DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Last updated date: July 31, 2019

DWYM Score
8.8

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.

We looked at the top 1 Drones and dug through the reviews from 9 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, Tom's Guide, CNET, Digital Trends, Wired, New York Times Wirecutter, PC Magazine, The Verge, Tech Gear Lab and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Drone you should buy.

Overall Take

The high price puts this drone under scrutiny when compared to others in its range. But the reliability and performance put it above all others, as well. If you're looking for a drone that includes plenty of flight modes and top-quality obstacle avoidance, this is the drone for you. In our analysis of 92 expert reviews, the DJI DJI Phantom 4 Pro placed 1st when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note August 1, 2019:
Checkout The Best Drone for a detailed review of all the top drones.

Expert Summarized Score
9.3
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.6
1,045 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
With unmatched performance and overall reliability, it's no surprise that this is one of the top sellers in its category.
- BestReviews
Longer battery life. Faster flight. Excellent image quality. App is straightforward and easy to use.
- Tom's Guide
The DJI Phantom 4 is a very polished drone compared to its competition, and for those who've flown a quad before, you'll have no trouble getting started with this one.
- CNET
5-direction obstacle avoidance. Excellent camera. Plentiful flight modes. Long flight time. Outstanding range.
- Digital Trends
Overall, however, the Phantom 4 Pro+ is the best drone I've ever flown. It lacks the compact portability of the new DJI Spark or last year's DJI Mavic Pro, but image quality on the P4P+ really blows those out of the water.
- Wired
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is a drone better suited for advanced filmmakers and photographers. It is more refined, with a 20-megapixel ...and more advanced collision detection.
- New York Times Wirecutter
September 27, 2018 | Full review
Easy to fly. Extremely stable. Obstacle avoidance. Incredible operating range with 720p Live View. Return-to-home and other safety features. Automated flight modes. High-speed Sport mode. Smooth 4K video capture. 20mm wide-angle lens. Subject recognition and tracking. Raw and JPG still capture.
- PC Magazine
We’ve called the Phantom the iPhone of drones, both because it was our top recommendation, and because each new version got slightly better without dramatically changing the core feature set. The Phantom 4 shatters that comparison, making an evolutionary leap.
- The Verge
March 10, 2016 | Full review
Perfect for those that want professional quality video and don't mind sacrificing a built in controller screen to save a little money.
- Tech Gear Lab
What experts didn't like
Complicated instructions mean a steep learning curve for many owners.
- BestReviews
Collision avoidance is not foolproof. Some modes disable collision avoidance. Flight modes are confusing. Occasionally catches sight of itself in video. Expensive.
- Tom's Guide
The Obstacle Sensing System only sees things in front of the drone. You still need a tablet or phone ready to go along with the controller and drone battery. Extra batteries are expensive. Landing gear and camera are fixed to the body, so you can't collapse it entirely for travel and if you break or want to upgrade the camera, that's not an option.
- CNET
Optional touchscreen controller is a $300 add-on.
- Digital Trends
What's worse is that it's supposed to record audio from the remote control so you can talk though your flight for the live video, but once the drone launched all it recorded was a loud clicking sound.
- Wired
It’s priced above our $1,000 sweet spot, but if you are an advanced shooter and have the money, the Phantom 4 Pro is the best all-in-one drone available right now.
- New York Times Wirecutter
September 27, 2018 | Full review
Pricey. True mission planning requires third-party app.
- PC Magazine
Personally my only hesitation in buying this drone is that DJI has already shown off something even better than the Phantom 4 on its development drone, the Matrice.
- The Verge
March 10, 2016 | Full review
The only disadvantage to opting for the Phantom 4 Pro over the Pro+ is the controller, which lacks the built-in screen of the Pro+'s controller...We found that attaching a smartphone the to Phantom 4 Pro's controller is more than adequate...
- Tech Gear Lab

From The Manufacturer

Auto takeoff and auto return home with GPS technology, makes controlling easy. App enables monitoring/camera operation easy Capture 4K ultra HD video at 30 fps, supported resolutions include: 12.0MP (4000 x 3000) photos. The f/2.8 lens with a broad field of view delivers crisp, clear images Gimbal stabilization technology, along with a hover function allows you to capture smooth, clean footage while the camera is in the air Use DJI director software with a built-in video editor to add music, text, and more to your videos, Please Note: Kindly refer the User Manual before use.

