DRONES REVIEWS

DJI Phantom 4: Unveiling The Power of a Versatile Drone

DJI phantom 4 review
Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

DJI is the world’s largest producers of commercial drones. All the drones produced by this brand have gone on to do well on the market and they all receive positive feedback from the users. DJI went a step further and built a drone that beats all other models in its category: this is the new Phantom 4 drone.

This model takes care of every issue a flyer could come across. With an interesting camera and an unbelievably long flight time, this drone is a treat for all professional photographers, hobbyists, and flyers. It comes in a ready-to-fly state and thus you do not have to work too much to get the kit together.

Product specifications:

  • Auto takeoff and auto return home with GPS technology, makes controlling easy. App enables monitoring/camera operation easy
  • Capture 4K ultra HD video at 30 fps, supported resolutions include: 12.0MP (4000 x 3000) photos. The f/2.8 lens with a broad field of view delivers crisp, clear images
  • Gimbal stabilization technology, along with a hover function allows you to capture smooth, clean footage while the camera is in the air

Buy Phantom 4 Drone on Amazon

As compared to the older models in the Phantom series, the Phantom 4 comes packed with a number of new features and technologies that you could make use of. Each of these contributes towards a more stable and safe flight and, as a beginner, you could benefit from the convenient and useful controls.

However, if you’re a professional pilot, there is a tap and fly option that lets you skip the entire part about learning the controls. So, this device caters to the needs of the beginners, amateurs as well as the pros and experienced flyers.

Build specifications

Packaging

The DJI Phantom 4 has dimensions of 12.8×8.66×14.96 inches and a total shipping weight of 10.5 pounds. This is a ready to fly kit that includes a few of the accessories which could be assembled before you take the drone out for a spin.

DJI Phantom 4 packaging

The complete kit includes the following:

  • The quadcopter
  • Remote controller
  • Quick release propellers
  • Flight battery
  • Flight battery charger
  • AC cable for charger
  • Clamp for gimbal
  • USB OTG cable
  • Micro USB cable
  • Brush blower

This is a complete kit that provides you with everything that you could require for assembling and flying your drone.

Above is a sneak peek into what unboxing the drone gives us.

Design & durability

When we talk about the design and durability, DJI Phantom 4 stands out like none other. It is made with a magnesium framework, one that gives it the required strength while keeping it lightweight. This is one of the best features of the device as a lightweight drone is always expected to run longer.

Add to that, the components are kept stiff and nicely attached to one another such that the drone encounters minimum or no vibration while flying in the air.

DJI Phantom 4 design

In terms of design, DJI gave its 4th Phantom model a complete makeover from the latest model, the DJI Phantom 3. This time, it comes with a new core design that ensures that the center of gravity stays at the center of the framework.  This works towards improving the balance of the device giving it the stability and making it more agile for swift movements along with a lot of precision.

The motors are raised over the shell. This increases their general efficiency and makes enough room for the other components to fit in well. New components mean the new navigation lights and its larger battery which gives you a longer flight time. This extra space has been compensated for by the camera moving further away. This reduces the chance of having propellers in the field of view while you’re filming or taking stills. DJI has also gone on to integrate anti-vibration mounts and a camera module onto the frame.

In spite of all these components, DJI has managed to keep the model extremely thin and sleek.

Even though it’s a new model, there are already lots of people testing it out and they are thrilled with the reliability of the product. This can be attributed to the dual compass module and Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs). These two factors team up together to give you a compact and sturdy, durable drone.  This drone has undergone a few crashes and collisions here and there and has still managed to maintain its structure.

Camera

There is the reason why the device is known as the smartest flying camera ever.  This super fast and durable drone is made for high-level aerial photography and cinematography purposes.
All thanks to the high-performance camera.

It is capable of shooting sharp and crisp videos in 4K at 30 fps along with full HD 1080p at 120 fps. The latter is specially designed for shooting slow videos. The lens of the drone camera comes with an amazing sharpness that will surprise even the most experienced aerial photographers.

DJI Phantom 4 camera

Another reason why this drone is able to produce stable and crisp pictures is the gimbal. It has an advanced 3 axis gimbal that makes sure that there are no unnecessary vibrations and in-flight movements that might actually compromise the camera’s capabilities.

