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122 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best all around consumer/prosumer option out there!
In the world of quadcopters and drones, there are many options, starting with simple toys that struggle indoors when the AC turns on, to big commercial drones that can carry 10-20 pounds or more. I find this one is the best solution at the consumer/prosumer end of the spectrum (assuming you need video recording - otherwise, look for the Phantom 2 without gimbal, without...
Published 3 months ago by Robert Mauro

versus
65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quadcopter good, Zenmuse bad
I really, really want to love this product and give it five-stars, but I cannot. The Quadcopter is a five, but the Zenmuse is a one, so I will average it to three. The problem was unknown to me until after I purchased. Let me explain.

DJI recently updated the H3-D3 to version 1.1. The version 1.0 (and previous H3-D2) connected to the port on the back of the...
Published 3 months ago by Eric E Michael


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122 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best all around consumer/prosumer option out there!, July 18, 2014
By 
Robert Mauro (West Islip, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro Video Camera (Electronics)
In the world of quadcopters and drones, there are many options, starting with simple toys that struggle indoors when the AC turns on, to big commercial drones that can carry 10-20 pounds or more. I find this one is the best solution at the consumer/prosumer end of the spectrum (assuming you need video recording - otherwise, look for the Phantom 2 without gimbal, without "Vision/Vision+").

The Phantom 2 both qualifies as an RC copter, or (depending on how you use it and the options you have) as a drone. There are a plethora of DJI and third party options to expand the capabilities. It supports the Naza-M system. The remote control and automated flight plotting options are only limited by your budget.

With that said, the things that make it really stand out are:
* It comes mostly pre-assembled (just charge the battery and put the props on).
* It has a built in GPS, and knows how to use it (more on this later).
* The gimbal is one of the best I've seen (and based on their higher priced pro versions).
* It is VERY easy to fly (in Phantom 2 flight control mode).
* It supports advanced flying techniques (in non-P2 flight control mode).
* It has a "return to starting point" feature that works automatically, or "manually" if you turn off the remote.
* It (for it's price and weight) is very sturdy, and will likely survive small crashes unscathed.

PEOPLE LIKELY TO *NOT* WANT THIS:
* Those who want to build their whole copter from a kit or from their own parts selections.
* Those who DONT want video capture (the Phantom 2 is cheaper without the gimbal).
* Those who have something other than the GoPro Hero 3 (won't fit this gimbal).
* Those who want something to fly indoors (do NOT fly this indoors, except perhaps at a massive stadium according to regulations - see notes below).

PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY DON'T WANT THIS, BUT PROBABLY DO:
* Those, who, due to the price, want something cheaper...
...I bought a great RC helicopter once. First flight, I crashed it and damaged it. My brother did the same with his. In total (two crashes), we could have bought another one. If you want something serious that's easy to fly, you want this, regardless of the price. If you want a stunt copter with a steep learning curve, look elsewhere.

--------------------------------------------

SOME THOUGHTS:
*GPS*
One of the things that separates this out from other consumer copters is that it uses GPS to remember "starting point", AND for in air flight. What that means is, (1) if your remote ever loses contact, the copter will rise a number of feet (to clear potential obstacles), fly to where it was launched, wait a few seconds, then slowly land itself. It's also a handy way of controlling your first landing (if you're scared of that part) - simply turn off the remote. (2) when controlling it in "Phantom 2 mode", you can make the copter hover simply by releasing the control sticks. It uses the GPS and compass to maintain position (in all 3 dimensions). This TRULY sets it apart from other offerings, because flying it becomes easy. You can literally take off, let go of the controls, and watch it hover - even in a decent wind!!!

*LEARNING CURVE*
In Phantom 2 mode (which is where you should start, unless you've got experience with these things), there's basically no learning curve for flying this. It responds almost like a copter in a video game, with little effect from winds or gravity (remember the "hover mode" I mentioned earlier? It works on maintaining selected height when flying forward or backwards or sideways too). The most difficult thing to learn to do is land. I'll go into detail about that in a bit - or, simply read the landing instructions for the copter.

