With the arrival of both the Phantom 4 and the new Yuneec Typhoon H in a relatively short time frame, everybody started to wonder which one reigns supreme. On the question of what's the most affordable aerial video platform these days... there's no denying that these two have the top spots.
The Dji Phantom 3 and the Yuneec q500 4k are still amazing devices that have quite a few cheaper alternatives. But if you're interested in the latest obstacle avoidance technology and look to get more serious without a huge investment keep on reading.
I will try to be as unbiased as possible, as I love both of them as much. But I have to give credits where credits are due.The battle is between a compact and technology rich quadcopter from a very popular manufacturer(DJI) and an incredibly versatile and stable hexacopter from another very respected company( Yuneec).
Don't get scared by the apparent size. The Yuneec gets much smaller when carried thanks to it's retractable legs.
Both models come with a 4k 12 mp camera that has become the standard these days. They're both very high quality, but in terms of sensors, most people would agree that the Phantom 4 has the upper hand with it's sony exmor sensor that delivers a slightly improved image. The difference can be subjective so I'll let you decide for yourself by showing you some actual footage below.
The difference in quality between the cameras is unnoticeable most of the time.
However, I'd always pic the Phantom 4 thanks to the better sensor and light adjustment. There's a video below comparing both cameras head to head and the clear winner is the DJI drone.
Here are the specs from the official websites of both DJI and Yuneec.
Typhoon H uses a 4-cell battery (one more compared to the yuneec q500 model that has 3 cells) at 5400 mAh that according to yuneec will last for 28 minutes of flight time. From my personal experience, it is to be expected that the actual flight time is under 25 minutes, and I'm being conservative here. The 4 cell battery has more power, a feat much needed when you're dealing with 6 rotors on a drone.
The battery for the Phantom 4 is also a 4 cell 5350 mAh, but the fact it only has 4 rotors helps a lot with the flight time, as it can go more than 25 minutes (and up to even half an hour if you hover it in one place... not like anyone ever does this).
Smart battery VS standard?
The main difference between the two batteries is that the DJI drone uses a smart battery while the Typhoon drone uses a standard one. But don't rush to any conclusions, as smart doesn't always mean better.
In my opinion, although there is a small performance advantage, the higher cost of the smart battery isn’t worth it, with a battery charger you will never have issues charging your drone, and it will also save you a lot of money if you plan on buying more batteries
Both the typhoon H and the Phantom 4 have quick release propellers, a feature that will probably become the staple of more advanced drones from now on.
The quick release props are exactly what they sound: propellers that you don't have to screw to install every time and easily snap on and off. And don't worry, these are totally safe .
The advantage of the H in this case is the hexacopter build that allows it to safely return on the ground even if one of the propellers were damaged or one motor failed.
DESIGN and BUILD
The Yuneec Typhoon H has the great advantage of:
- a full 360 degree rotating camera
- and retractable legs
Which in turn means more freedom in taking the right shot and full rotation capability with no stopping whatsoever.
This is perfect for panoramic shots or the times you want the drone to fly at certain waypoints while you control the camera for a very calculated and precise shot (sometimes I feel like I'm talking about some sniper business).
The build for the Typhoon H is pretty sturdy, even though the foldable design may trick you into thinking otherwise. The arms are made out of carbon fiber, a pretty solid one for that matter. Although the folding joints for the arms are from plastic, they're solid enough and they're definitely not cheaply made, so I'd say this will safely pass the test of time.
The close up details look pretty good, but compared to the Phantom 4 they look cheaper.That's mostly because typhoon is mostly made out of plastic while the P4 uses some magnesium alloy and aluminum.
Is the Typhoon H as good as the Inspire?
The portability of the Yuneec drone (thanks to the foldable design) is not something that can be easily ignored.
Just consider for a moment that it pretty much has a similar build as the Insipre does(I'm talking about the longer 360 rotating camera) and yet the legs use almost no space when it's stored, so it can safely be transported saving you the hustle of removing the camera just by snapping the legs towards the camera and making it into a way more compact package.
Not only that, but the camera can spin around endlessly on the Yuneec drone, yet the inspire is limited to one and a half turns. These being said, Typhoon H is a great cheaper alternative to the Inspire from DJI, but it does lack a few features and the camera quality is less overall.
Here's a glimpse on the foldable design that makes it so much easier to carry.
But how does the size of the Typhoon compare to the P4?
On the left you have a photo next to one another and on the right you have a pretty table that shows not only the exact dimensions folded and unfolded but also most of the characteristics for each drone.
COLLISION AVOIDANCE SYSTEMS
The Typhoon H comes with a front facing sonar detector that does a really good job. But we've all been promised that sweet, sweet, real sense 360 degree collision avoidance technology that we've seen go viral on the internet:
We have finally recieved the real sense technology module in the summer of 2016 and many people are excited for it, even though you have to pay additional money for it.
The basic package ( at about $̶1̶,̶2̶9̶9̶ $1,129 on Amazon) doesn't come included with the real sense module but it can be later added.
