DJI Phantom 4 Pro review

DJI’s phantom is usually referred to as “the iPhone of drones” — and that’s a good description. It is sensible. It’s one of the crucial well-liked drones on the planet, it’s full of excessive-finish options and performance, and the newest fashions are all the time on the prime of their class. On prime of that, DJI additionally releases new fashions at a gentle fee, packing even higher options into an almost similar type issue.

Options & Specs

As an evolution of the unique Phantom 4, the Professional boasts various small however vital enhancements. Most of the unique Phantom four’s design attributes, digital elements, and options have been ported over to the professional mannequin, whereas others have been upgraded, and some new options have been added.

The primary and most blatant addition is the Professional’s new 5-path impediment avoidance system. Whereas the P4 solely featured ahead dealing with sense and keep away from, the brand new and improved model has sensors on its entrance again, left, proper, and underside. These sensors actively scan the setting across the drone and permit it to autonomously keep away from issues like timber, buildings, and anything you may encounter throughout flight.

The Professional seems to be almost equivalent to the unique Phantom four.

The opposite standout enchancment is the Professional’s digital camera. The Professional makes use of all-new hardware with a 1-inch picture sensor — which is 4 occasions the dimensions as what’s used within the unique Phantom four. On prime of that, the digital camera can shoot 4K video at as much as 60 frames per second, and nonetheless photographs at as much as 20 megapixels. DJI additionally tossed in aperture management and a mechanical shutter. Regardless of the way you take a look at it, the P4’s new digital camera is greater, higher, and extra customizable than ever.

DJI has additionally added an much more deluxe, elective model, referred to as the Phantom four Professional Plus. It’s the very same drone, however with a controller that has a constructed-in touchscreen show. It’ll value you an additional 300 bucks, however you gained’t have to attach your telephone to the controller with a cable, fear about your smartphone’s battery life, or have your flights rudely interrupted by incoming textual content messages and calls.

Construct High quality & Design

The P4 Professional is almost similar to the unique P4 when it comes to each design and construct high quality. It retains the identical hull form as its predecessor, save for a couple of minor variations the place the brand new sensors are positioned. As such, it’s each bit as robust and durable because the P4, which stays among the many most engaging and drones obtainable.

It’s spectacular that DJI has managed to outfit the drone with so many new options, whereas nonetheless sustaining an similar type issue. The extra sensors have been tucked into the drone’s legs, whereas infrared and optical sensors are fitted into the drone’s left and proper sides. Even the digital camera, which is drastically higher than the one discovered on the unique P4, is only a bit bigger than it was earlier than. Until you accustomed to DJI’s drones, the P4 and P4 Professional are nearly as good as similar, regardless of Phantom’s quite a few enhancement.

The one draw back to the P4 Professional is that, sadly, the Phantom line nonetheless isn’t almost as moveable as DJI’s Mavic Professional. The arms and props aren’t designed to fold down, and the touchdown gear can neither retract, nor be collapsed. It’s not designed with portability in thoughts — although it’s nonetheless sufficiently small to be stuffed inside a backpack if the necessity arises.

Battery life and recharge time

Underneath optimum circumstances, DJI says the Phantom four Professional can keep airborne for as much as half-hour — however in fact, actual-world circumstances aren’t all the time optimum.

To place these claims to the check, we ran the P4 Professional by means of our standard collection of endurance exams. First up was a hover check, the place we let the drone hover in place till the battery life turned “critically low,” and the drone mechanically landed. Our hover check lasted for 28 minutes and eight seconds — which isn’t very far off from DJI’s claimed 30-minute flight time.

Subsequent, to get a way of how lengthy P4 Professional will final beneath extra demanding circumstances, we recorded the flight occasions from each different flight check we carried out and averaged every thing out. Over the course of 10 totally different flights that spanned from one hundred pc battery cost to the emergency low-battery automated touchdown, the Phantom four Professional averaged a flight time of 26 minutes and 50 seconds.

When you shouldn’t anticipate a full half-hour of airtime, the endurance is superb – one of the best we’ve seen thus far. A DJI Mavic Professional lasted 23 minutes and 19 seconds in our hover check, and the Yuneec Typhoon H lasted 23 minutes, 20 seconds. A smaller, extra reasonably priced, easier drone will final far lower than any of those. The Hover Camera Passport, as an example, lasted lower than 10 minutes.

