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The new DJI Inpire 1 quadcopter drone review (with interview)

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The DJI Phantom made a big splash of things in the pool of quadcopters over the last few years, allowing it to take its place near the top. This year however, they have a lot of strong competition coming their way thanks to companies like Hexo+, but they aren’t stepping back just yet. Towards the end of last year, they launched their new Inspire 1 drone to 1-up their Phantom series.

The new Inspire 1 offers an upgrade on all angles including:

  • 360-degree gimble with arms that lift the feet away giving you a clear view.
  • 4K video and image recording.
  • Enhanced GPS giving you a much stronger lock with an average of up to 18 satellites.
  • The ability to fly without the need of GPS and still be able to hover in place and know its height from the ground.
  • The ability to use two controllers so thatthe drone and camera can be controlled separately, allowing the pilot to focus solely on flying.
  • Modular design allowing you to remove the camera and gimble for travel or even upgrade it (this is important). – We have a Phantom Vision 2+ here at the office, and the only thing we regret about it, is the fact that we can’t upgrade the camera to something better. This limits our use of it and the lifespan of the entire unit.
  • Lightbridge system allowing you to maintain live HD video at more than a miles distance.
  • Auto take-off and landing.
  • Up to 18 minutes flight time.

This is by far, the best product that DJI has developed. Answering most, if not all, the issues Phantom owners brought to their attention in the past.

Just like the Phantom, it is easy fly. This doesn’t mean that anyone can grab that controller and have a go at it, but it does mean that if you have flown a quad before, you are more than likely going to be natural at this one. The controls are smooth and each movement is predictable to your expectation.

We have mentioned a fun comparison in the past by pointing out to gamers, that if you can drive a “Warthog” or “Banshee” in the game “Halo” (in a high stress situation at fast speeds) and survive with minimal damage to your vehicle (or without flying off the ledge of a cliff)…you can pilot a DJI quadcopter. The Inspire 1 feels no different to this theory. Members of our office, with no RC experience at all, have flown our Phantom 2 Vision+ without any troubles (taking to it within the first few minutes of flight).

816g+XS+4NL._SL1500_The Inspire 1’s ability to lock onto the ground to determine its height and position is amazing. So accurate, you can fly it indoors without (as much) fear. No more having to worry about a GPS lock-on, this allows you to take the drone to additional places that you couldn’t before (without having to place an increased amount of effort into controlling it and a decreased chance of smooth video). Now it can smoothly capture its video just about anywhere.

81RIegQaJAL._SL1500_The 4K camera is also a major player in this, as the resolution and frame rate are obviously much better than that of the Vision 2+. If you are looking for solid 1080 video, then capture it at 4K and compress it down. Both in video and photography, we always recommend shooting at a higher resolution than you plan to deliver. The end result almost always comes out looking a little better. The gimbal also feels a bit smoother than the Phantom’s. Maybe this is because we have crashed our Phantom a few times during various benchmarks…

Ad – Buy the Inspire 1 on Amazon

Modular capability of both the camera and gimbal happens to be one of our favorite highlights. As mentioned above, we cannot replace the camera on our Phantom without making major modifications. Even if we went that far, we would be switching to a GoPro mount/gimbal (which is actually better anyway, but also really expensive) vs upgrading to the next gen DJI camera. For example, the Inspire 1 camera is not compatible with the Phantom as it maintains proprietary connections and on-board firmware. With the Inspire 1, you will be able to swap the camera with whatever they come out with next (assuming the next model they release continues down that path, and they don’t change their mind about supporting the Inspire 1).

Sadly, we weren’t able to demo nor observe the option of connecting two controllers to control the camera and drone apart from each other. We find this to be a fun feature as any drone lover will tell you that its not easy to babysit both the flight of the drone AND the angle of the camera at the same time. Giving the responsibility to someone else is always more successful in obtaining a better shot. However, previously when you did that, you also lose the view for yourself so you are essentially flying by line-of-sight, while whomever has the cellphone or tablet has FPV of the camera. Now, both individuals can have their own controller AND have downlink with what the camera is seeing. This way the pilot can see more than just line-of-sight, and still not have to worry about messing with the cameras angle or settings. Superb.

