Introducing Phantom 4
In 2016 drones are definitely getting smarter and smarter. We’ve already shown you World’s First Auto-Follow Drone from AirDog, which is quite extraordinary by itself. Now, there’s a new drone that’s ready to take the world by storm – The Phantom 4 by DJI.
So far DJI has been known for their quality drones – namely the ones from their most popular product line – the Phantom. Drones such as Phantom 3 Professional and Phantom 3 Advanced have raised the bar for their competitors so much, that a new trend was established – to compare every new drone from the higher price range to the Phantoms.
Now, a new product has become available for the masses and it’s raising the bar even higher. The Phantom 4 is one of the newest and most feature-rich drones at the moment. DJI claims it’s so easy to fly it, even a small child can do it. In this review, we’ll see if those claims are true and if the results are worth it. Let’s have a look:
Quick facts about the Phantom 4
- Obstacle Avoidance system
- Active Track
- Beginners mode
- Sports mode
- Obstacle avoidance works with front-facing objects only
- High price
Instead of a complete overhaul, DJI has decided to tweak and refine the drone’s design. From external point of view not a lot has changed since the Phantom 3 Professional/Advanced – you still get a 12MP camera that shoots razor-sharp 4K video, stabilized gimbal to keep your footage looking smooth and a twin-stick control unit that hooks up to your tablet or smartphone for a live aerial view. Of course, you can also customize the stick controls to match your skills and style of flying.
The magnesium frame of the drone not only makes it lighter than its predecessors , but it also enhances its durability and lowers the vibrations during flight, in order to give you that extra smoothness while filming.
The capacity of the battery is increased (5350 mAh) and the battery itself is positioned a bit higher so the center of gravity is lifted a bit, giving you some extra balance and precision for your shots. Also, the propellers of the Phantom 4 just snap on, they don’t need to be screwed on like before, which is another nice touch.
The two antennas of the controller allow you to control the drone up to 3.1 miles (5km) away while still seeing the live preview on the screen of your phone/tablet. Speaking of phones and tablets, you can use almost any Android or Apple mobile device (with iOS 8 and later) with the Phantom 4.
On the outside of the drone you can see a pair of front-facing cameras, which are positioned in the landing legs. There are also two rear cameras below, with the help of which the drone can detect when there’s an obstacle in front of it and avoid it on its own.
For example, If you point your drone against a wall, it will fly until it detects the obstacle in front of it, then it will lower its speed and hover at a safe distance. This is an incredible feature which changes the way users are interacting with their drones, as they now don’t have to constantly worry about obstacles in their way. However, it’s important to mention that this feature does not completely eliminate the chance of collision, but greatly decreases it.
There are a number of new features in the Phantom 4, which make your life easier during flying.
As mentioned, the drone now has collision detection for object in front of it. However, in case you’re flying sideways the drone will not detect an obstacle on its way, so have that in mind.
“Active track” is another new feature – just highlight the subject you want to follow and the drone will automatically follow it with collision detection on. This is very convenient, as the subject you want to follow no longer has to carry a remote with him in order to be followed.
When it comes to controlling the drone, this is now easier than ever, with the introduction of “Tap-to-fly”. This feature allows you to point where you want your drone to go and it will automatically fly there – again, with obstacle detection on. This is a very fun way to introduce novice drone users to flying.
Speaking of novice drone users, there’s also a Beginner mode. With just a few taps on your phone/tablet you can get the drone in the air, fly it to wherever you want, then just tap again on your screen and the drone will return back to you. This feature uses GPS technology to pinpoint your location and return safely back to you. The beginner mode will keep the drone at a safe distance and will prevent newbies from going beyond their skills. The drone also supports hover function, which will keep it hovering over a location of your choice, all while pointing its camera at you.
For the more advanced flyers, now there’s also a Sport mode. This mode allows the Phantom 4 to tilt a full 45 degrees during flying and reach speeds up to 45 mph (roughly 20m/s). However, if you’re flying with the wind, you can reach even higher speeds – 50, even 60 mph. Just be careful as with higher speeds the drone gets much easier to crash and we all know that trees are easy targets 🙂
If you want to see the Phantom 4 in action, here’s a raw 4K footage for your convenience:
The battery of the Phantom 4 is 5350 mAh, granting you around 28min flight time. In the real world though, the flight time is around 23-25 minutes. The drone warns you when the battery gets low and in case it gets dangerously low and it’s still far away from you it will find a safe spot to land by itself.
When it comes to the camera, it’s still as good as we all know it, and even better. The lens has been improved and now the sharpness has increased. The 3-axis u-frame camera stabilization system cancels out unwanted camera movements during flight and gives you smooth image during flying. The camera shoots 4K video at 30 frames per second and even has slow-motion recording at 1080p at 120 frames per second, which is great for those nice action shots in slow motion from above.
The DJI Director software is also present, and it allows you to finetune your footage with various color profiles and filters.
Last but not least, the Phantom 4 automatically logs all your flights, so you can keep track of your flight time, battery cycles, max altitudes, distance and tons more. Perfect for anybody who likes statistics – I know I do 🙂
What’s in the box
The first thing you will notice when you unbox the drone is that it comes with a very nice and sturdy foam carrying case for extra protection. You also get the drone itself and the included camera, the remote controller, all the necessary manuals, cables and chargers, 8 propellers (4 extra), a 16GB SD-card and DJI pouch for the extra propellers.
Currently the drone is priced at $1399 on Amazon. Although the price is higher than the price of Phantom 3 when it launched, this drone is packed with features and it really could be flown by anybody, so in my opinion this is definitely justified.
Overall, the Phantom 4 drone is a fantastic piece of equipment. Doesn’t matter if you’ve flown before or you’re an inexperienced flyer – the Phantom 4 has got you covered. It has something to offer to everybody, and the few small hiccups it has do not affect my opinion – as of right now, this is the best consumer/advanced drone you can buy.