First look: DJI's iOS-connected $1499 Phantom 4 Pro with enhanced autopilot modes, 1" camera sensor
DJI on Tuesday unveiled a new upgrade for its prosumer-level iOS-connected aerial camera drone, aiming the Phantom 4 Pro at users who want high-quality images and more advanced autopilot functions.
The Phantom 4 Pro has been upgraded with a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor with almost 12 stops of dynamic range, improving both detail and low-light performance. It can also capture slow-motion 4K video up to 60 frames per second at a maximum bitrate of 100mbps, while also offering H.265 video compression.
AppleInsider sat down with DJI representatives at the company's New York offices last week, in advance of Tuesday's announcement, for a sneak peek at both the Phantom 4 Pro and the professional-grade Inspire 2.
Of particular note with the $1,499 Phantom 4 Pro is improved "FlightAutonomy" technology, utilizing three sets of visual systems that build a 3D map of obstacles in front of, behind, and below the aircraft. It also adds infrared sensing on both sides.
With the new autopilot functions, the Phantom 4 Pro can fix its main camera on a subject, while utilizing environment sensing cameras to safely fly in a completely different direction from where the camera is pointing.
DJI says the new system can avoid obstacles in a sensing range up to 98 feet in front of and behind it.
And though legacy Phantom 4 batteries are compatible, the Pro model ships with a new high-capacity version that provides up to 30 minutes of flight time. The device can also fly at 31 miles per hour using obstacle avoidance, while user-controlled sport mode has a top speed of 45 miles per hour.
A new safety feature has the aircraft return to its last connected position within one minute of losing GPS signal. The Phantom 4 Pro will hover in that spot until receiving command from the pilot.
And a new return-to-home function lets the Pro know where it is going from up to 984 feet away with obstacle avoidance. A new AR Route feature also allows pilots to command a flight route on their iPhone or iPad display.
At $1,499, the Phantom 4 Pro ships with a standard controller that can be connected via Lightning to an iPhone or iPad for live HD video.
For users who want better performance in direct sunlight, DJI is also offering a $1,799 version with a new remote controller sporting a high-luminance 1,000-nit display. The optional upgrade boasts the same features as the DJI Go app available for free on iOS, though the controller itself also adds built-in GPS, compass, micro SD card slot and HDMI port.
On the higher end, DJI also unveiled its new Inspire 2 drone on Tuesday, featuring lower weight and increased stiffness with a magnesium-aluminum alloy body. The new design allows for a top speed of 67 miles per hour, while acceleration to 50 miles per hour takes just 4 seconds.
With a new dual-battery system, the Inspire 2 is capable of up to 27 minutes of flight time. It also includes a new forward-facing camera, allowing the pilot to view where they are flying irrespective of where the drone's camera is pointing.
With a new image processing system dubbed CineCore 2.0, the DJI Inspire 2 captures 5.2K video at 4.2Gbps. It's compatible with Apple ProRes 422 HQ (5.2K, 4K) and ProRes 4444 XQ (4K), as well as Adobe CinemaDNG, H.264, and H.265.
Preorders for the Phantom 4 Pro begin Tuesday with the first units shipping next week. The Inspire 2 will begin shipping with a X5S camera bundle for $6,000 in December, while the airframe and camera separately will arrive in January, with the Inspire 2 starting at $3,000.