DJI Phantom 3 Standard Review
Many people are looking to make their first drone purchase but don’t know where to start. The most expensive and flashy quadcopters get all of the love on social media and youtube, but there isn’t a ton out there that can tell a beginner where to get started.
For those just getting started in flying, there are several factors to consider. Ease of use, durability, price, and the user experience are crucial parts of the purchase. A good experience with a first drone can foster a lifetime of curiosity, learning, and fun, while a poor experience can lead people to turn away from the technology. We think the Phantom 3 Standard from DJI is exactly that drone, one that is a great middle range starting point for those just getting into drones.
Bottom line Phantom 3 Standard review: It is easy to use, budget friendly, and full of solid camera and flying technology. It’s not a toy, but a great first drone.
Phantom 3 Standard Features
Solid Build Quality
Plastic, but firm in the hand
Max Speed: 35 MPH
Zippy enough for most
Flight Time: 25m
Load up with an extra battery and you’re all set
2.7K & 1080p Video
2.7K | 1080P up to 30 FPS
Total manual control over ISO, shutter speed, and bracketing
GPS, multiple flight modes
Not as far as the pricier DJI drones, but enough for the beginner
The Perfect (Intermediate) Starter Drone
The Phantom 3 Standard is the most ubiquitous drone you’ve likely seen. It has the stock white color, four arms with propellers, and a camera mounted on the bottom. The entire vehicle is powered by a controller which feeds a heads up live video display to the pilot’s connected tablet or smartphone.
Here’s how a typical flight works with this drone, from start to finish (note: this is after installing the DJI GO app and completing any firmware updates. We’re also assuming that the FAA rules are being followed):
- Pilot sets up the drone on a stable surface, spins on the propellers, and inserts the battery.
- Before turning it on, the pilot will connect his or her smartphone or tablet to the controller via a USB cable and starts up the DJI app
- The pilot turns on the drone by pressing a button on the battery, steps back, then turns on the controller to connect the app to the drone
- The pilot engages the controls and starts the drone. Then they are able to control the camera settings, direction and flight path. Off to the races!
That should help clarify why this drone isn’t a toy. It’s more technical than some of the cheaper drones, that just have up, down, left, right controls, but the complexity isn’t too much to handle for the average person.
It’s the opinion of this Phantom 3 Standard review that this drone is the perfect starter for aerial photography. The 12MP camera is the same as the more advanced Phantom 4 Pro and Mavic Pro models, and includes a full site of manual controls like shutter speed, ISO, and exposure. It does sacrifice the 4K video capability for 2.7k, but most users will find that 1080P is enough for editing and sharing on multiple devices.
The camera is located on a 3-axis gimbal that rests underneath the body of the drone. The gimbal is controlled via a wheel on the remote control, and makes for smooth shot panning and excellent precision when filming video. All the pilot needs to do is insert an SD card into the drone, film and photograph, and then load the SD card into a computer when finished. The DJI GO app also has the capability to save pictures and videos directly to your smartphone or tablet for instant sharing.
There are a few risks to the design of the Phantom 3 Standard as compared to GoPro based drones or drone platforms that host a camera on the bottom. If the drone should crash for any reason and damage the camera permanently, it’s likely that the entire drone will need to be replaced because the design isn’t fully modular.
Phantom 3 Standard Review: Final Verdict
This Phantom 3 Standard review has covered most of the user experience and trade offs that one must consider when buying a drone. For the beginner who wants 1080P HD video and the ability to take great aerial pictures, this is the perfect introduction. For those with a bigger budget, DJI’s Phantom 3 Pro, Phantom 4, Mavic Pro, or Inspire 1 series are always waiting. However, when it comes to drones you should walk before running, buzz around before long range flying. The Phantom 3 Standard is a serious contender and really does an outstanding job balancing features, ease of use, and price.
Bottom Line – Phantom 3 Standard Review: Get this drone if you want to step your drone game up without breaking the bank. HD video, 12MP pictures, and 1000m of range is serious hardware.
- 720p live video downlink from the drone to display
- 2.4 GHz wifi transmission
- Remote camera controls that allow the user to frame shots and control camera direction
- In flight telemetry data like ground speed, height, and distance from home point
- Return to home feature for lost connections
- Intelligent flight modes like orbit, follow, and waypoint
For a first drone, these features are a fairly comprehensive suite. The return to home feature is good for a pilot’s peace of mind, and the intelligent flight modes are a nice introduction to drone flight automation as well. The features are easy to use and can expand the quality and use cases for your drone in number of ways.
The Phantom 3 Standard does have software trade offs for the price, however. There is no active vision positioning system, meaning that if you choose to fly indoors, the drone only relies on GPS (not the best ides). The range is also reduced from 5km+ in other DJI models to 1000m. The transmission method is wifi-based, so there is an increased risk of interference in heavily populated areas as well. If you can live without those features, the Phantom 3 Standard is a good balance of value and performance.
“The DJI Phantom 3 Standard was the perfect introduction to aerial photography. I’m hooked!”Local drone hobbyistClick Here
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