DJI Phantom 3 Quadcopter – First Look, Review and Rating

featured received a new Phantom 3 Quadcopter (Professional 4K model) at the beginning of May and have been flying it regularly since then. With about 20 flights under our belts, it time to do a First Look, Review and Rating on this new quadcopter.

We purchased the Phantom 3 Pro (4K) direct from DJI’s online store for $1259.00 including shipping and a single battery. At the time of our purchase DJI was experiencing a delay in Apple’s approval of the IOS DJI Pilot App, meaning that only those with an Android device could fly the P3. Luckily, a member of the forums on mentioned that BestBuy was selling a Moto-X phone with no (phone) service included for $29.95 – so with a quick trip to the mall I was ready to fly.

DJI’s (too) Early Release

For various reasons, some of them “inside baseball”, DJI decided to release the Phantom 3 a few weeks before they should have. This has resulted in some “burps” such as the delayed released of the IOS Pilot App as well as some other shortcomings. In the month since the release, many of these items have already been fixed or updated, but they are worth mentioning in an early review. Here are some of the issues:
[Read more…]

DJI Phantom 3 Improvements over Phantom 2 Vision plus

Phantom 2 Vision + (l) and Phantom 3 Pro (r)

Now the the excitement of the initial introduction has passed, it’s time to take a look at the new DJI Phantom 3 (P3) “camera drones” from DJI and see what the actual improvements are over the former Phantom 2 Vision+. Without further ado, here are the major improvements of the P3:

Phantom 2 Vision + (l) and Phantom 3 Pro (r)

Phantom 2 Vision + (l) and Phantom 3 Pro (r)

Note – differences are given in the order of importance – in our humble opinion! This article should be accurate as of May, 2015.

Improvement #1 – Price/Performance/Value
[Read more…]

DJI Phantom 3 and other NAB Annoucements

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 10.28.52 AM

April brings the popular NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show to Las Vegas. This confab has become a popular showcase for the newest in Camera Drone hardware. The show is April 13-16 (exhibits open), but DJI has jumped the gun by introducing their upgraded Phantom 3 series a week early. Here is what you need to know about the DJI, 3DR and other new models being shown.

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DJI Phantom 2 Vision + Long Term Review #2

Torx T8 and Phantom Screws

In part #1 of this long term review, we discussed the basics of getting the P2V+ setup and the first flight(s). As a result, it was time to venture further afield with our test Phantom.

Finding Places to Fly

For some this is very easy – for others a bit more difficult. My current testing grounds in Florida are quite crowded at this time of year – and, frankly, some of the very flat and sparse areas here are not worthy of good photo and video. I looked a google maps and decided to try some tricks to find new flying areas…
1. I put an ad on Craigslist in the photo section – saying I would take some free photos and video for owners of larger property, etc.
2. I contacted the admin of a local botanical park and offered to take video and photos on their 10 acre grounds.

I received replies from both which were promising – the Botanical Garden, Palma Sola Botanical Gardens, was very pleased and invited me up at my leisure to fly on their property! Bingo!
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DJI Inspire 1 quadcopter – introduction

DJI Inspire 1

The Inspire 1 is the newest entry into the “prosumer” end of the RTF (ready to fly) quadcopter market. It is produced by DJI, the makers of the well known Phantom series.

DJI is on track to quickly become a billion dollar company in the year 2016. They grow by staying one step ahead of the competition and delivering as much technology as possible at the lowest price. According to DJI Founder Frank Wang, just the parts for the modern Inspire would have cost tens of thousands of dollars a few years ago. Todays DJI models are one example of Clarkes Law which states:
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

Is it out of our League? focuses on consumer multirotors – those which the hobbyist, technology nut or photographer can use for enjoyment, learning and lower end prosumer or commercial work (real estate, etc.). At about 3K the Inspire 1 is definitely at the upper end of the market. Still, I paid $5200 for my first IBM PC in 1982 (that’s about $15K today!) and purchased it as a “hobbyist”, so although $3,000 sounds like a lot of money, you are certainly getting a lot of technology for the price. Although we are not doing a full hands-on review yet, one of our site partners has just purchased one and we will do some videos as well as a written article on our initial impressions.

What makes a Inspire Different? [Read more…]

DJI Phantom 2 Vision + Long Term Review #1


We first reviewed the Phantom 2 Vision + last summer – see this article. Since that time, DJI has done a major upgrade to to motors, propellers and transmitter. The new version is usually named “V3.0″ and represents, in our opinion, the most mature RTF Video and Photography hobby quadcopter on the market today. This model is by far the largest selling quad of it’s type in the world. This being the case, we decided that a longer term review on a newer model would be of benefit to our readers.

I purchased a new model V3.0 in February of 2015 and am starting to put this bird through it’s paces. At the same time, I am trying to take my own advice (given in our books and many articles here) and be very careful and conservative in our operation…I want to pamper this Phantom so that it survives and serves for as long as possible!