As for battery recharge occasions, we discovered that a almost-empty battery (round 10 % remaining) takes about 1.5 hours to juice as much as one hundred pc. That stated, more often than not you’ll be compelled to land earlier than you attain critically low battery ranges, so most of our recharges took about an hour and quarter-hour or much less. That’s not dangerous for a cell that gives almost 27 minutes of airtime. The Yuneec Hurricane H wanted over two hours to refill its tank.

Flight Efficiency

The flight efficiency of the Phantom four hasn’t modified on this new model. The P4 Professional boasts almost equivalent flight specs to the unique P4, with regards to issues like velocity and agility. Fortunately, this isn’t a lot of a letdown, because the P4 continues to be among the many most nimble quad-blade drones bought.

DJI Phantom four Professional In contrast To

Velocity and agility are principally unchanged within the P4 Professional. Each the P4 and P4 Professional prime out at forty five miles per hour (seventy two kph) — although you possibly can simply attain larger speeds with a great tailwind behind you. It’s not the quickest drone available on the market (some can go fifty five and even 60 mph), however it’s fast sufficient for many makes use of.

Nevertheless, in contrast to its predecessor, the P4 can fly as much as 31 mph with full multi-directional impediment avoidance. That’s necessary. Excessive-velocity maneuvers are whenever you want impediment avoidance probably the most. This new mannequin can fly at respectable speeds whereas additionally dodging and weaving by itself.

Autonomy

A few of the largest enhancements within the P4 Professional are associated to DJI’s new autopilot options. Along with porting over a lot of the “commonplace” autonomous flight modes from the unique P4, DJI additionally borrowed a number of of the Professional’s options from the recently-released Mavic, and even added a number of extras that we haven’t seen earlier than.

You’ll be able to set the P4 Professional to orbit some extent in area with Level of Curiosity Mode, repeat flights alongside a preset path with Waypoints, comply with your actions by way of Comply with Me mode, and even modify the best way it responds to joystick management with Course Lock and Residence Lock. These modes are included within the Phantom four, however the Professional model has a pair new tips up its sleeve: Terrain Comply with, Tripod Mode, and a variety of latest Lively Monitor talents.

It’s not crash-proof, nevertheless it’s shut.

In Terrain Comply with (which was beforehand solely obtainable within the Mavic Professional), the drone makes use of its Downward Imaginative and prescient System to take care of a sure distance from the bottom, which is incredible for filming over terrain that varies in elevation.

For static photographs, the Professional’s new Tripod mode permits you select some extent in area, then maintain the drone locked in that place when you shoot – kind of like a flying tripod. On this mode, joystick controls are dampened in order that panning/yawing actions are much less drastic, and the drone makes use of a mixture of GPS and sensors to carry its place with out drifting.

DJI has additionally added a number of updates to its Lively Monitor system. Portrait mode, for instance, permits you to monitor a topic whereas the drone flies horizontally and matches tempo. Highlight, however, lets you lock onto a topic, however permits you to fly the drone in any course round it. There’s even a 360 mode that may actively orbit any topic you select, no matter the place that topic may transfer.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro+

Invoice Roberson/Digital Developments

And naturally, there’s the brand new omnidirectional sense-and-keep away from system. Utilizing its new sensors, the P4 Professional regularly scans the surroundings round it, and both alerts you if you fly too near an impediment, or avoids it autonomously. The most effective half is that this perform might be turned on or off, so it’s there once you want it, however doesn’t get in the best way once you need to stroll on the wild aspect and fly near one thing.

Our favourite function, nevertheless, is DJI’s new dynamic return to house perform. In previous generations of the Phantom, whenever you hit the “return to house’” button, the drone would fly to a predetermined peak, then make a beeline straight again to the place it took off from. God forbid there have been any obstacles in the best way — if there have been, the drone would smack into them like a blind hen.

Whenever you use the return to residence button on the brand new P4 Professional, the drone will principally retrace its steps and try and “reverse” alongside the identical path it used to get the place it’s — dynamically avoiding any obstacles which may seem alongside the best way, in fact. It’s not crash-proof, however it’s shut.

Vary

Vary can also be fairly a bit higher than the unique P4. Identical to the Mavic Professional, the P4 Professional is provided with DJI’s new OcuSync video transmission know-how, which stretches the drone’s most vary and supplies a reside HD video feed from the digital camera from as much as four.three miles away. That, nevertheless, is simply attainable in probably the most optimum circumstances.

That is arguably one of the simplest ways to spend $1,500.

