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DJI’s new Phantom 3 drone gets 4K cam, live HD streaming, ‘follow me’ autopilot

Good news for all you drone enthusiasts out there — DJI, the biggest name in consumer drone technology, has pulled the curtain back on the latest addition to its uber-popular Phantom line:  the Phantom 3. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

First of all, the new Phantom will come in two different flavors: an Advanced edition priced at $999, and a Professional version priced at $1,259. The difference between the two is the camera; the Phantom 3 Professional will feature a 4K video camera while the Advanced will shoot at 1080p.

Higher-quality video is definitely the main selling point here, but nicer cameras aren’t the only feature the Phantom 3 brings to the table. Both models of the drone will include DJI’s Lightbridge technology ($1,399 if purchased separately), which allows the operator to see what the drone sees live and in HD, within a mile range. And of course, both drones use a three-axis gimbal to stabilize the camera and provide super-smooth video.

For easier piloting and control, all models of Phantom 3 are equipped with special downward-facing range sensors, which let the drones know how far they are from the ground, and allow them to fly indoors safely without a strong GPS signal.

Speaking of GPS — the Phantom 3 line has also been augmented with GLONASS (the Russian equivalent of GPS) so that the drones have even more satellites to contact. The more satellites the Phantom 3 can connect with, the better it will be at hovering in place without any input from the pilot.  It even has a new “follow me” feature that allows the Phantom to film and fly completely autonomously while you run around.

DJI also equipped the Phantom 3 with a better battery. The company’s upgraded Intelligent Flight Battery has built-in sensors that let you know the status of your battery in real time, so you always know how long you can continue flying and when it’s time to recharge. If you spring for the Phantom 3 Professional, it even comes with an upgraded charger for quicker charge times.

DJI has already opened up pre-orders, and expects to begin shipping the Phantom 3 to consumers within the next few weeks. Stay tuned for our hands-on review!