Overall Product Rankings

1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 9
2. DJI Mavic Air
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 9
3. DJI Spark
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 9
4. Parrot Mambo
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 6
5. Holy Stone Wi-Fi FPV Drone
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 4
6. DJI Mavic Pro
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 9
7. Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 6
8. UDI HD+
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 8
9. 3D Robotics Solo Quadcopter
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 7
10. Parrot Bebop 2
Overall Score: 6.9
Expert Reviews: 9
11. GoPro Karma
Overall Score: 6.8
Expert Reviews: 7

An Overview On Drones

Though their development dates back to World War I, drones — also referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles  — have become increasingly popular in recent years. These small gadgets fly through the air without an onboard pilot. Instead, they’re steered and controlled by a user from the ground, often with a remote control or a smartphone app.

Drones are useful for a number of tasks, including surveillance, security, aerial photography, surveying and recreation. More recently, police departments and emergency services personnel have been using them for an array of tasks, including during searches, rescue operations and natural disasters.

Many commercial businesses like Amazon, UPS and Domino’s are considering how to use drones for day-to-day operations like package delivery. Drones are also useful for crop management, building inspections and storm tracking.

The distance your drone can fly varies from model to model, depending largely on battery life and the reach of its on-board receiver from the remote controller or your smartphone. Although most drones will offer very little in terms of battery life, you can get more from some models than others. It’s also important to pay close attention to charging time since a quick charge can get your drone up and going faster.

In addition, some drones come pre-equipped with a camera, while others require the use of a gimbal to manually mount a camera. The gimbal setup often leads to a clearer picture or smoother video capture because the camera is a bit farther away from the vibrations caused by the rotors.

Photography has become a top selling point for drones. Professional photographers have found them invaluable for capturing those otherwise hard-to-get aerial shots. If you’re interested in shooting photos or video from the clouds, know this up front and look for a model that supports high-resolution photography and high-definition video.

Editing is also a consideration. Some apps are better than others at this, including filters and sharing capabilities. Whether you’re a photography hobbyist or not, being able to easily share the images you’ve shot across your social media sites may make some drones better choices than others.

Before you start shopping, it may help to set a budget. Drones can range in price from $100 to more than $1,000. While the higher-priced drones do offer advanced features, if you’re just looking to have a little fun, you may be fine with a more basic model.

DYWM Fun Fact

The Federal Aviation Administration is the government body responsible for regulating drones. According to the rules, you’ll need to register your done and be sure to keep it below 400 feet off the ground. You’re also not allowed to fly over stadiums, large groups, events or anywhere near emergencies (which seems like it should be a no-brainer!). Laws can vary from one jurisdiction to the next, so check before you start flying. In addition to legal concerns, there are also some privacy issues associated with drones. If you’re flying your camera-equipped drone over neighbors’ homes, for instance, you may find you get complaints, especially if they’re trying to enjoy some private time in their own back yard. You may even get into legal hot water if you’re posting photos and video of your neighbors online without their permission.

