DJI Phantom 4 Review: Smart Camera Drone for Beginners

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Price history for DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter Drone w/ Hardshell Backpack + Spare Intelligent Flight Battery Bundle
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  • $1,699.99 - September 22, 2019
  • $500.00 - September 21, 2019
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  • $1,449.00 - August 3, 2019
  • $1,699.99 - July 26, 2019
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Since: June 22, 2019
  • Highest Price: $2,100.00 - August 13, 2019
  • Lowest Price: $500.00 - September 21, 2019
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The drones are rage of modern gadgets. They are becoming more popular due to the fact that they have so many real use applications in the industries from photography to aerial inspections. It is a no wonder why drones such as DJI Phantom 4 is high in demand. If you are looking for a high-end quadcopter to start with that delivers beautiful aerial shots and has great performance. Look no further, because we are going to share in-depth review about DJI Phantom 4 drone.

The DJI Phantom 4 drone is a professional appearance drone that manages to appeal a wide audience: beginners and professionals. Mainly because of its design resembles a similar appearance to the Apple devices. Although, it is a drone packed with advanced features and performance. Through researching the drone and sifting the customer reviews, we assembled an in-depth guide covering the basics about DJI Phantom 4 drone.

In this guide, you will learn ins and outs about the drone. At the end of article, you will be able to decide whether the DJI Phantom 4 drone is the best pick for you. Not to forget to mention that we also provide alternative options if you prefer to explore other drones. Without further ado, let’s dive into the details and find out more about this fancy quadcopter!

Design & Build Quality

This part of the review is the most important section. Not because it looks nice and high-tech, but because it has advanced sensors and smart features that you should be aware. At the first look, DJI Phantom 4 drone is a professionally crafted gadget packed with futuristic technology. It has black holes which are outfitted on each legs and especially underneath. These are called sensors which basically acts as the “eyes” for the drone. I will further talk more about the sensors part later in the article.

DJI Phantom 4 Drone Review

DJI Phantom 4 drone itself weights 1388g which is heavier than Mavic 2 drones. It is also bigger but comes with a nice 20MP camera mounted on 3-axis gimbal stabilizer. Speaking of durability, the DJI Phantom 4 drone is crafted with high quality ABS plastic. Although, it isn’t exactly that tough as DJI Mavic Pro. The thickness of hull body framework is thick enough to withstand the impact.

Each motor arms are outfitted with brushless motors which provides powerful propulsion force for excellent performance. The main advantage of brushless motors is saving money in the long run, better performance, and longer use compared to brushed motors. It is also quieter and easier to control due to stabilized and precision flight controls. The propellers is quick-release which means you can easily install and replace them using your hands.

Sensors

There are two different types of sensors. They acts as “eyes” for the drone which gathers data from the environment and 3D mapping them that communicates with the motherboard. Then the motherboard rely the data back to sensors that tells how far the object is and whether it is safe to fly near it. If the drone is close to the object, your screen will show up red which means the drone can’t fly any further close to the object.

DJI Phantom 4 Drone Sensors

As of a result, the drone will come to a full stop at hovering position. The integrated sensors is one of the latest feature focused on making flight navigation systems much safer and easier. Especially for beginners who have never flown a drone before. As mentioned previously that there are two different type of sensors: obstacle avoidance sensors and vision sensors. Let’s get started to talk about the differences and how they function.

Obstacle Avoidance Sensors

The obstacle avoidance sensors are those large black glass-like holes located around the DJI Phantom 4 drone. They act as “eyes” that measures the distance of objects and maps environment in real-time. This is one of the most powerful and useful design feature that helps the drone navigate in close quarters. Because the DJI Phantom 4 drone has obstacle avoidance sensors in all directions, it can sees in full 360-degree circle. You can learn more about the drones that uses obstacle avoidance sensors.

Vision Sensors

These sensors functions differently compared to the obstacle avoidance sensors. Basically, what they do is providing the drone intelligence on the landscape which helps and ensures that the drone flies evenly. In addition to that, when you are landing or taking off the drone, its vision sensors will monitor to ensure safe launches. Normally with the toy drones under $100, you simply plop the drone onto ground. However, with smart camera drones like DJI Phantom 4 drone, its vision sensors will monitor to protect its internal components such as camera.

Camera Quality

DJI Phantom 4 drone is renowned for its amazing camera quality. As a matter of fact, it has an affordable price tag and delivers one of the best aerial footage which makes this drone widespread and popular among beginners and professionals. Even though the DJI Mavic Pro is best for traveling around the world, Phantom 4 drone is a clear winner in terms of delivering quality footage.

DJI Phantom 4 Drone Camera Review

So let’s get to the point and talk about the camera specifications. This drone comes with a 20MP camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer which provides smooth and precised footage. The camera features 1-inch CMOS sensor that delivers powerful, crisp, and clear footage. It is incredible capable of producing 4K UHD resolution videos at 60 frames per second which pretty much beats every other professional camera drones.

