An advanced stereo Vision Positioning System (VPS) gives the Phantom 4 precise hovering, even without satellite positioning support, making it easier and safer to fly. The VPS also allows it to brake instantly and hover when joystick controls are released. If disturbed during a hover, it will track the Phantom 4’s movement and return it to its original hovering point.
The most significant advancement of the DJI Phantom 4 cannot be described by a single feature.
In fact, it isn’t a single feature but rather the combination of all the technology (GPS, obstacle avoidance, stabilization software, fly-by-touch, return to home and automatic lift-off) that makes it, by far, the easiest drone to fly in the world.
The result is a drone that is ideal for both beginners and advanced users.
The ease of flight is a game changer because it means that drone operators can now focus on capturing the perfect aerial shots instead of concentrating on flying. This translates to beautiful video of your favorite vacation spot, your neighborhood or your action packed adventure. (Speaking of camera, it is one of the best ones on the market, but more on that later.)
The new killer features that make the DJI Phantom 4 special are the obstacle avoidance, the active track and the tap-to-fly.
Obstacle avoidance, as the name states, uses 4 individual sensors in the front of the quadcopter to map out the environment and avoid obstacles that might be in the flight path of the drone.
If it senses that it will run into an object, the drone will automatically slow down and come to a complete stop (or rather, hover) instead of crashing into the obstacle. I cannot overstate how useful this will be for beginners learning how to fly.
The Phantom 4 is the first commercially available drone to receive this technology so if you want to stay safe, this is a big plus. Not only will it avoid walls, trees and buildings (saving you from potentially costly damages), it will ALSO avoid people which means it can save you from a potentially catastrophic situation. You can be more creative when recording with the Phantom 4 drone.
That’s what I call a small feature with big payoffs!
In our testing, we noticed that we could still make it crash if we tried hard so it’s not perfect. Due to the sensors being present only on the front of the drone, if you force it to move sideways at rapid speeds or reverse it into something, the sensors won’t be able to pick up the obstacle.
The second important feature which makes this drone accessible to anyone is the “TapFly” feature which, as the name suggests, allows you to tap on the display attached to the radio controller to tell where the drone to fly.
The way it works is that the DJI controller allows you to attach a smart device (Ipad, Iphone and Android phones) to the radio controller. In addition to providing you with a real-time video feed of what the drone sees (FPV), it also allows you to tap in any direction, and the drone will fly towards it until it reaches the target (or reaches the maximum distance).
There are two major benefits to this:
1. If you’re trying to capture aerial shots, you can concentrate on the camera while the drone does the flying. You’ll capture beautiful video without having a second operator (something that is common in professional aerial photography).
2. It means that anyone, even a 4-year-old, can fly a drone, even if you’ve never flown anything before.
Of course, you aren’t limited to using Tap To Fly and during our sessions with the DJI Phantom 4, we certainly didn’t use the feature to its maximum extent.
If you want to enjoy the experience of flying, you’ll want to switch the drone to the manual acrobat mode which provides you with maximum flexibility. When in the acro mode, you can race around relatively quickly and even capture some pretty cool videos of yourself dodging obstacles “star wars” style.
When you’re tired, you can use the smart “return to home” function which will return the drone back to you. (This is great because that means the drone won’t run away.) The smart part of this feature is that it will gain altitude and avoid obstacles on the way back. (In other words, the drone won’t crash into a tree if you activate it in a park)
One of the refinements with the new DJI Phantom 4 is that the improved motors allow you to fly faster (20m/s) than ever before. That’s almost 45 mph which is very fast for a drone.
At those speeds, you can quickly capture any sporting activity, and you’ll even keep up with cars (for the car shots, you’ll want to gain altitude as the car speeds off into the distance for a neat effect).
Speaking of capturing cool action shots, the new feature using smart image recognition technology is called “Active Track”. This allows you to select a target on the radio’s display to track and follow.
Once activated, the drone will fly on its own, following the target (all while avoiding obstacles) and it will do it’s best to keep the camera centered.
In other words, you can set the drone to follow you through a field and then let it record you as you navigate through your adventure.
That said, in practice, we found that it wasn’t perfect at tracking rapid movements in spite of doing quite well with slower targets.
With software updates, I suspect that the image tracking will improve to the point where the drone can follow you down a narrow path. I would love to be able to go skiing with this thing! Perhaps with a few software updates.
As with the previous generation of the Phantom, it features a 4k camera positioned on a gimbal that allows you to look adjust from straight forward to straight down.
The camera receives minor improvements (it was already quite good) in image quality thanks to slightly modified optics (f/2.8) and a faster processor. I’ll let the images speak for themselves but suffice to say that you’ll have to pay quite a lot more if you want any additional quality.
My favorite feature of the new camera is the ability to record at 120 frames per second in 1080p. This opens up a whole new world in terms of action and sports videos.
At 120 fps, you can now slow down footage by a factor of 4x which seems to be the perfect speed for capturing fast human movement (jumping, hitting a baseball, mountain biking, skiing).
Now while I rave about the new slow motion, the real beauty is in the 4k footage. Because you’ll often find yourself flying above landscapes, with the increased resolution of 4k, you’ll achieve a much clearer picture.
