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As the commercial drone market starts its long awaited boom, there has only been one clear front runner to lead the charge. The French company Parrot has struggled to produce top of the line products and American born GoPro just entered the drone scene with a major setback due to the recall of the Karma drone. That leaves us with two primary players, DJI and 3D Robotics (3DR). With strong initial funding, 3DR seemed to go round for round with DJI, but as time wore on, 3DR shifted its emphasis toward software solutions. Hence, DJI remains the only strong candidate in commercial drone hardware manufacturing.

That leaves us to wonder, which of the DJI drones will continue to dominate the commercial market? Take a look below to compare the DJI Phantom 4 and the DJI Mavic Pro.

DJI Phantom 4 vs. DJI Mavic Pro

The battle for the DJI king is upon us. The Phantom 4 release was revolutionary due to the emergence of obstacle sensing and avoidance. On the other hand, the Mavic Pro release caught everyone’s attention due to its diminutive size in addition to all the technology of the Phantom 4 embedded within it. The major factors when comparing a drone can be broken down into four major categories: size, camera, flight performance/software integration, and price.

Size:

mavic-pro-vs-phantom-4-dimensions-animafelina

Photo via AnimaFelina

Phantom 4 – The major drawback the when it comes to size/portability for the Phantom 4 is its landing gear. Since they do not fold up, it makes transporting the Phantom 4 rather difficult. A custom backpack would be needed to haul the Phantom around

Mavic Pro – The retractable motor arms on the Mavic are one of the biggest draws. When folded up, the Mavic can fit in any backpack or large pocket. It can even be carried in the palm of your hand; that’s how compact it is!

Winner – Mavic Pro.

Camera

Photo via Dr. Drone

Photo via Dr. Drone

Video Resolution Photos Sensor Size
Phantom 4 4K @ 24fps

1080p @ 120fps

12MP 1/2.3” CMOS
Mavic Pro C4K @ 24fps

4K @ 30fps

12MP 1/2.3” CMOS
Photo via Visual Aerials

Photo via Visual Aerials

Right off the bat, we see the Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro have similar hardware for their respected cameras. The only slight difference is that the Mavic can shoot in C4K (Cinema 4K) which essentially allows for a higher aspect ratio. In the photo above we also see similar clarity and sharpness for both images, but the major difference is the field of view. The Phantom has a larger field of view (94° vs 79°) allowing you to capture more in your image than the Mavic Pro.

Winner – Tie.

Flight Performance/Software Integration

Max Flight Time (mins) Max Speed (mph) Sensors Advanced Flight Modes Max Transmission Range (mi)
Phantom 4 28 45 Obstacle Sense and Avoid (Forward Facing Sensors and downward VPS) Follow Me, Course Lock, Waypoints, Home-Lock, Point of Interest, ActiveTrack, TapFly 3.1
Mavic Pro 27 40 5 cameras, GPS & GLONASS, 2 ultrasonic range finders, redundant sensors, 24 powerful computing cores Normal, Gesture, ActiveTrack, TapFly, Terrain-Follow, Tripod 4.3

Looking at the table above, nothing “wows” us right away. The max flight time and max speed are relatively similar and the max transmission range is favored for the Mavic. When we examine the Advanced Flight Modes, we notice that though the Phantom has more modes, the Mavic has features that are more interactive. Gesture modes allows the operator to make a hand gesture and the Mavic will automatically detect that and take a photo. Tripod mode will slow the Mavic down to roughly 2 mph and fly in the air for very controlled and slow maneuvers.

Winner – Mavic Pro.

Price

Photo via T3

Photo via T3

Phantom 4 – $1199

Mavic Pro – $999

Solely off price, the Mavic is the more attractive option. With just the same amount of technology built into the Mavic as the Phantom 4, you can’t really beat the price offering of the Mavic.

Winner – Mavic Pro.

Overall, based off the four categories listed above, the clear winner is the Mavic Pro. With its smaller and compact build, similar camera quality, enhanced flight modes, and cheaper price point, the Mavic takes the gold. Both drones offer great options for aerial photography. Try them for yourself!

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