DJI Drone Comparison

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DJI has just released the Mavic Mini last week. See all of the specs here.

DJI is one of the leading drone manufacturers with a variety of different models on the market. These machines vary greatly in their design and functionality, which is why we have undertaken a comprehensive comparison to help you choose amongst them.

Portability

All DJI drones come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Models like the Mavic Mini, Mavic Air, Mavic Pro and Spark can fit into your pocket or a small bag. This makes them the most portable drones. Now the Phantom 3 and Phantom 4 ranges are significantly bigger and will require a backpack to transport, while the Inspire range is even bigger still.

Check out the weight of each drone below.

ModelWeight (grams)
Phantom 3 Standard1216
Phantom 3 4K1280
Phantom 3 Advanced1280
Phantom 3 Pro1280
Phantom 41380
Phantom 4 Advanced1370
Phantom 4 Pro1390
Inspire 13060
Inspire 1 Pro3500
Inspire 24000
Spark300
Mavic Pro730
Mavic Air430
Mavic Mini249
Mavic Pro 2907

+1 for the Mavic Mini.

+1 for the Spark.

+1 for the Mavic Air.

Camera Performance

Having a powerful camera is important for capturing the best aerial photography. The more megapixels a camera has, the more sharp and crisp its photos are. Now, for video, the frame rate is important as well as the video definition. Technically all drones shoot in HD but the higher the video resolution the better. These are shown below from lowest to highest:

  • 1080p
  • 7K
  • 4K
  • 2K

Now check out the table below to see the differences in each drones’ camera.

ModelMegapixelsFrames per Second
Phantom 3 Standard1230fps (2.7K)
Phantom 3 4K1230fps (4K)
Phantom 3 Advanced1230fps (2.7K)
Phantom 3 Pro1230fps (4K)
Phantom 41230fps (4K)
Phantom 4 Advanced2060fps (4K)
Phantom 4 Pro2060fps (4K)
Inspire 11230fps (4K)
Inspire 1 Pro1660fps (4K)
Inspire 22060fps (4K) Also shoots at 5.2K
Spark1230fps (1080p)
Mavic Pro1230fps (4K)
Mavic Air1230fps (4K)
Mavic Mini1230fps (2.7K)
Mavic Pro 22030fps (4K)

The overall best camera belongs to the Inspire 2. It is 20 megapixels, films 4K at 60fps, and can even film in 5.2K. Close behind are the Phantom 4 Advanced and Phantom 4 Pro.

+1 for the Inspire 2.

+1 for the Phantom 4 Advanced.

+1 for the Phantom 4 Pro.

Crucial Flight Specs

Everyone wants to know how powerful their drone is and we have displayed the important info below. Just remember these are all maximum values. Strong winds, signal interference, and other factors could decrease them.

ModelMax Speed (mph)Max Range (miles)Max Flight Time (minutes)
Phantom 3 Standard38.50.625
Phantom 3 4K38.50.7525
Phantom 3 Advanced38.53.123
Phantom 3 Pro38.53.123
Phantom 4453.128
Phantom 4 Advanced454.330
Phantom 4 Pro454.330
Inspire 1493.118
Inspire 1 Pro403.115
Inspire 2584.327
Spark311.216
Mavic Pro404.327
Mavic Air42.52.421
Mavic Mini292.530
Mavic Pro 24511.231

The Inspire 2 leaves the other drones in the dust with its 58mph top speed. Runners-up include the Inspire 1, Mavic Pro 2, and Phantom 4 range. The Inspire 2 also has an excellent range and one of the higher flight times. However, the best range comes with the Mavic Pro 2. The Mavic Air also has a reasonably long range.

The winner of flight time is the Mavic Pro 2. The Mavic Mini, Phantom 4 Advanced, and Phantom 4 Pro come in at a close second.

The winners of flight time are the Phantom 4 Advanced and Phantom 4 Pro. They also have an excellent range of 4.3 miles.

Some let downs to note include the Inspire 1 Pro and Spark’s disappointingly short flight times. The Phantom 3 Standard and Phantom 3 4K also have very short controller ranges, of under a mile.

+1 for the Inspire 2.

+1 for the Mavic Pro 2.

Positioning

All drones, except the Phantom 3 Standard, have both GPS and GLONASS positioning systems. This allows them to connect to Russian and American satellites, making for greater location accuracy and coverage.

Also, all drones, expect the Phantom 3 Standard again, have downwards facing vision positioning modules. When low to the ground, or in an area without GPS/GLONASS, they can still accurately determine their position, resulting in minimal hover displacement.

Handling High Winds

Rough wind conditions can wreak havoc with your drone’s flight. Luckily, DJI drones can still fly safety on windy days. The table below shows the maximum recommended winds each drone can fly in, however, it is possible to fly in much heavier. Just remember, doing so increases the chances of a crash, and decreases speed and flight time.

ModelEffective Wind Resistance (mph)
Phantom 3 Standard20
Phantom 3 4K20
Phantom 3 Advanced20
Phantom 3 Pro20
Phantom 422.4
Phantom 4 Advanced22.4
Phantom 4 Pro22.4
Inspire 122.4
Inspire 1 Pro22.4
Inspire 222.4
Spark18
Mavic Pro22.4
Mavic Air23.6
Mavic Mini18
Mavic Pro 223.6

No major difference overall, however, the Spark and Mavic Mini’s smaller size means it gets buffeted a bit more by the wind. The Mavic Air and Mavic Pro 2 offer the best wind resistance.

