The Phantom 3 Standard review is from Amazon.
THE GOOD: To anyone thinking the Phantom 3 Standard is substandard. I own one and love it. It is the perfect drone for a first-time pilot, and I know several experienced pilots who buy the Phantom 3 as backup drones. The main limitation of the Standard is that the range it can fly is about half of the higher up models, and it uses fewer GPS signals and has no downward looking visual “eye” like the Advanced and Pro, so it will drift more up down and sideways (but not a whole lot) and not land quite as accurately at the take off point automatically. I give mine a 15-foot radius for safety in landings and sometimes it will land 10-12 feet from take-off point on auto-land. Advanced and Pro stay within 2-6 feet usually. The controller is more limited with older technology. BUT the Phantom 3 standard flies just as fast, and as high, takes just as good video and pics and is just as much fun as the $1000 models for 1/3 the price. In the beginning, you always want to fly within line of sight (Standard’s limitations keeps you there) and legally you are ALWAYS supposed to fly line of sight.
THE BAD: DJI leads a new user to believe all the built-in guidance system will do everything for you from takeoff to landing. And it will, until it doesn’t. That will happen, not and if – it is a when… you have 3 sensitive components talking to each other (controller / drone / smartphone) using both Wi-Fi and radio, plus very sensitive onboard compass and GPS. This overly complicated plumbing will fail at some point and it can happen even a few feet away. At that point, you need to switch to manual control immediately – and hope you have time. I have had compass errors happen 3 feet off the ground in auto land and the dreaded “crazy flying meat slicer with 4 exposed blades” needed to be grabbed by the landing gear to stop it from hitting things as it got confused and would not respond to the controller. By the way: A pair of chef’s slice proof gloves is a great idea at take offs and landings, don’t ask how I know.
RULE NUMBER ONE: Always be prepared for the unexpected! Like flying a private plane the phrase “hours of calm punctuated with seconds of panic” applies here. Best advice for new pilots – learn to do everything manually first – especially landing – because at some point you will need that skill and need it FAST! Also never ignore the long boring preflight compass calibration. I do it every time I set up for flight. Not only does it recalibrate your compass – more importantly – it warns you if there are magnetic disturbances. If there are – my advice is pack it up and move elsewhere, or fly totally on manual control. Ignore any of those warning at your own risk. Compass or GPS warnings for a new pilot mean WAIT or RELOCATE.
SAFETY: Never forget how dangerous these drones are. 3 pounds with spinning blades plummeting from 400 feet is a deadly weapon. Don’t fly over people or roads. Warn folks near by to be aware of the drone. A drone, under the right set of circumstances with a simple malfunction could kill a pet or a human. It’s like owning a gun, be responsible or don’t own it. Never do like these YouTube folks and fly it miles away to see how far it can go or push the limits to see how fast you can swoop over a crowd of people. That is inviting disaster.
THE MIDDLING – should the worst happen with the Phantom 3 Standard, and you make a fatal flying error – more likely when a new pilot – then you are out only $400 or so max, instead of a grand, and actually less if you sell the remaining controller and battery etc. on eBay. Every piece of a DJI is worth money and easy to sell, so pick up the pieces if you can. If you can find your crashed drone DJI may fix it under warranty if it was the drone’s fault, but don’t count on it. DJI at this point in time has horrible support, if that changes, it would be wonderful. I would buy a 3rd party crash warranty over DJI’s coverage any day of the week, if that is important to you.
NICE PART: Battery lasts longest of all the DJI P3 models in the Standard version by 2 – 3 minutes because of fewer sensors. If you step up to a Phantom 3 Pro – batteries and case can come along (But not Phantom 4) and at $100 plus per battery, that is good news. Eventually you will want 3 or 4 batteries so you can fly an about hour with juice to spare for landings, trust me.
BOTTOM LINE: Most of the “Bad” I listed applies to any drone, from $49 to $5000. You can watch at least 3 videos on YouTube of folks crashing $3000 DJI Vision Drones on their very first flight, despite the Vision having much more tech and more sensors and collision avoidance. Sensors or not, if you tell it to go into a wall because you are disoriented and unfamiliar with the controls, it’s going to do what you say. This sad story happens every day. This is why I don’t encourage a new drone pilot to drop a grand or more on a first drone. Fly a while first and you will never get that disorientation that can cost you a fortune, as you will understand the principles and react instinctively to the inevitable unexpected situation. On the other hand, most any drone any cheaper or similarly priced as this is not a “real” drone, so you can’t take as many of the skills with you when you step up. Many drones in this price range have nothing better to step into. Once you learn to fly a DJI and get familiar with their software and controllers – you can fly their whole line pretty much. I haven’t yet mentioned the excellent camera that makes me often joke “for the price of a GoPro, I got a comparable camera with a stabilizing gimbal that flies.” Put all this together and that is why, in my opinion, this is the BEST DEAL in drones right now – by far.