DJI Phantom 4 Review vs Phantom 3
So i was planning a review of the DJI Phantom 3 but the DJI Phantom 4 has recently came out so instead this will be a DJI Phantom 4 review as well as a comparison to the DJI Phantom 3. Is the DJI Phantom 4 worth the upgrade? They appear to be based on the same platform and have many of the same capabilities but the improvements on the DJI Phantom 4 are significant. Basically its faster, stronger and smarter. DJI Phantom 4 vs Phantom 3, worth the extra money?
DJI Phantom 4 Review
The cameras are about the same. They both take 12MP stills and 4K video. The most obvious difference is the 3 axis Gimbal. The gimbal on the DJI Phantom 3 is fine but almost looks like an afterthought bolted on underneath and understandably so. The original Phantom 3 did not have the 3 axis gimbal, it was added to later models such as the Phantom 3 Pro. The 3 axis gimbal on the DJI Phantom 4, well it just looks natural and stronger. It is obviously built as part of the drone and is much sturdier that the Phantom 3. The new gimbal is also smarter with its own control unit that talks to the drone computer and anticipates movement base on operator controls. It know what the drone will do before it even happens. It also comes with a protector to keep it safe during transport.
One major improvement is the obstacle avoidance. Trees, posts, people, houses, the DJI Phantom 4 has forward facing sensors that see obstacles and go around or over as needed. Now imagine that you have just hit your return home button. Your Phantom 3 will return in a direct line and land where it took off from. If there happens to be a tree in the way…well it’s gonna land a bit sooner and much rougher than expected. The DJI Phantom 4 will return in a direct line as well, but it will see the tree and just go around. Seems handy to me. Now it has sensors that look up, down and forward. As is standard now, both models use DJI’s Lightbridge technology for streaming live video.
So now the DJI Phantom 4 sees better but its also smarter. In TapFly mode you simply tap the screen on your attached smart device and that’s where it goes. Using its obstacle avoidance it will get itself there without hitting anything on the way. Tap to take off, tap to fly and tap to land. Besides the TapFly mode, it also has an ActiveTrack mode that allows it to lock onto a subject and follow them keeping them in frame all the while the Obstacle Avoidance is working as well so it can decide if it can keep following, avoid, or just stop completely. These features just make it stupidly simple to fly. This is just speculation but i can see future models coming out that are designed to be controlled primarily from a smart device rather than the control unit.
In addition to being smarter, the DJI Phantom 4 is stronger. I have already mentioned the stronger, sleeker gimbal. Besides this the Phantom 4 also has an additional 5 minutes of flight time, 28 minutes compared to the Phantom 3’s 23 minutes. It’s also faster, put it in sport mode and it can achieve up to 50MPH. With speed like that you can go quite a ways in an awful hurry. DJI advertises up to 3.1 miles of range and from what i have seen. DJI’s range estimates are more accurate than most.
The most significant difference is the price. For the DJI Phantom 4 you can expect to spend an additional $500 roughly than for the DJI Phantom 3. Is it worth it to upgrade from a Phantom 3 to a Phantom 4? Well that’s your call. If you are looking to upgrade from a Phantom 2 or older, i would definitely recommend the DJI Phantom 4. Furthermore if you’re trying to decide between the Phantom 4 and something like the 3DR Solo, get the Phantom 4 for sure. Far superior technology and capabilities for about the same price. As with all of their products you can get a kit with everything you need, or you can just by the DJI Phantom 4 starter kit and buy additional accessories later .