DJI Phantom 4 Pro review

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THE GOOD: Camera features, easy-to-master flight controls and upgrades on the previous generation prove that DJI knows what it’s doing.

THE BAD: Sticker price and investing in additional batteries means the Phantom 4 Pro doesn’t come cheap.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The price puts it just outside of “entry level,” but the Phantom 4 Pro is a no-brainer if you’re serious about drone photography.

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro feels like it was designed from the ground up to be the perfect assistant for a drone photographer. Expect to pay extra for those “pro” features in the name, but fantastic automated camera functions, robust controls and a frankly ludicrous top speed make it very easy to see where your money goes.

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Key Specs

  • 1388g (3.06 pounds)
  • 350mm diagonally (13.7 inches)
  • Approx 28 minutes flight time
  • Controller with flight and camera controls (optional touchscreen)
  • 72kph (45mph)
  • Front and rear collision detection

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The DJI Phantom 4 Pro sells for for $1,500, AU$2,600 or £1,590 with the standard controller. If you want the high-luminance display controller, you’re looking at $1,800, AU$3,100 or £1,820. And based on our test flights, you’re gonna want to spring for the screen.

The Phantom 4 Pro also bundles in front and rear sensors for collision detection, underslung sensors for safer landings and infrared systems on both sides that allow the drone to figure out where it is within a space. Coupled with an improved return-to-home mode with a range of 300 metres (984 feet), it’s the safest DJI in the sky.

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The chunky body of the controller hasn’t changed, but it still feels incredibly responsive. The included touchscreen on the pricier Pro Plus model is incredibly bright and easily viewable in direct sunlight, and it puts all your flight and camera settings within easy reach.

The Phantom’s chassis itself is pretty much identical to its predecessor, too. It’s light enough to comfortably carry in its supplied polystyrene carry case, and the propellers easily clip on to the motors making setup a blissfully simple process. For our troubles, we got close to 30 minutes flight time off the battery, which was a significant step up from the Phantom 3.

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Camera specs

  • 4K video at 60fps
  • Max video bitrate 100Mbps
  • 128GB MicroSD
  • 20-megapixel, 1-inch CMOS sensor
  • Mechanical shutter
  • Aperture control f2.8-f11

It’s the got usual suite of features you’ll find in good camera-equipped drones, like orbital modes and follow modes. But the thing that really deserves commenting on is how good the automated features are.

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ActiveTrack, the drone’s subject tracking mode, can now handle following a subject’s profile by flying sideways or backward in Spotlight mode. TapFly mode, which lets you tap a location on screen to automatically fly to, will now work backward and you can rotate the drone or tilt the camera without changing its path. The software can handle the gimbal’s smooth sweeps and tracking better than you can, and that’s worth the price of admission for budding drone photographers.

Okay, yeah, the Phantom 4 Pro hits a sweet spot between price and performance, but one thing you really need to account for is how fun and easy it is to fly. There’s a beginner mode that caps your top speed and steering, but once you take the training wheels off, you can fang about with top speeds of 45mph (72kmh) in sports mode. Giddy-up.

(cnet.com, https://goo.gl/UdbnBe)

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