DJI Phantom 3 is probably one of the greatest drones to roll off the production lines at DJI. However, unknown to most people, there are three versions of the Phantom 3, the standard Phantom 3, Advanced, and the Professional. That was until the top drone manufacturer went a step further to launch the Phantom 3 4K. The fourth model provides unbelievable 4K qualities at a very affordable price, and it holds the world record for being the cheapest drone with a camera that can give 4K ultra HD quality videos.
It had a price tag of $999, but DJI offered a discount that saw 200 USD shaved off from the price. It goes for less than $799, and with its features, it fits well between the Advanced and Professional models of the Phantom 3 series. Not only do you get an amazing camera, it also has safety features, autonomous flight modes, available for the top drones under the DJI brand. A fully charged battery gives a maximum flight time of 22 minutes. However, it has various drawbacks, but it serves as the best alternative if the other DJI drones such as the Phantom 3 Professional, Phantom 4, or the Mavic series are out of your price range.
We took the DJI Phantom 3 4K drone and took it through a set of rigorous tests to ascertain the authenticity of the manufacturer’s description. Give a few drawbacks; it is a drone worth buying. Here is an overview of the DJI Phantom 3 4K specs.
Flight time: Approximately 25 minutes
Flight range: 1200 meters (FCC approved)
Camera: Sony EXMOR 1/23’’ CMOS FOV 94O 20 mm f/2.8 with infinity focus
Sensors: Front of the drone
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Controller: 5.725 GHz – 5.825 GHz frequency transmitter
Controller battery: 2600mAh (15.2v) Li-Po 18650 2S
Dimensions unfolded: 8.0 x 13.8 x 13.8 inches
Battery type/size: 15.2v 4480mAh Li-Po 4S
Battery replaceable: Yes
Charge time: 1.5 hours
GPS positioning: GPS and GLONASS dual positioning module
MicroSD support: Up to 64GB
Mobile app: DJI GO for iOS and Android
Wi-Fi technology: 3900 feet range
VR support: N/A
Special features: Yes
Smooth 4K video recording
Very stable flight
Easy to fly
20 mm wide angle lens
22-minute flight time
Automatic takeoff and landing
Raw JPG still capture
Rotor blades appear in the footage
It takes more than an hour to charge the battery
Limited transmission range
You must have an iOS or Android device
Phantom 3 4K: In-depth View
Now that we have seen the quick overview, there is more than meets the eye. In this section, we will look at the specs in more detail. Let us begin with the unboxing.
Phantom 3 4K : Package
The DJI Phantom 3 4K package has
1 DJI Phantom 3 4K quadcopter drone
1 remote controller
4 rotor blades
1 15.2v 4480mAh Li-Po 4S intelligent battery
1 57-watt battery charger
1 power cable
1 gimbal clamp
1 16GB microSD card
1 rotor blade removal clamp
4 shock absorbers
1 micro USB cable
5 stickers to customize the Phantom 3 4K
The DJI Phantom 3 4K needs little assembly since the gimbal and the camera are already attached, so it is a matter of powering it up and its ready to fly. The remote controller is identical to that of the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional models, it uses a 5GHz band compared to that of the Advanced that uses 2.4GHz band. After you have spent the battery, it will take approximately one and a half hours to charge using the 57-watt charger provided.
Phantom 3 4K: Design
The DJI Phantom 3 4K incorporates the design and various features you can expect from the other Phantom 3 models, but it is a clear improvement of the Standard and the Advanced models. The Sony EXMOR 1/23’’ CMOS FOV 94O 20 mm f/2.8 is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal. Since it weighs more than 2 pounds, you will have to register it with the FAA before flying it in the USA. Despite the fact that it comes with a remote controller, you will have to hook up an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi or the provided USB cable.
This is a ready to fly drone with no installations required only that you need to attach the rotor blades and charge the battery. It is perfect for people with varying drone-flying experience thanks to its flexible accessibility. Whether you are a cinematographer, drone hobbyist, drone racer, or a professional who wants to reduce the risk of accidents climbing up or down dangerous place for inspection, the DJI Phantom 3 4K will be the best purchase you can make.
Phantom 3 4K : Camera
The DJI Phantom 3 4K comes with a built in Sony EXMOR 1/23’’ CMOS FOV 94O 20 mm f/2.8 attached to a 3-axis gimbal with pitch ranging from -90o to +30o. The camera will be able to take stunning 12-megapixel JPEG and RAW stills. You also be able to record DCI 4K at 24 frames per second and ultra HD 4K at 30 frames per second. However, the DJI Phantom 3 4K supports 2.7K (which is the maximum in the DJ Phantom 3 Advanced) at 30 frames per second as well as at 720p or 1080p at 60, 48, 30, and 24 frames per second.