We took it out to the one mile mark on a handful of various events with out a lot as a jitter within the video feed — however transmission distance varies extensively relying on the setting you’re flying in. If there’s plenty of interference, the feed can minimize out at or earlier than the half-mile mark. All of it is determined by the place you’re flying, however even with the occasional feed cutout, the Phantom four Professional nonetheless boasts a few of the greatest vary we’ve ever seen in a drone.

Most rivals we’ve tried can barely make it three quarters of a mile with their inventory configurations, and lots of require aftermarket vary extenders to succeed in the ranges that the P4 Professional can.

Digital camera and Equipment

If there’s any single cause to purchase the P4 Professional as an alternative of the usual P4, it’s the digital camera. DJI put some critical work into the Professional’s picture seize system, and the outcome is among the greatest cameras we’ve ever seen on a quad.

The most important enchancment is the dimensions of the digital camera’s sensor. The Professional boasts a 1-inch CMOS sensor — which is roughly 4 occasions the dimensions of the extra typical half.three-inch class utilized by most drones (together with the Phantom three collection and the Phantom four), flagship smartphones, and level-and-shoot cameras. This additional floor space permits it to seize much more element, and keep picture/video high quality at larger ISOs.

Along with a bigger sensor, DJI additionally outfitted the Professional with a mechanical shutter and aperture management. In different phrases, you’re not caught capturing in f/2.eight on a regular basis (you possibly can go all the best way to f/eleven), and not want to fret concerning the dreaded “rolling shutter impact’ screwing up your photographs.

In relation to capturing video, the P4 Professional presents a litany of choices. You’ll be able to shoot in cinematic 4K DCI at 24, 25, or 30 frames per second, or 4K UHD at 24, 25, 30, or 60 frames per second. If that’s an excessive amount of on your eyeballs (or SD card) to deal with, it’s also possible to scale right down to 2.7K, 1080p, and 720p — the latter of which may be captured at one hundred twenty frames per second and used to create sluggish-mo footage.

In the event you spring for the Phantom four Professional Plus (an additional $300), DJI will throw in a controller that comes with its personal constructed-in touchscreen show. It’s a bit on the spendy aspect for positive, however that additional scratch means you gained’t have to attach your telephone to the controller with a cable, which is one thing that’s required for almost each different drone that DJI makes.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro+

Invoice Roberson/Digital Developments

We’re unsure if it’s value $300, nevertheless it’s fairly good to fly with out worrying about your smartphone’s battery life, or having your flights rudely interrupted by incoming textual content messages or calls.

Nevertheless, we expect DJI ought to’ve included this feature years in the past, or no less than thrown this into the $1500 bundle. Yuneec gives a touchscreen Hurricane H controller for no additional cost, and that makes paying additional for it from DJI a bitter capsule to swallow.

Our Take

Undoubtedly, DJI’s Phantom four Professional is likely one of the greatest drones in existence at this time — if not the perfect. It’s the one drone with omnidirectional impediment avoidance, and the digital camera outdoes each different drone on this class. Ultimately it’ll be overshadowed, nevertheless it’s one of the best excessive-finish shopper drone we’ve examined thus far.

Are there higher choices out there?

On this worth vary, no. Should you’re out there for a drone and $1,500 is inside your price range, there’s no higher strategy to spend your cash.

The DT Accent Pack

The closest competitor to the P4 Professional might be DJI’s Mavic Professional. It’s smaller, much more moveable, and boasts most of the similar flight modes and options — besides, in fact, omnidirectional impediment avoidance, and a digital camera with a one-inch picture sensor. It’s additionally $500 cheaper, so in case you’re on the lookout for one thing a bit extra reasonably priced however nonetheless extremely succesful, you’d be clever to go for the Mavic.

In case you don’t care a lot about portability, Yuneec’s Hurricane H can also be a worthy contender, and is extra reasonably priced at $1,300. It boasts most of the similar options, and has a 4K digital camera that swivels in 360 levels. This, together with twin-pilot capabilities, make it an honest contender. Nevertheless, the Hurricane H’s digital camera isn’t as superior, the battery doesn’t final fairly as lengthy, and it wants extra time to cost.

How lengthy will it final?

In all probability a number of years or extra. DJI continually rolls out updates to most of its merchandise, and we’ve no cause to assume the P4 Professional can be any totally different. Firmware updates come by means of regularly, and DJI already has a set of upgrades, attachments, and equipment within the works. So, assuming you don’t fly it right into a lake, the P4 Professional ought to final you for fairly a while.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. That is arguably top-of-the-line methods to spend $1,500.

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