Phantom 4 – Product Review

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Introduction

In our last article, we gave brief details about what is a Quadcopter, its basics and design. The very basic information and the basic design details were included in the article, but now we thought of moving to something different. Why not take you to the details of a popular quadcopter known as Phantom 4? So here we go!

In this article, you will learn about Phantom 4 the following things:

  • Design and speed attributes of Phantom 4.
  • Time of flight of Phantom 4.
  • Obstacle dodging of Phantom 4.
  • Flight modes of Phantom 4.
  • Other components.
  • Pricing.

The Magic Of Phantom 4

phantom-4

Technology never ceases to amaze you and so does this magnificent Phantom 4; another truly breathtaking drone from DJI’s much coveted Phantom series. DJI have just taken the bar to a whole new level with this prolific Phantom 4 drone that endorses precision and accuracy while promising dramatically enhanced autonomous characteristics, putting it in a league of its own.The completely automated flight control capabilities have rightly earned this technological marvel the distinction of being the first “real” drone for both rookies as well as pros; guaranteeing an astounding drone experience never envisioned before.

If you are well on your way to wondering what’s the big deal with this Phantom 4 as compared to the legendary Phantom 3, then you better pull up the strings of your imagination and let us do the talking! Phantom 3, no doubt, has been a phenom! A sensational drone that made everyone of us fall in love with it. We spent hours and hours flying it and never got tired of it.

But with the introduction of Phantom 4, we’ve got myriad reasons that will make any dronie jump off their couches and yearn to have his/her hands on this stupendous innovation. The drone aficionados and amateur pilots! Get yourselves ready for our review of this fabulous DJI Phantom 4 and we promise you that once you end up reading it, you will be itching to get hold of this top notch product by DJI.

Design & Speed

If you are a novice drone, you might not be able to make any distinction among Phantom 4 predecessors. Even DJI’s recent release will look no different as far as the design is concerned. Has there really been any transformation in design? Well there certainly has been! DJI has brought in the glossy plastic structure to replace the matte finish which shimmers in the sunlight on a bright sunny day. Moreover, there has been a slight reduction in weight which allows the drone to reach much greater altitudes at much higher velocities. But this is something we’ll discuss much more in detail later.

The predecessors of Phantom 4 had multi-colored bands extending down to the arms. The new design of Phantom 4, however, gets rid of these colored bands while portraying the motors at the ends and presenting a much more simplistic design. Belligerance may be the right word to express this amazing transformation in design but it is catching the eye of a number of drone-freaks. The relatively minimalistic design propitiously complements improved speeds and enhanced attributes of the classic Phantom 4.

In a successful attempt to further enhance the drone speeds, the pivotal frameworking facilitating the rotation of the camera along a single axis, is supported on both sides. This has let the engineers forsake the various onerous mechanisms on the outside, that would otherwise, significantly slow down the drone. Simultaneously, the Phantom 4’s legs have been extended a touch while some mass has been added to them to ensure smooth landing of the drone even in unfavorable and harsh weather conditions.

With a much advanced battery, DJI have claimed a flight time of about 28 minutes but the maximum amount of time that we were able to hold it in air was 25.5 minutes. Since the original packaging comes with a single battery, so we highly recommend getting your hands on another pair of batteries to ensure that you do not have to endure a regretfully short flight.

Prolonged Time of Flight:

A streamlined frame, enhanced propulsion system and an advanced battery! These massive upgrades allow the magnificent Phantom 4 to achieve incredible flight times of 28 minutes which is a 25% improvement from the already superb Phantom 3.Toggle to the hover mode, and you will find out that there has been a significant improvement in it. According to DJI, the Phantom 4 is five times more stable than the legendary Phantom 3 and we certainly agree with them on this count. The range of cameras assisting the Phantom 4’s virtual positioning mechanisms and the augmented IMU enable the drone to hold within an inch or two in the hover mode.

In addition to add more beauty, vigor and aesthetic appeal to the marvelous Phantom 4, these amazing features play a great role in enhancing its speed. Each flight mode (will be discussed later in the Flight section) has three optimal speeds:

  • The drone can reach a maximum of 22 miles per hour when object avoidance is switched on
  • In normal flight mode, the drone can attain a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour
  • 45 miles per hour is the speed that can be achieved by Phantom 4 in sport mode

The pros are certainly going to have a lot of fun while trying the sport mode in Phantom 4. DJI believes that it produces a similar experience as the Inspire 1 and we cannot disagree with this claim one bit. We were so amazed by the sharpness and agility of the Phantom 4 in sport mode to the extent that we kept on getting our batteries recharged to experience the awe-inspiring power of this beast.

As far as advanced camera operators are concerned, with Phantom 4, it is possible to avoid the use of commercial grade equipment and paraphernalia and achieve high speeds. Having issues capturing car chases and stunt scenes is a thing of the past now!In our next section of DJI Phantom 4 review, we are going to discuss another cool and fantastic feature of this great innovation by the leading drone creators – obstacle avoidance.

