DJI Phantom 4 Professional

MSRP $1,799.00

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

Professionals

  • 5-direction impediment avoidance
  • Glorious digital camera
  • Plentiful flight modes
  • Lengthy flight time
  • Excellent vary

Cons

  • Elective touchscreen controller is a $300 add-on

DJI’s Phantoms are usually referred to as “the iPhones of drones” — and that’s a good description. They’re one of the common drones on the planet, full of high-end options and performance, and the most recent fashions are all the time on the prime of their class. On prime of that, DJI additionally releases new fashions at a gradual fee, 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 quite a few 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 atmosphere across the drone and permit it to autonomously keep away from issues like timber, buildings, and the rest you may encounter throughout flight.

The Professional seems practically similar to the unique Phantom 4.

The opposite standout enchancment is the Professional’s digital camera. The Professional makes use of all-new {hardware} with a 1-inch picture sensor — which is 4 occasions the scale as what’s used within the authentic Phantom 4. On prime of that, the digital camera can shoot 4K video at as much as 60 frames per second, and nonetheless photos at as much as 20 megapixels. DJI additionally tossed in aperture management and a mechanical shutter. Regardless of the way you take a look at it, the P4’s new digital camera is larger, higher, and extra customizable than ever.

DJI has additionally added an much more deluxe, optionally available model, referred to 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 value 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 by way of each design and construct high quality. It retains the identical hull form as its predecessor, save for just a few 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 digital camera, which is drastically higher than the one discovered on the unique P4, is only a bit bigger than it was earlier than. Except you accustomed to DJI’s drones, the P4 and P4 Professional are nearly 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 practically as moveable 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

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

To place these claims to the take a look at, we ran the P4 Professional via our typical collection of endurance exams. First up was a hover take a look at, the place we let the drone hover in place till the battery life turned “critically low,” and the drone mechanically landed. Our hover take a look at 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 occasions from each different flight take a look at we carried out and averaged all the pieces out. Over the course of 10 totally different flights that spanned from 100% 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 anticipate a full half-hour of airtime, the endurance is superb – one of the best we’ve seen up to now. A DJI Mavic Professional lasted 23 minutes and 19 seconds in our hover take a look at, and the Yuneec Hurricane H lasted 23 minutes, 20 seconds. A smaller, extra reasonably priced, easier drone will final far lower than any of those. The Hover Digital camera Passport, as an illustration, lasted lower than 10 minutes.

As for battery recharge occasions, we discovered {that a} nearly-empty battery (round 10 p.c remaining) takes about 1.5 hours to juice as much as 100%. 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 provides practically 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 practically similar flight specs to the unique P4, in relation to 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.

Velocity and agility are mainly 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 increased speeds with a superb tailwind behind you. It’s not the quickest drone in the marketplace (some can go 55 and even 60 mph), however it’s fast sufficient for many makes use of.

Nonetheless, not like its predecessor, the P4 can fly as much as 31 mph with full multi-directional impediment avoidance. That’s necessary. Excessive-speed maneuvers are whenever 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 a lot of the “commonplace” autonomous flight modes from the unique P4, DJI additionally borrowed just a few of the Professional’s options from the recently-released Mavic, and even added just a few 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, observe your actions through Comply with Me mode, and even modify the best way it responds to joystick management with Course Lock and Dwelling Lock. These modes are included within the Phantom 4, however the Professional model has a pair new tips up its sleeve: Terrain Comply with, Tripod Mode, and a spread of recent Lively Observe talents.

It’s not crash-proof, however 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 photographs, the Professional’s new Tripod mode permits you select a degree in area, then maintain 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 mixture of GPS and sensors to carry its place with out drifting.

DJI has additionally added just a few updates to its Lively Observe system. Portrait mode, for instance, lets you observe a topic whereas the drone flies horizontally and matches tempo. Highlight, then again, lets you lock onto a topic, however lets you 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 may transfer.

