DJI announce details of the Phantom 4

DJI today announced the Phantom 4, which everyone was expecting, especially with the usual SB-DJI photo leaks. We had ourselves speculated on Twitter that the legs would have sense and avoid sensors which turned out to be correct, though the addition of active subject tracking for video was a nice unexpected surprise. It was known the Phantom 4 would have a bigger battery but with a claimed flight time of 25 to 28 minutes, this is an impressive achievement; at the same time though existing DJI owners have expressed annoyance that each generation requires an investment in new batteries.

Whilst maybe coincidental there’s a fair few design decisions in the new Phantom that are seen in 3DR’s Solo, visually LEDs below the motors but most interestingly in the flight electronics with 2 IMUs and 2 magnetometers. In the multicopter community it’s been a source of amusement that DJI owners have to compass dance or calibrate regularly, hopefully with 2 magnetometers this could spell the end to this regular procedure. It does make you wonder if failures in the current generation flight controllers which can be identified in the logs that users have submitted have led finally to DJI having a degree of redundancy.

The biggest disappointment is the same form factor, apart from the fact it’s boring, it keeps the practical problems of the Phantom, that of props getting in shot and it’s likely in high winds that legs may get in shot too. With all the innovation it’s odd this issue hasn’t ever been tackled.

The Phantom 4 retails in the UK for £1229, whilst batteries are £129 each and props are £7 a pair.

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