DJI Phantom 3 Expert review: Magnificent 4K aerial video footage that does not cost a fortune

DJI Phantom 3  With Camera
DJI Phantom 3 With Camera

DJI’s Phantom series have actually come to be a standard for customer drones – or quadcopters, if you like – many thanks to their straightforward configuration, simplicity of flying and also relatively low cost. The existing king of the lineup, the DJI Phantom 3 Expert, increases bench even higher with the enhancement of 4K video clip recording from its secured electronic camera.

Its design is almost unmodified from the previous Phantom 2 series, with a beefy white plastic body, and also it’s still incredibly easy to learn to fly. It has boosted image sensing units also, which give exceptional footage compared to previously offered, as well as ground-scanning sensing units to help it fly inside. If you intend to take your house movies to the next level, but don’t want to fork out the many thousands for professional-level drones, the Phantom 3 is an exceptional beginning factor.

There are presently three versions of the drone readily available. The Phantom 3 Professional (which I review below) fires video clip in 4K (3,820×2,160-pixel) resolution and retails for $1,259, £ 1,159 or AU$ 1,950. The Phantom 3 Advanced is functionally identical, however shoots video clip in 1080p (1,920 x1,080); it costs $999, £ 899 or AU$ 1,550. Both of those debuted in April, but they were simply signed up with by a third model, the extra affordable Phantom 3 Conventional ($ 799, £ 649 or AU$ 1,299), which strips away some of the far better functions of its sibling versions and includes the exact same controller as the older Phantom 2 Vision+. (Meanwhile, DJI has likewise scheduled a press conference in L.a later on this month, making another brand-new drone news likely.).

Ultimately, the Advanced is arguably the sweet place, given the fact that its 1080p video clip will greater than suffice for many eyes (discerning the added information on 4K displays is an obstacle, to say the least). But for those that should have 4K, the Phantom 3 Pro provides best-in-class video for numerous thousands much less compared to you’ll pay for professional drones.


The DJI Phantom 3 With Camera looks basically identical to DJI’s previous Phantom models: a stout white plastic body, four blades and narrow, fixed landing legs slung underneath. It’s light enough to bring in one hand and, when you loosen the rotor blades, it’s just about little enough to match a sizable backpack. It’s absolutely much more portable than the much larger Inspire 1 drone.

It feels also constructed as previously, with the ability to survive both the weird bump into a wall or a tiny collision while you’re getting the hang of flying it. I took care of to fly it right into the roofing of my house where it plunged 3 floors to the lawn below. In addition to a few cosmetic scuffs, it was absolutely fine, as well as continuouslies fly without any difficulty.

The rotor blades are easily replaceable if you break a couple of. Simply loosen them from the motors on each of the drone’s four edges. You’ll know how you can do it already, since the blades are the only components you need to construct out of package.

The controller is about similar to previous versions, with two main sticks as well as a clamp to hold a table – I used my iPad Mini without a trouble – which works as the display for the drone’s video camera by means of the DJI Pilot app. There are little, fold-down brackets to hold a smart device, with the app optimized for use with the apple iphone FIVE, 6 as well as 6 And also. It was easier, nonetheless, to see the footage and also utilize the application’s little on-screen switches on the tablet’s bigger display. Android gadget support is thin, with simply the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Keep In Mind 3, Sony Xperia Z3, Google Nexus 7 II, Google Nexus 9, Xiaomi Mi 3 and also ZTE Nubia Z7 mini provided.

On each leading corner of the controller are switches for beginning and also quiting recording and rapidly altering electronic camera settings like the direct exposure and also angle of view. Making use of these physical controls is much easier than jabbing at the tiny on-screen controls while the drone is air-borne.


Beginning with the drone is exceptionally simple. When you take it out of package, simply start billing the battery as well as the controller (a supplied lead fees both with one plug), as well as download the DJI Pilot app onto your iOS or Android tool.

As soon as every little thing is billed, activate the controller as well as the drone, pop your phone or tablet into the bracket and also link your mobile device with its common charging cable to the controller. After that, after a couple of basic actions on the application, you’re linked as well as ready to go – around 5 mins of messing around had me up and running.

Before you remove for the very first time, you could make use of the app as a training overview. You pilot an online drone around a field on-screen, allowing you to familiarise on your own with the major controls, without running the risk of smashing your new plaything into a tree. However, the very first time you use it needs to remain in a very open space, and you must stick to basic manoeuvres till you master it.

When you initially obtain your drone, it’s worth checking DJI’s downloads website for any type of readily available firmware updates – oddly, I really did not see an update notice in the application, despite the fact that there was one to download and install. Upgrading the video camera firmware is a lengthy procedure, albeit rather simple. You’ll need to stand out the camera’s microSD card into your computer system, download the firmware, unzip it and also put it on the card. After you place the card back right into the drone and also turn it on, it’ll take about 20 minutes to install it, beeping during.

Flying the drone.

The DJI Phantom 3  is every bit as simple to fly as its predecessors. Even simply 10 minutes of laid-back flying around an open location is sufficient time to learn the essentials. It helps that the drone is extremely receptive and could increase – and also, extra notably, decelerate – incredibly rapidly. If you see you’re getting as well near to some trees, a quick activity on the stick will quickly change its training course to get you from trouble or merely return the stay with neutral to stop it in its tracks.

At close range (as much as around 30 metres, or 100 feet) I locate it simple to pilot the drone simply by looking at it. Once it obtains a little bit further away– or it’s over you, noticeably lost versus the intense sky  – after that it’s more convenient to utilize the video camera sight on your tablet computer, seeing just what it’s seeing, to help browse. It instantly remedies for wind, so minor gusts won’t toss it off course, however trying to obtain closeup footage of a twister is not a great idea.

New sensors under of the drone factor down as well as detect patterns on the flooring to secure on to, in order to stay steady when flying indoors, where a GENERAL PRACTITIONER signal (made use of for stability outdoors) isn’t really offered. Although you could practically fly any one of the previous drones indoors, the brand-new sensors give far better security, making it able to hover in a fixed area with no control from you. This made a huge distinction in my screening as I was able to fly the drone from inside my living room from the window.

Certainly, you need to be far more careful compared to when flying outdoors as there are different variables making it much less secure. Traveling above an ordinary surface, for example, will offer the electronic cameras absolutely nothing to lock onto, as well as over regarding 2 metres (6 feet), it does not spot the ground at all and could conveniently start to drift off training course. I managed to crash it inside the CNET workplace when I flew it concerning 6 metres (about 20 feet) above the floor and it had not been able to hold its placement. It was, fortunately, unharmed.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone reckons you could get around 20-23 mins of flight time from a complete charge of the drone’s battery, which I would certainly say is precise. It does rely on exactly how intensely you’re flying however, so if you do plan on truly hitting full throttle at high altitudes, expect a little much less time. That’s quite common for this kind of drone, it’s still very limiting if you want to take it away to a specific location to record video footage.