DRONES REVIEWS

DJI Phantom 3 vs. DJI Inspire 1: Comparison of Two Most Popular Drones On The Market

Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

If you are a fan of the drones produced by the DJI Company, then you’re in the right place. Today we’ll discuss a comparison between 2 of the best drones produced by this company: DJI Phantom 3 vs. DJI Inspire 1 and we’ll highlight both the good and the bad.

For starters, let’s take a look at the comparative table below where you can see the most important points that these two drones feature. We’ll discuss them in more detail in the rest of the article.

FeaturesDJI Phantom 3 ProfessionalInspire 1
Body material PlasticCarbon fiber
Durability HighHigh
Size15 x 15 x 12 inches11.4 x 21.3 x 23.2 inches
Weight1.28 kg2.93 kg
DesignAvailable colors: whiteAvailable colors: black and white
Camera4K4K
Battery4,480 mAh4,500 mAh
Flight Time23 minutes18 minutes
Flight PerformanceMax speed = 16.0 m/s

Max flying altitude = 6000 m

Max ascent speed = 5 m/s

Max descent speed = 3m/s

Max speed = 22.0 m/s

Max flying altitude = 4500 m

Max ascent speed = 5 m/s

Max descent speed = 4m/s

Unique features Flight time 23 minutes – 25 minutes

It has an elegant and sassy design that you will only find at a Phantom drone

Retractable landing gear

Camera does 360 degrees rolls

Dual operation

Distance range2000 meters2000 meters
Controller typeRemote control + phone or

tablet

Remote control + phone or tablet
Price$800 – $1100$2000 – $3000
Payload Capacity300 grams1700 grams

Now that we know the strong points for both drone models, let’s dig in deeper and see what other amazing features they have and which ones are the best.

DJI Phantom 3 specifications:

  • 4k UHD video recording with fully stabilized 3-axis gimbal; 
  • Lightbridge digital streaming allows live viewing of 720p video
  • Included flight battery and rechargable remote controller means this system is ready to fly out of the box. 
  • DJI Pilot app for iOS and Android allows live viewing and complete camera control

Buy DJI Phantom 3 on Amazon

The DJI Phantom 3 has different models (Standard, Advanced, and Professional) but here we will cover only the Phantom 3 Professional because the Inspire 1 needs a worthy opponent.

DJI Inspire 1 specifications:

  • A Complete Ready-To-Fly SystemEverything you need is included and ready to go.
  • Strong carbon fiber arms lift out of sight, transforming the way you shoot.
  • Shoot up to 4K video and capture 12 megapixel photos with the Inspire 1 camera.
  • Inspire 1’s gimbal and camera system can be removed from the aircraft for safe transport and future upgrades.
  • A real-time feed from your Inspire 1’s camera is displayed in 720p HD 

Buy DJI Inspire 1 on Amazon

Both are awesome drones with amazing features that can shoot gorgeous aerial videos.

Build Specifications

Packaging

If you want to buy a Phantom 3 Professional you will first have to think how much money you want to spend on it.

DJI Phantom 4k drone

For $800 you get only the drone with the camera but if you think you can invest more, then you can also consider accessories that you will need later on. There is a whole kit that you will receive with the drone for $1100.

Let’s see what you’ll get in the package when you spend around $800 for a Phantom 3 Professional:

  • 1 x DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone
  • 1 x 4K camera
  • 1 x remote controller with mobile device holder
  • 1 x battery
  • 1 x 100W battery charger for the drone’s battery and for the batteries for the remote controller
  • 1 x gimbal holder
  • 2 x propeller sets
  • Cables
  • Instructions manual
  • Accessory bag

Now if you want the big package that costs $1100 you will get, besides all of the above, these cool things:

  • 1 x Surmik Drone Care Kit Pro which will get very handy and it includes: air blower cleaner, cleaning brush, microfiber lens cloth, lens cleaning tissue, lens cleaning pen, lens wet cloth with carrying bag, empty spray bottle)
  • 1 x Surmik Quattro Hardshell Backpack
  • 1 x Surmik 3 Channel Battery Charger
  • 1 x Phantom 3 spare battery
  • 1 x 64 GB SD card + 1 x card reader
  • 1 x Surmik gimbal guard
  • 1 x Surmik LED head light kit + LED light strip kit
  • 1 x camera lens hood + 1 x camera lens cap
  • 1 x set of snap on prop guards
  • 1 x remote controller neck strap

The price for the Inspire 1 is also different. Just like with the Phantom, it depends on if you’re in it just for the drone or you want a bit more like a cool case or spare parts.

The DJI Inspire 1 has in the package:

  • 1 x DJI Inspire 1 drone
  • 1 x 4K camera
  • 1 x battery + battery charger
  • 1 x 16 GB SD card
  • 1 x remote controller with mobile device holder
  • 4 x quick-release propellers
  • 1x ZENMUSE X3 gimbal
  • Power cables
  • Instruction manual

As you can see, there is not a big difference between the two packages. You find almost the same things in the basic packages. The differences start to appear when you decide to invest a bit more.

