DJI Launches the Phantom 3 at an aggressive price point

Yesterday was the launch of the Phantom 3, with concurrent launch events in New York, Munich, and London.  The fact DJI was announcing the Phantom 3 wasn’t a surprise to anyone but the features together with the price raised a few eyebrows.

This third generation of Phantom comes in two flavours, professional and advanced $999 (£668), the latter with 1080p and the professional $1,259 (£842) version offering 4K.

Given the Phantom 3 offers a version of the Lightbridge (HD video transmission) and position hold via optical flow it borrows the functionality of the Inspire.  Whilst great for new purchasers this feature set has left current owners both Phantom and Inspire alike feeling upset (or in internet speak, feeling butthurt).  Many Inspire owners have said if they had known the Phantom 3 was coming along they would have upgraded to that instead and saved themselves the additional money and also avoided the stress of dealing with repairs which necessitate a return to DJI.

A new feature offered by the software is real-time video transmission, a big thing has been made of this on the internet chatter which is ironic given it actually performed very poorly when demonstrated.  The launch presentation itself generally had a negative response from viewers, feeling haphazard with the presenter seeming to irritate many.

The video made for the Phantom 3 launch made a claim that DJI won’t clarify on Twitter, that being the Phantom “will always come home” as though it was a statement of engineering fact.  It was also noticed at least one of the Phantoms used was faulty and had a broken gimbal which seems a rather counter productive oversight.

In all the excitement, it would be easy to forget that on Monday 3D Robotics announce their new drone, the SOLO, seeing the Phantom’s features people may well already be thinking there’s nothing 3DR can do to top that, but they could be wrong.   Whilst, thankfully for 3DR it went largely unnoticed, photos and information of the specification of the SOLO were accidentally put online but quickly pulled this week, in a unique moment for internet behaviour those that stumbled across the information all  seem to have agreed to show restraint and haven’t resorted to social media to spill the beans.  As we’ve already speculated we believe 3DR is going to narrow the gap with DJI with the release of the SOLO, we’re expecting something special that even the release of the Phantom 3 won’t overshadow.

Some have speculated DJI has priced the Phantom 3 so competitively to put the squeeze on 3DR,  meanwhile 3DR has been creating manufacturing capacity in Shenzhen, China, so could already be prepared.

One thing is for sure, for consumers right now, there’s never been a better time to snap up a fully featured drone.

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