Ever since DJI unveiled the Phantom 4, we wondered how long it would be until it added more models to the range. It turned out that instead of making a cheaper version, DJI bolted on even better camera and obstacle avoidance systems to make the Phantom 4 Pro. Then it released a ‘Plus’ version of that which included a remote control with a (very good) built-in screen.
Now, at IFA 2017, it has announced that both the P4 Pro and P4 Pro Plus come in a new colour: Obsidian. This is matte black, and the remote comes in a matching hue. The only other change is that the camera and gimbal have a magnesium, electroplated anti-fingerprint coating, but the camera itself remains unchanged.
When is the Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian release date?
You can pre-order the Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian from DJI’s website and other retailers, including Heliguy, but it won’t be delivered for at least a couple of weeks. DJI says that the first Obsidian versions will ship in September 2017.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian price
There’s also the option of buying a P4 Pro with an upgraded controller (see below). This is called the Phantom 4 Pro Plus and you can buy it from retailers including Heliguy for £1819.
Extra batteries cost a whopping £172 each and you can buy the official backpack for transporting it for £169.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro vs Phatom 4
There are two main upgrades from the Phantom 4: the camera and the obstacle avoidance system.
The camera now has a 20Mp camera with a 1in sensor. DJI says that it has “almost 12 stops of dynamic range which bring out levels of detail and low-light performance unprecedented in a flying camera of this size”.
It has a mechanical shutter to eliminate rolling shutter distortion in fast-moving scenes, and it can can record 4K video up to 60fps at a maximum bitrate of 100Mb/s (and now in H.265). This is good if you prefer 60fps over 30fps or you want to shoot slo-mo in 4K.
The ‘FlightAutonomy’ system adds cameras on the back legs and infrared sensors on the sides for avoidance all round – not just on the front and underneath like the Phantom 4.
FlightAutonomy can position, navigate and plan routes, and it can avoid obstacles up to 98 feet away at front and rear, even in complex environments. There’s also a Landing Protection function which can detect and help avoid landing on uneven ground or water.
The Phantom 4 Pro uses the same battery as the 4, but now has a higher capacity and provides up to 30 minutes of flight time. It can fly at 31mph with obstacle avoidance, but this goes up to 45mph (like the Phantom 4) in sport mode.
There’s a new security features: if the Pro loses GPS signal for 60 seconds, it will return to the position where it last had a signal and hover there, waiting for you to control it. It also has a better return-to-home function that works up to 984 feet away, and avoids obstacles on the way.
As well as the modes available on the Phantom 4, the Pro has a Draw Mode that lets you draw lines on the controller display and direct the Phantom 4 Pro to fly that route. Also, AR Route allows you to see the flight route on the screen.
ActiveTrack can identify people and bikes, and can follows them from any angle while maintaining camera focus. Three new modes were added when the P4 Pro launched – Circle, Profile and Spotlight.
The P4 Pro can fly through narrow doorways thanks to the better obstacle avoidance. And there’s TapFly Free where the drone will fly in whichever direction you tap on the screen.
The remote is a bit more compact than the Phantom 4’s, and if you opt for the ‘Plus version’ you get a remote with a built-in 5.5in screen that is clearly visible in direct sunlight, thanks to the fact it’s rated at 1000cd/m2 brightness. It provides the kind of telemetry data you’d get in the DJI GO app as well as a 1080p live video feed from the main camera.
It may look the same as the Phantom 4’s transmitter, but the new controller is quite different inside as it has a built-in GPS, compass, Micro-SD card slot and HDMI port. Plus, the Phantom 4 Pro will automatically choose between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz for the best signal in areas with high radio interference.
What’s the same?
At a glance, the Phantom 4 Pro looks just like the Phantom 4, with the same white glossy finish. It also has the same propellers and quick-release mounting system.
There are tiny design changes underneath: the light covers are different as is the design of the vents. Minor things, really.