DJI Phantom 4

this is the DJI phantom 4 this is actually the first drone I’ve ever used and it’s a pretty expensive investment at $13.99 but the great thing here is that it’s a highly autonomous drone so it’s very hard to crash it very hard to lose it and it’s very user friendly now getting to the unboxing the box itself fits right at home in an Apple store which is where I pick this up it’s very minimal all white with the Phantom 4 on the front and of course around the side we’ll find some of the specs and its compatibility now toward the top we’ll find a nice padded handle this is actually part of the carrying case within the box this is what houses the DJI phantom 4 and we can reuse that so we’re going to slice off the tape in order to open up the box and inside we’ll find that padded styrofoam box let’s go ahead and pull that out of the box and the first thing you’ll see here is that it does have some DJI phantom4 branding on the outside now of course this isn’t the most sturdy case if you want something a little more durable you can go with something else now laying this box flat you can see we have a latch which is surrounded by a seal we can go ahead and peel this off and the latch is really easy to operate you just pop it out twist it and lift up and there you go you have your DJI phantom4 and all of its accessories neatly packaged and ready to be unboxed so front and center is the DJI

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phantom4 with its battery pack and SD card already installed now of course the blades have been removed and we’ll get to that in just a moment now the camera and gimbal are cradled with this apparatus which you can snap off and on and you want to use this when you repackage your DJI phantom 4 so you want to keep this but again once you remove this the camera just sort of flops around until you turn it on now the berry pack comes pre-installed and it’s pretty easy to remove you just pinch the clips at the top and bottom to free it up once you remove it you can see that most of the Phantom 4 is just a hollow shell for that battery pack you can see all the electronics on the inside on the right and left side we also have warning labels by each motor and you can peel this off once you’ve read them next up we have the big remote controller and this is covered in plastic and it’s all folded up for us so we’ll have to unfold it and remove all the plastic and we’ll explore this in just a moment we also get some essential accessories like a micro USB cable and a micro USB to USB a after this is used for transferring firmware files from your tablet or phone to your DJI phantom4 we also get this DJI microfiber pouch which houses two sets of blades so it’s a total of eight blades so if you break one you have some replacements and of course you can buy them separately the blades themselves are wrapped in plastic as well and you have to peel this off in order to install them next up we have our huge power supply also wrapped in plastic now this power supply has two different connectors the large connector is for the battery pack for the DJI phantom 4 drone the other is a connector for the remote controller so you can charge both of them at the same time and lastly we have our paperwork which includes a Quick Start Guide some regulatory and warranty information and everything you need to know about flying a drone and all the warnings that come with it so taking a close look at the DJI phantom4 toward the back we have our battery pack of course we also have our battery status indicator on the back along with our power status down below we’ll find our 4k camera which records video at 30 frames per second you can record at 1080p at 120 frames per second as well now this is a three axis gimbal which keeps the camera very steady it also allows you to pitch the camera in any direction down below we’ll find a bunch of sensors this is the vision positioning system this uses two sonic sensors and two optical sensors this is used primarily indoors when you lose GPS lock we’ll also find plenty of ventilation and there is a fan that runs in here when you turn on the drone along the side we’ll find a microSD card slot and the micro USB port for

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transferring photos or flashing firmware to your drone now they do include a 16 gig micro SD card because there is no internal storage on this device this drone does feature two front-facing optical sensors for sense and avoid technology so this is able to avoid obstacles in its path and will automatically adjust to avoid them now this only works in the forward motion so if you’re going side to side or backwards you can still run into things each motor also features LED lights and this is used to determine orientation and status of your drone so the two LEDs on the front of the drone are illuminated in red in flight and this indicates the forward direction or forward position of your drone the two lights on the back should be illuminated in green which indicates the rear direction these lights are also used to communicate status the drone so for example if you need to connect your remote control to the drone the flashing yellow now if you look closely at the motors themselves you can see the fastening mechanism for the blades and it’s pretty simple in order to fasten them all you have to do is push down and twist and those indicators are on the blades themselves now to make it easy to determine which blade goes with which motor the blades themselves have color indicators on the top the black rings go with the motors that have the black dots on the motor mounts now for the silver ones you have no dots on those mounts they’re just white now if you look at the bottom of the landing gear has this nice rubber foot so when you land your drone you don’t scratch it up now take a look at the remote controller it’s quite large it’s almost as large as the drone itself so we have two antennas on the back this is a 2.4 gigahertz appliance so operates on the digital frequency for remotely controlling