Initial Purchase and Preparation

I purchased the unit direct from DJI so as to make certain we were getting the latest model. The units were/ore on sale for a discounted price of about $1170 shipped with 2 batteries. Current pricing (DJI has a Spring Sale on as I write this post) can be found at the DJI Site, Amazon or your favorite DJI dealer.

Before attempting flight I decided to take a few steps to improve the odds of long term survival:
1. I purchased and installed a “gimbal protector” which holds the gimbal together in the event of a crash or very rough landing. I purchased the Phantom Fix 2 model, although there are other units also on the market.
2. A camera-gimbal protector was cut from a piece of sign plastic and installed flush with the bottom of the landing gear. This also helps protect the very sensitive gimbal in the event of a hard landing or contact with any object from below.
3. Although I purchased prop guards, I did not install them yet – preferring to get the feel of the flight manners of this new version without them.
[Read more…]

Yuneec Q500 Typhoon Quadcopter – First Look

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The electric aviation company Yuneec has released the RTF (Ready to Fly) Q500 Typhoon quadcopter – their first entry into the video/photo category. Despite all of the interest in drones, there are very few models currently on the market which are purpose made for best performance in APV (Aerial Photography and Video. A short list would include these:
1. DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ – This model is – by far – the most popular in the

2. Blade 350QX3 AP - this is an updated model of the Blade 350 which features the same gimbal/camera combo as the Yuneec Q500 - Yuneec makes them for Horizon (owner of the Blade brand). It holds a small part of the market compared to the DJI model and, while it sells for about $200 less, does seem to provide less in terms of a reliable and stable video platform (short flight times, some reliability questions, etc.).

3. This model - the new Yuneec q500 Typhoon.

About Yuneec – The Company [Read more…]

Blade Nano qx First Look and Review


Blade Nano qx First Look and Review – by Kyle B. from the  Quad Brothers.


Blade is the brand name given to R/C Helicopter and Multirotors (Quadcopters, etc.) by Horizon Hobby, an American company which has been in business since the mid-1980’s. They have offices and manufacturing around the globe and, in this sense, differ greatly from many of the current “toy grade” vendors.

Horizon Hobby products are sold through various outlets – including many local hobby shops. You can also buy products directly from their web site or from Amazon and other online vendors like Red Rocket Hobbies.

In this review, our contributors The Quad Brothers will look at the Horizon Hobby Blade Nano QX quadcopter. focuses on beginner and intermediate pilots – so this unit was purchased with a “starter” TX – the Spektrum DX5e. This is also made by Horizon and can be used for many of their other models as well as some other brands which use the DSM R/C technology (this is a wireless protocol type)

For those who would rather watch than read (or do both), here’s our video review: [Read more…]

RCLogger Xtreme 2015 Flight Test and Review(s)


The RCLogger Eye One Xtreme was released over a year ago but suffered from a number of initial QC and design problems. Even so, this little quadcopter became very popular among hobbyists “hackers” who enjoy modifying, fixing and improving stock quadcopters. It also has a loyal following among those who enjoy active acrobatic flight and First Person View (FPV).

RCLogger claims to have fixed most all of the shortcomings and also improved many of the components and systems. Since the Xtreme is one of very few quads in it’s size and price range (200mm brushless), we felt it was worth another look and so ordered and tested a current production model. Note – this was purchased from a New England Dealer in early December, 2014 and is the latest version of both the software and the hardware as of this time (Jan, 2015).

Our original article, by contributor AKCOBRA, is located here.

Appeal to users: Advanced Beginners up to Experts who want the thrill of flight and a platform for acro and FPV.
Type of Quad: Hobbyist/Hacker
Cost: $129-149 with battery, spare props, TX, charger. Add approx. $50 for Aerial kit and extra batteries.
Crashworthiness – Good

The Basics

Less than $150 for a brushless (read about brushless motors here) hobby-grade mid-sized quadcopter? Hard to believe – there are no other quadcopters currently on the market at anywhere near the same price. For example, the Blade 200QX would cost about double the price in a RTF configuration (with TX).
[Read more…]

Drones and Quadcopters at CES 2015


2015 is shaping up to be the true Year of Drones and Quadcopters!

The giant Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas is ground zero for many of the new introductions and upgrades in the world of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, drones, multirotors, quadcopters). Soon after CES closes, there are multiple trade shows in the Hobby world which will provide a further peek into what’s new for 2015! will study the field and give our readers a rundown on which announcements are likely to change the quadcopter landscape, which are too little too late, and which are worth completely ignoring (in our opinion).

Read our Summary at bottom!

Here are most of the consumer quadcopters and drones displayed at the show:

DJI – the current leader in consumer level drones is officially introducing their high-end Inspire 1 Quadcopter.
DJI Inspire at DJI Corporate Site
In addition to actually shipping the Inspire 1, DJI is also introducing a new handheld gimbal (camera stabilizer) which adds value to the Inspire proposition – videographers can now take stable footage from both the ground AND the air.

Hand Held Gimbal for Inspire

Hand Held Gimbal for Inspire

DJI has also hinted at a new Phantom model – but we don’t know yet (as of 1/5).
The rumor is based on this Instragram:
[Read more…]