Today we were invited by DJI to Capital Karts a little way out east of london in Barking, Essex for the UK reveal of the Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire 2. It was the first time we could get our hands on the new drones to witness the new technology and also see them flying. Read on to learn our opinions, watch a short video and view photos of both the Phantom 4 and Inspire 2 in flight.
DJI chose the karting track to show off the object avoidance and tracking modes of the craft (and potentially to avoid the winter weather) and we were entertained by track staff lapping in karts whilst the drones followed and filmed.
Press and experienced flight crews joined distributors in the UK reveal. Whilst both craft were demonstrated people were undoubtably more interested in the groundbreaking Inspire 2. We took some time to inspect the models on display, pick them apart and discuss the improvements with the DJI staff.
Phantom 4 – First impressions
If you were unfamiliar with the original Phantom 4 chassis, the subtle external upgrades could almost be missed.
As you can see below, a pair of cameras are fitted to the rear legs of the drone mirroring the front sensors. These are joined by new infra red beams and detection sensors, sitting behind red lenses on the side of the body. Combined with revised programming they enable the craft to fly up to 31mph in P-mode with full obstacle avoidance enabled!
Below the craft hangs the all-new camera with its larger 1inch sensor and mechanical shutter. Many fans of the Phantom range were blown away by the flight performance of the 4th edition, yet were expecting more from the camera; This promises to be the solution.
The Phantom 4 Pro was flight tested extensively in the busy karting area, sensing the roof support posts and even the track bumpers when flown particularly low. The craft sensor array is impressively sensitive and will hopefully make the drone largely ‘idiot proof’ in terms of air collision with novice pilots.
Inspire 2 – Initial hands on
What we were really interested in was the all-new Inspire 2 and we were not disappointed!
Both the X4S (pictured) and X5S equipped models were on show and both were flight demonstrated.
Everyone was talking about the brand new tilt-able FPV camera on the front of the Inspire. It is something so many pilots have been asking for (and in some cases retro fitting fixed ones themselves). You can see it in the photo below, sat above the new X5S camera and between the forward vision sensors.
This camera provides both operators with a picture in picture view, enabling the pilot to see which way the drone is facing irrespective of the gimbal position. It can be enlarged and centered on the screen with a simple tap as seen in the photo below.
Whilst the craft itself continues the familiar silhouette, nearly everything on the drone appears to be new. Gone are the plastic shell parts, replaced by alloy panels, finished in matte gunmetal. This is continued all over the craft, with cast metal parts replacing all visible plastics such as below on the landing gear.
Whilst there are no rear-vision sensors (a la Phantom 4 Pro) the Inspire 2 does have upwards facing infra red sensors on the tail of the craft. These are inset in a panel above the batteries featured the DJI logo and provide the pilot with a warning should they approach an object or ceiling 5m or less, above the drone.
The Inspire 2 features an all new transmitter, easily identifiable in its dark silver colouring.
The new transmitter features a full size HDMI out on the transmitter so no more adapters are needed. We would have liked to have seen this broadcast feed posted to the display monitors around the karting track, for all to enjoy but it was sadly not implemented.
Below are the new motors and propellers. The Inspire 2 is now capable of flying over 15,000ft with the correct type of propellers in place.
The rear of the craft now features twin batteries that slide forward to lock into place. This allows the (self heating) batteries to be ‘hot swapped’ (something that we tried) for getting the craft back into the air with minimal delays (no longer required to power down/start up); note that these cells are now self heating for flying in colder climates.
In between the two cells you can see the Cine SSD slot. This hard drive is housed in a thin metal case and slides into its slot, connecting it to the Cinecore.
Accessories wise, the new battery hub was on display. We think it is really neat with its fold out flaps to accept four batteries.
The new TB50 batteries now feature their current capacity via four white LED’s on the side, this is mirrored on the app when in flight.
We were impressed by the agility of the craft, one of the staff suggesting that it could be considered a ‘large Mavic Pro’ in terms of its flight characteristics. The top speed of 67mph was not tested due to space restrictions but it certainly accelerated quickly when giving chase to the passing go karts!
Whilst the professional standalone monitors were not on display, the Phantom 4 Pro+ controller was on show. The new panel sits on a metal folding arm and the entire setup feels a similar weight to having a smartphone mounted on the standard controller. The display itself was impressively bright, the exposure adjusted to stop it blowing out the photo below. Our initial impressions were that it was not as responsive as we would have expected yet we reserve judgement until we have seen a retail unit of our own.
We can’t wait till delivery
Due to the nature of the event we were not allowed to fly the drones thus a full review will follow later this year when they arrive at our headquarters. You can learn more about each individual drone and even place a pre-order via our Phantom 4 release and Inspire 2 release blogs. If you have any questions regarding the craft feel free to leave them below.
A big thanks to DJI and their new European team for putting on an excellent event. Also thanks to Jamie from Eastwood Media for his piloting skills.
Editors note : Apologies for the poor quality photos, but light was at a premium inside the warehouse of a Karting track