Because of the quality and the amount of data that DJI Phantom 4 drone is required to process. We highly recommend purchasing 128GB Micro SD card to go with this drone. It is more than enough to support ton of stills and especially 4K UHD videos. If you prefer, you can also use 256GB micro SD card but it will require formatting in order to work with DJI Phantom 4 drone. In terms of camera quality, you won’t find any drone that good as DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter. Hence, that explains its deep popularity.

Flight Performance

In the next part of DJI Phantom 4 drone review, we are going to talk about its flight performance. If you are a beginner looking to get your own first drone, but you aren’t sure about how a smart camera drone performs. You will be surprise to learn how easy it is to fly this quadcopter. That’s mainly due to the smart functions and advanced features that DJI Phantom 4 drone brings to the table.

First of all, this quadcopter has built-in GPS / GLONASS module that enables flight systems and precise hovering position. This is done by communicating with the satellites that assists the drone’s position to remain steady for a smooth flight experience. For beginners, the drone has built-in beginner mode that restricts the drone’s flying speed and control distance. This is an awesome feature and in terms of flight performance that allows beginners learn the basics of flight controls.

When you fly the drone in its full performance, it displays an awesome aerial capabilities thanks to its brushless motors. Because of brushless motors, it reduces the power consumption in order to deliver better performance. DJI Phantom 4 drone also uses intelligent flight battery that regulates the power, temperature, and provides you with the latest information regarding its status. A battery on single charge provides up to 30 minutes of flight time.

DJI Phantom 4 drone is one of the best pick for both indoor and outdoor flight activities. The drone manufacturer clearly puts the effort into designing a drone that can handle these kind of activities. At the same time, allowing the remote pilots utilize its built-in 20MP camera to deliver beautiful aerial shots that certainly will awe your audience.

Smart Features

The DJI Phantom 4 drone review isn’t completed without talking about its smart features. In this section, we are going to cover all the features that this camera drone brings to the table. One of the major factor that contributes toward expansion of smart features is the incorporation of GPS / GLONASS system. DJI also included some of their signature technology that’s not available in drones under $300 and drones under $500.

DJI Phantom 4 Drone Intelligent Flight Modes

Below, you will find all the smart features that DJI Phantom 4 drone has to offer. Each feature has different purposes that are used for various flight activities. You will be surprised by how useful each features are. The creative you can get with this drone, the more features you will find out that each has their own use for producing aerial shots. Let’s find out what smart features DJI Phantom 4 drone has in the store for you.

Intelligent Flight Modes

First, the DJI Phantom 4 drone has intelligent flight modes. Which means the drone has the capabilities to perform flight modes autonomously without the need of a drone operator. These intelligent flight modes are incredible useful for several purposes such as producing cinematic shots. This flight mode is the best way to transform your footage into professional-level which lowers the bar, making it easier for beginners to jump into the competition.

Follow Me Mode

Enjoy traveling solo? Me too! But how do you produce footage of yourself without a second person? That’s where this feature comes in handy. Simply command the drone to follow you by selecting yourself as the subject on DJI Go 4 App. Once you have been selected, the drone will follow anywhere you go while maintaining a distance from you. This feature is perfect for producing immersive and eyes-opening footages.

Orbit Mode

Taking aerial shots of large objects such as buildings and cruise ships is definitely attention-getters. But if you truly want to blow your audience away. This feature will tell the drone to perform 360-degree orbit of the cruise ship. That allows you to beautifully capture the whole images of the ship which reveals the nature that keeps your audience on the hook. It is also perfect for recording real estate properties.

Waypoint Mode

One way you can creative is creating your own customizable flight paths. To do this, simply go to intelligent flight mode and select waypoint mode. You will have to fly the drone over to the location and select it as waypoint. Repeat until you are happy with the flight path and select start. Then the drone will fly back to the first waypoint and start recording the footage. Waypoint Mode is perfect for when you need to customize or get creative with the footage content.

Courselock Mode

Courselock Mode is one of the oldest mode widely used in all DJI drone products. It is useful if you need to fly with high precision in narrow areas which is ideal if you want to navigate in straight line while focusing on an object constantly. Basically this feature locks the drone in a certain axis and fly in that direction only. Courselock Mode isn’t a widely utilized feature, but as long as you can get creative, this intelligent flight mode will have an awesome use and effect.

Tripod Mode

Another useful feature is called Tripod. This intelligent flight mode is perfect for flying the drone slowly especially if you need to fly the drone indoor where there isn’t enough space to navigate around. In addition to dumb down the speed, the drone’s camera specifications is also enhanced. During the Tripod Mode, you can lower the ISO balance further to capture flow of the lights in the dark, which makes it one of the best option for capturing night shots.

TapFly

This is rather an interesting intelligent flight mode that offers you another way to control the drone. Instead of flying the drone with your remote controller or mobile device. You simply tap on the screen to tell the drone where to go. I normally don’t use this feature often and I wouldn’t recommend using this feature at all because it can be confusing sometimes that potentially leads to accident. Unless you are comfortable and well aware with how this feature use, by all the means go ahead.