However if you want to buy the whole incredible package ( Including all the things you could possibly need) you have to take out $1,939 out of your pocket. In many cases this is worth it, especially since the technology is so new and no one else on the market has anything like it.
Yes, you heard that right! The typhoon also has a pretty nice modular design that allows not only the incorporation of the optional real sense technology but also other cool personalized feats that will be developed in time.
So this might prove to be a very timely platform that will stand the test of time.
Is the Phantom 4 avoidance technology any good?
The Phantom 4 smart avoidance and detection technology is pretty damn good by itself and works great if you don't plan on flying backwards too much.The incorporated system comes with 2 forward facing cameras that can optically detect distance from certain objects and even recognize the subject and follow it.
Here's a video showing a real life case where a disaster was avoided in time, while the drone was travelling at high speed.
Underneath the drone there's the already known sonar system that was present on the Phantom 3 advanced and pro versions, but this time there's also another set of cameras that improve the indoor and low level flying steadiness and become a part of the obstacle avoidance technology.
This means the area where the P4 can detect objects also extends downwards.
The field of view is 30º horizontal and 60º vertical and it can detect objects at 15 m distance, while also showing a visual cue on the transmitter regarding the object you want to detect.
Now, for the realsense on the typhooon H
The intel RealSense module for the Yuneec H will be covering everything 360 degrees around it. This will be a considerable advantage compared to the P4, as many shots are done with the drone flying backwards(helps with taking the props out of the video).
This full 360 detection works in conjunction with the ability of the camera to move 360 degrees without any obstacles and make for a great video platform.
Transmitter and flying modes
The DJI controller looks very similar to the previous versions( see phantom 3) yet it has some unique features that are worth being mentioned.
- One of which is the sport mode that allows you to go up to 45 miles an hour.
- Another flying mode for the DJI P4 is the TapFly mode that allows the user to fly to a speciffic location in 3d space that can be chosen by pressing on the screen image directly (not using the map, but the actual live footage itself).
- Smart mode is also something that makes a beast out of the Phantom 4, just because it's such an amazing tool for cinematographers to use. This mode helps you to easily keep doing circles around a fast moving object without the need of 2 pilots. Things like way-points and course lock are already included in the package and make for a total package where you can find anything you will ever need.
- The DJI Active Track mode is what makes this system look so smart compared to other drones. This is the mode where you can select a specific object or area in the DJI Go app and let the copter follow it by itself.
Typhoon H transmitter - is it any good?
The controller for the typhoon has a more integrated aproach to the design, something we've seen present in the previous models like the q500.
The build with the integrated screen running android is still there, but this time the looks differ a whole lot.
The main advantage of the Typhoon h is that you don't have to get a separate device that must also be charged separately, but you basically have a built-in android tablet (and quite a well functioning one) inside the remote.
In my opinion, the Typhoon controller looks more professional and has a better feel than the one on the Phantom 4, but to each its own.
- You can upload to youtube and even edit the video, all from the transmitter.
- Just as the P4, the Typhoon H has various modes of operating ranging from smart mode to panorama mode and so on.
- What it lacks in object tracking capacity, it gains in cinematographic freedom. Remember that 360 rotation CGO 3+ camera? Well, you can not only do beautiful panoramas with it, but also make the aircraft fly at a preplanned way-point while you control the camera, and this time with no actual degree of restriction.
- If you feel overwhelmed by the freedom this 360 view gives to you, there's always the option to set the camera to behave like the old camera on the q500 and limit it to a certain degree range in front of the aircraft.
Big plus: the yuneec transmitter features a full sized HDMI out port, so if you want to see the image on a bigger external screen, you can do that live, directly from the HDMI port, something you won't find on the DJI Phantom 4(although there's a separate module for this which can be bought for the dji craft).
So, which one is better between Phantom 4 and Yuneec Typhoon H?
My personal choice would be the Phantom 4 from DJI
I'll let you decide for yourself by giving you some other insight into the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Here's a 7 minute video review made by AuthenTech on youtube that will offer a bit more insight to the matter.
Below that I also made a short list of the strong points of each of the drones. Leave a comment below if you made it this far, I appreciate it!
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
- good camera sensor
- sturdy and high quality materials (Casey Neistat almost had a hard time destroying it)
- long flight range (lightbridge technology up to 4 km)
- bigger online community
- smart detection technology incorporated ( works more reliably than the standard one on typhoon)
- buying additional accessories costs a lot
- being white and so small it's harder to detect when up in the sky, compared to the Yuneec
- you need to have a smartphone or tablet to use the transmitter
Yuneec Typhoon H
- has retractable legs
- foldable arms
- can be seen from afar easily
- 360 degree rotation camera
- 4k camera CGO3+ (that can also be used with a handheld device)
- integrated 7 inch lcd screen in the controller
- modular design
- intel object avoidance technology ( makes it more expensive though)
- Flight distance is considerably smaller
- the filming quality might be subjectively better on the P4