DJI Phantom 3 Review: Ode to the Bundle
BY Alan Perlman19 May 2016
I talk to a lot of people who are looking to buy their first professional unmanned aerial system.
“Hey Alan,” they ask, “I’m on a budget but looking for the right model to buy. Should I get a DJI? A Yuneec? A 3DR? Isn’t GoPro also coming out with a drone soon?”
What I usually say is that, “it depends,” and we continue to talk about intended flight operations and recreational/business goals. Drone manufacturers have come a long way, and consumers are now blessed with a plethora of choices when it comes to buying an unmanned aerial system.
If you’re a roofing inspector with a limited budget, you’ll likely want to look at different sUAS than, say a film production company that needs cinema-quality results. Or a hobbyist who wants to go out to model aircraft fields and fly with his son on the weekends.
And more and more often, I’m talking with commercial pilots looking to make money flying their drone. Either as a part-time, extra beer money kind of initiative, or as a full time gig.
When I ask people about their flight intentions, particularly when budget comes up early in the conversation, something I really try to stress is this concept of an “all-in” cost.
The idea is this:
If you’re planning to operate a drone commercially, you’re going to need much more than just the aircraft and transmitter to get the job done right.
It seems pretty obvious, but most people I speak to underestimate all the costs that go into flying professional. It’s not just the aircraft. It’s extra batteries. A travel case. SD cards. Landing gear. Camera filters. Post-processing software. Liability insurance, etc.
And I don’t know about you, but when I was first getting into this industry, it was all so overwhelming to me. I had no idea what accessories I needed, whether I could get them all in the same place, and what kind of training would be provided to help me set up and connect everything.
It was a steep learning curve.
Not impossible, just took me a lot of forums threads and phone calls to feel comfortable with my system and to know how to effectively and safely wield it’s mighty aerial power in the sky.
Inside a Phantom 3 Drone Bundle
If only a company like Drone World was there to help me navigate the process.
Fortunately for you, they’re here now!
One of only a handful of Authorized eCommerce DJI Dealers, Drone World was one of the first companies to sell “bundles” like their DJI Phantom 3 Executive Kit.
Note: Drone World provided a test Executive kit for the UAV Coach team to play around with for a few weeks while we wrote this review.
OK, so what’s in a bundle?
Well, in the Phantom 3 bundle, not only are you getting the stock aircraft and transmitter from DJI, but you’re also getting the following:
- A travel case. Specifically, the Nanuk 950 black-wheeled hard case. It comes with custom-molded foam to ensure each piece fits snugly, and a case shoulder strap for carrying flexibility.
- Carbon fiber propellers. They’ll give you more durability, increased thrust and speed. Not that you’d need to fly this fast, but if you want to go buck wild, you can fly up to 40 mph with these babies. Hot diggity!
- Two extra batteries and a charging station. Specifically, the THOR™ Supercharger triple battery charger. It’ll charge your batteries 4x faster for up to 75-minutes of total flying time across your three batteries. Incredibly helpful for client shoots.
- Camera lens filters. You’ll get stronger photo and video quality with the included natural density (ND) lens filters and polarized lens filters. They come with extra protective coating and are custom-built to fit the Phantom 3 lens.
- Range extender. A European made 180° panoramic panel antenna extends the stock Phantom 3 coverage area by more than 10x, ensuring your signal won’t fade. This will help you fly safer, and your signal coverage and video streaming quality will remain strong.
And you’ll get some other stuff too. Like quick-release propeller guards with deflection dampening. Like a sunshade to make viewing your FPV monitor a lot easier. Like SD cards with up to 3 hours of video storage and fast data transfer.
All of these things, ready-to-fly right out of the box.
All of that research and thinking done on your behalf. Want to fly? Cool, here’s EVERYTHING you’re going to need to get started. And while accessories are always debatable, I think Drone World does a stellar job with their bundle choices.
During checkout, you’ll have the option to upgrade a few additional items, like a GPS tracking system or FPV goggles. You also have the option of no payments and no interest for 6 months, a pretty great option if you’re strapped for cash and want to get flying ASAP while you’re still working on the business end of things.
DJI Phantom 3 vs. Phantom 4
If you’re reading this post, you might be wondering, “Should I get the Phantom 3 bundle, or should I get the newer Phantom 4? What’s the difference?”
Great question! The DJI Phantom 4 was released a couple of months ago and is the closest comparable model to either the Phantom 3 Advanced or Phantom 3 Professional.
Drone World already published a comprehensive Phantom 3 vs. Phantom 4 comparison, much of which is referenced in the below chart:
Remember, just because something HAS a feature doesn’t mean that you absolutely need it. 80% of the people I talk to who think they need a 4K camera don’t actually need one.
But that’s another story 🙂
Using a DJI Phantom 3 Bundle: Tips & Tricks
While the below tips are applicable for any new drone pilot, I think they’re particularly helpful for those of you who buy a bundle like the DJI Phantom 3 Executive Kit.
- Read the user manual, but ALSO understand each of your accessories. This seems common sense, but I talk to too many drone pilots who skip the user manual. Remember, you’re bringing a flying lawnmower into the sky. You need to take the time to fully understand your aircraft, and to properly train around not just the stock hardware and software, but each of the other accessories that came in your bundle. As an example, buying multiple batteries and a charging station is great, but what do you know about LiPo battery maintenance? How long should those batteries sit in the charger? How long can they be stored when done charging? If I want to store my battery for a long time, are there any special considerations there?
- Start flying ASAP. The sooner you can start logging hours, the faster you’re going to become a better trained, more experience and more competent and confident drone pilot. While it’s important to read your user manual (see above), don’t get lost in the accessories. Get out there and put your thumbs on those dual joysticks!
- Leverage Drone World support. One look at their customer reviews will tell you that Drone World offers great support to its customers. That’s one of the advantages of buying a bundle from a company like Drone World…you get great product, but you also get great support. Need help with training? Need help setting up your system? Need advice if you’ve crashed and you can’t figure out why you’re not able to lift-off anymore? Drone World is there for you.
Head on over to Drone World to explore their other bundles.