DJI Phantom 3 Standard Review

Price:
$400 to $550

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On March 8, 2017
Last modified:May 19, 2018

Summary:

For the price, we feel the Phantom 3 Standard is the perfect quadcopter to start with. The lack of obstacle avoidance is actually better for beginners as it forces you to master the flight controls of your drone first. The flight modes it comes with prepare you for those included, and new ones offered on other models you might upgrade to later.

The camera is amazing for the price range (not perfect, but 2.7K will produce some great footage) and a flight time of 25 minutes will keep you in the air for long enough periods to really test out your skills and master flying these amazing machines!

The reason we gave it 4 stars is not due to lack of value, but technology. With all the features available on newer models, the Phantom 4 Standard is not top of the line, just good value for your money- and a lot of fun for Newbies!

You won't find better value for your money than with the DJI Phantom 3 Standard - it is the perfect starter drone for beginners or those on a limited budget!

DJI Phantom 3 Standard Review

With the recent release of the Mavic Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro, the Phantom 3 Standard is beginning to look like a pretty simply and basic drone. However, the capabilities and technology built into the Phantom 3 Standard is still well beyond that of comparable quadcopters in the same price range.

The Phantom 3 Standard is the ideal and affordable quadcopter for beginners! To start with, it comes with a 2.7K video camera (+ 4000 x 3000 px photos), intelligent flight modes (a necessity for newbies) and a hefty flight time of  25 minutes (under optimal conditions).

 

New To Quadcopters?

Anyone who is an experienced quadcopter pilot will tell you, “Learn to fly manually and competently before you hand over your drone to the computer controls – at some point, these will malfunction and you will ‘need’ to know how to fly your drone!”. While this is becoming more and more unlikely with DJI drones, nothing is perfect and it could happen.

This is what makes the Phantom 3 Standard a perfect starter unit for beginners, while it does offer a ton of features for the price, it is still affordable enough to learn on. If you crash your quadcopter, it may not fly again, but it won’t be covered in tears as the loss of 1000’s of dollars sinks deep into your gut – it might be a $500 write off, but not the end of the world.

As more and more people upgrade to better quadcopters like the Mavic Pro or Phantom 4 Pro, we should see a lot more used Phantom 3 Standard coming up for sale too. If you do crash yours, getting another should be fairly cheap in the near future. You might even be able to buy crashed units for use of spare parts should yours crash.

If you are going to buy a Phantom 3 Standard, your best bet is to check out Packaged Bundles with extra batteries and propellers. This will keep you going for a long time and we can guarantee you will need extra props!

Let’s Start With The Camera

Considering the price of the Phantom 3 Standard ($499 at the time this article was written), it comes with a very good camera capable of the following features…

  • Sensor    1/2.3” CMOS | Effective pixels:12 M
  • Lens    FOV 94° 20 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.8
  • ISO Range    100-3200 (video) | 100-1600 (photo)
  • Electronic Shutter Speed    8 – 1/8000 s
  • Image Size    4000×3000
  • Video Recording Modes
    • 2.7K: 2704 x1520p 24/25/30 (29.97)
    • FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30
    • HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60

These are impressive options regardless of price, and to have this camera included on such an inexpensive drone is serious bang for the buck. For the most part, the Phantom 3 Standard can easily capture footage suitable for youtube or a website. The 94° 20 mm lens helps to prevent the fisheye distorted look that is synonymous with cameras of this size, and instead provides a clear, distortion free image.

All camera adjustments and settings can be adjusted at anytime via the DJI GoApp, in flight or not.

 

Intelligent Flight Modes

If you been busy checking out different quadcopters, you are sure to have seen the GoPro Karma which is roughly twice the price of the Phantom 3 Standard with only a few of the flight modes offered. The Phantom 3 Standard on the other hand, offers us

  • Course Lock & Home Lock
  • Waypoints
  • Point of Interest
  • Follow Me
  • RTH (Return to Home)

With these flight modes you can create some very stunning footage and leave the flying of the drone up to the Phantom 3 Standard. It is smart enough to do it, with a few exceptions. The follow me mode is not perfect by any means and does go off track at times and you will need to be ready for this. The waypoints is great and works very well. POI is also a good feature and works very well. With course lock you can set a predetermined line of flight, let the Phantom 3 Standard do the flying and you take care of the camera.

All that said, a video is worth a 1000 words and we have some good videos further down this page that cover these features in much greater detail – and you actually see them in action!

 

The Phantom 3 Controller

Compared to other brands of quadcopters in this price range, the Phantom 3 Standard controller is much better. Compared to other DJI quadcopters, it is lacking. Their new controllers just keep getting better and the latest controller for the Phantom 4 Pro+ comes with it’s own screen which can be viewed in bright sunlight. Check out the videos below for more details on the controller that comes with the Phantom 3 Standard.

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard controller features two sticks to control the throttle, rotation and tilt of the craft. There are also two switches on the left and right, and depending on the mode and status of the craft, these are used for configuration and automatic RTH (return to home). There is a dial on the left to control the gimbal’s tilt either up or down – but no direct control to operate the camera.