The Drone Buying Guide

  • Before purchasing a drone, consider your skill and commitment level. Some are labeled “ready to fly,” meaning they require very little or no special training to use. Others are designed for more advanced users.
  • Another factor to consider when it comes to drones is portability and design, especially if you’re short on storage space at home or plan on taking it with you on a trip and won’t have a lot of room. The DJI Mavic Air folds up, with the thumbsticks able to be stored under the arms that hold your phone. The DJI Spark, on the other hand, doesn’t fold easily but is so small and lightweight, it’s still fairly portable. The only issue is that the arms don’t fold into its body, so you may worry about breaking the rotors if you don’t transport it in its carrying case. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is even less portable, since the landing gear and camera are attached to the body, making it not collapsible.
  • Because drones operate using a battery, it’s important to consider battery life when making a purchasing decision. The majority of consumer drones have a battery life between 5 and 25 minutes. Many drone users recommend purchasing spare batteries and having them charged up before you start flying so you can easily swap out the extras. The DJ Mavic Air flies a little longer than usual without a charge, at 15 to 18 minutes. The DJI Spark has a shorter flying time between charges and, unfortunately, charging time takes a while, so be prepared to be patient.
  • The most popular type of drone among recreational users is a multirotor drone. A drone with three rotors is known as a tricopter, while a drone with four rotors (an extremely popular model) is called a quadcopter.
  • Other types of drones include fixed-wing drones and single rotor helicopters.
  • Depending on what you plan to use your new drone for, you’ll also want to consider the payload of various models. Some are equipped to carry heavier payloads than others. This may be an important factor if you’re considering using your drone for something like aerial photography or videography.
  • One of the biggest issues with drones is maneuverability. If it’s a windy day, you need a drone that isn’t going to be easily blown around. The DJI Mavic Air holds its own against all but the strongest wind gusts, while many other drones struggle even in the lightest breezes. Best of all, if it’s too windy, you’ll get a warning in the app.
  • If you’re new to drones, you may prefer the Holy Stone F181W. The joysticks aren’t quite as sensitive to sudden movements, so it’s a great model to help you learn to navigate. Another model to consider as a newbie is the DJI Spark, which has intelligent flight modes to help you gain confidence in avoiding obstacles. It will also return to home and land itself if you can’t.
  • For some, aerial photography is the primary reason for purchasing a drone. If photography is your goal, you’ll likely veer toward the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, which shoots smooth 4K video. The DJI Mavic Air also excels in this area, offering 4K images and UHD-quality video. It also has a wider-angle lens that can more easily capture landscapes.
  • The DJI drones have gimbals, which hold the camera in place for a smoother shot. This is especially important if you plan to be capturing video during even moderately windy conditions.
  • As advanced as drones are, they do have their limitations. If you think you’ll feel the need to zip through the air, you may want to steer toward the DJI Mavic Air, which boasts speeds of up to 42 mph. But the DJ Phantom 4 Pro has a sport mode that lets you go fairly fast. You may find your drone a little harder to control at these speeds, though.
  • Unless you plan to just fly your drone in your living room, you’ll need a decent range for your drone-to-remote connection. DJI Spark includes an app that offers 720p live view on your smartphone or tablet, but that will only work for up to 109 yards. You can buy a separate remote control that will keep your video going at ranges of up to 1.24 miles.
  • As you’re flying your drone around, you’ll occasionally encounter obstacles like trees and telephone poles. Instead of relying solely on the app, with some drones you have the built-in safety of obstacle detection and avoidance. DJI’s drones excel in this area, with the DJI Phantom 4 Pro offering five-direction avoidance. The DJI Mavic Air has avoidance, but it doesn’t cover your drone from the sides or top. DJI Spark has Active Track mode, which automatically detects obstacles and tracks them. However, it’s not foolproof. In many instances you’ll find that drones are only able to see things in front of the drone.
  • Drone pilots rely heavily on the remote. The DJI Mavic Air gives you an app that you can use to adjust exposure, shutter speed and other factors. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro has an easy-to-use app, but if you want a touchscreen controller instead, it will be a $300 add on.
  • The DJI Spark offers gesture controls, which can make navigating easier. However, this feature can be bug-prone, with the app not always recognizing you.
  • If you’re planning to shoot video to share with friends, DJI’s app makes it easy to both edit and share the video you’ve just captured on social media. There are also built-in filters and templates to add that special touch.
  • Price may be one of the biggest differentiators among drones. At the high end of pricing is the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, which retails in the $1,000 range. The DJ Mavic Air is also quite pricey, at more than $700. You can get the DJ Spark for less than $500, though. The Holy Stone’s low price is another reason this model is good for beginners, since it ranges around $100.