DJI Phantom 3 Standard Review: Still Worth it Today? [2021]

DJI is a brand that has been storming the drone market as the brand with some of the best drones you can find.

Their impressive lineup is loved by both professionals and hobbyists.

However most of these units come with a hefty price tag and so to offer an option to those working on a budget, DJI came out with the Phantom 3 Standard.

This unit does not have all the bells and whistles as its pricier counterparts like the collision avoidance system or 4k recordings and so the question of should you get it remains.

If you’d like to know the answer, stick around as we dive into this article where we will discuss the features and more to see if the DJI Phantom 3 Standard is still worth buying today.

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone with 2.7K HD Video...
  • Flight time: 25 minutes
  • Range: 2.5 miles
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
Table Of Contents

DJI Phantom 3 Standard Review In-Depth

DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone with 2.7K HD Video...
  • Flight time: 25 minutes
  • Range: 2.5 miles
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard drone is a great drone for the new flyer or those on a tight budget.

While it may not have all of the impressive functions of the others, this unit comes with DJI’s safety features like automated flight modes, etc.

It also captures crisp video footage at 2.7K resolution.

For more, let’s take an in-depth look at The Phantom 3 features.

Range

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard can remain controllable to 500m or so.

It is much shorter than other models but that range is good enough since you want to always keep the drone in your visual range.

Some places have laws regarding this so if you are in one of those places, then this is going to work just fine.

In this model, it helps to make sure that the controller’s antenna is pointing directly at the unit.

It is a bit inconvenient because other models like the Professionals and Advanced Phantoms, this is something you won’t have to worry about.

However, at the price point, it is a small thing to do and doesn’t take much time.

Controller

phantom 3 drone controller with smartphone

The controller for the Phantom 3 Standard is pretty simple and features two sticks, a gimbal wheel, an S1, and an S2 switch.

Of course, this means that you will have to use your mobile device to take pictures and capture videos.

Again, for the price, it isn’t anything much to do since some models require you view live footage from your smartphone, etc.

What makes this easier is the metal rail on the controller to hold your smartphone.

The rail is not big enough to handle a tablet but then again most times we use our smartphones so still not a deal-breaker.

The controller uses a rechargeable battery that can be charged via the micro USB port at the bottom and four LED lights indicate the charge level.

To power on the controller, there is a single power switch.

The difference between this unit and the others is that the Advanced and Professionals use a cable to connect your device to the controller.

However, the Phantom 3 drone uses a wi-fi link between the controller and the phone.

Due to this, the transmission range is greatly reduced.

Smartphone-enabled piloting

The drone works with DJI’s Go app which is kind of similar to the DJI Pilot app of the more expensive models.

Connecting your phone to the drone will bring it into a camera view and provide you with flight and photographic information.

From this screen, you can access menus, recalibrate and adjust any photo or video settings.

You can also see your location and the unit’s on a map so you can always keep track of the unit at all times in the event it crashes or if it encounters any other mishaps.

Watching this model in the sky will leave you unable to tell if it’s the Standard or a pricier model since it flies almost the same.

The two-stick controller combined with your mobile device makes it pretty easy to control the drone.

The unit is very quick and responsive to commands which is a great steal for the price.

Video an Image Quality

The Phantom 3 line uses similar cameras but offers different video resolutions, frame rates, and bit rates.

The Standard drone can record footage at 2.7K resolution which is about 1520p at 30fps or 24fps with a 40Mbps bit rate.

It can also shoot videos at 1080p at 48fps with the option to shoot at 50fps or even 60fps at 720p.

The video and photo quality is excellent in ideal conditions when the lighting is good.

The 12 Mp camera captures photos and videos with great details and that only tapers off in low light situations.

However, again, not a deal-breaker because of the price, the camera performs fairly well.

The wide-angle design of the lenses covers about a 904-degree field of view which is the same as a 20mm lens on a full-frame camera.

The aperture is fixed at f/2.8 with the focus being fixed as well to capture crisp stills and video footage.

The Phantom 3 Standard comes with the same three-axis gimbal technology as other Phantom 3 drones.

The main purpose of the gimbal is to steady the camera to reduce vibrations for clearer stills and smoother videos when the unit is in flight.

It allows the device to be tilted through a 90-degree range which can be achieved using the gimbal wheel on the controller.