The DJI Phantom 3 4K has a video bit rate of 60Mbps similar to that in the DJI Phantom 3 Professional, Inspire 1, and DJI Phantom 4. The camera lens has a 94o viewing angle similar to a 20mm lens on a full-frame professional camera. In the earlier models image distortion was evident, but with the camera on the DJI Phantom 3 4K, you will hardly notice it. The footage and images are stored in the 16 GB microSD card, though you can also fit a 64 GB microSD card to reduce the number of times you need to create more space for more footage.
Phantom 3 4K : Remote Controller
The Phantom 3 4K remote controller is similar to that of other controllers and it has the typical smartphone and tablet holder, two joysticks, two antennas, and various buttons and status LED light. It also has a trainer port, a gimbal control dial, and a throttle-locking element. It is an improved version of the Phantom 3 Advanced controller which uses a 2.4GHz band while that of the DJI Phantom 3 4K uses a 5.725GHz – 5.825 GHz band for an unobstructed video transmission. You will be able to fly the DJI Phantom 3 4K from close to 2,000 feet away in a rural setting and 850 feet in a crowded urban setting without interference.
You can link your mobile device to the controller using the DJI GO app thanks to the enhanced Wi-Fi range extender built into the controller and it has 3-quarters of a mile range, which is equivalent to 1.2 kilometers. The controller has easy and intuitive controls that make controlling the DJI Phantom 3 4K naturally simple. There are dedicated buttons for recording video and taking photos, tilting the camera, as well as directing the drone along your desired flight path, as well as bring it back to the take off location. The remote controller uses a 7.4v 2600mAh Li-Po 18650 2S battery.
Phantom 3 4K : DJI GO Mobile App
The DJI Phantom 3 4K app needs a mobile device be hooked to the remote controller to experience the FPV capabilities of the drone. The DJI GO app is available on iOS App store or Google Playstore. The app is universally compatible with most of the DJI drones and it gives you the power to capture and share all your amazing footage. It is built for upgraded usability and all you have to do is connect your device to the controller, launch the app, and start flying. For beginners, you get an interactive flight simulator, where you can practice and perfect your flaying skills in a virtual environment.
You can watch live HD video directly from the drone, and you can adjust the camera and gimbal settings, and line up the drone for the perfect shot with the full camera controls on the screen. The DJI GO app also allows you to stream the live HD video to YouTube during flight, and it comes in handy during drone racing competitions with spectators from around the world. When using the app, the footage is saved automatically to your device for easier previewing and editing. You also get a video editor, comprehensive media library, live map and radar, as well as detailed flight data for each of the footage you have recorded. Better yet, with the DJI GO app, you can manage your DJI account hassle free.
Phantom 3 4K : Battery and Flight Time
The DJI Phantom 3 4K uses an intelligent flight 15.2v 4480mAh Li-Po 4S battery that gives the drone approximately 25 minutes of flight time on a single full charge. More so, you get a battery charge indicator on your screen and how much flight time you have left. This is based on the altitude, distance, and it will tell you when to bring back the drone. It takes approximately one and a half hours to charge the battery using the 57-watt charger and it is prudent that you purchase extra batteries to reduce the downtime during charging. The battery weighs 365 grams; it will give of an energy of 68 watt-hour at an operating temperature range of 0o to 40o centigrade.
Phantom 3 4K : Flight Performance
With the intelligent flight battery giving a flight time of up to 25 minutes, the DJI Phantom 3 4K can fly up to speeds of 52.5 inches per second ascent at 16.4 feet per second, and descent at 9.8 feet per second. The camera gives an ISO range of 100-3200 for video and 100-1600 for still photographs. The maximum image size is set at 4000 x 3000 and when you are giving chase to a fast moving subject, you will love the 8s – 1/8000s shutter speed lens. Right from takeoff, the drone remains under your control and responds intuitively to your commands even when handling the most complex of flights, at the same time giving you clear footage and sharp still images.
Each of the four motors has the power and precision required to give you the best possible flight experience. The DJI Phantom 3 4K uses brushless motors and coupled with lightning fast ESC propellers, it makes the drone fast, responsive and agile. What this means is that you can quickly speed up, stop immediately, or increase and decrease the altitude. As soon as you release the joysticks, the DJI Phantom 3 4K is designed to stop and hover in place. The DJI Phantom 3 4K also has aerodynamic self-tightening rotor blades that improves thrust and will not come off irrespective of your flying style. These features gives the DJI Phantom 3 4K unmatched propulsion, except for the more advanced drones under the DJI brand.
There is always the fear of losing a drone, but with the GPS, you can keep track of your drone no matter how far you fly it. It also has bright LED lights that make it easy to spot when flying at night or in dark spaces. After the battery drains, recharging is easy and you might want to invest in extra batteries when you are away from a power source.
Phantom 3 4K:Value for Money and Guarantee
Without a doubt, investing your $800 on the DJI Phantom 3 4K is one of the greatest uses of your money you will ever make. It not only has the features and the functionality of much pricier drones, it is easy to fly, and the DJI GO app makes all the difference. Unlike other drones where you have to buy additional software, the drone is compatible with most of the popular smartphones and tablets running Android version 4.1.2 or later as well as iOS version 8.0 or later.
