Who ever knew that quadcopters could gain so much popularity and attention among YouTubers, critics, and regular consumers in general? Today we’re going to discuss a special series of quadcopters that made many enthusiasts’ nights uneasy. The star of today’s article is the Phantom DJI series which promotes amazing products with fantastic features and great characteristics.
A bit about the company
The DJI is a Chinese company that started off in 2006. This clearly makes them one of the oldest companies ever to start manufacturing quadcopters, considering that the term ‘drones’ wasn’t introduced to the public market until late 2010s.
Although most DJI products started off being used by the military and intelligence, the stripped down versions and comparatively cheaper models made their way to the consumer market soon enough. Since their first products were extremely good and drones weren’t that popular during those first years, DJI became soon very popular. That’s what encouraged them to make a lot of different models and some of them are listed below:
- DJI Phantom 3 Series: Phantom 3 Standard, Phantom 3 Professional, Phantom 3 Advanced, Phantom 3 4K.
- DJI Inspire Series: Inspire 1, Inspire Pro/Raw, Zenmuse X5 Series
- DJI Osmo Series: Osmo
- DJI Ronin Series: Ronin-M, Ronin
- DJI Industrial Products: Spreading Wings, Aerial Gimbals, Propulsion Systems, Flight Controllers, Pro Accessories.
- Developer Products: Matrice 100
All in all, the Phantom DJI series is especially good mainly because the DJI Company has a history of making some of the best drones in the market for quite a while now. And that’s what we aim to do today, find out if Phantom DJI series really lives up to the claim of being one of the leading manufacturers of top-of-the line drones.
To begin with, we’ve taken 5 of the most noteworthy flagship drones by the company and found out what they offer, how they perform, and overall value for money to conclude. So, without any further introduction, let’s begin the discussion.
Top 5 Phantom DJI drones in the market
DJI Phantom 3 Standard
As the name suggests, the DJI Phantom 3 Standard is for those who prefer a no-frills drone to pass their time. However, the product must be of high-quality and durable and this also means an increased price point. Given the fact that it comes from a reputable producer, even if it’s a bit more expensive than regular standard drones, this device won’t let you down.
One of the most notable features is the long battery life (about 25 minutes).This is a huge improvement if we think that there are drones that will only last about 5 to 7 minutes in the air! This amazing life battery is due to an intelligent battery system that monitors the health of the battery.
Also, this system will calibrate your battery in order to get the most out of it during your flight sessions. You can easily take a look from the camera’s point of view using the proprietary app that’s free and available for iOS and Android.
The drone is equipped with a GPS system and the bring-back-to-base feature. You just have to touch a single button on the screen to activate it. Stabilizers are also a great addition as they provide a smooth flight, thus checking the ‘beginner-friendly’ checkbox.
The camera is surprisingly good and is capable of taking videos at 2.7K resolution, which is far better than the standard 1080p resolution. At about $450, the DJI Phantom 3 standard is for those who want to buy a quality product that has all the essentials, and then some, without hitting that $500 mark at which the high-end quadcopters come into the picture. For a much better insight into this amazing drone series, we suggest checking out our article that includes reviews of the entire DJI Phantom 3 series.
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter
If you can afford to step up the budget to nearly $700, you will be able to buy the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter, a worthy improvement over its Standard cousin.
First off, the camera quality has been upped a bit, and now allows users to stream and view the quadcopter in first-person-view at 720p resolution. Next, the ultrasonic and other sensors have been included to provide a very balanced and enjoyable flying experience.
Although the video quality is the same (2.7K at 30 frames per second), we can’t complain since not many quadcopters can manage to pull out such a great camera even at this price point.
The battery life is also unchanged but for the most part is still way more than most quadcopters can provide. Not to mention that the Phantom battery is actually different from the rest, providing calibration and health status to maintain its longevity. Furthermore, the app that you download to monitor the drone also downloads a database of no-flying zones.
The drone also comes with a ton of accessories such as shock absorbers, a microSD card, landing pads, and so on. Needless to say that at a budget of $750, it doesn’t get any better than that and you should absolutely give it a try.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional
For those of you who want nothing but the best and the most bleeding edge products out there, the budget must definitely get bigger. The DJI Phantom 3 Professional doesn’t compromise with quality, but you must be ready to pay the hefty price tag of nearly $800.
This drone is the ultimate, no-compromises quadcopter you can find right now, with 4K UHD recording capability, a better camera, durability, and just about anything else you can expect from it.
There is a downside, though, but this isn’t just restricted to this specific model. Due to security restrictions, all DJI drones are programmed to not fly within a 10-mile radius of places of importance such as the White House, Silver Spring, Falls Church, and much more.
That means even if you live in a house that’s less than 10 miles away from these places, your drone won’t fly which can be a bummer. However, this is understandable since it is a matter of security.
