DJI Phantom 4 Drones Review and Features

DJI Phantoms are often referred to as “drone iPhones” and that’s a fair description. They are quite simply the most popular drones on the planet, packed with premium features and functionality, and the latest models are always top of their class. On top of that, DJI is also releasing new models at a steady pace, delivering even better features as the months go by. Today, we are testing the DJI Phantom 4. Let’s go!

Improvements and new features

As an evolution of the original Phantom 4, the Phantom 4 Pro boasts a number of slight but significant improvements. Most of the design attributes, electronic components and functionality of the original Phantom 4 have been transferred to the professional model, while others have been upgraded and a few new features have been added.
The first and most obvious is the Phantom 4 Pro’s new 5-way obstacle avoidance system. While the Phantom 4 only pointed forward and dodged, the new improved version has sensors on the front, rear, right, and below.
These sensors actively scan the environment around the drone and allow it to autonomously avoid obstacles like trees, buildings and anything else you may encounter in flight.
The other notable improvement is the Phantom 4 Pro’s camera. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro uses brand new hardware with a 1-inch image sensor, which is four times the size of that used in the Phantom 4.
On the other hand, the camera can record 4K videos up to 60 frames per second, and still images up to 20 megapixels. No matter how you use it, the Phantom 4’s new camera is bigger, better, and more customizable than ever.
DJI has also added an optional, even more, a luxurious version called the Phantom 4 Pro Plus. It’s the exact same drone, but with a controller that has a built-in touchscreen. It’ll cost you another $ 300, but you won’t have to connect your phone to the controller with a cable, worry about your smartphone’s battery life, or have your flights abruptly interrupted due to texting and messaging. incoming calls.

The quality of the design

The Phantom 4 Pro is almost identical to the original Phantom 4 in terms of design and builds quality.
It retains the same shell shape as its predecessor, except for a few minor differences where the new sensors are placed. As such, it’s just as strong and rugged as the Phantom 4, which remains among the most attractive of the drones available.
It’s impressive that DJI has managed to outfit the drone with so many new features while maintaining an identical drone shape.
Additional sensors have been slipped into the legs of the drone, while infrared and optical sensors are mounted on the left and right sides of the drone.
Even the camera, which is considerably better than the one found on the original Phantom 4, is just a little bigger than before.
Unless you know DJI drones in great detail, the Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Pro are visually identical, despite DJI’s many improvements.
The only downside to the Phantom 4 Pro is that, unfortunately, the Phantom line is still not as portable as DJI’s Mavic Pro. The arms and accessories are not designed to fold down, and the landing gear cannot retract or bend. It was not designed for portability although it is still small enough to carry in a backpack if the need arises.

Battery life and recharge time

Under optimal conditions, DJI claims that the Phantom 4 Pro can stay in the air for 30 minutes, but of course, actual conditions aren’t always optimal. 
To test these claims, we piloted the Phantom 4 Pro through our usual series of endurance tests.
First, we did a hover test, where we left the drone to park until the battery life became “critical”, and the drone landed automatically.
Our hover test lasted 28 minutes and 8 seconds which is not far from the 30 minute flight time suggested by DJI.
Then, to get a feel for how long the Phantom 4 Pro would last under more demanding conditions, we recorded the flight times from all of the other tests we did and averaged all the times.  Over 10 different flights ranging from 100% battery charge to emergency automatic landing to low battery, the Phantom 4 Pro has averaged 26 minutes and 50 seconds flight time. If we are indeed below the 30 minutes of autonomy announced by DJI, the flight time remains excellent and is one of the best we have seen so far. A DJI Mavic Pro flies an average of 23 minutes and 19 seconds in our hover test, and the Yuneec Typhoon H 23 minutes and 20 seconds.
When it comes to battery recharge times, we’ve found that a nearly-empty battery (around 10% remaining) takes around 1.5 hours to fully charge. That said, most of the time you’ll be forced to land before you hit extremely low battery levels, so most of our recharges took around an hour and 15 minutes or less. That’s not bad at all for a battery that offers almost 27 minutes of flight time. For comparison, the Yuneec Typhoon H needed more than two hours to recharge its battery.

