DJI Phantom 3 vs. Phantom 2 (Updated Feb. 2016)
Updated April. 2016
The DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter heralds the next stage of the consumer drone revolution. At first glance, the Phantom drone 3 looks identical to the Phantom 2--and in many ways, it is. But DJI's made tweaks under the hood in their latest creation. Here's a look at how the Phantom 3 and Phantom 2 are similar and different.
Interested more in evolution than revolution, the Phantom 3 is identical to the Phantom 2 and the Phantom 2 Vision+. Those looking forward to an overhaul of the Phantom 2's styling are understandably disappointed to see the main cosmetic difference is really just a new set of gold or silver stickers. But with the how popular the Phantom 2 and its subsequent iterations have been, those wanting a huge change were in the minority.
The Phantom 3 camera includes a 3-axis gimbal and camera, with the quality of camera varying depending on the model you choose, as seen with the Phantom 3 Professional (Gold) and Phantom 3 Advanced (Silver). More on the two cameras later in this guide, but the key difference between the Phantom 3 and Phantom 2 is the gimbal and camera are now stock. Prior to the Phantom 3, drone enthusiasts could purchase a Phantom 2 on its own and modify it with their choice of camera and gimbal. With the Phantom 3, DJI has inserted its own camera and gimbal to make the drone ready straight out of the box.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The Phantom 2 continues to be a huge success in the industry because of its tried and true performance. To date, the Phantom 2's flight capabilities remain the gold standard in terms of reliability. With DJI making little reference to changes in the Phantom 3's flight capabilities, the manufacturer is content to keep the same performance standards in place for its newest model--ease of flight, up to 25 min. of flight time, superior control, etc. Those that have gotten their hands on the earliest versions of the Phantom 3 also seem to agree, noting that pilots that already have a Phantom 2 shouldn't expect the P3 to maneuver differently...with one key exception: indoor flight.
Taking a page from its pro-model, the Inspire 1, DJI has fitted the Phantom 3 with Visual Positioning System (VPS). This upgrade allows Phantom 3 pilots to fly indoors without having to rely on GPS for stability. As an added benefit, the new Phantoms will be able to take off and land with a simple push of a button.
Drone World offers the Phantom 3 in two versions: Phantom 3 Professional (Gold) and Phantom 3 Advanced (Silver). Both come with a pre-installed three-axis gimbal and camera, with the major difference coming in camera quality. The Phantom 3 video in both versions is HD.
You've probably already surmised that the more expensive Professional has the better of the Advanced in terms of resolution. Fitted with a 4K camera, it has the best resolution of any stock drone to date. The Pro can capture in 4K video up to 30fps, while the Phantom 3 Advanced captures 2.7K. The Phantom 2 Vision+ only manages 1080p video and 30fps.
Pilots of the Phantom 3 will have DJI's Inpsire 1 to thank for the software upgrades on the new model. Contributing the VPS to the Phantom 3, the Inspire 1 is also to thank for the Lightbridge software add-on that comes standard on both Phantom 3 models. Benefits of this upgrade include an enhanced range of up to 1.2 miles for the P3 and live-streaming HD video from the drone's camera. This tops the Phantom 2's range of about 0.6 miles.
DJI has also upgraded its DJI Pilot app technology in the Phantom 3 making it the most social media friendly drone to date. The result is better camera controls in flight and an enhanced sharing experience. Pilots of the Phantom 3 can livestream directly to YouTube and even use the app to edit footage on the spot and upload it to the web.
Be sure to check out Drone World's excellent selection of Phantom 3 bundles, Phantom 3 kits, and Phantom 3 accessories. We offer premium Phantom 3 cases, Phantom 3 batteries, Phantom 3 range extenders, and much more.
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