DJI Phantom 4 review

DJI's Phantom 4 adds groundbreaking object avoidance plus an improved high-quality, robust build

DJI Phantom 4

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The Phantom 4 is a steady evolution of DJI's design, and as with the Phantom 3 Professional the intelligent flight features and ease of control make it an ideal choice for anyone new to drones.

Photographers will welcome the more robust construction, materials and new object avoidance sensors, although there's little between the Phantom 4 and Phantom 3 in terms of video quality or general flight performance.

We liked

When you turn up at a job you want your kit to be ready in as short a time as possible, and the Phantom 4 fits this brief perfectly; simply click on the props, fit the battery and power up, and within a minute or two, GPS connection permitting, you're ready to fly.

The new object avoidance system works well, intelligent flight features such as Follow Me mode and ActiveTrack work well, and the waypoints feature has loads of potential if used professionally, as well as just being great fun.

We disliked

Yet another change in the design of the battery means anyone upgrading will need to buy a whole set of new batteries, and they're not cheap. The video quality at 120fps isn't great compared with the excellent quality that can be captured at all other resolutions and frame rates.

The app is fully featured, enabling access to all of the drone, handset, gimbal and camera settings; however, some of these settings aren't always responsive, and it takes a while to get used to the different approaches for accessing the various options.

DJI is constantly updating the firmware to improve features, and while this is done with the best of intentions it can become annoying when you're frequently prompted to download and install the latest version.

Final verdict

The DJI Phantom 4 is the most complete aerial imaging solution out there at the moment. It features an impressive 4K camera that has plenty of options and, most importantly, delivers excellent image quality. Video and stills footage can be tailored to your needs with auto and manual adjustments.

DJI's LightBridge technology enables a smooth, uninterrupted live view feed direct from the Phantom 4 to your smartphone via the app. The feed is clear and fast, enabling you to easily compose your shots and get a good idea of exactly what's being captured. The intelligent flight features, including object avoidance, bring another level of interest.

Building on the success of the Phantom 3, the Phantom 4 is exceptionally easy to fly and captures stunning footage, making it a great all-round choice for any photographer or filmmaker.

Stay safe

If you've own a Phantom 4 and would like to know more about how and where you can fly then check out the Fly ICARUS course run by the guys at Aerial Motion Pictures.

The course outlines everything you need to know about flying your Phantom 4 for recreational use. You'll discover where it's safe to fly and the team leading the course will demonstrate a variety of best practices and show you how to keep your drone and equipment in the best flight ready condition.

If you're looking to fly a drone for commercial use then you'll need a Permission for Aerial Work (pfaw) certificate or equivalent licence for your territory. For more details on courses check out and the ICARUS course.

Imaging Lab Manager

Ali Jennings is the imaging lab manager for Future Publishing's Photography portfolio. Using Imatest Master and DxO Analyser he produces the image quality tests for all new cameras and lenses review in TechRadar's cameras channel. Ali has been shooting digital since the early nineties and joined Future's Photography portfolio back in 2003.