In other words, if I’m not shooting slow motion video, I default back to 4k as my standard recording mode. I don’t know how they did it, but the image stabilization is incredible. Even in strong winds, you get perfectly smooth video worthy of a Hollywood movie.
Regarding battery life, the DJI Phantom 4 pushes the boundaries even further with improved motor efficiency which allows it to fly for an impressive 28 minutes on a single charge. (At least, that’s the official statistic from DJI)
In my tests, I found that it depends on how you fly the drone. If you’re flying aggressively at high speeds, then the battery life might be reduced to as little as 20 minutes. That being said, it’s considerably better than the competition, and I usually averaged around 25 minutes of flight time which is excellent.
To give you an idea of how much you can do with the DJI Phantom 4… just image how far you can drive in 25 minutes. Considering it flies at 45mph (71kph), you can quickly max out the range and come back without even breaking a sweat. Just make sure you don’t land in water.
I picked up an extra battery for long day trips and even though I don’t usually use it, I like being able to charge a battery while I use the other one. DJI once again changed the format of the battery (meaning that the older batteries aren’t compatible) which is a shame but understandable. Concerning charge time, the charge takes slightly longer with a time of approximately 45 minutes.
|Weight (Battery & Propellers Included)||1380 g|
|Diagonal Size (Propellers Excluded)||350 mm|
|Max Ascent Speed||S-mode: 6 m/s|
|Max Descent Speed||S-mode: 4 m/s|
|Max Speed||S-mode: 20 m/s|
|Max Tilt Angle||S-mode: 42°
|Max Angular Speed||S-mode: 200°/s
|Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level||19685 feet (6000 m)|
|Max Wind Speed Resistance||10 m/s|
|Max Flight Time||Approx. 28 minutes|
|Operating Temperature Range||32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)|
|Satellite Positioning Systems||GPS/GLONASS|
|Hover Accuracy Range||Vertical:
±0.1 m (with Vision Positioning)
±0.5 m (with GPS Positioning)
±0.3 m (with Vision Positioning)
±1.5 m (with GPS Positioning)
|Vision System||Forward Vision System
Downward Vision System
|Velocity Range||≤10 m/s (2 m above ground)|
|Altitude Range||0 – 33 feet (0 – 10 m)|
|Operating Range||0 – 33 feet (0 – 10 m)|
|Obstacle Sensory Range||2 – 49 feet (0.7 – 15 m)|
|FOV||Forward: 60°(Horizontal), ±27°(Vertical)
Downward: 70°(Front and Rear), 50°(Left and Right)
|Measuring Frequency||Forward: 10 Hz
Downward: 20 Hz
|Operating Environment||Surface with clear pattern and adequate lighting (lux>15)|
|Operating Frequency||2.400 – 2.483 GHz|
|Max Transmission Distance||FCC Compliant: 3.1 mi (5 km)
CE Compliant: 2.2 mi (3.5 km)
(Unobstructed, free of interference)
|Operating Temperature Range||32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)|
|Battery||6000 mAh LiPo 2S|
|Transmitter Power (EIRP)||
|Operating Current/Voltage||1.2 A@7.4 V|
|Video Output Port||USB|
|Mobile Device Holder||Tablets and smart phones|
INTELLIGENT FLIGHT BATTERY
|Battery Type||LiPo 4S|
|Net Weight||462 g|
|Charging Temperature Range||41° to 104°F (5° to 40°C)|
|Max Charging Power||100 W|
|Stabilization||3-axis (pitch, roll, yaw)|
|Controllable Range||Pitch: -90° to +30°|
|Max Controllable Angular Speed||Pitch: 90°/s|
|Angular Vibration Range||±0.02°|
Effective pixels:12.4 M
|Lens||FOV 94° 20 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.8 focus at ∞|
|Electronic Shutter Speed||8 – 1/8000 s|
|Still Photography Modes||Single shot
Burst shooting: 3/5/7 frames
Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7 EV Bias
|Video Recording Modes||UHD: 4096×2160 (4K) 24 / 25p
3840×2160 (4K) 24 / 25 / 30p
2704×1520 (2.7K) 24 / 25 / 30p
FHD: 1920×1080 24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60 / 120p
HD: 1280×720 24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60p
|Max Video Bitrate||60 Mbps|
|Supported File Systems||FAT32 (≤32 GB); exFAT (>32 GB)|
|Photo||JPEG, DNG (RAW)|
|Video||MP4, MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)|
|Supported SD Cards||Micro SD
Max capacity: 64 GB
Class 10 or UHS-1 rating required
|Operating Temperature Range||32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)|
|Rated Power||100 W|
APP / LIVE VIEW
|Mobile App||DJI GO 4|
|Live View Working Frequency||2.4 GHz ISM|
|Live View Quality||720P @ 30fps|
|Latency||220ms (depending on conditions and mobile device)|
|Required Operating Systems||
*Support for additional Android devices available as testing and development continues.
In The Box
1.What is the Phantom 4 Obstacle Sensing System?
The Phantom 4 is equipped with an Obstacle Sensing System that constantly scans for obstacles in front of it, allowing it to avoid collisions by going around, over or hovering.
2.Why does the Phantom 4 have a composite core?
The advanced composite core embedded into the aircraft greatly increases rigidity, minimizing unwanted vibrations. This ensures the precision and performance of the inertial measurement unit (IMU). The weight of the aircraft is also reduced through this composite.