DJI Phantom 4 Review
There’ no denying that since the introduction of the Phantom 2 Vision, DJI has slowly etched something of a stellar reputation within the world of drones. Although past models released by DJI have been nothing less than impressive, the drone world is one that is evolving every day, and as such, companies such as DJI have to keep up with the competition when it comes to UAVs that are fit for purpose, of fear falling by the wayside.
Although the Phantom 3 Professional was received well, it’s time for DJI to unleash a new beast, with improvements in all the right places, based on customer feedback and research.
The Packaging Is Well Thought Out
If you’re a first-time buyer of a drone, then it’s possible you may not have enough budget to stretch to a carry case. Fortunately, the DJI Phantom 4 is packed in a sturdy Styrofoam box, which while not built to last, will at least see you through until you do have the funds available to invest in a new carry case, allowing you to test our your new tech as soon as you receive it. Although it should be noted that the box isn’t indestructible, so if a new carry case isn’t at the top of your agenda, it should be when making consideration of how your equipment will be transported in the future.
A More Improved Sleek Design
Now the Phantom 3 Professional was no ugly duckling, but we’d be lying if it couldn’t be improved upon. Fortunately, DJI also agrees, and as such, has replaced the old plastic body seen with the Phantom 3 Professional with a magnesium alloy body, with a sleek glossy white finish. Improvements have also been made to the gimbal design and camera, giving them a more robust sitting within the drone itself.
There have also been a number of improvements made to the camera when compared to past models. Those who have had the pleasure of flying the Phantom 3 Professional may not notice many improvements made to the camera’s exterior that is contained within the DJI Phantom 4 at first glance, but you have to consider the fact that there always has been little issue with the camera instilled within past DJI UAVs.
The propellers for the Phantom 4 have also had a makeover, now showing off a quick-release system, similar to those seen on competitor UAVs.
However, the more the savvy will notice that a number of improvements have still been made to interior of the camera. For example, the camera is now able to offer 120 fps in 1080p, as well as other improvements being made to frame rate and top-end resolutions. There is now an additional 3840 x 2160 (4K) option, which sit alongside the existing 4096 x 2160 (4K) and a new 2704 x 1520 (2.7K) option. Ground-facing positioning camera ensure that the UAV is stable while in flight, working in partnership with front-facing sensors to keep the drone out of harm’s way while flying automatically.
While this can be seen as a positive feature, it cans also mean that some flights can be quite limited. This is due to the sensors being a little too over-cautious at times. However, for the most part, the automatic flying option has been included with the right intentions, and does definitely ensure that there are no collisions while the UAV is in autopilot.
Improved Battery Life
If there has ever been an aspect of the DJI series that has cause split opinion with the drone community, it’s the lifespan of the batteries. However, as the community have spoken, DJI has listened and looks to improve upon the batter life this time around. The original batteries normally last around 25-30 minutes, but the new battery promises to last an extra 25 percent longer.
Evidently, if you are looking to use the DJI Phantom 3 Professional for long-haul video shoots, then it can be advisable to purchase a couple of batteries so your drone is never out of action. However, the DJI Phantom 4 is able to offer a reputable flight time that more than stands toe to toe with its competitors.
One of the bugbears with many introductions of new batteries is that they’re not compatible on new models, and this is the case again. For some, this may be a dissuading factor in not purchasing the Phantom 4, but you have to consider that in order to make improvements, changes have to be made along the way.
Technology is something that is evolving on a daily basis, and so change can be inevitable. However, this may not be enough to convince some, who may remain disgruntled of such changes. However, it should be noted that any change has been done with the best intentions with regards to many other factors of the Phantom 4, so it still remains good value for money from many different standpoints.
Control Your UAV with Ease
Although the controller is the same as last time, this is no bad thing. The video footage is delivered using Lightbridge download technology, meaning that any live footage can be viewed without interruption. The footage also seemed to be delivered in a higher quality than seen before, with less sharpening and less saturation making for a rawer feel to the footage. This kind of footage ensures that videographers have a lot more to play with in terms of creativity when editing footage.