Smart Return to Home

This is one of the most popular feature that makes flying much easier and safer too. If you find yourself not sure where your drone is located at. Simply press smart return to home and your drone will start flying back to its takeoff point. I find this feature incredible useful everytime I am flying the drone around and need to recall it. It is perfect for both beginners and professionals.

Lightbridge Technology

This feature is only available to DJI Phantom series. Lightbridge is a dedicated transmission system that improves the communication between drone and remote controller. It enhances the control distance and enabling lighting fast response in order to deliver precise control.

DJI Phantom 4 Drone Transmitter Lightbridge Technology

Unlike standard remote controllers that drones under $50 uses, the DJI Phantom 4 transmitter automatically discover the best channel and alternate to maintain reliable connection. Which allows the drone to stream high quality footage in real-time and have the ability to fly far.

Remote Controller

The transmitter that DJI Phantom 4 drone comes with is rather simple and very easy for beginners to understand. DJI did a great job at delivering a transmitter that focuses on making it simple, yet professional enough for serious aerial photographers. The transmitter features two levers that is used to navigate the drone around. In addition to that, it comes with features such as Smart Return to Home, automatic takeoff / landing, capture stills and record videos.

DJI Phantom 4 Drone Remote Controller

As simple as the transmitter is, it does comes with a minor drawback. If you want to be able to use smart features such as intelligent flight modes. You will need to mount your personal smartphone onto the transmitter and utilize the DJI Go 4 App. Once the connection has been established, you can use these advanced features to customize your flight experience. However, strictly speaking of the remote controller, we think it is one of the best we have ever seen for a professional camera drone.

Bottom Line

To conclude the DJI Phantom 4 drone review, let’s recap what we talked about. This quadcopter has quite a hefty price tag but that’s the cost you are paying for a drone that comes with bunch of awesome, useful features. Smart functions such as intelligent flight modes, obstacle avoidance sensors and other important features that solidifies its aerial capabilities are the cornerstore of the signature technology.

DJI Phantom 4 Drone

With a great flight performance, DJI Phantom 4 drone can fly for up to 30 minutes and has a maximum remote control distance up to 4.3 miles. Not to forget to mention that the drone comes with a 20MP camera featuring 1-inch CMOS sensor that gives you countless opportunities to capture stunning aerial shot. Combined with these design, camera, performance, features, and remote controller, DJI Phantom 4 drone is a very strong and popular competitor that is definitely worth the buy.

Other Options

Of course, if you either like the idea of being able to have your hands on a brand new DJI Phantom 4 drone but don’t have enough money. There are alternative options that you should check out. We have an ultimate buyer’s guide on the best drones that looks like DJI Phantom 4 clones. They all consists drones that looks just like this quadcopter at significant less price and fewer features.

But, if you still want to be able to fly a high-end camera drones. We recommend checking out our reviews about DJI Mavic Air, DJI Spark and DJI Phantom 3. These drones are very good and comes with less hefty price tag. Not to mention that they are also affordable and pretty much smart enough to perform autonomous flights.

Finally, if you are looking for accessories to go with this drone. We have a complete buyer’s guide about the best accessories for DJI Phantom 4 drone. We hope you found our in-depth review about DJI Phantom 4 drone helpful and insightful. If you have any questions about this quadcopter. Feel free to drop a comment in the comments section below and we will answer your questions. Happy flying and fly smart!

9.3 Total Score
Editor's Review

DJI Phantom 4 drone is one of the world most advanced quadcopter that has so many to offer on the table. From a wide range of intelligent flight modes that makes flying simpler, easier, and funnier for beginners to providing professional aerial photographers the tools they need to support their business. This quadcopter comes with an average flight time of 30 minutes per battery charge. Furthermore, it can be flown up to 4.3 miles which makes it one of the best entry-level / professional-level for everyone to start with. We strongly recommend DJI Phantom 4 drone if you are looking for a fun drone to fly around and to capture great shots with it.

Design
10
Flight Performance
10
Features
9
Flight Time
9
Camera Quality
9
Price
9
PROS
  • Comes with intelligent flight battery that provides up to 30 minutes per charge.
  • Utilizes Lightbridge Technology that provides control distance up to 4.3 miles.
  • Built-in sensors for protection and safety, improving the navigation systems.
  • Ton of intelligent flight modes that enhances the video production experience.
  • Built-in camera that delivers stunning 4K UHD resolution at 60 FPS.
  • Simple, yet engaging and easy to understand remote controller.
  • Great durability and longevity that makes big bang out of its price value.
CONS
  • Can be expensive for some people who are on a tight budget.
Add your review

Hello, welcome to Aerofly Drones! My name is Keith Ericksen. I am a commercial licensed drone operator. Flying and talking about the drones is my passion. Whether it is toy-grade to professional-grade quadcopters. On my leisure, I enjoy socializing with friends, play video games, hiking, traveling and reading. If you have a project that needs our drone services, please contact us via Hire-A-Pilot page.

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