your drone in addition to feeding live video so on the top we have our left and right joysticks and this is used for flight so the left stick is used for altitude in addition to pivot so you can pivot in place or raise the height or lower the height of the drone we also have the right stick and the right stick is used for directional flight so if you want to go forward or back or sign the sign that’s what you use we also have this return to home button this is a very useful button so if you lose sight of your drone before it takes off it records its GPS home location so if it receives the command to return home it will actually fly itself back to that location it doesn’t return exactly to the same spot it took off from but they get you in the ballpark it allows you to regain access to it once it’s in your location also along the back edge on the left side is our gimbal dial this allows us to pitch the camera up and down also on the left side is a record button for recording video and on the right side we have a pause button for pausing video playback or video recording and we also have these show the release for taking the photograph also along the bottom are these two customizable buttons now by default the see one button pivots the gimbal straight down so you can see quickly what’s below you to land your drone without issue and then the c2 bond is used for camera settings we also get two USB connections a standard USB connection and a micro USB connection now this connection is used for connecting your devices so for example in my case I’m going to use an iPad and this connects via a lightning cable now the remote controller requires the use of an app that runs on either an Android or iOS device and that can be a tablet or a smartphone so we have this big armature that folds out and allows you to resize it for either a tablet or a smartphone so if it’s a tablet of course you want to expand it out now this is works great for an iPad air or an iPad pro nine point seven inch you’re not going to get an iPad pro twelve point nine inch in here now if you’re going to use a smart phone there are two clips at the bottom that you can fold out that allows you to resize it for a smaller screen next up we are ready to start flying now to power on the drone you double press the power button and hold on the second press until you hear a tone it will run through a diagnostic and warm-up sequence and you’ll see the motors twitch we also have to power on the remote control the same way so you double press the power button holding on the second press until you hear it click on and lastly we need to connect our mobile device and activate the DJI Go app so next up we need to start the motors in order to do that you can pull back on both joysticks toward the center and this will activate the motors now I’ll stay on the ground until you actually change the altitude so once you increase the altitude you’re flying off the ground now if you don’t have GPS lock this thing will tend to wander but if you have GPS lock they’ll actually stay in place and it’s pretty rock-solid now in order to turn off the drone you just have to land it so you pull back all the way on the left joystick until it lands and land softly thanks to its vision detection system and then you continue holding until it powers off the motors so in terms of the live video feed you can go about 500 meters but you really want to maintain line-of-sight with a drone even if you can’t really see it you just want a clear path to the drone so there’s no interference with your radio signal now the drone is smart enough so if you get too far away and you lose radio contact it automatically sends itself back home and again before it takes off it records its GPS home location so knows which way home is and again it has all these sensors to avoid obstacles on that trip back home now in terms of video quality it’s really smooth and we have 4k resolution so we’re able to see a lot of detail especially with those wide high altitude shots it’s actually kind of unreal even on the windy day the camera is so stable that actually looks like it’s just parked up there on top of a building or on top of a crane now the camera quality is so good that on the sunny clear day at a high altitude I can actually see the buildings of downtown Detroit which is 40 miles from where I live in Rochester now in terms of low-light performance it’s definitely not the best camera in the world you’re going to see a lot less detail and quite a bit more noise but you’re still able to get some interesting results in low-light conditions especially from a high altitude now in terms of obstacle avoidance it works pretty well in most situations so it’s able to see buildings or large solid trees but when it comes to certain other trees with more wiry branches it doesn’t always see them in fact a few trees in my yard got clipped by the drone because obstacle avoidance wasn’t able to see some of the branches sticking out so you have to be pretty careful in certain situations it’s not entirely foolproof but it actually works pretty well next I want to try and take a quick look at the remote control app for the drone itself so you can see right now I have a live video feed from the drone and since it’s right in the house right now it doesn’t have a GPS lock or as reliable GPS lock but you can see up here we have all these status indicators which tells me the reception of the GPS antenna as well as the remote controller the quality of the video feed as well as the battery life you can tap on these to expand them out to find about more details or change the settings same with the image transmission setting so you can change this you can see the frequency it’s using that sort of thing now in terms of the video feed it is about 720p at best but there is a lot of color Distortion so really it’s just in order to see what you’re filming not the actual quality the extra quality is much better than what you see live on the tablet but you can also see all of your camera settings you have your camera controls