Unboxing the package
The box has a minimal design, outlining the appearance of GPS and other specs and functions of the drone. When you open the box, you will find the model packed in a case that is light and made of sturdy styrofoam. Besides that, it has an excellent grip for comfortable and faster carrying when walking around.
Once you open the box, the DJI Phantom 4 is right there in mere sight, along with a converter cable for micro-USB from USB, a charger, user manuals, propellers and other starter materials. There is a little area left in the box that holds two additional batteries and filters.
The box is not built to last, but still is a fine presentation for what it holds.
Improvements in Design
A beautiful and sturdy new design
Just like the Phantom 3, the DJI’s has replaced the old plastic body of Phantom 3 with an improved elegant magnesium alloy body, with a sleek, glossy white finish. The plastic body white in color looks sexier right on the outside, and its even streamlined for exceptional aerodynamics. Continuing, even the frame of the drone is slimmer than older models, and DJI’s trademark propeller arm lines have disappeared. I think to myself , ‘What a beautiful piece of equipment…”, as the sun reflects lightly off its shiny, metallic bottom.
Upgraded gimbal and camera stabilization
The gimbal can be tilted in all four directions and comes equipped with a shock mount within the chassis. According to DJI, the camera itself has also been made more secure as well. This ensures the eradication of the dreaded jello effect many pilots face when dealing with drone-created media. All the footage I have seen shows stable footage that would be hard to duplicate with other models.
The battery is better
Finally, the battery is now smaller, more efficient, and easier to swap out as opposed to the Phantom 3. According to DJI, it can last up to 28 minutes – but we must bare in mind that the number was produced flying in perfect conditions. Most reviewers claim to get around 25 minute flights in good weather.
The upgraded battery will also, when possible, land your model if the battery reaches 10%. This is a safety feature that can be a headache or a lifesaver depending on your level of skill.
The DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter competes with other amazing models in the market because of its features – these include:
A great camera
The drone is equipped with a 720p high definition camera. This appears to be the amazing part of the whole drone. The videos and photos taken by the camera are streamed live right to your Android devices, like tablets or smart phones. Features like this make this model perfect for professional media production, land surveying, or even hobbyist fun.The power of the camera pixel ensures that the images are of high quality for you to enjoy and share the saved images later.
Some can complain of a slight blur on the very edges of the camera – watch the video above and decide for yourself.
DJI Intelligent Flight Modes
The drone has great flight modes:
Tap Mode: You can describe tap to fly mode, as, well… tapping your screen and your drone will literally fly there. You can do this numerous times, and the Phantom 4 will happily auto-pilot itself to the pilot’s chosen point. This mode is perfect for beginners because of its simplicity and safety. I found it to be a great way to just get comfortable with the thing.
Sports Mode: In case you’re a professional, you can use the sports mode to record action videos and many other expert activities. In this mode, the Phantom 4 can reach speeds of 45 miles per hour (one of the highest speeds I’ve come across!). This is fun for an intermediate/advanced pilot, but we recommend that newbies be very careful with this mode. It goes faster in all directions, and we mean fast!
With that being said, it is still a great addition, and even kinda makes me feel like a professional drone racer.
Active Track Mode: This is a new mode released by DJI for this model specifically. It is similar to the already impressive follow me mode, but instead of the model only being able to follow its pilot, it can follow anything that is of appropriate size and distance away. This is very easy to do, as all it takes is making a green square on your phone’s screen in order to command the drone to follow the subject. And yes, it has follow-me mode equipped as well.
Point of Interest Mode: This is an automated mode that makes it possible for the pilot to orbit a certain object without having to fuss with the controls himself. You can adjust features like speed, radius, tilt, and altitude when in this mode.
Obstacle avoidance software
The drone is equipped with sensors that recognize obstacles in the drone’s path and an automatic function that navigates the quadcopter away from them. The sensors usually work when the quadcopter is on tap-to-fly mode. Thanks to My First Drone, the video above shows a test run of just how the obstacle avoidance software works.The GPS system enables the quadcopter to identify and keep track and follow a particular object, or dodge out of the way of one.