Design & Durability

The first difference that is there to discuss is the size. You will clearly see that the Phantom 3 is a lot smaller and lighter than the Inspire 1. The good part for the Phantom 3 of having an elegant design and being lightweight is that you can easily carry it in a backpack. The DJI Inspire 1 is way bulkier and heavy but it really helps when the drone faces some strong, nasty winds.

DJI Inspire 1 design

This is up to everyone’s preferences. If you want a cute and elegant drone then you have the Phantom 3; if you want something strong and badass then you go with Inspire 1.

As for durability, I know that carbon fiber is better than plastic but the arms and landing gear of Inspire 1 may break pretty easily if there is a nasty crash. I would say that both are doing pretty good at this chapter but the Phantom 3 could survive way better at crashes than the Inspire 1, despite its bulky form.

Above you can see how Phantom 3 performs in terms of both fly and camera.

Camera

Both drones have 4K cameras and there aren’t any noticeable differences when it comes to the quality of videos and photos. So the difference is not inside, it’s outside. The cameras have different forms and different gimbals. Phantom has a standard, fixed camera while Inspire has a detachable, upgradable camera.

DJI Inspire 1 camera

The biggest difference between these two cameras will be the movement. While the Phantom’s camera can only move up and down, the Inspire’s camera has the ability to rotate 360-degrees. And for that to be even cooler, the drone has retractable legs so the camera view will not be blocked while filming.

Battery and flight time

Both drones use intelligent LiPo batteries but are not the same type.

  • The Phantom 3 has a 4 cell 15.2V 4480 mAh battery that will keep the drone in flight for 23 minutes.
  • The Inspire 1 has a 6 cell 22.2V, 4500 mAh (TB47) battery that will keep the drone in flight for 18 minutes. If you are not satisfied with this flight time, there is a stronger battery that you can buy – the 5700 mAh (TB48), which will give the Inspire 1 a flight time of 23 minutes.

Controller

Another thing that is pretty similar, especially when it comes to looks, is the controller. They look almost the same and both have a holder for a phone or a tablet and both use the same DJI Pilot app.

DJI Phantom 3 controller

The difference that helps you easily distinguish these two is that the controller from Inspire 1 has a top made from metal and the bracket that supports the phone holder is made from aluminum. At the Phantom’s controller all you will find is plastic.

Besides the switch for controlling the landing gear from Inspire 1, the rest of buttons are the same on both controllers. That switch is the only thing different there is since the Phantom 3 doesn’t have a retractable landing gear.

If you hold both controllers in your hands they will feel identical but the one that has metal will be heavier and will feel nicer on touch.

Now let’s see what the main and most important difference is. The Inspire 1 controller has an HDMI output allowing video to be displayed or recorded on a secondary device. The Phantom controller only has a USB port and micro-USB port. The Inspire allows dual operation which means that a person can control the drone, while another person can control the camera.

If you want to know more about how to get started with an Inspire 1 above is a video that will help you understand its features.

Flight performance

Both drones are designed to take amazing aerial shots and for that they need skills in flight. Both have stable flights and are easy to control once you’ve learned the basics.

According to users, these drones can achieve the following flight performances:

Flight performanceDJI Phantom 3DJI Inspire 1
Max speed16.0 m/s22.0 m/s
Max flying altitude6000 m4500 m
Max ascent speed5 m/s5 m/s
Max descent speed3m/s4m/s

It seems that the Inspire 1 has a lot more speed than Phantom 3 but Phantom 3 can go higher than Inspire 1. Again this is up to you and your preferences.

Value for money and guarantee

Now here is the moment of truth…if I can say that. I know that maybe many of you will first look at the difference in price, and after that, decide what to buy. Of course if you are looking to buy one of these then you must have some money set aside. The question is if you buy something with the money you already have, or wait to raise more money and buy the expensive thing.

Phantom 3 4k

The difference in price between Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 can be small or big depending on what you need to buy. If you will only buy the drone or you also decide to buy whatever kit there is to make your life easier.

The price for the Inspire 1 starts at $2000 and ends at $3000 or more and the price for the Phantom 3 starts at $800 and ends at $1100 or more. As for guarantee I’m sure that you will get one but it will be different from seller to seller.  Of course, there is the warranty offered by the producer since these are expensive drones.

Unique features

The Inspire 1 has indeed some cool features like retractable landing gear and the camera’s ability to rotate 360 degrees while taking videos. Another cool thing is the dual operation feature which it allows one person to control the drone while somebody else is controlling the camera.

