The new DJI drone re­tains ev­ery­thing from the Phan­tom 4 Pro but in a stealthy new avatar

T3 India - - Contents - WORDS Lysander Fer­nan­des

:H ć\ '-,èV IHDWXUH SDFNHG SURVXPHU drone. Is it worth it, though?

The Phan­tom 4 Pro is ar­guably the best pro­sumer drone in the mar­ket. Boast­ing a one-inch 20MP CMOS sen­sor it can shoot videos at 4K res­o­lu­tion with­out break­ing a sweat at 60fps, fur­ther helped by its four-way ob­sta­cle avoid­ance sys­tem. If you’re a drone en­thu­si­ast look­ing to el­e­vate your drone pho­tog­ra­phy game the Phan­tom 4 Pro Obsidian is se­ri­ous business.

Dressed to thrill

The Obsidian, tech­ni­cally, is al­most the same drone as the Phan­tom 4 Pro al­beit clad in a char­coal hue colour and a mag­ne­sium elec­tro­plated gim­bal be­ing the vivid dis­tinc­tion. The anti-fin­ger­print coat­ing is a big plus to avoid any sort traces on the gim­bal while han­dling. The outer shell colour is def­i­nitely strik­ing. The ti­ta­nium and mag­ne­sium al­loy con­struc­tion not only looks strik­ing, but it also helps with the dura­bil­ity and weight re­duc­tion while fly­ing. The drone con­fi­dently stands out even in over­cast weather but if you’re a night flyer we rec­om­mend you go with the orig­i­nal white ver­sion.

Eye on the Prize

The Phan­tom 4 Pro and above mod­els have the cam­era’s aper­ture that can be user-de­fined as well as au­to­matic. You can­not do so on the Mavic se­ries or the Spark. The Obsidian’s cam­era of­fers a big­ger FOV (field-of-view), me­chan­i­cal shut­ter, a larger im­age sen­sor, faster im­age pro­ces­sor and full aper­ture con­trol from f/2.8 - f/11.

Shoot to Frame

In our tests, the video record­ing was but­tery smooth when we used the drone to shoot in 4K and 2.7K res­o­lu­tions at 60 fps. You can even shoot in slow mo­tion at 120fps but that re­sults in a res­o­lu­tion trade­off, which is dropped to 1080p and 720p. That said, we did face a few is­sues ini­tially, which was a di­rect re­sult of the mi­croSD card. The Phan­tom 4 Pro Obsidian records at a bi­trate of 100 Mbps (in 4K) so make sure you’ve got a sup­ported card that can han­dle writ­ing at faster speeds. A com­pat­i­ble SanDisk or Lexar works with­out any hic­cups.

At­ten­tion to De­tail

Given the por­ta­ble de­sign of the Mavic Pro and Air, the drones cap­ture more than de­cent stills but if you want to dras­ti­cally im­prove the qual­ity, the Obsidian is the real deal. The pic­tures are rich in de­tail and the dif­fer­ence is dis­cernible when com­pared to a

sim­i­lar shot on a Mavic Pro or Air, thanks to Obsidian’s 1-inch 20MP sen­sor ver­sus 1/2.3-inch CMOS 12MP sen­sor found on the Mavic Pro and Air re­spec­tively.

Mode Swings

Most in­tel­li­gent flight modes on DJI drones are now an es­tab­lished set of fea­tures across the fleet. A cou­ple of no­table ones in­clude Draw mode and Tap Fly. that gets ac­ti­vated when the gim­bal is tilted fac­ing down­ward. Seg­re­gated fur­ther into two sub­modes - For­ward and Free, while the for­ward is self-ex­plana­tory, the Free mode is what we tried out and is more fun. Ob­sta­cle avoid­ance is dis­abled in this mode, so fly with cau­tion. Tap Fly, on the other hand, is a fea­ture from our pre­vi­ously tested DJI drones. The dif­fer­ence here is that it comes with three sub-modes; For­ward, Back­ward and Free.

Juice up

We ef­fort­lessly man­aged 28 min­utes of flight time on the Obsidian with its high ca­pac­ity LiPo 5870 mAh bat­tery, close enough to the claimed fly­ing time of 30 min­utes. The con­troller feels sturdy and heavy. A huge ad­van­tage with the re­mote con­troller is that it charges your phone si­mul­ta­ne­ously dur­ing use as it packs in a mam­moth 6000 mAh charge. Both take ap­prox­i­mately 45 min­utes – 1 hour to fully recharge.

Go Home

The RTH (Re­turn to Home) is a handy op­tion that has been a main­stay in many DJI drones and it has been im­proved fur­ther on the Obsidian. The ob­sta­cle sen­sors on all four sides can sense ob­sta­cles as far as 300m. A com­plete bonus if you lose ori­en­ta­tion and are fly­ing back­wards. An­other ad­van­tage is that if the con­trol sig­nal is lost, the drone will re­trace its orig­i­nal path to re­gain its con­nec­tion af­ter a minute. When it re­con­nects, it will re­turn to home fol­low­ing a straight route.


If you are look­ing for bet­ter, sharper and pro­fes­sional footage there is no bet­ter drone than the Phan­tom 4 Pro Obsidian at the mo­ment. Of course, you do have the new Phan­tom 4 Pro V2, Phan­tom 4 Pro+ and Ad­vanced but with the same cam­era and up­grades and those come with a hefty price tag. Do note, the Obsidian is hefty and if porta­bil­ity is your num­ber one cri­te­ria, you may want to check out Mavic or a Spark but for pro­fes­sional imag­ing.

PRICE ap­prox. `1,10,000 URL COLOUR Char­coal, White WEIGHT 1.38kg TOP SPEED 72kmph (in Sport Mode) CAM­ERA 20MP 1-inch CMOS sen­sor VIDEO 4K and4K/60fps video record­ing at100Mbps BAT­TERY LIFE Up to 30 mins FEA­TURES Four di­rec­tional ob­sta­cle avoid­ance;3-axis gim­bal; Elec­tro­plated mag­ne­sium gim­bal

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