DJI Pocket 2 Review: More To See

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The Pocket 2 is the successor to the Osmo Pocket, a compact 3-axis handheld gimbal. It became a hit for helping creators easily make professional looking videos without bulky and expensive equipment. The two look the same, but there’s more to the Pocket 2 than meets the eye.

Design: If It Ain’t Broke…

DJI Pocket 2 & Accessories
In The Box: case, controller, phone connectors, wrist strap, and removable bottom

The Pocket 2 drops the “Osmo” name, keeps the candy bar design, and adds one small twist: a detachable bottom that supports a range of accessories. There’s also a dedicated power button on right side of the handle. However, if you’re coming from the Osmo Pocket you can still long-press the multi-function button to turn the Pocket 2 on or off.

The camera has been upgraded to a 64MP lens that can take pictures at 16MP as well. The lens has a wider field-of-view, slightly bigger sensor, and smaller aperture to improve low light performance. Lastly, DJI added two microphones for a total of four, one facing each direction.

DJI Pocket 2 Full View

The Pocket 2 is designed to be used by itself, but connecting it your phone and using the DJI Mimo app unlocks more options and better controls. Unfortunately, the smartphone connectors are too short to use with a phone case and easy to lose. I lost the included USB Type-C connector within weeks and replacements are $15 ($20 for the lightning connector). For its price, it sucks depending on such accessories for access to more options.

There’s also no built-in speaker to preview audio quality. DJI offers a Do-It-All Handle accessory with a speaker and wireless connectivity, but it costs $100 extra, or $150 as part of the Creator Combo. These accessories quickly create a cost creep, raising the price of the Pocket 2 to $500.

Pocket 2 New Features

As with all DJI products, you’ll find their staple camera features present on the Pocket 2 and in the Mimo app. This includes a few gimbal modes to hit those angles, ActiveTrack/FaceTrack to stay focused on moving subjects, timelapses, and slow motion for more unique perspectives. The slow motion mode now includes an 8x at 240fps recording option, but still maxes out at 1080p.

Most of the Pocket 2’s new features improve on the Osmo Pocket’s weak spots. To start, there’s a new livestream feature for YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch through RTMP support. There’s also a new AI editor, an automated Story mode that edits your videos for you. Simply pick the clips you want in your video and AI editor does the rest. It uses the templates from Story mode, which you can change, but editing options are limited to filters and choosing a different area of a clip. Using videos above 1080p requires compression when using the AI editor.

On the audio side, there are two new recording options: matrix stereo and soundtrack recording. The former takes advantage of all four mics to capture more auditory detail. The latter optimizes the audio according to the direction you point your camera, which is useful for interviews. Lastly, there’s a new wind noise reduction feature for those that record outdoors a lot.

Oddly, one of the most anticipated features of the Pocket 2 isn’t available yet: HDR video recording (up to 2.7K). This recording mode is expected to come in a future firmware update. Update: the new firmware update has been released and this review will be updated this week with my thoughts on HDR recording with the Pocket 2.

Pocket 2 Media Results

While birding with Vanessa Miot, I decided to film our exploration of a pond separating a local park from a golf course. Even without HDR, the Pocket 2 excelled at keeping highlights and shadows in balance. The video is stable as I walk to the edge of the pond and panning right to left is one smooth motion.

To test its low light performance, I recorded a group of boys riding their bikes at sunset. The results aren’t as impressive. The portion of the sky closest to the sun gets blown out to keep everything else properly exposed. A lot of noise is also present in the shadows of the edited version of the video. This is a scene where HDR video recording might’ve produced a more balanced result.

The gimbal is quick to adjust when switching angles. FaceTrack and ActiveTrack follow people with ease, and sometimes finds them again after losing them. These features aren’t so great with quick and erratic movements.When shooting in 4K, the Pocket 2 runs hot within minutes. Not uncomfortably hot, but enough to worry about the camera shutting down. Fortunately for me, it never shutdown.

My biggest complaint when recording is remembering the limits of the recording modes. Want to shoot in 4K? Sure, but you can’t use any tracking features. Want to shoot in 1000MBits/sec high bit rate mode? No problem, but only in 4K 30fps and not the maximum recording quality of 4K 60fps. Learning these limits requires planning how you’ll use the Pocket 2 before recording.

Photography

The Pocket 2 takes decent photos like the one pictured below. Pictures taken in the 64MP mode take 1-2 seconds longer to process than the 16MP mode. Aside from this, there isn’t a significant difference in quality between the two.

DJI Pocket 2 Sample Photo
16MP Picture Taken With DJI Pocket 2; Corvida Raven

This shot is slightly underexposed with a lot of vignetting at the bottom. Nothing a little post-editing can’t fix right up. However, you can get better pictures from your phone or a dedicated camera.

Battery Life

Battery life on the Pocket 2 is about the same as its predecessor. Recording in 4K or multiple timelapses will quickly run the battery down within an hour. With more casual use and less demanding settings, the Pocket 2 lasted 3 days on a single charge. The 875mAh battery took close to the estimated hour and 15 minutes to fully charge.

The Verdict: A Minor Upgrade

I was a fan of the Osmo Pocket, and the Pocket 2 is just as impressive, but not without flaws. I love the candy bar design, but find out inconvenient to connect with my phone. Its ecosystem of accessories expands what it can do, but are also a hassle to keep track of. In fact, it would be great if DJI integrated some of these accessories into the design in the future.

Lastly, I found the results from the upgrades on the Pocket 2 to be minor compared to the Osmo Pocket. However, the price difference between the two is just $20. This makes the Pocket 2 an easy sell to anyone looking for a simple tool to capture smooth videos on the go.

The Pocket 2 is available right now for $350. The Creator’s Combo is a little steep at $500, but worth it if you were already planning to buy the included accessories separately.

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Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on SheGeeks.net.