Invoice Roberson/Digital Traits

Invoice Roberson/Digital Traits

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

Our favourite characteristic, nonetheless, is DJI’s new dynamic return to dwelling perform. In previous generations of the Phantom, whenever you hit the “return to dwelling’” button, the drone would fly to a predetermined top, then make a beeline straight again to the place it took off from. God forbid there have been any obstacles in the best way — if there have been, the drone would smack into them like a blind fowl.

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

Vary

Vary can also be fairly a bit higher than the unique P4. Similar to the Mavic Professional, the P4 Professional is provided with DJI’s new OcuSync video transmission expertise, which stretches the drone’s most vary and supplies a dwell HD video feed from the digital camera from as much as 4.3 miles away. That, nonetheless, is just 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 atmosphere you’re flying in. If there’s loads of interference, the feed can reduce out at or earlier than the half-mile mark. All of it depends upon the place you’re flying, however even with the occasional feed cutout, the Phantom 4 Professional nonetheless boasts among the greatest vary we’ve ever seen in a drone.

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

Digital camera and Equipment

If there’s any single purpose to purchase the P4 Professional as an alternative of the usual P4, it’s the digital camera. DJI put some severe work into the Professional’s picture seize system, and the outcome is among the greatest cameras we’ve ever seen on a quad.

The largest enchancment is the scale of the digital camera’s sensor. The Professional boasts a 1-inch CMOS sensor — which is roughly 4 occasions the scale of the extra typical 1/2.3-inch class utilized by most drones (together with the Phantom 3 collection and the Phantom 4), flagship smartphones, and point-and-shoot cameras. This additional floor space permits it to seize much more element, and preserve picture/video high quality at increased ISOs.

Along with a bigger sensor, DJI additionally geared up the Professional with a mechanical shutter and aperture management. In different phrases, you’re not caught capturing in f/2.8 on a regular basis (you possibly can go all the best way to f/11), and not want to fret in regards to the dreaded “rolling shutter impact’ screwing up your photos.

On the subject of capturing video, the P4 Professional presents 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 in your eyeballs (or SD card) to deal with, you can even scale right down to 2.7K, 1080p, and 720p — the latter of which could be captured at 120 frames per second and used to create slow-mo footage.

In the event 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 facet 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 practically each different drone that DJI makes.

Invoice Roberson/Digital Traits

Invoice Roberson/Digital Traits

We’re unsure if it’s price $300, however 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 expect DJI ought to’ve included this selection years in the past, or at the least thrown this into the $1,500 bundle. Yuneec presents 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

Surely, DJI’s Phantom 4 Professional is among the greatest drones in existence immediately — if not one of the best. It’s the one drone with omnidirectional impediment avoidance, and the digital camera outdoes each different drone on this class. Ultimately it’ll be overshadowed, however it’s one of the best high-end shopper drone we’ve examined up to now.

Are there higher choices accessible?

On this worth vary, no. In the event you’re out there for a drone and $1,500 is inside your funds, there’s no higher method 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 moveable, and boast most of the identical flight modes and options — besides, in fact, omnidirectional impediment avoidance, and a digital camera with a one-inch picture sensor. Plus, at $999 and $799 respectively, the Mavic Air and Mavic Professional are additionally significantly cheaper, so if you happen to’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 the event you don’t care a lot about portability, Yuneec’s Hurricane H can also be a worthy contender, and is extra reasonably priced at $999. It boasts most of the identical options, and has a 4K digital camera that swivels a full 360 levels. This, together with dual-pilot capabilities, make it a good contender. Nonetheless, the Hurricane H’s digital camera is just not 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 just a few years or extra. DJI continually rolls out updates to most of its merchandise, and we now have no purpose to suppose the P4 Professional will probably be any totally different. Firmware updates come via frequently, and DJI already has a collection 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.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. That is arguably top-of-the-line methods to spend $1,500.

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