DJI Phantom 4 Professional

MSRP $1,799.00

“With unimaginable impediment avoidance and a kickass new digicam, the Phantom 4 Professional units a brand new normal for quadcopters.”

Execs

  • 5-direction impediment avoidance
  • Wonderful digicam
  • Plentiful flight modes
  • Lengthy flight time
  • Excellent vary

Cons

  • Non-obligatory touchscreen controller is a $300 add-on

DJI’s Phantoms are typically known as “the iPhones of drones” — and that’s a good description. They’re probably the most well-liked drones on the planet, full of high-end 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 gradual price, packing even higher options into a virtually similar kind issue. Living proof? The stellar new DJI Phantom 4 Professional.

Options & Specs

As an evolution of the unique Phantom 4, the Professional boasts various small however important enhancements. Most of the authentic Phantom 4’s design attributes, digital parts, 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 evident addition is the Professional’s new 5-direction impediment avoidance system. Whereas the P4 solely featured ahead going through 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 surroundings across the drone and permit it to autonomously keep away from issues like bushes, buildings, and the rest you would possibly encounter throughout flight.

The Professional seems almost similar to the unique Phantom 4.

The opposite standout enchancment is the Professional’s digicam. The Professional makes use of all-new {hardware} with a 1-inch picture sensor — which is 4 instances the scale as what’s used within the authentic Phantom 4. On prime of that, the digicam 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. Irrespective of the way you take a look at it, the P4’s new digicam is greater, higher, and extra customizable than ever.

DJI has additionally added an much more deluxe, optionally available model, known as the Phantom 4 Professional Plus. It’s the very same drone, however with a controller that has a built-in touchscreen show. It’ll price you an additional 300 bucks, however you received’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 sort of 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 sturdy and durable because the P4, which stays among the many most tasty and drones accessible.

It’s spectacular that DJI has managed to outfit the drone with so many new options, whereas nonetheless sustaining an similar kind 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 digicam, which is drastically higher than the one discovered on the unique P4, is only a bit bigger than it was earlier than. Until you acquainted with DJI’s drones, the P4 and P4 Professional are pretty much 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 transportable 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

Below optimum circumstances, DJI says the Phantom 4 Professional can keep airborne for as much as half-hour — however after all, real-world circumstances aren’t all the time optimum.

To place these claims to the check, we ran the P4 Professional via our ordinary sequence 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 robotically 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 below extra demanding circumstances, we recorded the flight instances from each different flight check we performed and averaged all the things out. Over the course of 10 completely different flights that spanned from one hundred pc battery cost to the emergency low-battery automated touchdown, the Phantom 4 Professional averaged a flight time of 26 minutes and 50 seconds.

Whilst you shouldn’t count on a full half-hour of airtime, the endurance is great – the very best we’ve seen up to now. A DJI Mavic Professional lasted 23 minutes and 19 seconds in our hover check, and the Yuneec Hurricane H lasted 23 minutes, 20 seconds. A smaller, extra reasonably priced, less complicated drone will final far lower than any of those. The Hover Digicam Passport, for example, lasted lower than 10 minutes.

As for battery recharge instances, we discovered {that a} nearly-empty battery (round 10 p.c 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 replenish its tank.

Flight Efficiency

The flight efficiency of the Phantom 4 hasn’t modified on this new model. The P4 Professional boasts almost similar flight specs to the unique P4, on the subject of issues like velocity and agility. Fortunately, this isn’t a lot of a letdown, because the P4 remains to be among the many most nimble quad-blade drones bought.

Pace and agility are principally unchanged within the P4 Professional. Each the P4 and P4 Professional prime out at 45 miles per hour (72 kph) — although you possibly can simply attain larger speeds with a very good tailwind behind you. It’s not the quickest drone in the marketplace (some can go 55 and even 60 mph), nevertheless it’s fast sufficient for many makes use of.

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

Autonomy

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

You’ll be able to set the P4 Professional to orbit a degree 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 way in which it responds to joystick management with Course Lock and Residence Lock. These modes are included within the Phantom 4, however the Professional model has a pair new methods up its sleeve: Terrain Comply with, Tripod Mode, and a spread of latest Energetic Monitor talents.