Speed and handling is great. Like the Phantom, it can take off and soar through the sky. It also handles wind very well. We couldn’t benchmark it on speed so much since we were limited in our trials, but it did feel fast than the Phantom and there was a bit of wind a few hundred feet up and it didn’t seem to bother it much at all.

The design of the Inspire 1 is also impressive. Like Parrot, they decided to go with something unique vs the same design everyone else in the quadcopter market has molded theirs to look like. The Inspire 1 instead looks like something out of Terminator. Now all it needs is the abilities of the Hexo+ and you will truly have your own Skynet Drone.

You can watch our interview with drone expert Randy Jay Braun with DJI here:

 

Our Conclusion

Once again, the Inspire 1 is the best drone that DJI has launched. Both looks and function, it is unique to the drone market, giving it an edge against everything else. DJI is known for pushing their products further than some of the competing companies, allowing you to get more for your money. It is by far, feature-strong, making it a solid tool for professional drone lovers around the world (as well as hobbyists alike). The only draw-back, is price. Launching at $2899, it is not for weak at heart. It is going to cost you a lot of money to invest into one of these, so make sure that you know what you are doing before you launch it. The last think you need is to send $3000 right into a wall somewhere. Price weighs heavy in our rating of it since this year does give way to a lot of fierce competition. We decided to go with an 8 out of 10. This will be one of the dominating drones this year, but companies like Hexo+ are hard on its tail to change that. Despite that, do we want an Inspire 1 here at the office? Yes!

8 / 10 stars           

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Video:

Additional Images:

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Specifications:

Aircraft

Model
T600
Weight (Battery Included)
2935 g
Hovering Accuracy (GPS Mode)
Vertical: 0.5 m
Horizontal: 2.5 m
Max Angular Velocity
Pitch: 300°/s
Yaw: 150°/s
Max Tilt Angle
35°
Max Ascent Speed
5 m/s
Max Descent Speed
4 m/s
Max Speed
22 m/s (ATTI mode, no wind)
Max Flight Altitude
4500 m
Max Wind Speed Resistance
10 m/s
Max Flight Time
Approximately 18 minutes
Motor Model
DJI 3510
Propeller Model
DJI 1345
Indoor Hovering
Enabled by default
Operating Temperature Range
-10° to 40° C
Diagonal Distance
559 to 581 mm
Dimensions
438x451x301 mm

Gimbal

Model
ZENMUSE X3
Output Power (With Camera)
Static: 9 W
In Motion: 11 W
Operating Current
Station: 750 mA
Motion: 900 mA
Angular Vibration Range
±0.03°
Mounting
Detachable
Controllable Range
Pitch: -90° to +30°
Pan: ±320°
Mechanical Range
Pitch: -125° to +45°
Pan: ±330°
Max Controllable Speed
Pitch: 120°/s
Pan: 180°/s

Camera

Name
X3
Model
FC350
Total Pixels
12.76M
Effective Pixels
12.4M
Image Max Size
4000×3000
ISO Range
100-3200 (video)
100-1600 (photo)
FOV (Field Of View)
94°
CMOS
Sony EXMOR 1/2.3”
Lens
20mm (35mm format equivalent)f/2.8 focus at ?
9 Elements in 9 groups
Anti-distortion
Still Photography Modes
Single shoot
Burst shooting: 3/5/7 frames
Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7EV Bias
Time-lapse
Video Recording Modes
UHD (4K): 4096x2160p24/25, 3840x2160p24/25/30
FHD: 1920x1080p24/25/30/48/50/60
HD: 1280x720p24/25/30/48/50/60
Max Bitrate Of Video Storage
60 Mbps
Supported File Formats
FAT32/exFAT
Photo: JPEG, DNG
Video: MP4/MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
Supported SD Card Types
SD/SDHC/SDXC Micro SD
Max capacity: 64 GB. Class 10 or UHS-1 rating required.
Operating Temperature Range
0° to 40° C

