DJI Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Pro

What we like:

  • Collision avoidance (all models)
  • 5-way collision avoidance (Pro)
  • Best-in-class bit rate (100Mbps-Pro)
  • Best-in-class stills (20MP-Pro)
  • Extraordinarily stable

What we don't:

  • Very expensive batteries

The DJI Phantom 4 ($1199) and Phantom 4 Pro ($1499) offer the height of the current evolution in the Phantom series. The Standard includes a forward-facing collision avoidance system, while the Pro boasts an impressive 5-direction collision avoidance system that not only keeps you from running into obstacles during forward flight, but keeps you from running into them in side flight, reverse flight, and during descent.

With the Phantom Pro 4 you get some serious upgrades to the controller and the camera. The controller has an integrated screen, and the transmission system can (automatically) choose between 2.4Ghz and 5.8Ghz standards to pick the one with the least interference. This will increase your range and decrease the video latency drastically.

And the camera? The Phantom 4 Pro is the only drone in this price range with a 1-inch sensor, which can capture both UHD and DCI 4K/60p video, making it the only drone in its class with this ability. And the bitrate? How does 100 Mbps sound? Pretty darned good for a small drone… that’s how it sounds!

The Phantom 4 Pro is the only drone in this price range with a 1” sensor, and can capture both UHD and DCI 4K/60p video, making it the only drone in its class with this ability.

The Pro also captures best-in-class 20MP still images and is capable of shooting 14fps in burst mode, and it saves images as DNG Raw files. It gets better though. It can also do 3-5 exposure bracketing. So, those HDR photos you love to do? Now you can do them with proper bracketed exposure, rather than just mimicking HDR by using one image and making it brighter and darker.

However, don't scoff at the Phantom 4 Standard's camera. It's the same very good camera you'll find on the Mavic, but with a wider-angle lens, and can capture UHD 4K/30p and 12MP DNG Raw still images.

The DJI Phantom 4/Pro duo has an impressive 28-minute flight time. Want extra batteries? Prepare to shell out some cash. They run $159 each!

The Phantom 4 Pro exceeds every drone in this list (in every way... including price). It’s right at the upper-limit of our price range at $1,499. But, if you consider that just 2-years ago most of these features weren’t available at any price, and that to match the camera's capabilities you needed a $10,000+ heavy-lift drone to carry a DSLR, you just can’t help but be impressed. It’s not quite as portable as the Mavic, but if you’re a pro looking for a small drone, do you really need that degree of portability? You’ll take image quality over portability any day (and twice on Sunday).

DJI Phantom 4 Rating (based on the Phantom 4 Pro)

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