There is also an additional feature known as TapFly, and this allows user to tap on the screen, and the drone will fly in that direction. When used in the right way, you can create even steadier foot age than if you’d manned the control yourself. However, it’s worth noting that there are limitations on turning, in that you only move forward. In this regard, if the UAV does stray from its path, then you will need to take over the controls yourself, or use the ‘return to home’ function.
There are also a number of flight modes included that seasoned drone users will more than familiar with. Although they will undoubtedly be overlooked in favour of the new autonomous features, it’s nice to see that DJI has taken fans of those features into account when crafting the Phantom 4.
The gimbal and camera of the Phantom 4 are controlled via the app, which is available for both iOS and Android users. Phantom 4 pilots can also adjust some of the camera settings using the scroll wheel. For example, if you press down on the wheel, then you will be able to toggle between the shutter speeds, as well as the sensitivity settings.
The app allows users to toggle between Manual and Auto options for both video footage and photographs, allowing for ISO100-3200 while in video mode, and ISO100-16 for any stills taken during the UAV’s flight.
A Sports Mode is Available for More Seasoned Users
As well as the new autonomous features, there is also an exciting Sports Mode take can be activated with a mere flick of a switch. This will allow experienced adrenaline junkies to fly up to speeds of 45 mph in both directions. It’s not only the speed of the drome where the Phantom 4 exceeds in Sports Mode, but also its ascend height. Ascending will see the Phantom 4 reach a height of 20 feet per second, while descending at 13 feet per second. This feature will really benefit those who need to get to a location quickly, while making for the perfect shot. Those who invest in a HDMI module for the controller can also connect a pair of FPV googles to be immersed in the experience real-time.
The only problem with the Sports Mode is that people are not just able to adopt it straight away. In this regard, new comers should practice using the other modes, before embracing the Sports Mode.
DJI Has Also Considered the Needs of New Pilots
Although there is already a plethora of features for both amateur and experienced pilots, DJI has also ensured that there are features for those new to the world of drones. There are a number of features that have been included that will help aid new pilots. The first is a beginner mode that limits the flight speed of the UAV.
Another included feature is the ActiveTrack flight mode, something that will appeal to the budding photographers out there looking to up their game. It allows for an object to be focused on the device’s screen, and the drone will then follow it. Those who are looking to offer more exciting footage will find this feature very appealing.
There also some intelligent settings that allow drone pilots to set up points of interest with ease, which when set, will allow for the Phantom 4 to follow that point. There are also the basic commands that are often associated with all common drones, such as the setting of waypoints.
When it comes to UAVs, DJI are more than proving their worth with their many introductions, and the Phantom 4 is no different. Some manufacturers could be accused of simply looking to cash in on the latest craze, but with drones created by DJI, you always feel that there is something worth investing in.
For example, the creation of the Phantom 4 was based on a lot of customer feedback, so instead of promising the latest and greatest drone, it simply offers a device that is able to deliver much of what its customer base wanted, at least for the most part.
There’s no denying how many perks there are, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned UAV pilot, or a mere beginner testing their surroundings. Peace-of-mind is something that is hard to acquire when it comes to the flying of drones, and it’s good to see such a feature deeply seated in a drone.
Not only does this allow for beginners to find their feet before dealing with more cumbersome flights, but it also allows those looking for more daring footage to really test their skill set while being in receipt of some truly amazing shots.
Videographers will also see the appeal in the Phantom 4 drone, as the footage captured has a more genuine and raw feel to it when compared to the footage shot by other drones and even past DJI UAVs. As such, a lot more fun can be had when it comes to the editing of footage.
A seamless video feed is something many of us consider impossible, purely due to the technology used. However, a fault has still to be found with the live feed offered by the Phantom 4. This again helps towards really getting some edge-of-the-seat footage. Pilots can even enjoy the experience with the use of an HDMI module and some FPS goggles.
The only drawback which will be a disappointment for some is that the batteries from past DJI Phantom models cannot be used with this particular drone. However, budding drone pilots should not let this one factor step in the way of a good investment. Many will understand the demanding needs of today’s drone users, so it really is good to see a company such as DJI invest so much time into catering for its user’s needs. Unfortunately, the drawback of this is that it can render hardware you’ve used in the past useless.
