UPDATE: The Phantom 4 has been introduced starting at $1399. It has a number of improvements over the Phantom 3 line. Here is the DJI order page which contains specs and more.
Update 2: DJI has just announced sale pricing on the Osmo (handheld gimbal/cam) and Inspire product lines. I was tempted and bought an Osmo ($569 now- down from $649) which I will review. The Inspire is still expensive – just less so! Check out the sale prices at this link.
NOTE: The Phantom 4 is not available yet on Amazon and/or at dealers due to limited quantities and the introductory pricing (according to DJI). DJI claims shipments start in 2 weeks – how quickly you will receive yours depends on when you order.
The Phantom 4 is a refined Phantom – the next step up from the Phantom 3 Professional. Here is a listing of the refinements and their relative importance to most mid-level hobbyist pilots.
1. Longer Flight Time (28 minutes) – this is not important to most pilots since most pictures and video can easily be taken in the 15-20+ minutes that other models fly.
2. Better Lens on the Camera – this is an improvement on the Phantom 3 Pro camera, however it would not be of great importance to most photographers.
3. Heavier duty construction of the shell and camera/gimbal – this is a nice upgrade for those who use their Phantoms often (travel with them, etc.).
4. Obstacle Avoidance in forward flight – this is a truly new and revolutionary feature that allows the Phantom to stop immediately if it senses an obstacle (building, trees, etc.) in front of it. Whether or not this is of use to you depends on your flying grounds and the care you take as a pilot. As an example, I am a conservative pilot so have never flown my Phantoms into any obstacle in the past 3 years. But newer pilots who desire the utmost in “insurance” may enjoy this feature.
Our First Take
The Phantom 3 is NOT being replaced or discontinued. Rather the new Phantom 4 is an upper-end evolution of the Phantom line. The majority of newer buyers should still consider the P3 line – it is more than good enough and costs much less. The Phantom 4 is tailored more for the “prosumer” as well as those who have extra money to spend and want the top of the line. If your garage contains a BMW or Lexus, you may want to take a look at the P4. If it has a Camry, Accord or Passat you’ll be a P3 buyer.
Which Phantom should you Buy?
With a total of 5 models now available, a new buyer might get confused. Let me instead suggest which model NOT to buy and then list the others with a basic recomendation.