The Next Phantom Quadcopter Drone – Phantom 3

Last October, I listed Drones for Under $2000.  A week later, DJI announced a new quadcopter drone, Inspire 1, which was notable, but far above the $2000 price point. This week, DJI announced the third incarnation of it’s original Phantom, which now incorporates some features from Inspire but retains the more affordable price tag of the Phantom line.  Here are the broad brush strokes.

Phantom 3 (DJI press release photo)

Phantom 3

  • Improved camera system supports video and stills. Phantom 3 “pro” supports 4K video resolution.
  • 3-axis gimbal, similar to Phanom 2 Vision
  • The new gimbal seems to pan, unlike its predecessor on the Phantom 2 Vision+
  • Digital video downlink sends live video feed to your mobile device on the ground (up to 720p)
  • Downward-facing visual and ultrasonic sensors allow position hold without GPS (indoors), like the Inspire 1
  • Improvements in motors and motor control provide better stability and longer battery life.

Phantom 3 vs Inspire 1

  • Inspire 1 is larger than Phantom and can fly faster
  • Inspire 1 allows unobstructed 360 degree camera rotation – retracting landing struts will not obstruct the view.
  • Inspire 1 supports dual pilot operation.
  • Phantom is theoretically much more durable than Inspire
  • Phantom costs far less than Inspire
  • Phantom provides a slightly longer flight time.

Not to be left behind, 3D Robotics will soon release their new quadcopter, currently known as SOLO.

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