The Phantom 4 was released in March of 2016, and it’s a huge upgrade from the Phantom 3. It’s a high-quality camera drone, designed to take excellent photos and videos, not to be portable. Thus, it’s way bigger than the Mavic Pro. But “bigger is better”, and in this case it is. The Phantom 4 has a 3-axis camera gimbal, that can shoot 4k video at 30 frames per second, and 1080 at 120 fps (you can get really precise slo-mo). It also has plenty of smart features, not as many as the Mavic or Spark, but that’s okay because it’s designed for more experienced pilots who should be able to make good videos without the smart features.
DJI has stopped selling the Phantom 4 new on their website (they sell the Advanced and Pro), but you can still buy it from Amazon for $869. You can also buy it refurbished from DJI for $799. I think the reason they’ve stopped selling it is because they’re preparing for the Phantom 5, which may get released in 2018. But the 869-dollar option on Amazon comes with the drone, a battery, and the controller, so you’re getting all you need. The refurbished one also comes with all this.
The Phantom gets an excellent flight time of 28 minutes, and I’ve heard that that number is pretty accurate (more like 26-27). It’s range with controller is 3.1 miles, which is plenty for most people. It has forward obstacle avoidance, something that the Phantom 3 series didn’t have. It can go up to 45 mph in optimal wind conditions, but I would expect about 37-38 in a little windier weather. Overall the flight is very smooth.
Here is where the big upgrade comes. The camera on the P4 is amazing… shooting 4k at 30 fps (same as the Mavic) but it can also shoot 1080p at 120 fps. This means you can have really good slow-motion videos without any lag or choppiness. It also has a 3-axis gimbal, like the mavic pro, but since the camera is below the drone, it can actually go around 360 degrees, so you could take panorama shots. The only thing about that is then the landing legs would get in your way. Overall I’d say the camera on the Phantom is better than the Mavic.
The controller for the Phantom 4 is huge. I’m really not a fan of the design on it… the Mavic’s controller is compact and easy to use; there’s just too much empty space on the P4 controller. However, you do have a spot to put your phone so you get the livestream from the camera, so that’s a plus. I hope for the Phantom 5 they change the controller to a compact one like the Mavic or Spark controller.
Needless to say, this drone is big. It’s not going to fit in a backpack like the Mavic, so you’re going to need a suitcase or something to store it in while you travel. You also should get a camera cover so that the gimbal doesn’t break when you stick it in the trunk of your car.
The Phantom 4 is a great option for more professional work, or for advanced hobbyists. However, if you’re reading this review and you want a good drone that has all the newest features, I would recommend waiting for the Phantom 5. I’m sure that the P5 will implement all the smart features found in the Mavic and Spark, while still maintaining the Phantom quality camera. If you don’t want such a big drone, check out my Mavic Pro Review, and if you’re looking for a cheaper drone, take a look at the Parrot Bebop 2 and the DJI Spark. In the end though, this drone is still an unbelievable piece of technology. If you buy this, chances are you won’t be disappointed.