Pivo Max review: AI movement tracking device to channel your creativity

Just how good is the Pivo Max at following your every move? I put it to the test in a dance studio...

Pivo Max review
(Image credit: Sophie Higgs)
T3 Verdict

The Pivo Max is an easy-to-use motion-tracking device that helps create more exciting content on your own using your phone or camera. It's not perfect; changing options on the Pivo Max could be easier, and movement prediction for non-linear activities such as dance isn't quite there yet. It's a fun gadget, though!

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Easy to set up

  • +

    Can use music on your phone as well as record the audio directly from your phone

  • +

    Great for creatives who work alone

  • +

    Small and well-designed, perfect for on-the-go creators

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Footage could be smoother (camera movement less jerky)

  • -

    Some remote buttons don't work

  • -

    Struggles with anticipating fast movements

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When I was asked if I wanted to do this Pivo Max review, my first thought was, 'What's Pivo Max?' After a quick online search, I was intrigued. A compact, AI-powered device that can turn my phone into a tracking camera? Exactly the sort of thing I need to make my dance videos more exciting!

I've been using the Pivo Max for recording myself dancing for a few weeks, and it's a quirky little gadget that has a lot of potential. In its current form, it isn't the best motion-tracking device for dancers, but it can help you create unique videos without the help of other people. Read my full Pivo Max review to find out more.

[First reviewed: December 2023]

Pivo Max review

Pivo Max review: price and availbility

The Pivo Max is available to buy directly from Pivo for £290/ $300 / AU$485. This is for the base bundle, which includes the Pivo Max unit and the remote control. It's also available with more accessories, with the Pivo Max Ultimate Kit, which includes the Pivo Max, Remote Control, Smart Mount, Travel Case Mini, Travel Case Classic, Weight, and Tripod, costing £550/ $570/ AU$925.

Pivo Max review: specifications

Pivo Max review

(Image credit: Sophie Higgs)
  • Battery life: up to 12 hours
  • Tracking modes: Face, Body, Horse, and Dog tracking
  • Works with: smartphone, tablet, or camera
  • Max payload: Up to 2 kg

Pivo Max review: design and build quality

Pivo Max review

(Image credit: Sophie Higgs)

The Pivo Max has a simple but well-thought-out design. A testament to this is the fact that although I’m not particularly tech-savvy, I found it easy and even enjoyable to use. It’s lightweight (356g/12.55oz) and practical enough to take to the gym to film your workouts or to the park to follow your dog whilst he chases a ball.

The pod can be put down on a flat surface or mounted onto any tripod with your standard ¼ screw thread. It's good to note that if the Pivo Max is used on a fully extended Pivo tripod, it might shake slightly when the device turns, which is something I experienced. This was improved by lowering the tripod.

The clamp holds your phone securely and can also manage a camera. If you want to use it with a camera, please bear in mind you’ll need a separate clamp to mount your phone on top of it and that the overall weight of the setup (camera, lens, clamp and smartphone) needs to be under 2 kg. Pivo recommends mirrorless cameras or cameras with lenses no larger than 85 mm. DSLR cameras aren’t recommended (they are too heavy, I assume).

The Pivo Max comes with a rechargeable 1400 mAh Li-ion battery, making it last for a whole 12 hours, so there is no need to worry about running out of battery. Battery life depends on the size of the mounted device; the heavier your recording unit, the more energy it takes to turn it around.

Pivo Max review: features

Pivo Max review

(Image credit: Sophie Higgs)

The Pivo Max kit consists of the Pivo Max rotating base, a remote for controlling the Pivo app on your smart device, and a USB charging cable. It’s a portable design without being flimsy, which is great for content creators on the go.

I thought it would be great for people creating vlogs, fitness instructors capturing their workouts, and people wanting to check their performance and progress, such as a yoga pose. It could help you create a little journal of your movement journey, something I am definitely going to try out to help monitor the improvement of my flexibility next year.