Flight performance
The flight performance of the Phantom 4 has not changed in this new version.
The Phantom 4 Pro displays almost identical flight characteristics as the original Phantom 4, in terms of speed and agility.
Fortunately, that’s not a big disappointment, since the Phantom 4 is still among the most agile four-propeller drones on the market.


Speed ​​and agility are basically unchanged in the Phantom 4 Pro. Both the Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Pro top out at 72 km / h although you can easily reach higher speeds with a good tailwind behind you.
It’s not the fastest drone on the market but it’s fast enough for most uses.
However, unlike its predecessor, the Phantom 4 can fly up to 50 km / h with full multi-directional obstacle avoidance. It is important. High-speed manoeuvres are where you need to avoid obstacles the most. This new model can fly at respectable speeds while dodging and weaving its way through the most hostile terrain on its own.

Flight modes
Some of the most significant improvements in the Phantom 4 Pro relate to new autopilot features from DJI.
In addition to carrying over most of the “standard” autonomous flight modes of the original Phantom 4, DJI has also borrowed some of the features from the Mavic Pro and even added a few extras that we haven’t seen before.


You can configure the Phantom 4 Pro to orbit a point in space with Point of Interest mode, repeat flights along a predefined path with Waypoints, or track your movements via Follow Me mode.
These modes are included in the Phantom 4, but the Pro version features a few new modes: Terrain Follow, Tripod Mode, and a range of new Active Track functions.
In Terrain Follow mode (which was previously only available on the Mavic Pro), the drone uses its downward vision system to maintain a certain distance from the ground, which is fantastic for filming in varying altitude terrain. For static photos, the Phantom 4 Pro’s new Tripod mode lets you pick a point in space, then keep the drone stuck in that position while you shoot, much like a flying tripod.
In this mode, the joystick controls are attenuated so that pan/yaw movements are less drastic, and the drone uses a combination of GPS and sensors to maintain its position without drifting.


DJI has also added a few updates to its Active Track system. Portrait mode, for example, allows you to follow a subject while the drone flies horizontally. Spotlight, on the other hand, allows you to lock onto a subject but allows you to fly the drone in any direction around the target. There’s even a 360 ° mode that will orbit any object or person you choose, no matter where that subject might move. And of course, there’s the new omnidirectional detection and avoidance system. Thanks to its new sensors, the Phantom 4 Pro continuously scans the environment around it and alerts you when you approach an obstacle or avoid it autonomously. The good news is that this feature can be turned on or off, so it’s there when you need it, but it doesn’t get in the way when you want to fly wild and fly close to something.


Our favorite feature, however, is DJI’s new Dynamic Homecoming feature. In previous generations of the Phantom, when you pressed the “Return to Home” button, the drone would fly to a predetermined height, then return directly to where it had taken off. If there were any obstacles in the way, the drone would hit them like a blind bird.
When you use the return home button on the new Phantom 4 Pro, the drone retraces its steps and attempts to “back up” on the same path it is on, dynamically avoiding any obstacles that may appear in the process. road, of course.
It’s not crash-proof, but it’s very close.

Pros
  • 5-way obstacle avoidance
  • Excellent camera
  • Abundant flight modes
  • Long flight time
  • Exceptional reach
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Comes with a single battery
Scope
The range is also a bit better than on the original Phantom 4. Just like the Mavic Pro, the Phantom 4 Pro is equipped with DJI’s new OcuSync video transmission technology, which extends the maximum range of the drone and provides live HD video feed from the camera up to 7000 meters. However, this is only possible under the most optimal conditions. We flew it at a distance of 2000 meters in our tests without actually seeing a decrease in the power of the video stream, but the transmission distance varies considerably depending on the environment in which you are traveling.
If there is a lot of interference, the flow may cut off without warning. It all depends on where you’re flying, but even with the occasional flow cutoff, the Phantom 4 Pro still has the best range we’ve ever seen in a drone.
Most of the competitors we tried can barely do 1,500 meters with their base setups, and many need extensions to reach the range the Phantom 4 Pro can achieve.

