’s liking, and the compact design meaning it is difficult to operate at times.
That said, DJI has put a lot of interesting elements together here, and we feel like the second or third iteration of the Osmo Pocket will prove a far more tempting device. There’s also the issue of its R7 499 price tag (depending on where you go), which is a little hefty for such a niché offering.
As such the Osmo Pocket is brimming with innovation, but could be better served with some refining.