The camera sensor has 12.4M effective pixels at 1/2.3”. Also, features like ‘Sense and Avoid’ and the likes contribute to the camera giving unperturbed pictures.

Battery and flight time

If you have to choose one standout feature for the DJI Phantom 4, then it has to be the flight time. It has the highest flight time for a medium drone standing at 28 minutes! Like most of its other products, DJI has lived up to its reputation and produced a drone that can fly for a long time.

This is one of the reasons why this drone is preferred highly by the professional photographers as you get to capture quite a few shots on one full charge of the battery.

DJI Phantom 4 battery

This brings us to the battery. The package comes with an intelligent flight battery that keeps the device on for a long time. This is a15.2V Li-Po battery has a capacity of 5350 mAh giving rise to an optimal performance from the flying device at hand.

The big battery also takes longer to get charged. You would have to give it around 60-70 minutes to get the battery fully charged. When you are flying the drone, the battery has in-built sensors and bright LED lights that can indicate its status. Take a look to see the real flight time for a Phantom 4 drone.

Controller

The controller has been made really comfortable for the DJI Phantom 4. It basically comes in a 2 stick model and has a small space for holding your smartphone or tablet. This makes things very convenient for the users. You would require a USB cable that makes the connection between the phone and the controller.

Phantom 4 with controller

The users usually download the DJI Go app that will facilitate the first flight for them. Thereafter, all the operations of the drone can be done right from the screen of your smartphone. For instance, if you tap on the ‘takeoff’ button, the motors are brought into action which firstly pushes the drone to 1.2 meters high.

Learning how to fly the drone is a very important part. Thus the Phantom 4 not only gives you the freedom to enjoy advanced features but also brings in better maneuverability in order to avoid crashes and collisions. If you push the left stick up, the device gains altitude and when you push it to the side, it rotates. The right stick on the controller can be used to change directions for the drone.

Flight performance

The DJI Phantom 4 has a range of 3.1 miles, which is roughly 5 kilometers. This is pretty impressive for a drone of this size. Moreover, it can give you flight speeds of 40 mph that can really enhance your flying experiences.

The drone also comes equipped with a special feature that allows it to avoid obstacles which might be interrupting the device in its flight. This makes it the first consumer drone to look out for its surroundings and adjust to them likewise.

Phantom 4 flight

For instance, if there is an obstacle coming up, the drone either increases its speed to clear the object or stays in position and hovers around till you give further commands. However, when the obstacle avoidance is on, the flight speed will be limited to only 22 mph. The whole task of obstacle avoidance is done with the help of five cameras on the device.

Besides, you get access to many more flight modes that make your ride all the more convenient. The high speed of 45 mph is due to the all new Sport mode in the drone controls. The ‘Tap Fly’ feature is another useful point to note here. It proves especially helpful for beginners who are still trying to gain control of the drone. Now, we come to the flight attitudes.

In the US, for a crowded place, the flight altitude is limited to 400 feet. However, if you move to a place with more relaxed regulations, the drone can touch as high as 1600 feet off the ground. With such special specifications, it is rather difficult to give this drone a miss.

Have a look at the Phantom 4 altitude test:

Value for money and guarantee

The DJI Phantom 4 is the amalgamation of the best features contained by previous models in the same series, except it is better. This comes packed with high-quality controls and functions that are difficult to get in other drones. For a photography enthusiast who wants to fly and get some aerial footage, this device is an ideal one.

With most of the controls of the done from the mobile application, handling this drone is rather easy and convenient. This drone gives you the chance to fly independently and intelligently.

Coming at $1,400, the Phantom 4 is quite worth the money, only if you are a pro flyer and have some previous experience and want to explore further. Besides, this package includes everything you could need for flying the drone so there are no additional expenditures to be made, except for spare batteries.

Phantom 4 drone

DJI, the largest producer of commercial drones, is known to have a very effective after-sales service, one of the reasons why the users bank on this brand. First of all, if you have received a defective product or one with a manufacturing defect, from the company or its authorized dealers, you have the chance to request a refund within 7 days. There are also policies for replacing a defective product if need be.