Preflight

A flight simulator mode is included in the DJI Go app.

This is great for those who aren’t confident in their piloting abilities.

The flight simulator mode in the DJI Go app allows you to fly virtually until you’re sure you’re ready for the real world.

As we said before, this unit is perfect for new flyers and this feature is on both iOS and Android versions of the app.

You will need to power on the unit before you can try out the flight simulator but it’s definitely worth getting the practice in virtually before taking it outside.

Once you’ve practiced enough and feel confident, it’s time to take the unit outside.

Give the drone a good look over to make sure the battery is fully charged and the rotors are all securely attached.

A quick tip you should always follow is to connect the drone to the app before leaving home if you’re filming right around that location.

This way if a firmware update is available, it can be downloaded with ease.

However, if you’re away, the update can be downloaded over cellular data but it takes about 20 minutes and drains the battery by 10%

Last but not least when taking the unit out for the first time, remember to calibrate its compass and ensure the GPS lock has been acquired before you go zooming off.

You may have to calibrate the remote as well.

In-Flight

Flying this unit is not that hard since it supports automated takeoff.

Simply tapping the up arrow on the DJI Go app powers up the device and lifts it a few feet in the air.

From there, the controls are handed over to you and you can use the two sticks on the remote to maneuver and navigate the unit.

The drone can return home by pushing the S2 switch on the controller up and down a couple of times.

If you want to cancel the return-to-home feature, then simply do the same to the S1 switch to cancel the request.

The intuitive control system is very user-friendly and with a few spins up in the air, you’re bound to master it.

Design

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard drone looks very similar to the other models in the Phantom 3 lineup in terms of battery, body, and design.

It carries the trademark four-pylon white design with red decals that is so DJI that you’d recognize any of their drones in an instant.

The DJI logo can be found at the top of the chassis and two red stripes on each of the four pylons.

There are only a few differences with this unit compared to the others.

First, you’ll have to be extra careful when flying close to the ground because this unit does not come with the Vision Positioning System.

Second, the camera is also different even though it uses the same 20mm wide-angle prime lens.

The difference here is that the MicroSD memory card slot is on the unit itself and not at the base of the gimbal mount like the previous models.

You will find the gimbal and camera mounted on the undercarriage while the landing struts are underneath the body of the unit.

This unit is particularly lightweight and compact enough to be taken just about anywhere.

It weighs 2,6 pounds and measures 15 x 14 x 8.25 inches for easy portability.

DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone with 2.7K HD Video...
  • Refer the user manual and videos on this page for troubleshooting.Enjoy the view: A live video feed...
  • View a live image streamed from the drone up to a half mile away on the DJI Go app using your mobile...
  • GPS assisted flight features let you concentrate on getting great images while the drone helps you...
  • Fly up to 25 minutes with the included intelligent battery. A range of accessories is included:1...
  • Update the remote control first before use.

DJI Phantom: Pros & Cons

For

  • Easy to fly
  • Uses gimbal technology
  • 20mm wide-angle lenses
  • Affordable
  • Built-in GPS
  • Automated takeoff and landing

Against

  • Image and video quality is below par in low light conditions.
  • The battery takes a long time to recharge
  • Need smartphone to capture videos and photos.
user friendly phantom 3 standard

DJI Phantom 3 Standard vs Advanced

DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter Drone

DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter Drone with 2.7K HD Video...

  • Flight time: 23 minutes
  • Range: 3.1 miles
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds

In the DJI Phantom 3 Standard vs Advanced, we’ve found that the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced is a bit more powerful than the Standard and comes with some great features.

The Advanced has a flight time of 23 minutes which is a bit less than the Phantom 3 drone but the range is impressive at 3.1 miles.

The Standard uses a 12MP sensor for 2.7K video resolution while this model comes with a Sony Exmor 12.4MP sensor for 2.7K videos also.

The Phantom 3 Advanced provides better video quality thanks to the use of Lightbridge technology that provides reliable video and control signals.

This technology is the main reason this drone can travel up to 3.1miles which is farther than the Standard Range.

Another feature that the Advanced comes with that is lacking in the Standard is that the Advance can connect to Russian and American satellites.

The integration of GLONASS is what makes the GPS 2x stronger in this unit.

DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter Drone with 2.7K HD Video…
  • up to 2.7K HD video recording with fully stabilized 3-axis gimbal
  • Lightbridge digital streaming allows live viewing of 720p video (full resolution video is…
  • Vision Positioning system allows stable flight indoors
  • Included flight battery and rechargeable remote controller means this system is ready to fly out of…
  • DJI Pilot app for iOS and Android allows live viewing and complete camera control.

DJI Phantom 3 Standard vs Pro

DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Aircraft

DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Aircraft, 3-Axis...

  • Flight time: 23 minutes
  • Range: 3.1 miles
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds

The DJI Phantom 3 Pro comes with everything in the Phantom 3 Advanced and then some.

Like the Standard and the Advanced, the Pro comes with a Sony sensor but the difference here is that it can shoot videos in 4K and has a higher quality 720p video feed.

It comes with Lightbridge technology and also has GLONASS for a longer range and better GPS control.

This unit uses a100W larger charger that charges the battery in less than an hour

when compared to the other models.

However, even though it charges up faster, the Standard does have a longer flight time because the camera sensor is different.

The flight time of this device is 23 minutes just like the Advanced but the Standard can last for 25 minutes.

The difference may not seem that huge but if you’re filming something important or time-sensitive, two minutes can be crucial.

So in the DJI Phantom 3 Standard vs Pro match-up, we’ve found that the Standard is better if you need a longer flight time.

DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Aircraft, 3-Axis…
  • Camera offers 4k UHD video recording with fully stabilized 3-axis gimbal.
  • Quadcopter camera drone features 720p HD app-based monitoring with gimbal controls on transmitter.
  • Drone package includes 2 flight batteries and a rechargeable remote control.
  • Features a vision sensor for indoor flight and offers up to 23 minutes flying time.
  • Kit Includes Quadcopter Drone, Radio Controller, Flight Battery, Charger, aluminum case.

DJI Phantom 3 vs Phantom 4

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Aircraft, 3-Axis...

  • Flight time: 28 minutes
  • Range: 3.1 miles
  • Weight: 3 pounds

Comparing the DJI Phantom 3 vs Phantom 4 in terms of design, you won’t see much of a difference.

They both look pretty much the same but this device is a bit heavier than the Phantom 3 drone.

The differences lie in the controller, integration of advanced technologies, flight time, and camera.

The Phantom 4 comes with a controller and does not require the use of any additional devices to capture photos and videos like the Phantom 3 Standard.

There is a big enough screen integrated into the controller to provide an in-camera view yet remain ergonomic enough to make the drone easy to control.

The Phantom 4 comes with some advanced features like the No Fly Zone and Follow Mode that cannot be found on the Phantom 3 drone.

This newer model offers 28 minutes flight time which is more than the Phantom 3 Standard.

Where the Phantom 4 shines and wins the Standard is in its video recording quality.

This unit offers up to 4K videos recordings at 24fs with an ISO range of 100 to 3200.

Read more about the Phantom 4 in this DJI Phantom 4 Professional review.

DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Aircraft, 3-Axis…
  • Camera offers 4k UHD video recording with fully stabilized 3-axis gimbal.
  • Quadcopter camera drone features 720p HD app-based monitoring with gimbal controls on transmitter.
  • Drone package includes 2 flight batteries and a rechargeable remote control.
  • Features a vision sensor for indoor flight and offers up to 23 minutes flying time.
  • Kit Includes Quadcopter Drone, Radio Controller, Flight Battery, Charger, aluminum case.

Final thoughts & takeaways

We have now come to the end of this DJI Phantom 3 Standard review and I am sure you’re eagerly awaiting our answer.

To answer the question of if this model from DJI is still worth it today, we’ll have to say yes.

If you are a newbie and looking for a drone with good image and video quality for a price that wouldn’t break the bank then this is the unit for you.

This device is very easy to control and comes with a few advanced technologies to help you along the way like automated take-off and landing.

It is also lightweight and compact enough to fit into your backpack and go wherever you go. 

That being said if you have no budget and looking for a high-quality drone that captures stunning images and video, go for a more expensive unit in the DJI lineup.

Read this Phantom Drone Comparison post to see more drones in DJI’s lineup.

You may also want to check out these DJI Phantom cases to keep your drones protected when not in use or help when transporting the units.

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone with 2.7K HD Video...
  • Flight time: 25 minutes
  • Range: 2.5 miles
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds

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