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

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

For static pictures, the Professional’s new Tripod mode permits you select a degree in area, then hold the drone locked in that place whilst 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 mix of GPS and sensors to carry its place with out drifting.

DJI has additionally added a couple of updates to its Energetic Monitor system. Portrait mode, for instance, permits you to observe a topic whereas the drone flies horizontally and matches tempo. Highlight, then again, permits you to lock onto a topic, however permits you to fly the drone in any path round it. There’s even a 360 mode that can actively orbit any topic you select, no matter the place that topic would possibly transfer.

Invoice Roberson/Digital Developments

Invoice Roberson/Digital Developments

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

Our favourite function, nevertheless, is DJI’s new dynamic return to dwelling perform. In previous generations of the Phantom, while you hit the “return to dwelling’” 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 way in which — if there have been, the drone would smack into them like a blind chicken.

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

Vary

Vary can be fairly a bit higher than the unique P4. Similar to the Mavic Professional, the P4 Professional is supplied with DJI’s new OcuSync video transmission know-how, which stretches the drone’s most vary and supplies a dwell HD video feed from the digicam from as much as 4.3 miles away. That, nevertheless, is simply doable 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 broadly relying on the surroundings you’re flying in. If there’s a whole lot of interference, the feed can reduce 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 4 Professional nonetheless boasts a number of the greatest vary we’ve ever seen in a drone.

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

Digicam and Equipment

If there’s any single motive to purchase the P4 Professional as an alternative of the usual P4, it’s the digicam. DJI put some severe work into the Professional’s picture seize system, and the consequence is without doubt one of the greatest cameras we’ve ever seen on a quad.

The most important enchancment is the scale of the digicam’s sensor. The Professional boasts a 1-inch CMOS sensor — which is roughly 4 instances the scale of the extra typical 1/2.3-inch class utilized by most drones (together with the Phantom 3 sequence and the Phantom 4), flagship smartphones, and point-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 taking pictures in f/2.8 on a regular basis (you possibly can go all the way in which to f/11), and now not want to fret in regards to the dreaded “rolling shutter impact’ screwing up your photographs.

With regards to taking pictures video, the P4 Professional affords 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 to your eyeballs (or SD card) to deal with, you may as well scale all the way down to 2.7K, 1080p, and 720p — the latter of which will be captured at 120 frames per second and used to create slow-mo footage.

In case you spring for the Phantom 4 Professional Plus (an additional $300), DJI will throw in a controller that comes with its personal built-in touchscreen show. It’s a bit on the spendy aspect for certain, however that additional scratch means you received’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.

Invoice Roberson/Digital Developments

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.

Nonetheless, we predict DJI ought to’ve included this feature years in the past, or not less than thrown this into the $1,500 bundle. Yuneec affords 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

No doubt, DJI’s Phantom 4 Professional is without doubt one of the greatest drones in existence at the moment — if not the very best. It’s the one drone with omnidirectional impediment avoidance, and the digicam outdoes each different drone on this class. Ultimately it’ll be overshadowed, nevertheless it’s the very best high-end client drone we’ve examined up to now.

Are there higher choices accessible?

On this worth vary, no. In case you’re out there for a drone and $1,500 is inside your finances, there’s no higher approach to spend your cash.

The closest competitor to the P4 Professional might be the DJI Mavic Professional, or newer Mavic Air. Each are smaller, much more transportable, and boast most of the identical flight modes and options — besides, after all, omnidirectional impediment avoidance, and a digicam with a one-inch picture sensor. Plus, at $999 and $799 respectively, the Mavic Air and Mavic Professional are additionally significantly cheaper, so for those who’re on the lookout for one thing a bit extra reasonably priced however nonetheless extremely succesful, you’d be sensible to go for the Mavic.

In case you don’t care a lot about portability, Yuneec’s Hurricane H can be a worthy contender, and is extra reasonably priced at $999. It boasts most of the identical options, and has a 4K digicam that swivels a full 360 levels. This, together with dual-pilot capabilities, make it an honest contender. Nonetheless, the Hurricane H’s digicam shouldn’t be 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 couple of years or extra. DJI continually rolls out updates to most of its merchandise, and we’ve no motive to suppose the P4 Professional shall be any completely different. Firmware updates come via 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.

Must you purchase it?

Sure. That is arguably among the best methods to spend $1,500.

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