DJI Phantom 3 4K Review
So if I seem giddy as you’re reading this, it’s probably because I’ve got my hands on the incredible DJI Phantom 3 4K. Even if it’s only for a weekend, I’ve been taking full advantage of its new features, and of course, the most obvious addition, the 4K camera. If you’re looking for a powerful drone that isn’t too complicated then this DJI Phantom 3 4K review is for you!
As you’re probably aware, DJI already has 3 versions of the Phantom 3, the Standard, Advanced, and Professional. Each costing $400 – $800 respectfully, as I write this. Earlier this year, DJI decided to do one better, updating the Phantom 3 model with 4K capabilities while keeping it at a low price, which means now that there are 4 versions of the Phantom available. Currently, the 4K model is now the lowest priced drone fitted with 4K camera available, costing just under $700. I personally would put this version between the Advanced and Professional.
If you’d like to read my full review on the previous Phantom 3 models, go here. This review will mainly focus on my experience with the Phantom 3 4K, talking about the capabilities, functionality and usability of this astonishing quadcopter.
Weight: 1280g including the Battery and Propellers
Size: 590mm including Propellers
Max Ascent Speed: 5 mps.
Operating Temperature: 0 – 104 °F
Camera Pictures: 12MP.
Video Recording Modes:
Ultra High Definition UHD (4096x2160p)
Full High Definition FHD (1920x1080p)
High Definition HD (1280x720p)
Supported SD Card Type: Micro SD.
Gimbal Controllable Range: Pitch -90° to +30°
Battery: 2600 mAh LiPo18650 2S
Mobile App: DJI GO
Live View Quality: 480P @ 30fps
Required Operating Systems: iOS 8.0 or later / Android 4.1.2 or later
What’s in the Box?
Included in the box are the essentials including the aircraft, the transmitter, 4 propellers, 1 Battery, 1 Battery Charger, 1 Power Cable, and the manuals.
The accessories include 1 Gimbal Clamp, 4 Shock Absorbers, 1 16GB Micro SD Card, 1 Micro USB Cable, 1 Propeller Removal Clamp and 5 Stickers to customize the look of your quadcopter.
First thing you see when opening the box is the instruction manual, and a bunch of different colored replacement stickers sealed in an envelope. I say this in all my reviews, but please do take the time to read through it as there is plenty of useful and important information on setting up your drone and all the other nit-naks.
Now carefully remove the drone out of the box. It’s quite secure in there with packaging. The camera and gimbal are already attached to the drone which is convenient. I noticed that the controller is identical to the Advanced and Professional versions, however, this one works at a 5 gigahertz band, unlike the Advanced and Pro that work on a 2.4 GHz.
In the battery pack, you’ve got the battery, the charging cable, and a micro-USB cable. The batteries are the same for all versions, however, this charger is a 57-watt, so it takes longer to charge the 4K compared to the Professional which comes with a 100-watt charger. It takes around an hour and a half to fully charge. Don’t forget before flying to also charge the controller.
- 4K Camera up to 30 fps.
- Auto Take Off
- Auto Return Home
- Fail Safe
- Wi-Fi Extender with 3900ft Range
- Dji Go App for the iOS and Android
- Vision Sensor for Indoor Flight
- Point of Interest Orbit Mode
- Follow Me / Waypoint Navigation
- 25 minutes of Flight Time with Charged Battery
The Phantom 3 4K is basically the same as the Professional with some notable changes such as the transmitter now uses a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi video downlink, with the distance range of up to 0.75 miles, (or 1.2km). It’s true that the Professional has a larger range, but with a price difference of $180, I feel this makes the Phantom 3 4K much more appealing.
You know that feeling when you take off and you’re flying, only to check the battery life and suddenly you’ve got just a couple minutes left, and you wish “if only I had two more minutes” … well, if that’s you, DJI have listened and given us just that- an extra 2 minutes of flight time with a fully charged battery, now with a total of 25 minutes.
I played around with the various features and they all worked really flawlessly. The Follow Me feature does what the name suggests, the quadcopter tracks and locks onto your transmitter, so you can move around, or even hop in a car and drive, and the drone does a wonderful job of following you. Always be cautious of obstructions like trees, or power lines. My advice would be to do this in an isolated area.
