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DJI Phantom 3 vs 3DR Solo, Which is Best?

March 21, 2016 no comments Drones, Drone Comparisons, Drones

DJI Phantom 3 vs 3DR Solo, Which is best?

DJI Phantom 3 vs 3DR Solo, which is the better drone? 3D Robotics has recently released their latest entry into the camera drone market, the 3DR Solo camera drone. We compare it to its nearest competitor the DJI Phantom 3 Pro to see which we prefer and explore the capabilities of each one.

DJI Phantom 3 Pro, DJI Phantom 3 vs 3DR Solo

3DR Solo, DJI Phantom 3 vs 3DR SoloTo compare apples to apples we will compare the best cameras of each. These days you want to take video in 4K and a minimum of 12MP. The DJI Phantom 3 Pro comes equipped with its own 12MP, 4K camera mounted on a 3 axis gimbal. Simple enough. The 3DR Solo is designed to be used primarily with the GoPro Hero3 or Hero4 cameras. If you already have a GoPro it can be ordered without the camera or if need be you can order it with whichever camera you like. To achieve 12MP stills and 4K video you will need to get the GoPro Hero4 Black. To buy this camera on its own from GoPro is about $500. To get the 3DR Solo equiped with the 3 axis Gimbal will also cost an extra couple hundred.  This is a significant investment when the DJI Phantom 3 Pro comes with its own camera. Both cameras will work just fine as do the 3 axis gimbals. The price however is the difference and definitely gives the DJI Phantom 3 Pro the advantage.

Both drones are GPS equipped. The DJI Phantom 3 Pro connects to the American GPS satellites as well as the GLONASS network (the Russian system). The 3DR Solo currently only connects to the American GPS system. A major complaint about the 3DR Solo is its inability to get a proper GPS fix. It can take up to 15 minutes to get a fix before you can fly. This is required so that it knows where home is. This is important because if the battery is low or you lose connectivity it will automatically return home and land. If it doesn’t know where home is, who knows where it will end up. Additionally if it loses its GPS fix in flight it will also have trouble returning DJI Phantom 3 Pro Optical Sensors, DJI Phantom 3 vs 3DR Solohome. The DJI Phantom 3 Pro, in addition to its dual GPS system, also has optical and ultrasonic sensors looking down at the ground to aid in low level flight, hovering and landing. This is also great if it fly’s under a structure and loses its GPS fix, it can easily maintain its flight. For its GPS capabilities, the DJI Phantom 3 Pro again has a definite advantage.

Both drones take excellent video and pictures. They both have autonomous flight modes and auto picture taking. In this area its hard to choose a winner but i would have to give the 3DR Solo the edge. It really seems to have been intended for aerial photography where the DJI Phantom 3 Pro to many seems like more of a toy. 

Another area that will be important to people is range. The DJI Phantom 3 Pro advertises up to 3 miles in ideal conditions. Obviously that’s quite optimistic but many people claim a mile and a half which is still impressive as long as you can wrap your head around flying by FPV. You most likely won’t be able to see or hear it. The 3DR Solo on the other hand claims a half a mile and many people have trouble getting that. Clearly the DJI Phantom 3 Pro is the winner in this area.

Both drones are designed to be used with a smart device (not included) and have their 3DR Solo Controller, DJI Phantom 3 vs 3DR soloown apps to go with them. Not anybody really complains about the DJI app but many people are very appreciative of the 3DR Solo app. When people actually go out of their way to write positive reviews that’s saying a lot. The 3DR Solo app is very user friendly and easy to use. Even when equipped with the 3 axis gimbal and the camera, its easy to fly and adjust your camera to take the shots that you want.

Another area that is great on the 3DR Solo is its upgradeability. They are coming out with constant firmware updates intended to fix a lot of problems. They are also actively encouraging outside companies to design accessories to be used with the 3DR Solo drone. This can be good or bad 3D Robotics seems to intend to keep the 3DR Solo as their main platform and upgrade it. The hardware accessories however could really tap your wallet. DJI on the other hand seems to like to just bring out new models.

DJI Phantom 3 vs 3DR Solo, which to choose? Based on the quality of the equipment and the price, the DJI Phantom 3 Pro is clearly the winner. It has more features, simply works better and to get a 3DR Solo with a similar camera, be prepared to spend an extra $500-600. That’s a huge difference. You can get the Phantom with 3 axis gimbal and 4K camera for about $100 more that the bare Solo drone. Add on the 3 axis gimbal and the Hero4 black camera and it shoots right past.

Before you go out and buy the DJI Phantom 3 Pro however consider this, 90% of the complaints against the Phantom are about customer service. There are a lot of very unhappy people out there. I would tend to choose the DJI Phantom 3 Pro based on price and quality but the thought that if something goes wrong, i won’t be able to get any support without going through hell makes me a little uncomfortable. 

Also keep in mind that the DJI Phantom 4 has recently come out…

Anyway those are my thoughts, DJI Phantom 3 vs 3DR Solo? You have either made up your mind or i just made your decision harder. Thanks for reading.

See the DJI Phantom 3 at Amazon.com

See the 3DR Solo at Amazon.com

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DJI Phantom 3 vs 3DR Solo, sorry i had to add it one more time to make it easier for google to find.

 

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