Oh, another sneaky drone, creeping through my bedroom window to steal my dreams.
Let’s clear something up: drones are not quiet. Those swoopy shots you see on nature programmes, or the increasingly ubiquitous drone-flown long shots used by news presenters – they’ve edited out the ear-melting 'BRAAAAAAAAAHHH' of the motors. If a drone can ‘sneak’ into your bedroom (or prison) you’re over-dosing your sleeping meds.
Mmmm. Sleepy juice.
This particular drone, though, might deliver you dreams. If what consumes your subconscious is a better version of DJI’s Phantom 4: one with a 1-inch, 20MP camera sensor; one with the ability to capture slow-mo-ready 4K at 60fps; one with a 100mbps bit pipe. A DJI Phantom 4 drone that, brazenly, has a Pro in its name. A DJI Phantom 4 Pro.
Are they good, then, those numbers?
Well, yes. You can just take our word for it or… OK, we’ll spell it out. The non-Pro Phantom 4 has a smaller 1/2.3in sensor, can only do 60fps at 1080p resolution, and only at a bitrate of 60mbps. And is, technically speaking, really old and dumb.
Dumb? I thought the Phantom 4 was an object-following, obstacle-avoiding swoop monster?
That was then. Now, the Pro has improved FlightAutonomy systems that scan all around and underneath itself, up to a distance of about 30 metres, enabling it to to fly out to your chosen destination, and return, in even the most challenging landscape.
Or, with the new controller’s Draw Mode, you can splodge out a flightpath on the screen with your finger, then let the Pro figure it out in realspace. ActiveTrack following has some new modes, flying time is a few minutes longer, video compression is now H.265 – you’re getting the gist. ‘Pro’ equals better.
‘Pro’ equals pricier, mostly.
Yeah, the tag has climbed to a somewhat loftier altitude. The Phantom 4 Pro starts at US$1500, and that’s without the extra batteries and carry case and whanot that most buyers will want. There’s always the foldy, fun and (fairly) affordable DJI Mavic, if you’re struggling. Or, conversely, there’s the super-spendy Inspire range, actually designed for pros yet not given a ‘Pro’ title.