Remote Controller

Name
C1
Operating Frequency
922.7~927.7 MHz (Japan Only)
5.728~5.850 GHz
2.400~2.483 GHz
Transmitting Distance (Outdoor And Unobstructed)
2 km
EIRP
10dBm@900m, 13dBm@5.8G, 20dBm@2.4G
Video Output Port
USB, mini-HDMI
Power Supply
Built-in battery
Charging
DJI charger
Dual User Capability
Host-and-Slave connection
Mobile Device Holder
Tablet or Phone
Max Mobile Device Width
170mm
Output Power
9 W
Operating Temperature Range
-10° to 40° C
Storage Temperature Range
Less than 3 months: -20° to 45° C
More than 3 months: 22° to 28° C
Charging Temperature Range
0-40° C
Battery
6000 mAh LiPo 2S

Charger

Model
A14-100P1A
Voltage
26.3 V
Rated Power
100 W

Battery (Standard)

Name
Intelligent Flight Battery
Model
TB47
Capacity
4500 mAh
Voltage
22.2 V
Battery Type
LiPo 6S High voltage battery
Energy
99.9 Wh
Net Weight
570 g
Operating Temperature Range
-10° to 40° C
Storage Temperature Range
Less than 3 months: -20° to 45° C
More than 3 months: 22° C to 28° C
Charging Temperature Range
0° to 40° C
Max Charging Power
180 W

Battery (Optional)

Name
Intelligent Flight Battery
Model
TB48
Capacity
5700 mAh
Voltage
22.8 V
Battery Type
LiPo 6S
Energy
129.96 Wh
Net Weight
670 g
Operating Temperature Range
-10° to 40° C
Storage Temperature Range
Less than 3 months: -20 to 45° C
More than 3 months: 22° to 28° C
Charging Temperature Range
0° to 40° C
Max Charging Power
180 W

Vision Positioning

Velocity Range
Below 8 m/s (2 m above ground)
Altitude Range
5-500 cm
Operating Environment
Brightly lit (lux > 15) patterned surfaces
Operating Range
0-250 cm

DJI Pilot App

Mobile Device System Requirements
Android version 4.1.2 or later
Supported Mobile Devices
* Samsung S5, Note 3, P900 tablet, Sony Z3 EXPERIA, Google Nexus 7 II, Mi 3, Nubia Z7 mini
*Support for additional Android devices available as testing and development continues

*Updated: Included a few more highlighted points as well as a direct link to the item on DJI’s website.


 

Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.

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About Author

Designer, Editor and Product Reviewer
Poc Network

Ryan is an avid gamer that spends most of his time either commanding teams on the Xbox One or out on the grass kicking the soccer ball around when others are willing to take the challenge. He comes with a bachelors in electrical engineering and a hobby in the installation of advanced audio-video environments.

67 Comments

    • I don’t know but I watched a YouTube video of a couple guys flying one in Hong Kong taking aerial footage of the skyscrapers and water front.

  1. This is a complete package. With other less expensive ones, once you add all the options you want and spare parts you probably end up spending close to what this costs right out of the box.

  2. The123tester on

    Just bought the inspire one what a great machine I am a filmmaker and I love it!But I found the big flaw yesterday I was in the middle of a big shoot actors directors everybody on Set and DJ I decided to shut me down because of a firmware upgrade in midflight I was shut down in the middle of a production and had to reschedule not good took an hour to do the firmware upgrade customer service makes you wait one hour before attending you then when you finally get attended some guy comes on with an attitude ready to hang up on you terrible customer service!!!!At the end they say that’s the way it is you got to put up with it so that’s the only drawback I see with this Hitler drone,once you get an upgrade you got an upgraded if not they stop your flight and your production and your work I believe DJI needs to work on that issue or they will be losing a lot of customers in the future I will be taking mine back to the store just because of the customer service:( and the fact that they cost me $1000Too bad I’m gonna go find a new drone that has better customer service and appreciates the customers bye-bye DJI,The excepted no responsibility for me losing money on a shoot that shows a lot about a company no apology nothing but a bad attitude!!!Your loss DJI!!!!

  3. Stanislav Smolec on

    Keby ste ma po?uvaly na za?iadku mohli ste by? v pretstyhu z dobou ste zastarala ochrana v SR neviete predvyda? stale len na chibach sa u?ite je to smutne ?akuiem dovidenia jedyne ja mam nato kvalifikaciu som totišto na vojne navadzal rakety zem vduch na ciel z Lokatoru ako operator ?, 2

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