Aside from that, the quad is equipped with the Lightbridge digital streaming technology present only in the professional series. This is a new feature which allows 720p streaming directly from the drone’s camera view, but it doesn’t impact the battery life too much.
Long story short, if you can afford it, and need it, then buy it.
DJI Phantom 3 4K
If aerial photography is an absolute must and you can sacrifice a bit on other features that might only be decent, then the DJI Phantom 3 4K is for you. The last product on the Phantom DJI 3 drone series, this one goes for around $600 and performs exactly as it was intended.
The 12 MP 4K camera is absolutely amazing and records footage like a dream. It is almost similar to the Phantom Professional given the fact that it implements the same controller, the same camera and around 25 minutes of battery life, except for a few tradeoffs.
The transmission distance is lower in comparison to the professional version (1200m outdoors in comparison to 5km for the professional version). The same story applies to CE transmission distance as well, where the DJI Phantom 3 Professional trumps the Phantom 3 4K by having a transmission distance of 3.5 km compared to 500 meters.
So it should be clear by now that the DJI Phantom 3 4K model is not an exact duplicate of the Professional model except in terms of camera. So if aerial photography and videography is your thing, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional Limited Edition
Even though there are only 4 Phantom DJI drones out there, you might come across this limited edition model if you take a look at rare drones. Similar to Apple releasing their limited edition models for an exorbitant price, DJI has walked in on the same path and did a carbon-fiber build of the Phantom 3 Professional to make it look exquisite and, well, limited edition.
And even though it is priced at about $1499, you’ll find that its features are almost similar to the DJI Phantom 3 Professional. Instead of talking about the similarities between the Professional and the Limited edition let’s see the main differences that exist between the two.
Firstly, the DJI Phantom 3 Professional Limited Edition is completely made out of carbon fiber whereas the Professional has a plastic but still durable chassis. This makes the Limited Edition model a tad lighter and more durable. Secondly, the Limited Edition comes in a nice black carbon fiber carrying case in order to complement the black sleek look of the drone.
If you think that this product could be useful for you, then you can check its price on Amazon.
Which Phantom DJI drone should you select
There’s no denying that each and every DJI Phantom model mentioned in this list is a noteworthy drone that provides excellent features at various price points. But amidst all of these specs and features, which drone should you buy?
For that, we have taken each and every drone separately, compared its features and price, and made a simple ‘who is this for’ kind of solution to make it easier for you to select which drone is the best for you:
The Phantom 3 Standard – given the fact that the price point is under $500 while the drone still packs many innovative features, we’d suggest this quad for those willing to spend a decent amount of money for a quality product. You can still do some photography with it, stream videos and fly it at a good speed but nothing that breaks a world record or sets a new milestone.
The Phantom 3 Advanced packs a better set of features, but for a bigger budget. The Phantom 3 Standard’s big brother has a lot of better-than-standard features which makes it recommended for drone enthusiasts who want the hardware that is slightly below bleeding-edge but still can be used to get some really good aerial photos/videos and get to really high speeds.
The Phantom 3 Professional – as the name suggests, if photography is your profession, and you do get projects which require you to take photos and videos in the air, the DJI Professional is the best drone for you. It has all the bells and whistles a professional could ever need, and then some.
Considering that it is above $900, we wouldn’t recommend it to anyone other than those who would use it for professional purposes. As a regular consumer, you’ll be fine with the Standard or Advanced at best.
The Phantom 3 4K is an excellent mid-range drone that can solely be used for aerial photography due to its excellent camera. That’s why this quad is best for those who just want a drone with a good camera and decent build, battery life and other specs.
The Phantom 3 Professional Limited Edition is the crown jewel of the DJI series. However, the drone packs many features that are similar to the cheaper models and, unless you’re a collector, the high price point is not worth it.
The only feature that makes this drone different from the other models in the series is the carbon fiber body. This does look limited-edition worthy and does make the drone a little bit lighter.
Pros and cons
Needless to say that every product in the market has its pros and cons, and this applies on a company level as well. Let’s take a look at where the Phantom DJI drones excel at and where they fail to impress.
- Extremely robust and durable.
- Great battery and battery life.
- Camera quality is top-notch
- A bit expensive in comparison to competitors
- Additional accessories are expensive too (carrying case, batteries, etc)
In the end, we would say that the Phantom DJI drones don’t have the best pricing strategy, but are without a doubt some of the best quadcopters that you will ever see. DJI may not have a quadcopter for just about any budget and purpose out there, but all the components are durable and will last long.
So, if you have a budget that is above $500 and would like a good, long-lasting quadcopter with a great battery life, any of these quadcopters will be our recommendation. But, if your budget is going over some $1000 and you are looking for top-notch features, then we suggest getting more familiar with the Phantom 4, about which you can find out everything there is, in our in-depth review.