There are a lot of different quadcopter models on the market. They all excel at some things and could use some improvement in others. There was no drone that would have it all until the 15 March 2016, when the Phantom 4 hit the shelves.
This review will be quite long and exhaustive, so let’s resume it all here first, before I dive into details.
Simply put, the Phantom 4 excels in each and every area. It’s designed in a way that there’s still no other drone that would outperform the Phantom 4. This model can be easily considered the first “Premium” or “Pro” quadcopter on the market.
Now, let’s dive into the features. Hopefully, after browsing through the specs, you’ll understand why I’m so excited about this brand new little beast:
Suitable Both for Professional Pilots and Beginners
We’re used to the thought that high-end or “Pro” gear is only suitable for professionals. Beginners should use starter gear (cameras, musical instruments, etc.), while only experienced users should switch to the more expensive gear. The Phantom 4 is probably the only exception.
The Phantom 4 features a brand new “Fly with Touch” technology. It means that you simply point where it should fly and it automatically goes there. It does have a control for manual piloting, but now you can easily control it by using your iPad alone. Just tap your screen and the drone will fly to that spot.
It Follows Moving Targets
Recording has never been so easy. By using the same iPad controls, now you can tell your drone to follow a specific moving target. The drone keeps constant track of surrounding moving objects. This way, as soon as you tap on a person, animal, car or boat, the drone will ask you whether you want it to follow it. No extra bracelet or phone or any other kind of transmitter is longer required.
With the Phantom 4, you don’t need to have inhuman piloting skills to follow a person or a car anymore. Also, you can record yourself doing physical activities without the need for someone to pilot the drone for you. Whether you’re hiking or jogging, swimming or sailing, you can simply command the quadcopter to follow you and record the way you want it.
Finally, the Return to Home function allows you to command your drone to get back to you automatically. The drone will find its way to you and it will avoid any obstacles that might be on its way. We will get back to it a bit later.
Here to Win Any Race for You
Phantom 4 combines the two categories by allowing you to switch between three different modes. This allows you to choose the balance between automation and speed you need.
The “manual” or sport mode will unleash the full power of the drone. In this mode, the Phantom 4 can fly at up to 44mph (72kmh) with a great maneuverability.
Unlikely its predecessor, the Phantom 4 does support the Vision Positioning system even while on Sport mode. This means that you can use its four sensors to assist you with the piloting and avoid crashing into obstacles when racing.
If you need a drone for professional footage recording, then the Phantom 4 has a variety of tools to assist you with the task.
You can set waypoints before the drone starts the flight. In addition, you can mark points of interest. Once you establish a point, the drone will circle around it and will allow you to get a circular shot of a building or any other object you’ve pointed. You can adjust the speed and the radius.
In addition to that, you can manually pan up and down the camera to achieve the exact angle you need. The settings, such as spinning speed and radius can be tweaked anytime and the drone will implement the changes immediately
The Best Friend a Filmmaker Can Have
The Phantom 4 comes with a high-end camera that allows you to capture 4K video at 30 frames per second. It also comes with a slow motion mode, which can be set up to record at 120 frames per second with a resolution of 1080p.
The camera comes with an in-built gimbal and a 3-axis, u-frame stabilization system. This allows you to:
– Have smoother pans and tilts
– Control the camera angle effortlessly directly from your iPad
– Stabilize the recording even with wind at 35-40 mph
Besides that, the Phantom 4 allows you to view the footage from the camera directly from your iPad or iPhone. You can monitor what you’re recording from up to 3.2 miles (5Km) away! The preview comes in a HD 720p resolution.
Photographer on the Fly
The Phantom 4 supports a SD card with a capacity of up to 32 GB. This is enough to record up to 35 minutes of UHD 4K video footage or thousands of hi-res photos.
Ever had a problem traveling with your parrot drone? The shape, weight and size of most of the drones don’t make their transportation easy. Here’s where the Phantom 4 excels (again).
The Phantom 4 features push-to-release propellers. All you need to do is push and slightly twist the propeller, and you take it off. No tools or excessive twisting is required. In order to install them, you do the exact same movement. It takes literally three seconds to install or release the drone’s propellers.
The quadcopter transmitter has a portable design with a USB and a Micro-USB port, two gimbal controller wheels, and two sticks to pilot the drone. It includes a foldable phone mount, which can hold both phones and tablets up to an iPad Air size.
It also has small features like charge status lights, two programmable buttons, adjustable antennas, and instant record and pause buttons. The three-position switch allows you to cycle between sport, safe and smooth flowing footage modes.
The iOS/Android app that comes with the Phantom 4 allows you to do multiple things as well. In addition to basic and advanced drone control and configuration, the app allows you to edit your photos and videos, apply filters and upload it to social media. It features several presets to match different kinds of weather and amounts of light.
What’s Inside the Box?
The box has an ergonomic foamized handle. Its design allows it to carry all the drone components plus an iPad mini. You really don’t have why to buy a new case, which is quite great.
The box comes with the quadcopter, a 4K HD Camera, a remote controller, four propeller pairs, a battery with its respective charger, a power cable, a manual and an accessory set. The manual is easy-to read and quite informative. Nevertheless, you probably won’t need it at all, since the drone is extremely easy to set up and use.
This enhanced Vision Positioning System allows the drone to see below, above and in front of it. This way, the drone can make the corrections without the need to use a camera. The obstacle sensory range is 2-49 feet (0.7-15m). It works with surfaces with clear pattern and good lightning (lux>15).
The Phantom 4 also features the sonar technology that helps the drone to keep stable, even when you’re flying without GPS. In addition, if you’ll try to fly into something, the drone will stop automatically. This makes the drone really hard to crash into something.
Are There Any Cons?
Some people complain about the price, yet in my personal opinion, the Phantom 4 is worth every penny. Just look at the specs – no other drone has something similar. As I’ve mentioned before, the Phantom 4 can be considered a Premium model, hence the price.
Now, keep in mind that the quadcopter is not waterproof. It surely will survive a couple of raindrops, but try to not drop it down into the water, or fly it under heavy rain.