Camera and accessories

If there’s one reason to buy the Phantom 4 Pro over the standard Phantom 4, it’s the camera. DJI has worked hard on the Pro’s image capture system, and the result is one of the best cameras we’ve ever seen on a quadcopter.
The biggest improvement is the size of the camera sensor.
The Pro has a 1-inch CMOS sensor that’s about four times the size of the 1 / 2.3-inch class more typically used by most drones (including the Phantom 3 series and the Phantom 4) and smartphones.
This extra area allows it to capture much more detail and maintain image and video quality at higher ISO values.
In addition to a larger sensor, DJI has also equipped the Phantom 4 Pro with a mechanical trigger and aperture control. In other words, you don’t have to shoot at f / 2.8 all the time (you can go up to f / 11), and you don’t have to worry about the dreaded “rolling shutter effect” anymore. creases your images.
When it comes to capturing video, the Phantom 4 Pro offers a plethora of options. You can shoot cinematic 4K DCI at 24, 25, or 30 frames per second, or 4K UHD at 24, 25, 30, or 60 frames per second. If that’s too much for storage media (or SD card), you can also reduce consumption to 2.7K, 1080p, and 720p, the latter of which can be captured at 120fps and used to create slow-motion footage.
If you use the Phantom 4 Pro Plus (300 € more), DJI offers a controller with its own integrated touchscreen. This means that you won’t have to connect your phone to the controller with a cable, which is necessary for almost every other drone that DJI makes.
We don’t know if it’s worth $ 300, but it’s kind of nice to fly without worrying about your smartphone’s battery life, or having flights crudely interrupted by incoming texts or calls.
However, we believe that DJI should have included this option years ago, or at least put it in the standard Pro offering. Yuneec, for example, offers a Typhoon H touchscreen controller at no additional cost.

Conclusion
Without a doubt, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro is one of the best drones around, if not the best.
It’s the only drone with omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, and the camera outperforms all other drones in this price range. In short, it’s the best high-end drone we’ve tested so far. You can order it online.

Are there better choices?

In this price range, no. If your budget is under $ 1,500, there is no better way to spend your money.
The closest competitor to the Phantom 4 Pro is probably the DJI Mavic Pro, or more recently the Mavic Air. Both are smaller, much more portable, and offer plenty of flight modes and features except, of course, omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, and a camera with a one-inch image sensor. . Plus the Mavic Air and Mavic Pro are also considerably cheaper, so if you’re looking for something a little more affordable but still very capable, you’d better go with the Mavic range.
If you don’t care so much about portability, Yuneec’s Typhoon H is also a worthy competitor and is a bit more affordable than the Phantom 4. It has many of the same features and has a 4K camera that swivels. at 360 degrees. This, along with dual pilot capabilities, makes him a decent competitor. However, the Typhoon H’s camera isn’t as advanced, the battery doesn’t last as long, and it takes longer to recharge.

How long will DJI be releasing updates for?
Probably a few years or more. DJI is constantly rolling out updates to most of its products, and we have no reason to believe the Phantom 4 Pro will be any different. Firmware updates arrive regularly and DJI already has a suite of upgrades, parts and accessories. So, assuming you don’t crash your drone into a lake, the Phantom 4 Pro should serve you for quite a while.