When it comes to the DJI warranty service, you will only be allowed to benefit from it if the product has not undergone unauthorized or abnormal use and no unauthorized disassembling has been done.

Here is a list of the parts of the device that the warranty service covers:

  • MC: 12 months
  • Camera gimbal: 6 months
  • Vision Positioning System: 6 months
  • Propulsion system: 6 months
  • Remote control: 12 months
  • Battery: 6 months
  • Charger: 6 months

However, the frame and the propellers are not covered under warranty because of their fragile nature and exposure to crashes and collisions.

Unique features

This drone is a unique and rather creative work from the house of DJI, but there are a few features that are noteworthy in this aspect:

Sense-and-avoid technology

This is actually a feature that is making the headlines and bringing in fresh publicity for the DJI Phantom 4. This allows the drone to have information of obstacles ahead during its flight and then take measures to avoid hitting them.

This can be attributed to the visual and sonar sensors that adorn the device. That means, gone are the days when your drone would randomly crash into a tree or a tall building.

Sense and avoid technology

Whenever the drone comes to know about an obstacle, it does one of the two things:

  • Finds a way around the obstacle such that there is no contact
  • Rears back with a slight jerk and then gets into a hover mode till further instructions are given by the controller.

This feature thus gives you more freedom to enjoy flying the drone instead of always worrying about impending clashes and collisions.

Sport mode

This is another exciting addition to the Phantom 4. Up until now we encountered many different flight modes for drones, but this device comes with a Sport mode, one that can actually take your drone up to unbelievable speeds. The speeds reached with the sport mode on, actually touches the 45 mph. Besides, when the winds aid the drone, it can go even faster.

One user reportedly experienced flight speeds of over 70 mph which is pretty impressive! However, you cannot use the sense-and-avoid technology while the sport mode is on. Also, this should experiment only in open spaces where there are fewer chances of collisions.

Active track

A lot of drones come with a feature in which the device actually follows the remote wherever it is headed. But the Phantom 4 goes a step ahead and follows the operator even without using a remote. All you have to do is activate the Active Track feature and draw a box around your image on the screen.

The drone recognizes you thereafter and will follow you wherever you go, even if you follow a zig-zag path. This serves as an automated helicopter pilot or a camera tracking your every move. This gives you more autonomy to control the drone as wherever you go, the drone follows you.

Similar models or main competitors

The DJI Phantom 4 is such an advanced drone with convenient features that it is actually difficult to find a match for the device. Bello is a list of some of the drones which are similar to the Phantom 4

DJI Phantom 3 Advanced

The closest competitor to the Phantom 4 is a product from the same producer that goes by the name of Phantom 3 Advanced. For starters, this device is also ideal for people who are professional photographers or hobbyists who want to try a new level of aerial photography.

DJI Phantom 3 Advanced

It comes with a wide range and a very efficient camera that can provide you with a live HD view and shoots in 2.7K. It has a maximum transmission distance of 5 kilometers in an unobstructed outdoor environment. Coming to the flight time, it inches very close to the Phantom 4 and the number stays at 23 minutes. This is another feature that aids the photographers.

This device comes with one interesting feature: beginner mode. This is useful for helping the amateur pilots learn the art of flying in a safe, but the limited area. The remote control that comes with the drone is also useful and is pretty convenient for the users. The functions are simple and easy to follow. Talking about the durability, being a DJI product, it will not fail you in this aspect.

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

3DR solo drone quadcopter

Talking about durable drones here is another one that could come close to the Phantom 4 in this aspect. This is a stylish looking drone in black that is loved by both professional as well as amateur flyers.

If you have never flown a drone before, the 3DR solo drone will make you feel comfortable because of its video game-style controller that makes things easy. Besides, you can also connect the drone to any screen, including a TV, for viewing the footages.

Being the world’s first smart drone, this device comes packed with a number of world-class technologies to help you fly and also a set of safety features to keep your drone from danger. One of these features is the Solo’s Intelligent smart shots that give your computer assisted aerial shots.