Forget anything you’ve heard about long range with the Phantom 3 Standard, by DJI’s own words, the safe range under good conditions is about 1 km (in reality, more like 700′ to 800′ with nice weather). If you are a beginner this should not be an issue, as it would be unwise to fly too far away until you can really control your unit with 100% confidence.

 

Just Starting Out? Tight Budget?

This is the drone to test out and hone your piloting skills on. Skim the tree tops, perform those daring and exciting cliff drops, follow a river until it disappears over a waterfall… and do this all without the fear of leaving you in financial misery should things go wrong and you crash and burn.

With the 2.7K camera on board, you may just capture some stunning footage during these daring flights. The camera is top-notch for a quadcopter selling for less than $500 (on average). And pictures? Well, 4000 x 3000 px is an extremely high resolution and there should be many opportunities to snap some amazing photos on your maiden voyages.

The Phantom 3 Standard’s body and weight distribution is almost identical to all the later models released since, and learning the ropes with this unit will prepare you for confident flight when you are ready to upgrade to DJI’s more robust and capable quadcopters like the Phantom 4 or Phantom 4 Pro.

If you are not concerned about warranty, and you plan to push the limits (in other words, more than likely “Will” crash at some point), you can always look around for used unit too – there should be many available as people upgrade to newer models!

For the price, we feel the Phantom 3 Standard is the perfect quadcopter to start with. The lack of obstacle avoidance is actually better for beginners as it forces you to master the flight controls of your drone first. The flight modes it comes with prepare you for those included, and new ones offered on other models you might upgrade to later. The camera is amazing for the price range (not perfect, but 2.7K will produce some great footage) and a flight time of 25 minutes will keep you in the air for long enough periods to really test out your skills and master flying these amazing machines!

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DJI Phantom 3 Standard Photo Gallery

View high resolution images of the DJI Phantom 3 Standard below.

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DJI Phantom 3 Standard Video & Related Information Videos

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DJI Phantom 3 Standard In-Depth Specifications

Aircraft

Weight (Battery & Propellers Included) 1216 g
Diagonal Size (Propellers Excluded) 350 mm
Max Ascent Speed 5 m/s
Max Descent Speed 3 m/s
Max Speed 16 m/s (ATTI mode)
Max Tilt Angle 35°
Max Angular Speed 150°/s
Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level 19685 feet (6000 m)
Max Flight Time Approx. 25 minutes
Operating Temperature Range 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)
Satellite Positioning Systems GPS
Hover Accuracy Range Vertical:
±0.5 m
Horizontal:
±1.5 m

Camera

Sensor 1/2.3” CMOS
Effective pixels:12 M
Lens FOV 94° 20 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.8
ISO Range
  • 100-3200 (video)
  • 100-1600 (photo)
Electronic Shutter Speed 8 – 1/8000 s
Image Size 4000×3000
Still Photography Modes
  • Single Shot
  • Burst Shooting: 3/5/7 frames
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7 EV Bias
  • Timelapse
Video Recording Modes
  • 2.7K: 2704 x1520p 24/25/30 (29.97)
  • FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30
  • HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
Max Video Bitrate 40 Mbps
Supported File Systems FAT32 (≤32 GB); exFAT (>32 GB)
Photo JPEG, DNG (RAW)
Video MP4, MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
Supported SD Cards Micro SD Card 8 GB included
Operating Temperature Range 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)

Gimbal

Stabilization 3-axis (pitch, roll, yaw)
Controllable Range Pitch: -90° to +30°
Max Controllable Angular Speed Pitch: 90°/s
Angular Control Accuracy ±0.02°

Remote Controller

Operating Frequency 5.725 – 5.825 GHz, 922.7 – 927.7 MHz (Japan)
Max Transmission Distance FCC: 1000 m
CE: 500 m
(outdoors and unobstructed, aircraft’s altitude at 400 feet (120 m))
Operating Temperature Range 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)
Battery 2600 mAh LiPo 18650
Transmitter Power (EIRP)
  • FCC: 19 dBm
  • CE: 14 dBm
Operating Current/Voltage 600 mA@3.7V
Video Output Port USB
Mobile Device Holder Tablets and smart phones
Charging Port Micro USB

Intelligent Flight Battery

Capacity 4480 mAh
Voltage 15.2 V
Battery Type LiPo 4S
Energy 68 Wh
Net Weight 365 g
Charging Temperature Range 41° to 104°F (5° to 40°C)
Max Charging Power 100 W

Charger

Voltage 17.4 V
Rated Power 57 W

App / Live View

Mobile App DJI GO
Live View Working Frequency 2.4 GHz ISM
Live View Quality 720P @ 30fps
Latency Low Latency Video (depending on conditions and mobile device)
Required Operating Systems
  • iOS 8.0 or later
  • Android 4.1.2 or later
Recommended Devices
  • ios: iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPod touch 6, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 4, and iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular. This app is optimized for iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
  • Android: Samsung tabs 705c, Samsung S6, Samsung S5, Samsung NOTE4, Samsung NOTE3, Google Nexus 9, Google Nexus 7 II, Ascend Mate7, Huawei Mate 8, Nubia Z7 mini, SONY Xperia Z3, MI 3, MI PAD

*Support for additional Android devices available as testing and development continues.

 

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