DJI Goggles HDMI for DJI Phantom 4

Very high definition HD finally available with DJI which launches its 1920 × 1080 HD FPV immersion headphones at the end of May. The video stream can be retrieved via an HDMI socket and the glasses have a control function with a head movement sensor that will allow you to direct and frame your camera in a very simple way and to benefit from a gaze on the world at the highest.
The incredible novelty comes from the fact that beyond the camera, in the case of the Mavic and the Phantom 4, Head Tracking makes it possible to “control both the yaw of the device and the vertical inclination of the gimbal with the head movements ”.
By turning the head we generate a lace to the right or to the left which stops by straightening the head.
The integrated HDMI socket and SD card allow you to directly watch TV or movies in your DJI Goggles headphones, it is even possible to play a video game with it!
With a design very studied to be comfortable to wear, these glasses will be the ideal companion for the Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Adv or Pro, or the Inspire 2, those who wear glasses can keep them using the Goggles.
The latency of these FPV glasses is excellent with only 110ms, which is extremely efficient for full HD 1080p feedback.
The DJI Goggles know how to communicate with different drones and devices thanks to the sockets integrated into the glasses.
The Mavic Pro will use the OcuSync transmission in DJI mode, drones from previous generations (Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Advanced, Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire 2) will connect via the USB port on the remote controller.

Should you buy it?
Yes. This is without a doubt one of the best ways to spend your money on a drone.

DJI Crystalsky 7.9 inch LCD Display

The crystal sky accessory incorporates a 7.85 ”screen
Compatible with Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 series, inspire series, Phantom 3 Osmo, Osmo Plusa, Osmo Pro, Osmo RAW
High brightness
DJI crystal sky 7.85

Travel Backpack for DJI Phantom 4

Suitable for all DJI Phantom models – Phantom 4 / Pro / Advanced, Phantom 3 Standard / Pro / Advanced / 4K, other similar sized drones
Lightweight, durable, and water-resistant; the size is good for hand luggage dimensions. The back pocket will not fit laptops over 30cm in length or 26cm in width.
Compartments hold up to 4 spare batteries, 4 sets of propellers, controller, tablet, etc.
Thick interior padding materials to protect your drone and accessories from physical impact
Soft shoulder straps and make it super comfortable to wear and lighten the load on your body

Battery for DJI Phantom 4

Performance: no problem with future firmware updates. With an upgraded capacity of 5350mAh, the flight battery provides 18-28 minutes of flight time on a single charge. Actual time may vary depending on other factors.
Compatibility: Perfectly compatible with DJI Phantom 4, DJI Phantom 4 Pro, DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus, DJI Phantom 4 Advanced and DJI Phantom 4 battery charger.
Battery Type: LiPo cells, Voltage: 15.2V, Capacity: 5350mAh, Power: 81.32Wh, with 4 built-in LED lights to show how much power, which remains at the push of a button
Advanced charging circuit and built-in safety circuit, protection against overload, short circuit and over-discharge. All Powerextra batteries comply with RoHS and CE safety standards.

DJI Phantom 4 battery charger and remote control

This charger can charge both 3 batteries and 1 DJI Phantom 4/4 Pro / 4 Pro + remote control, convenient and fast.
It can charge 3 batteries fully in 60-80 minutes
Input voltering: 110V ~ 240V;
Output voltage: 17.5V; Output current: 5.7;
Package includes: 1 × Charger with 4 charge cable, 1 × cable

Propellers for DJI Phantom 4

COMPATIBILITY: Be compatible with DJI Phantom 4; 2 clockwise and 2 clockwise propellers, 4 pieces in total.
ROTOR LOCKING MECHANISM: The rotor locking mechanism ensures reliable locking, tool-free mounting and release at the same time.
POISED: Super balance with stable, lightweight, durable and practical performance.
GOOD REPLACEMENT: Perfect for replacing old or broken propellers. Easy to install and easy to use.
BASICS: Each propeller weighs 11g, diameter and thread pitch is 9.45 ″ × 5 ″ / 24cm * 12.7cm.

DJI Phantom 4 Controller Signal Extension

Compatible with Phantom 3 Pro / Inspire / DJI Phantom 4
Precise parabolic curve reminder completely reflects the remote signal to the antenna (the focal point of the reflector)
Improves remote control and Wi-Fi video connection performance
Features a highly reflective aluminium inner layer. Folding design. Easy to carry

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