3DR solo drone quadcopter

Another interesting feature here is called the Orbit. This allows you to get a 360-degree view of a building or a round structure. Without you having to do much, the drone will keep the camera locked on the subject in question, and go about it in a circular path to capture every angle. Talking about the flight time, it can go as high as 17-20 minutes, which is significantly lesser than the Phantom 4 but not at all bad for a drone of this size.

If you like this product you can find and purchase it on Amazon.

DJI S1000

Coming up next is yet another product from the house of DJI. This time, it is not a quadcopter, but an octacopter with 8 arms. This drone is known for one particular aspect: its ability to carry heavy objects and giving a smooth flight at the same time.

This is because the design of the drone is such that it provides large propulsion power. This feature allows the drone to carry heavy cameras like the Canon 5D mark in its flight. This makes it the ultimate product in the platform of aerial photography.

DJI S1000 drone

Besides, add to that the fact that the retractable landing gear is made from carbon fiber making the whole setup easy to use and lightweight in structure. The hardy and sturdy structure of the device also makes it a very durable and reliable drone. That means it can survive a few hard crashes or collisions without sustaining too much damage.

Also, because the drone has a folding design, you can carry it outdoors easily. You can set it up and pack up without too many hassles.  It comes close to the Phantom 4 in its flight time with the number reaching more than 24 minutes.

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

Overview

Let us have a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the Phantom 4:

Pros:

  • The new sensors make this drone a very intelligent device that gives you stable flights and especially good hovering abilities.
  • The Phantom 4 comes with a number of additional features like the Active Track and the Sense and Avoid technology that can make flying more interesting.
  • With a flight time of a whopping 28 minutes, a wider range and greater speeds (as high as 45 mph), you can now make better use of your flying skills and the drone’s aerial photography skills.
  • The DJI go mobile application makes it easier to control the device. In fact, there is a small space on the remote control to fit in your smartphone and operate on the drone from there.
  • The Phantom 4 has an amazing build quality, one that is both sturdy and durable. This will make all the other drones look flimsy.
  • The camera that is attached to the drone is a rather interesting one and can help you in the quest for good aerial photography.
  • The Lightbridge technology takes care of the live video transmission to the screen.

Cons:

  • The device brings in a few bugs that cannot be easily solved. For instance, the camera gimbal sometimes does not calibrate beyond 70%.
  • The FPV or First Person View seems to have some disturbances as it gets cut off randomly sometimes and comes back on later.

As you can understand, the Phantom 4 has pros that outweigh the cons.

Buy on Amazon

If you are an experienced flyer and a professional photographer, spending a few bucks for the device will do you a lot of good. With its intelligent features and smart controls, you cannot ignore this power packed drone.

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.

  • Alison Bailey

    This quadcopter is amazing. It has an incredible long flight time of 28 minutes and very good hovering abilities. It’s more than I expected to be.

    • I’m glad that it met your expectations.

  • Andrew Taylor

    Well this is something better than the Phantom 3. Auto take off and return home by its GPS technology is something unthinkable. Its 4K camera is the best camera that exist on the market, so this drone is just too good for random flying

    • True. Through auto return feature you can be rest assured that drone would return to its place no matter what.

  • Jim Clark

    In my opinion, in this price range and feature set, this is THE machine to buy, and sets the standard- not perfect, but really really really good.

    • Jack Brown

      I agree that this DJI’s model is not perfect, but then again, nothing is, right? 🙂 But, it is one of the best models so far and really stands out from the crowd! Thanks for sharing your opinion with our readers and us, Jim, we appreciate it 🙂

  • Joseph Lee

    I’m amazed at how smooth and cinematic the images you can shoot using this drone are, both close to the ground or high up . The flight modes are very smart. The point of view is great. You can control the camera and the distance while it orbits your shot. You can also focus on getting your shots even after you have set the waypoints. Very intelligent drone.

  • Jack Brown

    Yup, if not the best, then definitely one of the best drones of today! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us and our readers, Joseph.

  • Mitch Anderson

    Great imaging. Camera frame rate is impressive. 4K at 30fps or 1090p at 60/120fps. Truly professional quality. Definitely worth the price.

    • Jack Brown

      I agree! I think that it is definitely worth every cent 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this model!

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