Obstacle Avoidance

Unleashing the future for the millions of dronies out there, DJI has come up with this absolutely incredible new feature. Too busy staring at the aerial views and forgot to turn your drone away from an obstacle? You need not to worry at all with the Phantom 4’s obstacle avoiding technology. By virtue of this fantastic feature, the drone itself dodges an obstacle hampering its flight as it whizzes through the sky at lightning speeds. Inspired by Matrice 100, DJI have integrated this feature into Phantom 4 as a riposte to the critics who discouraged the rookies asserting that you should avoid flying drones if you are not good at it.

Phantom 4 constructs a map of the objects and the constantly changing environment along its path using its four optical cameras to take a huge step towards pilotless flying. This novel technology is called as the Obstacle Sensing System, which can make the drone halt, hover or even change its path based on a volumetric map built during the course of its flight.

obstacle sensing system

Obstacle Sensing System

 

So whether you want to smash it into a building or hit your dog with! You won’t be able to do so because Phantom 4 knows how to avoid obstacles! However, as with every evolving technology, the Obstacle Sensing System does come with a few limitations. The optical cameras are forward facing, so if you reverse the drone and get a branch in its way during the backward motion, the drone will smash right into it.

Flight Modes

The sport mode has already been discussed above, albeit just as an overview, but one thing that should be remembered is that obstacle avoidance is triggered off when the drone is put in the sport mode.Similar to the flight modes which were so greatly loved by the pilots of Phantom 3, Phantom 4 comes with more accurate and intelligent flight modes. We believe that their accuracy has been enhanced a great deal in Phantom 4, however, DJI have nothing to say about this assertion of ours. You can get to know more in detail about the intelligent flight modes, by visiting the web page here.

In addition to the fully automated flight modes facilitating an amazing flying experience, Phantom 4 sports an equally magnificent sport mode.An exquisite featuring spanning all modes of flight, TapFly lets the pilot tap anywhere on his/her handheld device’s screen and make the drone whiz to that location with impressive quickness and agility. The live feed from the FPV camera attached to the pivotal support beneath the drone, can be viewed by the pilot all the time and Phantom 4 is extremely sensitive to your tap on your mobile device’s screen.

 

When using the TapFly feature, the pilot is unable to make sharp turns return home without taking full control of the drone or using the “return home” button.Another phenomenal flight feature boasted by Phantom 4 is AutoTrack. Similar to the Obstacle Sensing System, the drone avoids obstacles while locking onto a certain object and keeping its track. You just have to tap on an object, which actually is a person, and the drone continues focusing on that person.

Proximity to the target ensures better performance of the AutoTrack feature. If you happen to guide your drone too far away from the target, the drone will find it difficult to keep track of the desired object. However, there is no more need of the target holding an iPhone to be focussed by the Phantom 4’s AutoTrack feature as the drone makes use of its cameras and sensors only to keep track of the target.

The autonomous aerial camera Hexo+ might have been a thing of the future!But with Phantom 4 now among us, this thing of the future has become an object of the past. If you intend to purchase Phantom 4 specifically for utilizing the TapFly and AutoTrack features, keep in mind that these awesome features have certain limitations.

Camera, Gimbal and Controller

DJI did not exert a lot of effort in upgrading the camera as it already was a tremendous piece of technology. Phantom 4 does offer an improved lens that promises to take sharper photographs at the edges, however, we found out that there was not much of a difference between the previous versions and this one.

dji-phantom-4 camera

For the first time since its inception, the camera is able to capture footages at a resolution of 1080p with a frame rate of 1200 fps; thus allowing the professional camera operators to capture some really slick, clean and amazing slow-motion shots. The superbly balanced gimbal provides the much needed poise that help in keeping your shots still while avoiding any jerking and is able to portray sufficient resilience in gusty conditions and rough weather at higher speeds. With increased speeds offered by this amazing drone, a much more stabler gimbal was a necessity which has been truly realized by DJI.

As opposed to the first mind-numbingly complex controller introduced by DJI several years ago with the first of the Phantoms in the series, the newly released Phantom 4 comes with a controller which is simple and immensely user-friendly. So, even if you are a beginner, don’t be scared to get your hands on this sleek controller.

 

Phatom 4 Pricing

Starting from March, 2016, Phantom 4 priced at $1,399. If you are waiting and expecting for the price to come down, then you might well be disappointed as this is not happening in the near foreseeable future. The price for the Phantom 3 series did plummet, not only after a while since its release. Initially, Phantom 3 was priced at $799 in March, 2015. You can view a graph of the DJI’s Phantom 3 Standard from late 2015 to early 2016. You will be astounded to know that the prices of Phantom 3 Professional did not even come down officially till February, 2015, i.e., almost eleven months since it was released.

Unlike with Phantom 3, you get a superb carrying case with the Phantom 4 in its original package which is an upgrade from its predecessor. A decent range of accessories are also on offer and you even get to purchase a DJI Care Program, to provide insurance against any kind of damage to your drone that you may come across (if you do reverse your drone and actually hit a wall).

Here, at Top Drones, we are offering Phantom 4 at different prices!

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