The BetterView Guide to Drones

Since Day 1 BetterView has recognized that DJI is the pre-eminent drone hardware manufacturer in the world. Since it’s inception in 2006, DJI has grown to control over 70% of the global market for consumer drones. Selling over 100,000 units a month in the United States, BetterView understood from the get-go that it was best to leverage their vast research and development budget to our advantage and solely use their products for our inspections. Not spending money on developing a physical drone product has enabled us to spend greater time and energy in refining our already market-leading analysis technology. Furthermore, we become more future-proof as DJI is the market leader in drone hardware.

From the earliest days of supporting the Phantom 3, BetterView has consistently added support for the newest and best drone models. This article is a quick run-down on the price, features, and reviews for the DJI models we support.

DJI Mavic Pro

The DJI Mavic Pro was released to great fan-fare. People had been clamoring for a drone which was smaller and easier to transport, yet still carried with it many of the features of larger, more unwieldy drones. The Mavic Pro was the answer to that question. Despite its smaller size the Mavic Pro still gets anywhere from 22–25 minutes of flight time. Owing to its smaller size there is a slightly smaller field of vision for the camera, but the drone is still capable of shooting in 4k video.

The Mavic Pro has a number of safety features which are also present in larger drones. There is forward obstacle collision avoidance technology which can sense if the drone is about to run into something ahead of it. Additionally, optical sensors below the drone help keep it level while hovering in one location. The Mavic Pro retails for $999 on DJI’s website, and costs the same on Amazon.

DJI Phantom 4 Advanced/Pro

As of April 30th, the old Phantom 4 was discontinued and replaced by the Phantom 4 Advanced. The Advanced version has a much more powerful camera which is capable of shooting 4k video and snapping 20-megapixel photos. An aperture with greater adjustability makes this drone a solid upgrade from the old Phantom 4. DJI has the drone listed on their website for $1349, but it can also be found on Amazon.com for $1,330. All in all this is a fantastic drone which can be used for our inspection flights as well as any recreational activities you wish to capture.

A step-up from the Advanced version is the Phantom 4 Pro version. This version is capable of a few pretty cool features which are absent on the Advanced. The Pro has rear vision sensors and two infrared sensors which can help you avoid obstacles while flying. The Pro also can fly an absurd 28 minutes on a single charge which is nearly 10 minutes longer than the original Phantom 4. Combine that with a top speed of 45 mph and you have a work-horse drone which can do near anything. The Pro version can be found on DJI’s web-site for $1,499, or you can purchase it on Amazon for $1,399.

DJI Inspire 2

PC Mag may have put it best: if money is no object the DJI Inspire 2 is hands-down the best consumer drone available on the market today. If there are any doubts about the abilities of its onboard camera just check out this video; it’s breathtaking. The Inspire 2 carries with it a number of advantages over its predecessor in terms of automated flight. One such feature is called “Spotlight Pro” which allows the drone to follow a pre-determined subject. The camera will stay tracked on that subject when it moves.

One great feature of the Inspire 1 and 2 is the way that the rotors lift when the drone is in the air. This enables the camera to have completely unrestricted views of scenery whether the drone is stationary or flying forwards at full speed. When purchased from DJI this drone retails for $2,999. You can also find it on Amazon for the same price.

DJI Inspire 1

The DJI Inspire 1 is the older version of the Inspire 2 (duh), but the original was simply so powerful and advanced for its time that it remains a great drone for BetterView inspections. The Inspire 1 was built for taking movie-quality video and stills and as a testament to its original design it continues to be a workhorse in our field. For those that want to have a top-of-the-line drone, but don’t want to shell out for the Inspire 2, this remains a great option. The Inspire 1 can be found on DJI’s website for $1,999, or on Amazon for $1,899.

DJI Matrice 100 & 200

The DJI M-series is perhaps the world’s first enterprise dedicated drone system. It is based on the workhorse Inspire 2 and brings many of operators favorite capabilities to this new platform. The M200 comes with a number of enhanced safety features including an ADS-B receiver which enables it to communicate with other aircraft in the area. This means the drone is capable of realizing when a helicopter for instance is in the area and will alert you to its presence if you haven’t already realized it.

Where the M-series really shines is in its camera options. The M200 only has one permanently attached camera which is used to stream video back to the operator on the ground. There are two other mounts on the drone for your own cameras whether they are thermal or other specialty application cameras. While you can’t use both at once, the number of mounts and gimbals on this drone blows anything else out of the water. This drone will have an estimated 38 minutes of flight time — long enough for any industrial application.

This drone is definitely made for professional applications and is shipping this quarter in 2017. For more information read about it here on DJI’s website.

If you have other interests in the capabilities of the DJI drones used by BetterView please feel free to reach out to sales@better.vu for more information.

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