When we talk about drones from DJI, we generally consider their machines to be either consumer drones or professional drones. There are great options in each category, and we want to compare two of the top consumer quadcopters today, this is a quick shootout of the DJI Mavic Pro vs Phantom 4 Pro.
We’ve come to an important conclusion about these two drones, that is that most people are going to want one or the other, few will want both. Let’s find out if the DJI Mavic Pro or the DJI Phantom 4 Pro is the drone for you.
Both the Phantom 4 Pro and the Mavic Pro have updates with a similar focus. We applaud DJI for shooting for efficiency in the drones, with both the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 and the Mavic Pro Platinum adding low profile propellers and updated ESCs to drive the motors better. The big addition of the two, however, puts OcuSync into the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, meaning you can use it or either of the two Mavic Pro models discussed here wirelessly with your DJI Goggles.
When you read and hear that the DJI Mavic Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro are built for different people and needs, it can be tough to understand why. Flying the two drones side-by-side does little to clear things up, it’s not until after the flight that it clicks.
Before we give it all away, let’s take a look at the drones. This will be a quick overview, remember to visit our full reviews of the DJI Phantom 4 Pro and DJI Mavic Pro for all of the specs and details.
Phantom 4 Pro
Available in two models, the Phantom 4 Pro and Phantom 4 Pro+ are the same drone, the difference is a 5.5-inch display built into the remote of the Pro+. We actually flew and compared the Pro+ beside the Mavic, if that makes a huge difference for you.
Continuing in the iconic design of the Phantom line, the Phantom 4 Pro is a little more rounded at the edges, a little ‘bubbly-er’ if you will. The fixed body quadcopter design with tall landing gear does not fold down or transform, you simply remove the propellers and support the camera gimbal for transport.
5-way obstacle avoidance helps to protect the drone from collision in all directions except up. The drone can get up to 45 mph in sport mode and you can eek out thirty full minutes of flight, if you ignore that battery warning alarm.
Hanging below the belly of the drone is a 4K shooting, 20 MP camera with 1-inch sensor on a 3-axis gimbal. Hint, this camera is pretty great.
There are a few models of the Mavic Pro floating around now, the original and the White versions are the same machine, the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is improved. No matter the model you choose, you are getting a folding quadcopter.
Quick release, folding propellers are easily swapped out for replacement or upgrade. The Platinum propellers are a new design, more effective and quieter. They will fit your original Mavic Pro and the white version as well. Platinum also has updated ESCs to better handle those new propellers, otherwise it’s just a new paint job in the upgrade.
Forward and downward obstacle avoidance puts some of the onus on your to fly smart, but makes it super easy to land safely. Full sport mode will see speeds of about 41 mph and you can sty in the air for up to 27 minutes, 30 from the Platinum. After more than a few flights, my original Mavic Pro gets a little over 21 minutes of actual flight per battery.
Under the nose of the craft is the camera on this drone. The 3-axis gimbal controls a 1/2.3-inch sensor in a 4K shooting 12MP camera.
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What might surprise many out there, the Mavic Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro are almost the same air frame size. Comparing the two, the corners are about an inch off of matching up. Height is another story, the Mavic Pro is a Lamborghini to the Phantom 4 Pro’s Range Rover stance. Maybe that was a bad comparison… Mavic is short, Phantom is tall.
This matters for several reason. If you’ve flown larger and small quadcopters before, you probably know what I’m about to say. The Phantom 4 Pro, as the larger and heavier drone, is more stable in the air.
Make no mistake, both of these drones are rated the same in terms of hover accuracy. We fully agree with the spec sheet, the Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro stick to their position in the air very well. The difference, made obvious on a windy day, the Mavic Pro gets pushed around a little more, and it responds with more gusto.
Related reading: Small drone or big drone, which is right for you?
While flying these two drones, you will notice the Phantom 4 Pro reacts/accelerates/stops slower. When I hit the brakes hard with the Mavic, it comes to a screeching stop, when I do the same with the Phantom, it sort of floats in and eases to a halt.
When you are done flying, the magic begins. The Mavic Pro, as we’ve mentioned, is a folding drone, and it folds down quite small. I like to remind people that the travel bag for the Mavic Pro Fly More combo is almost exactly the same size as the travel bag for the DJI Spark Fly More combo. Let me tell you, Spark and Mavic are nowhere near the same size in the air.
The Mavic Pro flies like a mid-sized drone, but travels like a small drone. It’s fantastic.
The Phantom 4 Pro flies like a big drone, and travels like a big drone.
If you are flying for pay, or any other form of compensation, you must operate under a different set of rules and possess a commercial drone license. We call it the Part 107, it’s not too hard to get, but it will take some time to learn all the rules. We want to help you learn the rules and get your commercial license, check out our drone pilot training material.
I’m talking about cameras now. Don’t worry, I’ll talk fast, then put up photos and video for you to make your own decisions. Conclusion: No competition, the Phantom 4 Pro is far superior. The 1-inch sensor is able to capture light that the 1/2.3-inch sensor of the Mavic Pro just can’t handle, and the 100Mbps data rate of the Phantom 4 Pro captures details that the 60Mbps speeds of the Mavic Pro also can’t touch.
I do not have many direct comparison samples for you, but I am sure you can get a feel of the cameras from the following gallery and videos.
Related reading: Best camera drones
Phantom 4 Pro photos
Mavic Pro photos
Phantom 4 Pro video
Mavic Pro video
Both of these drones are great. I urge you to consider your needs before you crown a champion with your wallet.
If you are looking for the easier and more exciting flight experience, the drone that is easier to travel with, easy to use and share, and costs less, buy the DJI Mavic Pro. The drone alone can be found for about $850 these days, but we recommend the Fly More combo for about $1120, it has extra batteries and more.
If you are looking for the faster and smoother flight experience, the drone with the vastly better camera capabilities, buy the DJI Phantom 4 Pro (Or Phantom 4 Advanced, it’s got the same camera.) The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is $1200 these days, get that built-in display of the DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ for $1600, we think it’s worth the extra.
The great part about this, we offer you the happy problem of getting to choose between two great drones. You will not go wrong with either, generally speaking, simply consider your needs and desired outcome before you commit.
We want to hear from you, if you have or are currently deciding between these two drones, which did or will you buy?
Don’t forget: DJI Mavic Air
Now that we’ve explored two great drones that were launched back in 2016, allow us to mention a newer machine: the DJI Mavic Air was launched in 2018. We have plenty of great things to say about this machine. We do not presume to suggest it is better than either the Mavic Pro or the Phantom 4 Pro, but it is certainly more portable and has a better camera than the Mavic Pro, so it is totally worth your consideration if that is what you are looking for.