There’s simply no denying that Chinese drone manufacturer DJI is the market leader.
Always a force to be reckoned with, DJI has one-upped itself once again with the recent release of 4 drones in 6 weeks. These new models have already skyrocketed to the top of the charts in terms of popularity.
Perhaps the most exciting of the bunch is the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. An upgrade on the relatively recently released Phantom 4, the Pro edition comes with even more bells and whistles and even better performing features.
The release of the Phantom 4 Pro is meant to reestablish the company’s Phantom series of drones as their flagship model. The goal is to put some room between it and their cheaper, more portable (yet still amazing) Mavic Pro.
When the Mavic Pro was released only a few months ago, drone experts and enthusiasts alike, including us, went straight to answering the question “should you upgrade from the DJI Phantom 4 to the DJI Mavic Pro?”
The short answer is, yes, the Phantom 4 Pro outshines the Mavic Pro in almost every category you can think of. But the short answer isn’t always the best answer.
Below we review the DJI Phantom 4 Pro in-depth to give you an up close and personal look at this exciting new quadcopter drone.
Phantom 4 Pro Specs
The most important new DJI Phantom 4 Pro specs to note include:
- Camera with 1-inch 20MP CMOS sensor
- 5-direction obstacle sensing
- H.264 4K video processing at 60fps (or H.265 4K video processing at 60fps) at 100Mbps bitrate
Other specs that might be of interest include:
- 1388 grams overall weight (including propellers and battery)
- 45mph max speed (in Sport Mode)
- 30 minutes max flight time
Phantom 4 Pro Notable Upgrades
Alright, you’ve already heard us praise the Phantom 4 Pro, so what actually sets it apart from the Phantom 4?
The biggest and most important changes are a better camera, improved obstacle avoidance, even more intelligent flight modes, and longer battery life.
Updates to the drone’s camera help conquer several common aerial footage problems. The increased dynamic range help it better sense differences between light and dark (such as a bright sky and dark terrain).
The camera’s new mechanical shutter creates steadier footage. It helps reduce shaky footage, especially when the drone is following fast-moving targets.
Though the camera updates are nice, they pale in comparison to the Phantom 4 Pro’s improved obstacle avoidance technology.
The obstacle avoidance systems on the Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro only worked while the drones were flying forward. The system used on the Phantom 4 Pro, however, works while the drone is moving in any direction.
Obstacle avoidance on previous DJI drones topped out at 22 mph. The new technology works seamlessly at speeds up to 31 mph.
The Phantom 4 Pro’s many intelligent flight modes benefit from the improved obstacle avoidance. The drone can now autonomously navigate through much more complex areas without danger of crashing.
As far as battery life goes, the Phantom 4 Pro features an improved 30 minutes of flight time versus the Phantom 4’s 25 minutes of flight time.
Though you can buy and use the drone without a controller (saving $300 in the process), the newly updated controller is worth a mention.
All previous DJI controllers required a smartphone or tablet to be used as a screen. The new Phantom 4 Pro controller has a built-in display.
It’s not a huge change, but the built-in screen is brighter than a smartphone screen and won’t drain your mobile device’s battery life while in use.
Phantom 4 Pro Complete Review
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is an absolute treat to fly. As intended by the company, it’s like flying the super fun Phantom 4, but even better.
The upgrades to the Phantom 4 Pro move it up into a class all of its own. Autonomous flight modes are improved and the camera is even better for aerial photography/videography.
The obstacle avoidance system works just as stated. You can fly this baby at 31 mph (top speed in standard modes) directly at an obstacle and it will stop in its tracks before a collision.
Though the flight modes make accomplishing actual tasks (like object tracking, surveying, taking photos, etc) that much easier, nothing compares to flying the Phantom 4 Pro in Sport Mode.
In Sport Mode, the max speed is upped to 45 mph and you’re given complete control over handling. Let me tell you that this is a high-performing drone that never gets boring to fly.
In our opinion, the top advantages of the DJI Phantom 4 Pro are:
- Intelligent automated flight modes that include “return to home.”
- Advanced obstacle avoidance that works not only while flying forward but flying backwards, sideways, up, and down as well.
- Full control in Sport Mode with a 45-mph max speed.
- Incredible 1-inch sensor camera that captures video footage in 60fps 4K.
On the other hand, even the best of the best come with a few cons. In our opinion, the disadvantages of the DJI Phantom 4 Pro are:
- Expensive at $1,499 without a controller or $1,799 with the controller.
- Must register with the FAA due to the drone’s size, speed, and performance.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is a top-notch drone for all applications, especially those involving aerial footage and autonomous flight.
The Phantom 4 Pro receives an A+, 10/10 rating.
It’s the top of its class and one of the best drones currently available to the public. Like all DJI drones, it’s extremely high performing and built to last for the long haul.
Another awesome, side benefit of the Phantom 4 Pro’s release is that older models, specifically the Phantom 3, will soon drop in price, making a still great drone available to a wider audience.
The bottom line when it comes to the DJI Phantom 4 Pro is that it replaces the Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro at the head of DJI’s long line of incredibly impressive offerings.