But – don’t think it can save you every time. During flights of high speed or instances of (pretty bad) pilot error, you can still smash this device into a tree. If you manage to head toward something outside of the Phantom 4’s frontal visual range, you’ll crash into it. Remember, it can only sense things from the front, so ramming into a ceiling or smashing sideways into a tree still can happen.
Great flight time and control range
The Phantom 4 battery has been significantly improved. DJI states that the quadcopter can fly for 28 minutes on one charge, which is quite a feat compared to their competition. Realistically, you can expect around 20-25 in decent weather according to reviews. This also heavily depends on your flying style too. Regardless, 20 minutes is still an adequate flying time in my opinion.
If you like longer flights, we recommend stocking and charging extra batteries. With 3, you can stay busy in the sky for an hour.
The Phantom 4 offers a control range of approximately of 5km or 3.1 miles, meaning you can monitor and receive live streaming of high-quality feeds from a far distance without any trouble. That is an impressive distance, and one of the longest I’ve come across when writing reviews.
Video and Image quality
The DJI’s states that they have made improvements on the camera lens to improve the sharpness to the edge/side of the frame, but to me, it seems there is no change made. A tiny complaint might be some apparent distortion around the frame edges, but there is no much wrong to talk about the camera. It is capable of very impressive media, so long you remember these tips when shooting:
Is the upgrade questionable? To me and others, yes – but its a hell of a camera regardless of an upgrade or not. DJI has also equipped it with higher settings that allow for slow-motion with the same high-definition settings.
The only possible disadvantage is that you cannot remove the camera from the Phantom 4, which makes upgrading or replacing it is impossible.
The Phantom 4 has an inbuilt smartphone clip that maintains any size of Android device or computer safe on the controller. It is marked with a pause button for emergency precaution that stops the function of the quadcopter instantly, and allows it to return home or simply hover.
You can use DJI Phantom 4 Go app to control your model. It is very simple to connect your drone to the aplication. Every flight you do is logged, meaning you can go back and watch your flight path that is overlaid on world’s satellite map. This is good for a couple reasons:
- If you plan on acquiring drone insurance, then recording your flight logs are essential. This will ensure that you receive full coverage in case of malfunction or unexpected fly off, as all drone insurers will ask for a copy of your flight log during the incident.
- You can replay the saved log in slow motion or at an accelerated rate. The app will also tell you your altitude, flight mode, battery life, and distance from home at any place any time.
Continuing, you can use the joysticks on the remote controller to move and control your quadcopter in the air. The left stick controls rotation and elevation, as for the right joystick controls the pitch and the acceleration of the Quadcopter. From my experience, the Phantom 4 is amazingly fast, agile and very responsive. The integrated dial controls the gimbal, allowing you to view the entire wide pan of the frame.
Long and tedious set-up if you’re a beginner
Calibrating your new machine is essential in order to maintain safe and pilot-controlled flights (you don’t want a fly away, trust me!). Some reviewers claim introductory set-up is more time consuming and frustrating than it should be. Thanks to Marionville Multirotors, we have added a helpful video below to help you with initial setup:
I consider this an intermediate/advanced model
We also might not recommend this drone to beginners. The set-up can take around 4 hours if you aren’t prepared or jst that knowledgeable. If this is your first drone, we recommend purchasing something that is more ready-to-fly right from the box to get the hang of the aerial technology.
The Bottom Line
The DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter is, hand-down, one of the most advanced models DJI has produced. It is an efficient, well-reviewed product that stands by its features and company. Although DJI has been accused of bad customer service and unexplained malfunctions, I think this model really is the best thing they’ve released so far.
With all the upgrades – like obstacle avoidance and the plethora of flight modes – this model is the best bang for your current buck.
The best price I could find is on Amazon.com, I left a link for all those interested below.