The manufacturer warranty stands at 12 months, but you will find used DJI Phantom 3 4K at a much cheaper cost and a much reduced warranty. However, DJI does not have a guarantee on various parts of the drone such as the propellers, frame, and the landing gear. This ought not to be a concern for worry, as they are cheap to replace. The customer care representatives are friendly, professional, and eager to help you. The value for your money comes in the form of the high resale value of the DJI Phantom 3 4K. When looking to upgrade to a much pricier drone, you only need to add a few extra dollars after the selling the DJI Phantom 3 4K.
The DJI Phantom 3 4K is a truly amazing drone that has the basic features of the DJI Phantom series, and it also comes with a few extra features that make it one of the best drones in the market today. The features include
- Beginner Mode
This is one of the best safety features on a drone today. It is built to help first time drone pilots learn how to fly in a safe and limited space, before they get the hang of using the joysticks. You can set the DJI Phantom 3 4K to fly within a limited distance as well as altitude. This prevents losing the drone when you fly it out of an area you are familiar area. You also get an intelligent flight system that helps you fly as you learn and figure out which button or joystick does what.
- Vision Positioning
There are days when you cannot go out of the house due to rainy or snowy weather, or want to inspect a project in hard to reach places of a building, tunnel, et al. The DJI Phantom 3 4K has vision positioning software that makes indoor flying easy as well as in areas where you cannot get GPS. The drone incorporates ultrasonic and visual sensors to scan the ground on which it is flying for patterns which enables it to identify its position with greater accuracy.
There are drones that require you to calculate when it is the best time to call back the drone to the takeoff position. The DJI Phantom 3 4K like the other drones from the brand, you get a return-to-home feature. When it senses that the signal getting weaker or the battery getting low, it shifts to autopilot mode and makes a beeline to the takeoff position.
Although you can hardly find a drone with 4K quality camera at the DJI Phantom 3 4K price, there are some that come close to it in terms of flight features and ease of use. Here are some of the similar models.
1 Hexo Plus
The Hexo Plus is a tad bit more expensive than the DJI Phantom 3 4K drone but it has similar functionality and accessibility to that of the Phantom 3 4K. It has a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour and has a GoPro action camera compatible gimbal as well as automated camera movements. It is a perfect drone for taking hi-res selfies and is compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices.
While it lacks a camera, and the beginner mode, it has amazing automated flight modes such as Follow Me, as well as various automated camera moves. A powerful battery that gives it approximately 15 minutes of flight time and it has six rotor blades. It has 360 Shot that allows you to select a subject and the Hero Plus will orbit it with ease. It has Fly In and Fly Out functions that mimic the cinematic crane shots. The video and image quality is dependent on the action camera you mount on the gimbal, however for best results use a GoPro.
2 3D Robotics Solo
This is another of the drones similar to the DJI Phantom 3 4K. It comes ready with gimbal stabilizers, and it is capable of getting stunning stable and sharp stills. It has a return-to-home feature and it is compatible with iOS and android mobile devices. It has a black frame with bright LED lights under each of the four rotor blade struts for easy spotting when flying in the dark. Unlike most drones that have the battery sliding into the frame, the 3d Robotics Solo battery locks in at the top of the drone.
The remote control has a built in LCD screen that displays flight data, battery status, and other settings such as the gimbal settings. However, it also has a mobile device clip. You also get a HDMI video output if you prefer to get to fly using FPV goggles. A fully charged battery gives you 20 minutes of flight time which is close to the DJI Phantom 3 4K’s 23 minutes. The video and the photo quality depend on the type of action camera you use with the Solo.
Flying Experience – Taking Control & How it Works
You will need to ensure that the remote controller, mobile device and the drone are linked before you fly. Of greater importance is that you ensure that the batteries on the drone and the controller are both fully charged to get the most out of your flying experience. Here is how to link a new remote controller
- Turn on the new remote controller and attach the mobile device to the clip
- Launch the DJI GO app
- Turn on the intelligent battery on the drone
- Tap on the ‘camera’ and click on the remote controller button then tap the ‘Linking RC’ button. The status LED indicator will blink blue meaning that t6he remote controller is ready to link
- At the side of the drone, you will find the linking button to connect the drone with the remote controller; press it to link. The status LED light will blink green when the linking process is complete.
Before you get the hang of flying using the controller, the DJI GO app gives you the full controls to fly the DJI Phantom 3 4K at the touch of the screen. This is however limited to forward flight only. The right joystick controls the flight angle, whether forward, downwards, and sideways. The left joystick controls the rotation and the altitude of the drone. However, you can configure one of the two joysticks to act as the throttle.
The DJI Phantom 3 4K combines the best features of the previous popular Phantom drone features with that of the more advanced drones under the DJI brand. Be sure to research on the seller when buying it online since there are certain resellers especially on Amazon that are not authorized and hence do not give warranty for the DJI Phantom 3 4K drone. Grab this amazing drone, rank up your flight hours, and become a pro ready for the more advanced and pricier drones.