right now you have your current GPS location your orientation flight speed and altitude now in terms of operating in the camera it’s somewhat similar to using a smartphone so when you tap on the screen this locks exposure to that specific point if you want to release it you have to hit the X icon you can also see that we have video or still camera mode so if you want to take a photograph you just snap your photograph takes it records it directly on the DJI phantom4 and then we can record our video so this records via again directly to the SD card in the Phantom 4 like so and then when you’re done recording it you can actually play it back over wireless to your tablet so it’s not recording on the tablet it’s just recording on the drone and you can access it live from the drone next I want to take a look at some of the automated flight modes that we can pick from so we have normal right now which basically means that the be controlled by the remote controller but we have some of these automated flight modes like tap flight so if we pick tap fly we can go through tutorial if we want but it’s pretty basic so I’m going to go ahead and click exit so if we’re in flight and we see a building we want to fly to all we have to do is tap it on the screen and it will go directly to that and you can also change its speed so you can go all over 222 miles per hour we also have active track and this is some of the simulates attempt to fly it but in this case it’s actually able to follow the subject that you’re tapping on and if it sees any obstacles in its flight path it will try to avoid them we also have these intelligent fly modes and includes point of interest so we can specify a specific point that the craft can fly around so we can specify a specific speed and altitude and it will automate that action which is kind of nice because you can’t really do that using the manual controls we also have follow me this is pretty self-explanatory this will actually follow your location as you’re walking so either you’re driving or you’re biking or just walking the drone will follow you and keep the camera locked on your location and of course it will avoid obstacles if it detects any we also have home lock and this is great if you lose sight of your drone so if you pull back when we’re in home lock this will AMA CLE take it back to its home location and if you push forward this will drive it away from the home location so you don’t need sight levant you don’t need to worry about its current orientation we also have course lock this is somewhat similar to a home lock but basically this locks the trajectory of the drone so if you want to fly in the straight line while being able to move the camera around side the side without changing your direction you would use course lock next up let’s check out the general settings panel and these are broken down into these tabs so we have main controller settings we have our visual navigation the remote controller our video feed our battery settings our camera settings and our advanced settings now under main controller settings we have our multiple flight modes which is off by default you can turn this on but we have those three positions available from a switch on the back of the remote controller now if you have this on you probably want to spend mostly roof time in the people which uses all of its sensors in order to avoid obstacles to find this current GPS location and that sort of thing but if you want to go ultra fast we have sport mode which turns off all of those sensors allows you to get up to a 45 mile per our maximum speed and then we also have a which is attitude mode which also turns off most of those sensors to give you a lot more flexibility next up we have maximum flight altitude which is by default 120 metres if you want to go higher you can change that right here you can also enable max travel distance so by default I think it’s a hundred or thirty meters so it doesn’t let you go very far and you can turn this off entirely so there’s no restriction in terms of distance it can travel but you can see it can travel all the way to 3,000 meters in terms of restriction but of course you’re likely going to lose radio contact anyway at a distance beyond 400 meters or 500 meters unless of course you’re using one of the automated flight modes another neat feature now available is YouTube or Facebook live streaming so you can stream live video from the drone to those services using this app now in terms of obstacle avoidance we have quite a few visual navigation settings to take a look at here so we can turn on for an obstacle sensing this will explore exactly how this works but in terms of those automated flight modes such as tap and fly active track and a few others you can see that we can enable a horizontal obstacle avoidance so if you send it to a location using tap and fly this will actually avoid obstacles and fly around them and with active tracking if the subject is actually approaching the aircraft this will actually allow it to fly backwards to avoid it so generally speaking the DJI phantom4 is extremely easy to use but there is a learning curve you want to make sure you understand the limits of your drum you understand the settings of your drone and you don’t want to make any assumptions about the drones behavior in any given situation so you don’t want to just fly it into something assuming obstacle avoidance is going to work because your settings may not be set correctly so just be cautious and make sure you fully understand how the drone works before you are more adventurous with it the only other thing I would recommend is purchasing a second or third bearing because the value doesn’t go very far goes about 20-25 minutes depending on how you’re using it the more aggressively you’re using the drone in flight the quicker it blows through the battery and once the battery reaches a certain threshold about 30% it starts limiting its functionality so definitely keep some extra batteries around if you plan to use 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