I particularly love the Point of Interest Orbit Mode. With this, the drone locks onto a “Home Point”, and will orbit around it with the camera fixed, giving you a beautiful shot of its surroundings in UHD. And it’s all autonomous, meaning you don’t have to do any flying till you take control of the quadcopter again.
Unlike the Advanced and Professional which uses Lightbridge technology, the Phantom 3 4K communicates to your iOS or Android device using Wi-Fi. There is now a Wi-Fi extender built into the transmitter, giving you a range of 3937ft with any obstructions of course.
Like the previous models, using the DJI Go app on your smart device provides full HD monitoring in real time, camera controls and further advanced features, like the Waypoint Navigation.
Important: Before you can fly any of the Phantom 3 models, you will have to register your drone over at the FAA website. If you’re caught flying an unregistered drone, you could face some serious punishments, including fines.
With that out of the way, you’re all set for calibration and taking off. To calibrate, you hold the drone in front of you and spin around in a circle, then it will ask you to tilt it on its side and spin again. Next, you’ll want to connect your iOS or Andriod device to the DJI Go app.
To start the motors you push the sticks down towards you, or if you like things easy, you can go for the auto take off from your mobile device. It will then take off and hover above the ground until you take control. I was really impressed at just how stable it was as it was fixed to one spot.
The controls and features feel no different once you’ve taken the quadcopter to the skies compared to the Phantom Advanced and Professional. As with these versions, the Return Home feature comes in handy for a couple of reasons, if you’re not fully comfortable with landing the quadcopter yourself (although, this drone is not quite for you if you’re not at that skill level yet), and if you’re running out of battery. It will autonomously fly back to where it took off from and land itself.
The manual states that the max wind speed the Phantom 3 can take is 10 mph. Given the size and weight of this model, I didn’t feel any wind resistance when I took mine out at around 8 mph according to the weather station. As a rule, I personally don’t like to fly if winds are pushing 5-10 mph. I’ve heard too many stories over the years of drones swirling away in rough winds. I’m a safer pilot and tend not to take those risks.
When it’s time for landing, you can opt for the easy approach again and have your drone land automatically, or bring the quad to a slow descend yourself using the controller. As soon as it touches down, the motors will almost immediately shut off.
Where To Buy:
Below are the links for the Phantom 4K with some additional accessories you might be interested in.
Popular Questions and Answers:
Q: What’s the main difference between the Phantom 3 4K and the other Phantom 3s?
A: The Phantom 3 4K’s camera is capable of filming videos in 4K, while using Wi-Fi to connect and watch live feeds via the DJI Go app.
Q: Does this use the same controller as the Phantom Advanced and Professional?
A: Not quite. While the Phantom 3 4K’s controller has the same functions, it also features Wi-Fi video downlink. The range also differs, offering a signal range of 0.74 miles in open spaces.
Q: Is is the same 4K camera as the Professional?
A: Yes, it is.
Q: How long does the controller take to charge?
A: It takes around 1.5 hours to fully charge.
Q: Can I fly the Phantom 3 4K indoors?
A: Yes, you can. The drone uses it’s Visual Positioning technology, which are visual and ultrasonic sensors that scan the ground when in GPS free areas.
After going into detail and learning more about the Phantom 3 4k, I feel this is a much more improved version of the Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional. Dji could have either jacked up its price or skip this model completely considering the Phantom 4 is due to be released this year, but instead, they’ve given us an affordable quadcopter with a 4K camera that handles exceptionally well.
DJI have taken great care into designing a high-tech drone, packed with many features (some new and old), which can seem a little overwhelming at first. However, at the same time, they keep it user-friendly so you’re not spending hours learning how to fly. Having said that, I feel the more flight time you put in, you improve and learn new things more and more.
I personally wouldn’t recommend this for newcomers to the drone world. It pays to be a little more experienced, especially if you’re main focus is aerial photography and videos.
Thanks for reading this DJI Phantom 3 4K review. I hope I’ve included all the details you were after. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below, and don’t forget to share! To keep up to date with all things drone-related, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Many thanks!