The purchase of a drone can be difficult if you’re not too sure exactly what it is you’re looking for. As many will have experienced in the past, it can be difficult to forego some features in favour of more safety features. DJI have created a drone that not only caters to those who have more than their fair share of experience when it comes to flying, but also instils a number of safety features to give those new to the UAV arena more peace-of mind.
This can also mean that as your skills develop, then you only have to change a series of settings, rather than invest in a new drone completely.
The DJI Phantom 4 is a very advanced piece of equipment which will appeal to many different UAV pilots due to the superior technology which makes it suitable to both novice and experienced flyers alike.
Features of the DJI Phantom 4
The DJI phantom 4 has managed to compete with other fantastic drones in the market due to its great features. These include:
- 720p HD Camera
This is probably the best part of the entire drone. The camera takes pictures and records images that are streamed live to the controller. This feature can be great for anything including surveillance and simple nature appreciation like bird watching or sunset recording. The camera pixel power ensures that the images are all high quality so that you can enjoy and share the saved products later.
- Multiple flight modes
You can choose from the different modes available using the controller. The two most amazing are the tap-to-fly mode and the sport mode. The easiest way to describe the tap-to-fly mode is by comparing it to a real aeroplane’s autopilot system. All you have to do is double tap on the controller for it to set off and relax as its system does the rest for you. The sports mode on the other hand is designed to give you the actual authentic drone control experience. Here, you get to do all the work by controlling the drone.
- Remote controller with an LCD screen
This allows you to control and navigate the drone in flight. It also receives live video streaming and images on the screen for you to monitor the drone’s surroundings for better control. Finally, the remote controller is useful for changing between different modes and flight speeds for the best results and more importantly, for the best flight experience.
- Obstacle sensor
This is one of the most intriguing and unique features of the DJI phantom 4 drone. It is equipped with sensors that recognize obstacles in the flight path and an automated system that navigates the drone away from them. The sensor usually works when the drone is on its autopilot tap-to-fly mode.
- GPS-independent tracking system
This feature is proof that the DJI Phantom 4 can be used not only for leisure but also for serious work such as surveillance. The system enables the drone to identify and silently keep track of a specific object. It does not require things like beacon signals and GPS to keep the target within its sights.
- Flight time and control range
You can have fun with this drone for up to 28 minutes without needing to recharge. This is better than the flight times for most of the other models in the market that average between 20 and 25 minutes. In addition to the extra-long flight time, the DJI phantom 4 offers users a control range of up to 5 km. This is a large transmission range for a drone and means that you can control it and receive high quality feeds from very far away without any trouble.
- Quadrangular design with 4 pairs of propellers and landing stands
This design in addition to adding aesthetic value increases the aircraft’s stability. This makes it more flexible and sensitive to directional changes. The landing stands are quite self-explanatory and are there to help you stabilize the drone when landing and simply when not in use.
Pros and cons of the model
- It has a user-friendly control system.
- It is stable, flexible and very easy to control.
- It is aesthetically appealing with the frame design and the classic white color.
- It is less likely to get damaged by flying into objects due to the obstacle sense and avoid system.
- It has a long flight time.
- Image quality becomes lesser as the drone moves further towards the 5km limit.
DJI Phantom 4 vs older models
The DJI Phantom 4 is a major upgrade of the Phantom 3 and Phantom 2 models. One of the biggest improvements is in terms of flight time and control range where the phantom 4 model is way more superior to its older counterpart drone camera devices. It also has the sense and avoid system which is absent in the other two. Other than that, most of the other features are basically the same with only a few minor but effective upgrades in the Phantom 4 model.
After all is said and done there is no denying that the DJI phantom 4 drone is a force to reckon with. So whether you are in the market for a fun new toy or a surveillance tool for work it is definitely worth your considerations. With all these amazing features, there is quite literally no chance of you getting disappointed.
DJI Phantom 4 Review
- Best Consumer Drone