This is a bit late but I finally got my hands on the new DJI Phantom 4 which means I finally got to do a DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter review. It’s especially late considering that we already answered DJI Phantom 4- top 100 questions and have started creating a list of accessories for the Phantom 4. But I wanted to wait with my DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter review until got to have a hands-on experience. Mainly because I think that’s the way to do best review for you.
Okay, so the DJI Phantom 4 is not so new anymore as it was released months ago. But, it’s still new to me. After all, it wasn’t until very recent that I got to fly with it for the first time. So that was also the perfect opportunity to play with it for a while and to review the DJI Phantom 4.
So let’s get on with this DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter review.
DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter review – What’s good about the Phantom 4
The Phantom 4 looks great!
It has a nice glossy finish and they definitely put time into the design of it. I think it looks nicer than any of the previous Phantoms and it also looks sturdy. Something the people who were experiencing stress cracks with previous models will appreciate.
The DJI Phantom 4 is super easy to fly.
If you want it to the DJI Phantom 4 can take off by itself and, return to home by itself and land again by itself as well. And even in between, you don’t have to know how to fly. Just tapping anywhere on the screen when using TapFly will send it wherever you want it to go.
So you can pretty much fly the DJI Phantom 4 right out of the box without knowing anything about flying a quadcopter.
DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter review – What’s not so good about the Phantom 4
Next, the not so good.
The Phantom 4 comes with obstacle avoidance. But that Obstacle Avoidance only works when the DJI Phantom 4 is flying forward. That makes it more or less useless most of the time.
Aside from that, the DJI Phantom 4 is expensive. And not just the DJI Phantom 4 itself, but also the accessories.
Anything DJI comes with its own price tag that is higher than you would probably like.
Only one model of the Phantom 4
So let’s take a closer look at the Phantom 4.
When DJ I brought the Phantom 3 to the market they chose to release several models with different specifications.
This ended up causing quite a bit of confusion as people just didn’t know which one to choose. With the release of the DJI Phantom 4 they have avoided this problem. There is only one model so nobody has to choose.
DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter review – What has changed
But what has changed since the Phantom 3?
Aside from the new design, the Phantom 4 comes with some new features as well.
TapFly, Obstacle Avoidance, and ActiveTrack are all new modes that are only found on the DJI Phantom 4.
It also has a Sport mode for higher speed and the battery has also been upgraded. The upgraded batter allows the Phantom 4 to fly a bit longer and it also supports the new electronics (like dual IMU and Obstacle Avoidance) inside.
DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter review – New Phantom 4 features
So what are these new features?
TapFly does exactly what the name implies, you can tap somewhere on the screen of your device and the Phantom 4 will fly there all by itself. Flying a quadcopter couldn’t be easier than this.
ActiveTrack, the same thing. It also does what the name implies. You draw a little square around a person or an object on your screen, tell the Phantom 4 to follow that, and of it goes. This makes it super easy to film a moving object.
Then, Obstacle Avoidance.
The Phantom 4 has sensors built into the front of the quadcopter that allows it to detect objects up until fifteen meters away.
This prevents the DJI Phantom 4 from flying head-on into those objects. As great as that is, unfortunately, this feature is only implemented in the front. So when you fly the Phantom 4 backward or sideways the object avoidance is completely useless.
Still, it’s a nice feature to have for beginners, especially as you can enable it to work with Return-To-Home(RTH). So if you happened to forget to set a proper RTH height, then this feature might just save the quadcopter.
Finally, the motors are taller than they were with the Phantom 3 to prevent propellers from showing up in your footage and it does seem to help a bit. More than I expected it would.
Sport mode is the mode that allows The Phantom 4 to get to its top speed of 45mph (72 km/h).
In this mode, obstacle avoidance is disabled and, even though the propellers have been raised by the taller engines, propellers will show up in your footage. But, I thought it was good fun to fly this fast with a non-race drone.
How it all works
So how do all these new features actually work when you use the Phantom 4?
TapFly is very straightforward and works exactly how you would expect it to. You choose a point on your screen, tap on it and the quadcopter flies there. It also makes sure it doesn’t crash into the ground or flies out of range. TapFly really makes flying very easy for those with little experience. But, I found it to be very boring. It was like watching somebody else fly rather than flying myself. I guess I like a more hands-on experience.
ActiveTrack actually worked better than I expected it to. The DJI Phantom 4 had no trouble at all following most objects. The only time it got lost was when I made it track a low contrast subject that had similar color tones as the background. So if you want to film a friend on a bicycle riding on dirt roads, make that friend wear some bright colors rather than colors that match the dusty environment and you’ll be fine.
To be honest, with the Phantom 4’s price tag, I probably wouldn’t have pushed it to the limits either if it was my own quad. I only tried, slowly, flying into something while facing forward which the Phantom refused to do. So although the result was as expected Obstacle Avoidance does work in the way it was designed to.
Sport mode. This also impressed me more than I expected it to. The quad flies pretty fast and is responsive as well. No, it’s nowhere near as fast (nor responsive) as an fpv racer but then, the DJI Phantom 4 is no an fpv racer. So being able to fly it faster is a nice feature to have.
DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter review – Conclusion
In conclusion, when taking everything into account the Phantom 4 is indeed an upgrade over the Phantom 3.
Is it worth the extra money compared to the DJI Phantom 3? I have no idea. I’d have to spend more time with both quads to be able to tell you that. But. as is, the Phantom 4 is definitely one of the best (if not the best) consumer quadcopter on the market. And if I could afford to, I would go out today and buy one today.
If the Phantom 4 is not what you’re looking for because you want a quadcopter that flies almost completely autonomous, relative to you, then have a look at the AirDog Action Drone here. Or if you want more control, look at my Yuneec Typhoon H review instead.
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