DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus Review

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter Review

Pros: Integrated FPV camera, stabilized on one axis. Records 14MP 1080p video to your micro SD card, Live WiFi integration to your iOS or Android device -- stream video, GPS and more up to 980 feet away, Included Lithium Polymer batteries with up to 25 minutes of charge time and multiple charge indicators, GPS control -- pilot your quadcopter based on precision satellite data from your phone or tablet, Easy to fly, Failsafe mode returns copter to last 'safe' location in the event of a signal loss, Quick Setup Cons: Expensive -- roughly the same price as a quadcopter, goPro and gimbal kit, Proprietary batteries require special purchase to…

Review Overview

Durability
Battery Life (for size)
Value (bang for your buck)
Fun

Our Review

Summary : The DJI Phantom 2 Vision is ahead of its time. The Phantom 2 features GPS controls, a FPV camera and wireless interactivity with your phone right out of the box. Unfortunately, a high price, some reliability issues and issues with poor customer support, prevent it from being a no-brain buy.

Pros: Integrated FPV camera, stabilized on one axis. Records 14MP 1080p video to your micro SD card, Live WiFi integration to your iOS or Android device — stream video, GPS and more up to 980 feet away, Included Lithium Polymer batteries with up to 25 minutes of charge time and multiple charge indicators, GPS control — pilot your quadcopter based on precision satellite data from your phone or tablet, Easy to fly, Failsafe mode returns copter to last ‘safe’ location in the event of a signal loss, Quick Setup

Cons: Expensive — roughly the same price as a quadcopter, goPro and gimbal kit, Proprietary batteries require special purchase to replace, Faulty charge indicators can cause an automated landing or crash, Unreliably wireless connectivity, SD recording issues, Software complexity and unreliability

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter Review

Right out of the box, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is a beautiful quadcopter. It’s simple to set it up before the batteries have had time to charge — you just have to screw on the propellers and install the optional range extender. Flight is incredibly simple and easy. The Phantom 2 is set up so that you can magically fly it with no previous experience. Maneuvering your copter is as simple as gently moving the stick in the direction you want it to go.

Phone connectivity is beautiful — as long as you’re close. The Android and iOS app allows you limited control of your copter while presenting a live video feed, complete with GPS and compass data. This makes piloting even easier — you don’t have to worry about which way the copter is facing or flying it behind visual obstructions.

Unfortunately, things start to break down when you fly in populated areas or more than a few feet away. The Vision uses a normal wireless connection. This is great in theory, but in practice, you’ll be using it with your phone. Most modern cell phones are programmed to hop onto the strongest wireless signal. As you fly your Vision away, this means your phone might hop on to the wireless network offered by a nearby house, store or device. The included wireless software has a habit of soft-locking your phone when this happens, requiring you to restart your device to use it at all.

Claims of the wireless range extender’s efficacy seem dubious at best. Even with it installed, the effective wireless range of the copter is far short of the advertised 1000 feet. In practice, it’s still fine for close flying out to around 200 feet. If you intend to use the Vision for wide panorama shots or long-ranged photography, however, you’ll find the wireless features to be quite lacking.

While the Vision is very quick and easy to fly, the include software and information is complex and unreliable. Compass calibration is exceedingly unintuitive and technical, especially considering the relative simplicity of the rest of the machine. The included documentation falls short of delivering everything a first time user needs to know. A number of the features of both the device and the remote are only explained in the full user manual, downloaded from the internet. Some users have reported issues updating the firmware on the Vision using the included software. The on-board video recording system also seems buggy, often resulting in corrupted video recordings. It’s possible to work around this bug by using a fresh microSD card each time, but this process is tedious and frustrating.

Worst of all, many Visions are plagued by buggy flight control software. DJI has included an innovative saftey feature that automatically lands the quadcopter in the event of a critically low battery or control disconnect. Due to a defect in the Vision, this feature will sometimes kick in at very high battery levels. DJI has released a number of software updates designed to combat this problem, but some users still report their quadcopters are landing themselves with over 50% charge remaining.

The Vision is priced at a point where it might not be worth buying, especially if you don’t care about the wireless features. For about the same cost, you can purchase a camera-less Phantom 2, a 2 axis gimbal system and a GoPro camera. This package offers better stabilization and video definition at the price of losing the Vision’s wireless features. If you’re looking for wireless FPV right out of the box, the Vision is a better deal. If you’re just looking for an aerial camera and you’re comfortable modifying your copter a little, however, consider purchasing your camera separately.

Verdict

Overall, the Vision is an excellent, innovative piece of technology. Using the FPV camera to take it on short-ranged flights is a unique experience any quadcopter enthusiast would enjoy. Unfortunately, it’s plagued by a number of problems, including short range, poor connectivity, software bugs and a high price point. If you’re willing to spend the cash to get a quadcopter that’s equipped with a wireless FPV cam right out of the box, the Vision is a great buy. Otherwise, wait until the issues have been sorted out or purchase the components seperately to assemble your own flying camera.

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