DJI Phantom 3 Quadcopter Review

Last update: June 17, 2015 by daniele

Editor rating

5.0/5

User's rating

713 reviews

PROS

Relatively cheap

4k

CONS

Replaced by a newer model

VERDICT

Even with the Phantom 4 released the Phantom 3 Professional is still a great quadcopter, If you don't need the new features of the Phantom 4 consider this one instead and save some money to buy accessories


DJI Phantom 3DJI is one of the leading developers and manufacturers in the quadcopter industry. In the United States, it currently has over 50% of the market which says a lot already. All other manufacturers combined sell less than DJI does by itself. Its

DJI’s Phantom series has been a huge success and is one of the best-selling drones series that is available for sale.

And even now that the Phantom 4 is available the DJI Phantom 3 is still better than a lot of the competitors on the market.

If you came here looking for the new DJI Phantom 4 you’ll find our review of the Phantom 4 here.

The DJI Phantom series

Let’s start with a quick review of the Phantom models and release dates:

  • Phantom: the first quadcopter of the series, aka Phantom 1, was released on January 7, 2013
  • Phantom 2 Vision: this updated version of the Phantom 1 with integrated camera was released on October 28, 2013
  • Phantom 2: the successor of Phantom 1 was released on December 16, 2013
  • Phantom FC40: somehow an intermediate version between Phantom 1 and 2, released on January 20, 2014
  • Phantom 2 Vision+: the latest and greatest member of the series, released on April 7, 2014
  • Phantom 3: serious improvements over the Phantom 2 series, released on April 7, 2015
  • Phantom 4: DJI’s latest version. Some technological advances over the Phantom 3, released on March 15, 2016 (see our review here)

After those releases, DJI has surely been busy creating the Inpire-1, announced on November 13, 2014 (but released to the market in January 2015 after few push backs).

Looking at those dates, it was about time for DJI to present a new model.

***DJI has a summer sale with discounts up to 30% in the DJI Store – Click here to go there ***

DJI Store Summer Sale

 

DJI New Product Launch

The Phantom 3 has been announced on April 8, 2015, during a well-planned product launch hosted concurrently in New York, London, and Munich.

QuadHangar followed the presentation and we can now share first-hand information about the new quad.

Check the presentation here:

The specs of Phantom 3

The Phantom 3 is a complete redesign product that will keep the back-packable go-anywhere format.

Here are the main specs announced:

  • Integrate Camera with 3-axis gimbal, fluid distortion-free 4K @30FPS video, 12MP raw pictures (unprecedented quality!)
  • New controller integrating camera controls. The controlled has a streamlined tablet/smartphone integration (like Inspire-1)
  • Integrated Lightbridge system with 720p live stream to the controlling device, up to 1 mile 
  • New more powerful motors with active braking – can accelerate/decelerate faster for improved control and reduced reaction time
  • Up to 23 flying minutes with the ‘smart’ 4 cell battery (4480 mAh and 15.2 V)
  • OpticalFlow stabilization system for indoor flights (same as Inspire-1)
  • Integrated YouTube live streaming to share the videos in real-time
  • New flying application:
    • Includes a ‘Director’ for real-time video editing.
      You can also add music to your videos without the need for a PC!
    • Live map to easily locate the quad (hint: in case of flyaways)
    • New flight logs section
  • Improved DJI SDK, enabling developers to create more mobile apps such as extra mapping and logging

The specifications are quite impressive and we’re really happy to see the Lightbridge included here. Pity that the battery life has not been  increased and it’s actually a few minutes less than Phantom 2.

If you have any question, check our article DJI Phantom 3 – Top 42 questions answered.

 

Phantom 3 – 4 different versions

Phantom 3 comes in four different versions Standard, 4K, Professional and Advanced.

phantom 2 4K camera
The Phantom 3 Standard is the entry level of the series. It comes with a 2.7K camera and doesn’t come with Lightbridge (better FPV video quality and more range) like the Professional and advanced. It should be enough for most people but is definitely the most basic version. The range is limited to about 1200m/ 3900ft (FCC compliant, 500m/1600ft CE Compliant). FPV is 720P @ 30fps and the Phantom 3 has the most basic remote controller out of the 4.
The Phantom 3 4K is the Phantom 3 Standard but with a 4K camera instead of a 2.7K camera and an upgraded RC. Out of all of DJI’s drones this is the cheapest model that is capable of shooting 4K video. The range is the same as the Phantom 3 Standard but FPV is not as good at 480P @ 30fps. It’s the entry level model for anybody that needs 4K video.
The Phantom 3 Advanced is a step up from the standard. It has more range (5KM/3.1M FCC complaint, 3.5KM/2.1M CE compliant) better quality video for FPV through LightBridge. It records 2.7K video, just like the Phantom 3 Standard.
The Phantom 3 Professional has everything the Advanced offers (including LightBridge) but takes it up another level again with it’s ability to record 4K video.
Aside from that, the Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional have both GPS and GLONASS while the Phantom 3 Standard and 4K only support GPS.
Those are the main differences. If you’re curious about other differences as well then DJI has got a full comparison of all 4 models. You can see that comparison by clicking this link.

DJI just unveiled the official listing prices (edit: prices have dropped after the release of the Phantom 4 and have been subject to change ever since. We’ll update the price in this article from time to time. The prices below were the prices as of 4 June 2016. For the current price just click the link)

Those are pretty sweet prices considering the drone will be equipped with 3-axis gimbal and integrated camera!

 

Reactions

We asked Jacob from Phantompilots.com an opinion about the new drone:

“The Phantom 3 is a big step for DJI. It bridges the gap of the Inspire 1 and the Phantom 2.
It has similarities to both, such as a 4k camera like the Inspire and a body similar to the Phantom line.

The Phantom 3 allows aerial photographers and videographers to get the image quality they need, but at a price they can afford.
With its 4k resolution, it opens the door for multirotor pilots to truly capture the essence of a landscape and display it in a way that accurately conveys the true beauty.

The Phantom 3 is also more accessible to the general public with its upgrades for ease of flight.
It includes an upgrade to monitor it’s relativity to the ground, keeping it stable indoors and allowing auto-pay and auto-takeoff.
The Phantom 3 app also includes upgrades, including my favorite, “Director”. This feature allows you to mark clips in flight then the app will auto-edits the clips together after the flight. Another feature now integrated into the app is the ability to live stream to YouTube, this feature is especially intriguing as it allows others to join you on your flight and with the live comments, the audience can interact with the pilot.
Overall, the Phantom 3 is a game changer and DJI has once again pushed the envelope on innovation.”

 

Ready to Order?

The new Phantom is now available for sale, you can buy your favorite model directly from Amazon.

Buy DJI Phantom 3 standard from Amazon

Buy DJI Phantom 3 4K from Amazon

Buy DJI Phantom 3 Professional from Amazon

Buy DJI Phantom 3 Advanced from Amazon

 

 Update: we recently run a survey across Phantom 3 owners. Based on that, we put together the most comprehensive Phantom 3 Accessories Guide.

 

That’s all for the moment, let us know if you became a DJI-pilot! And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so we can let you know when we release new content.

 

DJI Phantom 3 Quadcopter Review
4 (80%) 5 votes

One Response

  1. Great post!

    And even now, the Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional are still great drones.

    In fact, they are so good that when the Phantom 4 was just released we recommended owners of these 2 not to upgrade in our artice Forget about the Phantom 4.

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