I was particularly excited to try the Pivo Max to film myself dancing, as I often have to rope in my husband to film me whilst moving around, so this was a great opportunity for me to try filming my choreography alone.

The Pivo app is easy to use, and just like everything else in life, it gets easier to control the more you use it. The device connected to my phone via Bluetooth quicker than any device ever has, which was very impressive and meant I could get on with trying out the different features and start filming.

Pivo Max review

(Image credit: Sophie Higgs)

I found it slightly challenging to change the settings, as the options were all on the screen, and when I tried to interact with my phone, the Pivo Max started rotating, resulting in me chasing the buttons in order to ‘lock’ the screen so it didn’t keep rotating when I reached for the setting button. It did make me laugh, though!

Once in the settings, you can change the tracking speed and turn on/off the auto zoom, predictive follow and target exposure. When I began testing the Pivo Max, I started using the controls within the app rather than with the remote. I found some of the remove settings didn’t work, particularly changing from photo to video mode. This could probably be resolved with an update.

For myself filming dance I also didn’t find the remove useful as I still need to put it down once I have started the recording. I thought a strap around the wrist would be more suitable for a dancer or fitness person to make it more convenient than potentially having the remote fly out of your pocket.

The LED light ring that surrounds the Pivo Max provides information about the status of the device. For example, there is a blinking white light when powering the device on and off and a blinking red light when the device is recording which I found a great visual cue to know if I was recording. The device even spins a purple LED when it is due an update.

Pivo Max review: performance

Pivo Max review

(Image credit: Sophie Higgs)

The Pivo Max worked great when I took it to a dance studio. The smooth panning means it moves like a gimbal (without the need for it to be held). 

The manual recommends that you mount your device in landscape position; however, I tried portrait so I could add my video to Instagram reels. I also tried it in landscape and both worked seemingly well. 

The Pivo Max follows both your face and body very well, though if you move out of the frame too quickly, it struggles to find you (which is understandable). As a dancer, I tried the face following when I turned my face to the side, and it sometimes struggled to find me. Face detection is predominantly for front-on filming.

I also tried filming some dance routines with the body detection being used and this worked really well. It was nice to see my dance routine have more movement in it as the Pivo Max followed me around, creating something much more visually exciting. It would be great if there was a feature to follow your feet as that would also be great for filming dance.

I chose to use the front camera on my phone to make sure that the Pivo Max was following me. I was also able to take photos of myself using the timer mode, which provided me with hours of fun.

The footage recorded by the Pivo Max and the Pivo app was a bit jerky overall. Maybe it’s the predictive AI that’s a bit too eager; maybe it’s the rotational movement that’s too sensitive. I imagine the Pivo algorithm works better when it tracks objects that move along a relatively well-determined path (e.g. horse riders).

I’m not done testing the unit, and it’s possible there is a settings combination which enables the Pivo Max to track unpredictable dancing moves better. It would be amazing if there was a single button or mode that does it for you, but I appreciate dancing is a new area for Pivo, and it needs to be trained first to do its job flawlessly.

Even with the issues I experienced, I must admit it’s a lot of fun to use the Pivo Max, and I look forward to working out how I can record the best possible footage as a dancer using it.

Pivo Max review: verdict

Pivo Max review

(Image credit: Sophie Higgs)

I was slightly apprehensive before testing the Pivo Max – I thought it might be too complex for me to use and understand. However, my worries were quickly squashed when I found it very user-friendly. The manual was also very clear, and the app was simple but effective.

I had a great time testing this product and can’t wait to play around with it more, try out different settings and get the most out of the device and the app. The small and well-designed Pivo Max proves you can create excellent content alone, You may even fool others into thinking you had a whole camera crew to create your videos!

I am excited to see what features any new updates will provide and where the Pivo Max will take me on my creative missions.

Sophie Higgs
Freelance Writer

Sophie is a mental health advocate who loves nature and exercise to equal measure. She enjoys attending a variety of dance classes and is currently enjoying learning Latin and ballroom. She finds comfort in long walks, sweaty HIIT workouts and long cycling trips culminating in picnics.