+1 for the Mavic Air.

+1 for the Mavic Pro 2.

Obstacle Avoidance

The Phantom 3 range and the Mavic Mini all miss out on dedicated obstacle avoidance systems. Meanwhile, the other drones including the Mavic Air have systems that can detect obstacles ahead and below to automatically prevent a collision. The Inspire 2 can also detect obstacles above it. However, the clear winners are the Mavic Pro 2 and the Phantom 4 Pro. They have sensors on their sides and rear, giving 360 degrees of protection.

+1 for the Phantom 4 Pro.

+1 for the Mavic Pro 2.

Controllers

The Phantom 3 and Phantom 4 ranges have very similar controllers. There are two control sticks, an array of flight and camera control buttons, and a mount for attaching a smartphone or tablet. Overall the controller is easy to use. Just remember the Phantom 3 Standard’s controller only has a mount big enough to fit a smartphone.

The Mavic Pro has a smaller, more ergonomic controller. It is also very portable (just like the drone itself). There are two control sticks, an array of buttons, and a built-in flight screen. A tablet or smartphone can also be attached. While it is quite a subjective decision, we reckon the Mavic Pro has the best controller.

The Inspire range has a similar controller design to the Phantom range. You will be getting a similarly shaped device with the same twin control sticks and button arrangement. Not to forget the mount for a phone or tablet.

Now the Spark can actually be flown without a controller, just by using hand gestures or the DJI app. However, you will still want to get a controller because otherwise the drone’s range is limited to 100m and it can’t hit its top speed. Once you do, you will be getting a compact device with two control sticks, dedicated mode, flight, and camera buttons, as well as a mount for your device.

+1 for the Mavic Pro.

Modes

Each drone has a variety of intelligent flight modes, and we could write another entire article talking about them. However, we will cover some of the main ones.

  • Follow Me: This is pretty self-explanatory. Activation causes the drone to follow its controller.
  • Tapfly (not included with the Phantom 3 Range): This allows users to tap a point on the DJI App and the drone will fly to it.
  • Course Lock: This calibrates the drone’s controls to function relative to its flight direction.
  • Beginner Mode: This limits flight speed so that new users can practice

Most modes require the DJI App to function. So it’s recommended that you download it onto your phone or tablet, and then mount the device to your controller.

Price

These are Amazon’s current prices for new standalone drones. Have a look for yourself to see the latest figures.

ModelApproximate PriceCheck Current Price
Phantom 3 Standard$500
Phantom 3 4K$600
Phantom 3 Advanced$700
Phantom 3 Pro$800
Phantom 4$ 850
Phantom 4 Advanced$1,150
Phantom 4 Pro$1,400
Inspire 1$1,800
Inspire 1 Pro$3,200
Inspire 2$2,900
Spark$550
Mavic Pro$900
Mavic Air$799
Mavic Mini$399
Mavic Pro 2$1730

+1 for the Mavic Mini.

+1 for the Phantom 3 Standard.

Which Is The Best Overall Performer?

Let’s see the overall scores.

ModelScore
Phantom 3 Standard1 (Lowest Price)
Phantom 3 4K0
Phantom 3 Advanced0
Phantom 3 Pro0
Phantom 40
Phantom 4 Advanced2 (Flight Capabilities, Camera)
Phantom 4 Pro3 (Obstacle Avoidance, Flight Capabilites, Camera)
Inspire 10
Inspire 1 Pro0
Inspire 21 (Camera)
Spark1 (Portability)
Mavic Pro2 (Controller)
Mavic Air3 (Portability, Flight Capabilities, Wind
Resistance)
Mavic Mini2 (Portability, Price)
Mavic Pro 23 (Flight Capabilities, Wind Resistance, Obstacle
Avoidance)

The Phantom 4 Pro and the Mavic Pro 2 are the overall winners. The Phantom 4 Pro has an especially excellent camera. The Mavic Pro 2 and the Phantom 4 Pro both have powerful flight capabilities, and 360 degrees of obstacle avoidance. We reckon that these two are the best choices for anyone who wants a reliable and powerful machine.

Of course, it is not perfect. It is not as portable as the Mavic Pro and Spark, while it lacks the Inspire 2’s 5.2K camera.

Which Is The Best Value For Money?

We reckon it’s the Mavic Pro. It is an ideal drone for those that want to start flying, but don’t need the best camera possible. You will find that its specs are similar to the Phantom 4 but just packed into a smaller, more portable machine. Don’t forget its awesome controller.

Which Is Best For Those On A Tight Budget?

If money is a major problem, then consider the Phantom 3 4K. You will get a decent camera and a reasonably powerful machine. Now you could go even cheaper with the Phantom 3 Standard or Spark, but you would be getting a worse camera. You may also get frustrated with the Spark’s measly 16 minutes of flight time. The Mavic Mini is the lowest priced option that we reviewed. However, the camera only gives you a 2.7K resolution. So it may be a possible option if you are ok with below-average video quality.