Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


This AI-powered device tracks you (or your horse) while you create video content

The Pivo Pod Active is a solo content creator's best friend.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The Pivo Pod Active base.

My Pixel Pro 6 attached to the Pivo Pod Active.

Image: Jack Wallen

Over the years, I've been sent more gadgets for review than I care to admit. At best, I'd say maybe 50% of those devices delivered as promised, while maybe 25% of them really impressed me. Because of that, when I was sent yet another device that promised to make creating video content much easier, I was skeptical.

Was I ever wrong.

The device in question is called the Pivo Pod Active, which sells for $139.99. What is the Pivo Pod Active? It's an AI-powered device that uses either an Android or iOS app to track and follow your face (or body, depending on how you set it up) while you create video content.

I've been skeptical about such devices because I've experienced a number of them that really failed to deliver. Either the device was too bulky to use, the AI didn't function as expected, or it was just an all-around failure. 

Also: Insta360's X3 360-degree action cam will blow you away  

The Pivo Pod Active is none of those things. I've never experienced such a product that was not only this easy to use, but this accurate. It's actually scary good how well this device follows your movement. Even better, for those that don't want to install the app on their phone, the Pivo Pod Active comes with a small remote that allows you to control the movement and speed of the device.

The Pivo Pod Active features include:

  • Horse tracking.
  • Body and face tracking.
  • Auto-zoom.
  • Video calls.
  • Create modes.
  • Built-in rechargeable battery for the base and two CR1632 batteries for the remote (included).

How Pivo Pod works

How the Pivo Pod works depends on how you plan on using it. For example, if you use it without the app, you simply attach your phone to the device, turn on both the Pivo Pod Active base, and then turn on the remote. Once they sync (which happens almost immediately), you can use the remote to move the Pod from right to left as you move while recording. The remote buttons allow you to:

  • Speed up the rotation by pressing the up button.
  • Slow down the rotation by pressing the down button.
  • Turn right by pressing the right button.
  • Turn left by pressing the left button.
  • Constant clockwise spinning by pressing the double right-pointing arrows.
  • Constant counter-clockwise spinning by pressing the double left-pointing arrows.
The Pivo Pod Active remote.

The Pivo Pod Active remote fits in the palm of your hand and is very well designed.

Image: Jack Wallen

For those that don't want to have to use a remote, install the free app (for Android or iOS). Instead of using your Android or iOS camera app, you open the Pivo+ app, allow it to connect to the base, let it find your face, and start recording. The Pivo Pod Active will automatically follow you as you move left and right (or in a complete circle around the device). 

Also: How to access your iPhone's camera faster with this hidden feature

The Pivo Pod Active app.

Keep your face inside the circle and Pivo Pod Active will follow you around and around.

Image: Jack Wallen

How Pivo Pod Active performs

As I've said, the Pivo Pod Active far outperformed my expectations. In fact, this little device is as close to true "plug and play" as I've ever seen from such a piece of technology. Within a couple of minutes from the unboxing, I had the Pivo Pod Active up and running with the app installed, and AI keeping track of me as I created content. It really is that impressive.

Who is the ideal Pivo Pod user?

If you're a content creator, use your phone to record that content, would like a bit more freedom to move about as you film, and want something incredibly simple to set up and use, the Pivo Pod Active might be the perfect piece of equipment.

The only downside to the Pivo Pod Active is that it is only usable with a phone. So, if you use a DSLR, a GoPro, or a cinema-level camera, you're out of luck. Not only does the Pivo Pod Active not have the ability to hold those devices, but it also might not have the horsepower to turn a heavier camera.

Also: Best action cameras

But if your phone is your go-to for content, the Pivo Pod Active would be an absolutely brilliant addition to your tool kit. The auto-tracking and auto-zooming are both spot on, and the hands-free movement you gain for your content is so freeing. 

Give the Pivo Pod Active a try, and see if it doesn't help take your content creation to the next level.

Editorial standards