Update: DJI has launched the Mavic Air today (January 23). We expect the Phantom 5 to be released next. If you have insider info on the Phantom 5 we would love to hear from you. Please email us.

The DJI Phantom 5 drone rumors and speculation continues…

Since Chinese national Frank Wang founded DJI in 2006 their consumer drones have hardly been out of the spotlight. No one can buy a good reputation—it’s something earned over time. DJI has earned theirs and continues to inspire drone pilots around the world. Next up is their DJI Phantom 5.

When it comes to consumer drones there’s nothing an enthusiastic pilot loves more than a new product launch. What they don’t like, though, are the never-ending rumors, speculation, and fake release dates. Most of these come from unverifiable sources. We saw it with the Mavic 2 and now the same thing with the DJI Phantom 5. This article looks at this speculation to see what’s really going on.

Phantom 5 Production Snags!

The latest news is that there have been a few problems on the production side of things. It appears that DJI has now pushed the release date back to early 2018. So why all the fuss—what’s getting pilots of this particular unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) so excited? Well, the fact that it’s DJI for one.

This is a company that leads the way in public drone capability and technology. Whenever there’s a market leader there will always be loyal followers.

Production snags are good news. It likely means that we will see significant differences in the Phantom 5 and not just a minor refresh.

Phantom 3 and Phantom 4

The Phantom 3 was released in April 2015. The Phantom 4 was released less than a year later in March 2016. It will almost be 2 years by the time the Phantom 5 is released which means that it is due to come out anytime.

What We Know About the DJI Phantom 5 so Far

Surprises can be nice but waiting is never much fun in this impatient fast-moving world of ours. Some will argue that the “wait” and the “speculation” is all part of the excitement. I can see the reasoning in that. But with so many leaks comes a lot of hype. The problem with pre-sales hype is that it has a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver. I doubt that will be the case here but you never know.

There are plenty of shared thoughts on what the DJI Phantom 5 might deliver. The rest of this piece takes a look at those in more detail. Although these are likely upgrades nothing is set in stone—yet!

Here’s what we suspect we know about the all-new DJI Phantom 5 drone for 2018:

  • It’s going to be a four-rotor quadcopter
  • It may look similar to the DJI Phantom 4—at first glance
  • There may be variations of the Phantom 5, i.e. Standard, Pro, Advanced, etc.
  • Expect the cost of the Phantom 5 (depending on model) to range from $1100 to $1500

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with other DJI drones. Some of these will better suit your needs and budget. DJI are aiming their new Phantom 5 at the prosumer level or serious hobbyist.

Why Wait for the DJI Phantom 5 Quad

Some people wonder why drone enthusiasts get so excited about any new DJI product launch. The answer is a simple one. With each new drone release come the invaluable feature enhancements, improved designs, and the newest technology. If there was little or nothing to shout about then the interest wouldn’t exist.

Some industry experts and savvy pilots do at least make some good assumptions. The list below looks at some of the possible enhancements we might expect with DJI’s new Phantom 5.

  • Retractable landing gear
  • Even better camera capability and optics
  • New and interesting flight modes
  • 360-degree obstacle sensor (smarter anti-collision feature)
  • Tracking system independent of GPS
  • Improved flight time and better flight range
  • Marginally faster speed in Sports Mode (currently 45 mph with the Phantom 4)
  • Two transmitting bands, i.e. 2.4 GHz/5.8 GHz
  • Gesture mode technology and palm launch/landing

Some or even all the above may materialize in the new Phantom 5. These are the kinds of things that most people are talking about and some of them are inevitable. It’s my guess, however, that we’re going to see a few surprises too. Part of us wants to know what those are. There’s another part of us that wants the surprise on the day of release.

It’s All About You — Well Almost!

The hard-working teams at DJI collect user feedback over time and create new products or enhance existing models based on user demands. The DJI Phantom 5 will be no different. That’s why some speculation and certain rumors are easy for experts to predict.

DJI doesn’t grant all consumer wishes though. For example, we’d all like to see third-party battery capability in the new Phantom 5. Their own smart batteries are very good but they’re also expensive. This is not likely to be a feature in the new Phantom 5 though because DJI wants to eliminate 3rd party battery failures as the cause of accidents.

There’s No Need for the Phantom 5 Quad

There are some people out there who think the whole story is hot air. By that I mean they don’t even believe there will be a Phantom 5. They assume DJI has gone as far as it can with quality consumer drones. There’s the DJI Spark, the DJI Mavic, and they’ve upgraded the Inspire as far as they can go. Some think it’s not possible to better the current high-quality DJI drones available. They’re wrong!

The Annoying Fixed Landing Gear

I know there has also been a lot of talk about retractable landing gear but this is less certain. Still, all Phantom pilots would welcome some form of retractable landing equipment. Most of us WANT third-party battery option but we NEED retractable landing equipment I point out below. Watch this space!

It would be a huge benefit if the Phantom 5 came with retractable landing gear. This would be one of its most exciting features if it happens. The camera could then spin a full 360°. Pilots could even mount their own sophisticated 360-degree cameras under the belly. Retracting the legs not only takes them out of the shot but also helps the aerodynamics of the craft during flights.

A lot of the competition now introduces retractable landing gear as standard. The Yuneec Typhoon H is one, and the Walkera Voyager 4 is another, to mention just two. I’d be very surprised if the Phantom 5 didn’t follow suit. It’s going to be exciting for Phantom fans if they do.

Final Thoughts

DJI has never failed to innovate and surprise us with their innovations. Not one of us outside the company has a crystal ball but some of us are pretty good at guessing—at least in part. It’s time for a new standard in high-quality consumer camera drones.