The new DJI’s Phantom 4 is a new model of a well-known and extremely popular brand among casual pilots – DJI Phantom. At Mungi, we fell in love with the new version of this already acclaimed drone and will be using it for our next annual meeting in Dallas.
Look around when you’re outside hanging out with drone pilots and it’s very likely that at least a few of them will own a Phantom drone. Compared to its predecessors it is slightly easier to fly and harder to crash. With a few significant enhancements, it seems fit the series and to be a step in the right direction. What has changed?
The awesome features
– Collision avoidance
The first significant change is the new collision avoidance feature, which gives your remotely piloted aircraft a bit of autonomy regarding finding and avoiding obstacles. The new front camera helps your UAV avoid hitting trees, walls, and other obstacles on its way, making it easier to use for beginners and a bit safer than the previous versions.
This new feature gives you the chance to choose a subject that you want to focus the camera of your DJI Phantom 4 on – it can be anything, from a person up to an object like a bike or a car which your RPA can follow and keep recording. This is great, especially if you are trying to record a movie focusing on a particular person or object. To do that, it uses the same technology as it used in collision avoidance, but this time, the focus is not on the obstacle but anything it has to follow.
The third interesting feature, while not that new and groundbreaking, gives you the possibility to get the live feed from the drone’s forward-facing camera straight onto your mobile device; that way you can tap anywhere on the screen to point your UAS into that direction. The drone follows your orders smoothly, and it’s not that hard to control it using the mobile app.
How does it look
On the outside, this UAS hasn’t changed much, compared to Phantom 3. It’s made of glossy plastic, and it lacks the coloured bands on the arms; those are finished with a shiny metal, giving the whole machine a very professional look. If you look at it from a distance, there is no significant change noticeable, but when it flies a little bit closer to you, it is easy to notice the more attractive and slightly more aggressive changes in the design. The controller is now also shiny to better match the drone.
Overall user experience
Thanks to the new features, it’s a lot of fun to follow people, control it using simple taps and fly without having to worry about avoiding obstacles. It’s enjoyable though definitely not for beginners. Despite having the anti-collision system it’s still not super safe as it only works for the front-facing camera, so you are not protected when the drone is flying to the left, right or any other direction.
There are three different speeds which the drone can achieve. In the standard mode, it’s capable of reaching up to 35 mph; with the new feature, collision avoidance, turned on, it can go as fast as 22 mph. If you want some real speed, you can turn on the new “sports mode”, in which it can reach even 45 mph, what is a superb result for a typical retail drone which isn’t advertised as a racing drone. Even with higher speeds the video stream is very clear, and there are barely any lags. The quality of recorded video has improved compared to the previous versions; the changes are visible in the streaming process – compared to a few other unmanned aircraft systems, this one almost never loses connection, what is a big improvement.
– One of the biggest advantages of DJI Phantom 4 is its three new features. The (finally) added collision avoidance mode makes it a great tone for beginners even though it’s not that easy to control. The “sports mode” is perfect for casual racers and everyone who would love to try racing but wants to buy a universal drone.
– One of the best drones on the market available for personal use.
– It’s proof that changes in the Phantom series are going in the right way.
– It can record top-notch videos without any noticeable lag.
– There are some claims that this RPA is five times more stable than its predecessors. It also holds the exact position much easier and delivers much smoother footage making it an excellent choice for everyone who is into filming using drones.
– It’s made of very high-quality and durable materials, increasing it’s safety and life span.
– The collision avoidance works only for the front camera, so you still have to be very careful when you are flying the drone towards any other direction.
– Compared to a few other unmanned aerial vehicles available on the market, it is still not a fully autonomous UAV, even despite having a great tap to control feature.
– The tracking feature is great once you lock it on something or someone; unfortunately, it’s not that easy to catch the object and lock on it. The system likes to tell you that the chosen object is too small or too far away.
. Still, the new features make it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a modern and affordable (despite the high price, when you consider the features), RPA.
DJI Phantom 4 raises the bar, for a drone which isn’t targeting any professional audience, it has a very high-quality camera, very useful features which can be used both by beginners (collision avoidance) and a bit more professional pilots (” sports mode”). Despite a few technological limitations which aren’t a very big drawback in a drone of that class, it can be recommended with confidence to anyone who wants to learn the art of drone flying as well as everyone who is looking for a universal and high-quality machine. The drone can be used to fly around your neighbourhood, race with others or create amazing and high-quality footage – recommended!
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