The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is one of the best entry-level drones we, here at TrendingTechNow, have ever seen. It acts and feels like a professional gadget. DJI just shaved off a few hundred dollars off of its base price making it even more enticing.
It’s a camera drone that bridges newcomers to the world of UAVs, and if you were considering to buy one, check our full, in-depth review to see if it’s worth it.
The thing with camera drones is that they weren’t that great for people wanting to try a new hobby because of the hefty prices. To help bridge more people to the drone medium, DJI drastically reduced the Phantom 3 Standard’s base price.
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– The camera captures video at 2.7K resolution;
– Very stable footable due to its integrated three-axis gimbal;
– Intelligent Flight Modes;
– Can’t upgrade, or remove the camera.
– Landing gear is a little bit annoying.
DJI Phantom 3 Standard Price – $499
DJI Phantom 3 Standard Review
DJI’s line of ready-to-fly Phantom 3 professional and advanced camera drones are incredibly simple to operate. Sure, there are other drones out there that have the same features, but the DJI Phantom 3 is the most polished entry-level UAV we have ever seen.
From unboxing the drone, to taking it for a spin, we’ve had no major problems – the landing gear is a little bit of a nuisance, but otherwise just a ton of fun, and beautiful pics.
Yet, given that it’s a Standard entry-level model, you won’t have as many features as the professional DJI drones. It lacks VPS – Visual Positioning System; which other Phantom 3 DJIs have. VPS lets you easily operate the drone indoors.
The Standard Phantom 3 uses only GPS to position itself outdoors, while the others more sophisticated models – Advanced, and Professional; use GPS paired with GLONASS, which provides more accurate data.
Another big difference between the Standard and its older brothers is the controller. The Professional and Advanced models come with the company’s proprietary Lightbridge technology, which offers better footage transmission as well as increasing the range up to 3.1 miles (that is 5 kilometers).
However, I found that it worked perfectly fine even without Lightbridge – there were no connections lost. The only thing that was mildly upsetting is the fact that transmission range has been reduced to a 0.62 mile cap (that is 1 kilometer).
Instead of Lightbridge, the Phantom quadcopter controller is built with a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi range booster. The controller is set on a 5.8GHz frequency.
This aerial photography drone’s controller is also quite limited when compared with flag-ship models. It doesn’t have buttons for starting or stopping video-recordings, nor for taking pictures.
You control the device, camera setting, as well as tilting the camera up or down, by using the the DJI Go app for Android and iOS. Take note, that the Phantom 3 Standard works well with a smartphone. If you plan on using it with your tablet, then I have some bad news for you – you’ll simply be torturing yourself.
You can make the drone come home by flicking one of the switches found on the controller. There’s no subtle Return-to-Home button, commonly found on more expensive drones.
The camera is quite great. Yes, it isn’t 4K-capable, but hot damn 2.7K is just enough to stir your curiosity and satisfy your enthusiast needs – at least, for now.
It uses the same lens as the Advanced and Pro – the wide-angle, 94-degrees, distortion-free f2.8 lens. It can shoot videos at 30 frames per second, and if you don’t want 2.7K, you can switch it to 1080p. Yet, there’s no 60fps in the lower resolution setting. You are still stuck at 30 frames per second.
Furthermore, the DJI Phantom 3 can shoot pictures at 12-megapixels – available in both JPEG and Adobe DNG raw formats. Via the Go app, you can change the shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation, and you can order it to do some time-lapse photography, burst shooting, and even exposure bracketing.
The big upside, and at the same time downside, with the Phantom 3 drone is that it uses Intelligent Flight batteries. Meaning, it checks individual cells to see if they’re healthy or not, via the Go app. The company notes better flight-time – up to 25 minutes; which is quite great, but the downside is that older batteries won’t work, and if you bought more than a few, you’re in for a tough time.
In our tests, the quadcopter soared the sky for north of 22 minutes – given that wind poses a factor of battery draining, as well as taking into consideration the take-off and landing, it did fairly well.
20-25 minutes is about average for what you can find in this quadcopter class, and price range.
In order for you to make the most out of those minutes, the company recommends you use the Phantom 3 with Intelligent Flight features such as waypoint navigation, Follow Me, as well as the POI – point of interest; flight planning function.
With the waypoint navigation you can set the drone to follow a predetermined path, while you control the camera. While point of interest will allow the drone to do circles around a subject, keeping the camera centered on it.
The Follow Me feature is self-explanatory. The drone will follow your every move when holding the controller.
These modes can be accessed by flipping down the S1 switch – it can be found on the right side of the controller.
Video quality is more than fine. The Phantom 3’s gimbal maintains the camera stable even when put to face high-wind conditions. It does a pretty great job of adjusting to lighting changes, but as every other small-sensor cameras on the market, it struggles a bit.
You’ll also notice the odd horizontal banding, from time to time. It’s a rolling shutter artifact, commonly found on this kind of camera.
Yet, regardless of these minor flaws, video quality borders greatness – especially for the low price of $499.
My only complaint is that you are stuck with the camera DJI builds into its Phantom 3 Standard. You can’t remove it, nor you can upgrade it.
DJI Phantom 3 Standard Verdict
It’s bargain at $499 and if you’ve been putting off buying an entry-level drone, now it’s the time to order one.
It’s incredibly polished, and taking a look at what can be found in its price range, it immediately turns into a must-buy drone.