 Inspire 1 unique features

This thing is pretty cool because at Phantom 3 you don’t have something like this. There, while you concentrate on taking videos and photos you must also be very careful not to crash the drone into a tree or something.

As for the Phantom 3 unique features…you can’t find something to beat the ones discussed in Inspire 1. Maybe its the smaller size that will help at traveling and will be much easier for you to pass through obstacles. For many, the Inspire 1 is pretty intimidating, not because they think of how much it costs, but because they know how big and heavy this thing is.

Phantom 3 unique features

Inspire 1 has all the good features that Phantom 3 has and much more than that. Phantom is better only when it comes to flight time but that can get arranged too for Inspire 1 with a stronger battery.

Main competitors of these two drones

Yuneec Typhoon H Pro

Because we are talking big prices let me introduce you to Yuneec Typhoon hexacopter. This “little” guy’s price is somewhere around $1500 and can do a lot of stuff just like our Inspire 1…or a little bit more.

It also allows to be controlled by two persons at once but the coolest part in here is the fact that it has a built-in sonar sensor in front that will automatically detect obstacles so you can get an even safer flight. How cool is that? Not only that there are two people watching and controlling it but it also has these sensors that will “wake” you up whenever is needed.

Yuneec Typhoon H Pro

The landing gear is retractable and the camera has an unobstructed 360 degrees view just like the Inspire 1 has, but I’m afraid that the arms and landing gear are also sensitive at harsh landings.

Like this amazing product? Then you can buy it on Amazon.

Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone

The first drone we discussed was one worthy competitor for the Inspire 1 so let’s see a competitor for the Phantom 3 as well. The Autel Robotics X-Star has a 4K camera and an app for IOS or Android device so you can easily see in first person view what your drone is filming. It’s also very easy to fly just like Phantom 3 – they have the same flight time and the same operating range.

While you will find Phantom 3 only in white with different stripes, the X-star Premium is only orange. So if you were looking for a colorful drone, here it is.

Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone

I couldn’t say that it has that elegant air that a Phantom drone will have but these two are pretty similar in many different ways. So if you liked this drone and you want to find out more about it then you should know that it is priced between $850 and $1000.

Like this amazing product? Then you can buy it from Amazon.

DJI Phantom 4

Well if we were to get something that could equal both Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 it had to be Phantom 4. This drone takes all the good things that you have at Phantom 3 and makes them way better.

The camera remains a 4K one but not only that it moves up and down, it can move left and right as well. Not doing 360 degrees rotations like Inspire 1 but still way better.  It has an enhanced Vision Positioning System and will intelligently fly around and over obstacles that will be in its way. More like the sensors that the Yuneec Typhoon H Pro has.

DJI Phantom 4

There is a feature that beats both our drones and that is the flight time. The Phantom 4 has now a flight time of 28 minutes and it can reach 30 minutes. Also the maximum flight speed is 20 m/s almost as fast as the Inspire 1.

The body is the same like Phantom 3, only the camera gimbal differs a little but the elegance of a Phantom will always remain regardless of the model.

Like this amazing product? Then you can check its price here.

Overview

Now that we are almost at the end let’s see what are de pros and cons for each of these two drones.

Pros

Phantom 3:

  • It’s lightweight and smaller so is very easy to carry in a backpack or a bag
  • It has a flight time of 23 minutes
  • Very easy to fly
  • Durable but at the same time has an elegant body

Inspire 1:

  • Retractable landing gear
  • Camera that has 360 degrees rotations
  • It has a bulky body but is very durable and resists in strong winds
  • Allows dual operation
  • It has a big payload capacity

Cons

Phantom 3:

  • Because it has a lighter weight it won’t have the best results on a windy day
  • It has a small payload capacity
  • It’s built from plastic…it’s durable but still plastic.

Inspire 1:

  • Landing gear and arms although are made from carbon fiber, can break easily on an ugly crash
  • With its bulky form will be hard for you to travel somewhere with it
  • Expensive

If you just want a drone that will make good photos and videos, as a hobby or for a personal blog where you want to present all your travels, then the Phantom 3 is for you. The DJI Inspire 1 is more suited for a team who wants to make professional videos and photographs or for someone who has the money and can afford this beauty.

Both drones are very practical and they can easily fit in your backpack. Phantom 3 is lightweight and smaller, but Inspire 1 has a retractable landing gear. Phantom 3 is very easy to fly drone, and Inspire 1 allows dual operation. There are some downsides also, for example Inspire 1 is expensive drone, and Phantom 3 is built from plastic, durable, but plastic.

Overall, both drones are very good and deserve our attention and now we are curious: which one do you like the most? Did you get the chance to play with one of these beauties yet?

About the author
Jack Brown
Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.

  • Tom Healy

    The Inspire 1 is a great drone but I’m not very happy with the batteries flight time, it is just about 13 minutes. But the drone works very well. The retractable landing gear the camera’s 360-degree rolls are cool.

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