DJI introduces Phantom 2 Vision+ with better stabilization, faster flying
posted Monday, April 7, 2014 at 12:04 PM EDT
It was just a few months ago that DJI announced the Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter, the company’s first aerial vehicle with a built-in camera—and they’ve already released an update.
Unveiled at NAB 2014 over the weekend, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ adds better stabilization, a longer WiFi range, and faster flight speeds. The built-in gimbal has been upgraded from a single-axis model to a three-axis version—now able to correct for pitch, roll, and yaw, so video should be even smoother than it already was. While the range of the radio remote control hasn’t changed, the range of WiFi communication now extends to 700 feet, allowing pilots to use an iOS app with a first-person view and telemetry information from greater distances. And this drone can now zip around at up to 15 meters per second, 50 percent faster than its predecessor—though DJI notes in the specs that this maximum speed is “not recommended.”
Features that remain the same from the previous Phantom 2 Vision include a camera that snaps 14-megapixel stills and 1080/30p video. It’s a 1/2.3-inch sensor, probably something similar to what you’d find in a recent point-and-shoot camera. A firmware update unlocked raw DNG photo files in the older model, and the new Plus version ships with the capability pre-installed. Battery life is about 20 minutes.
The Vision+ looks like it’s replacing its predecessor as the best bet for an out-of-the-box drone, ready to fly on arrival. Cheaper DJI Phantom models require pilots to rig up their own cameras (usually a GoPro) and gimbals. Lower-end ready-to-fly quads like the Parrot AR.Drone have a tough time capturing steady video. But this latest Phantom seems like a sure bet. Tech blogger Robert Scoble got his hands on a pre-release version of the Vision+ and was able to capture crisp, steady video in a stiff breeze—and he'd only flown a quad a few times. Of course, at $1,299, the Vision+ is more expensive than any other ready-to-fly models out there. But it seems like a fair price for something that lets you get good-looking, hassle-free aerial shots.
No word on if the Vision+ is shipping just yet, but the order form is up at the DJI website.