*DURABILITY*
We've crashed my copter four times. Scuffed up the props (still on the first set), got it a little dirty. That's about it. Three times were on landing - if you don't do it right, the copter is likely to tip to one side and catch a propeller on the ground. The FOURTH time was with a flyer who panicked when he hit the wrong stick, and then slammed the left stick "down" from about 15-20' in the air. The copter obligingly went straight down accelerating as fast as it could, did a short bounce on the ground (sand and dirt), and flipped over. This is when we scuffed the propeller ends the worst. And covered the copter with dirt and sand. And then turned it right-side-up, and flew it back to where everyone else was. Literally. Some prop scuffs and dirt... that was the extent of the "damage". I wouldn't recommend trying that on cement, but what I can say is, we're still flying regularly, and everything is still working great.

--------------------------------------------

*OPTIONS*
I won't go into too much detail about available options - for no other reason than there are a ton of them. So, instead, I will give you some tips on a few, and recommend some that you might think are cool, and others that should be mandatory.

(1) MUST HAVE:
GET A CASE. No, really. Get a foam padded, specially cut out insides, case, and make sure it's designed for the P2 with gimbal and GoPro. KumbaCam on Amazon has one that will fit the unit with an FPV monitor attached to the remote. There are others as well. I got a mil-spec case that's waterproofed, and has good foam cut-outs to hold everything including the GoPro, batteries for the GoPro and the copter, chargers, extra props and more. Yes, a GOOD case will cost you $200-$250. It will also protect an investment that STARTS 4-5 times higher, and can easily end up being TEN times the cost of the case.

(2) MUST HAVE:
Spare props. Unless you're an expert. But, be careful which ones you get. Besides the obvious "get the 9443 ones" (the 9443 spells out the prop specs such as length and pitch), there's one other thing to consider - you need the highest quality props you can get. I am currently sticking with the DJI ones, and one carbon-plastic composite set that was highly reviewed (haven't seen any carbon fiber ones that aren't poorly reviewed). A bad prop can make the copter hard to control, spin off, lose grip to the motor (stops spinning properly), or break apart - all of those can contribute to a costly crash (remember how high this copter can go - a 1/4 mile drop WILL damage or destroy it).

(3) SHOULD HAVE:
Small tool kit with small hex and phillips bits - this will come in handy when you need to remove the GoPro to change a battery or such.

(4) MIGHT WANT:
LED lighting kits. Make sure you pick one that's REALLY for the Phantom 2 (there are sellers selling Phantom 1 LED kits - they work, but require soldering). Do not expect to use them to light up the outdoors. They are good for three things: (a) decoration, (b) determining copter orientation and (c) visibility. Do yourself a favor, and get one that you can set to blink - otherwise, it won't help with keeping the copter visible, or determining which direction it is pointing.

(5) MIGHT WANT:
Better landing gear. Be careful here - the plastic ones out there are being reviewed poorly when it comes to impact. But, the stock landing gear has two major flaws - (a) you can see it in the video whenever the gimbal needs to re-orient the camera left or right, and (b) your GoPro will be sitting in sand/grass/dirt (literally touching it) unless you find perfectly level ground, bring a landing pad, or land on a harder flat surface.

(6) MIGHT WANT:
Spare batteries. They aren't cheap... but flight time is only 20-25 minutes, and recharge time is roughly an hour and a half.

(7) COOL UPGRADES:
There are aftermarket motors that are more powerful and more efficient. Your copter will be able to fly faster (ummm... it can already do over 30mph), and depending on how you use them, fly longer. Inotherwords, if you push the copter hard, you can expect *less* flight time (the motors will draw more current, and your copter will fly faster than with the stock motors). If you fly more leisurely, you can expect more flight time, since the motors are more efficient than the stock motors when flying at less than stock max speeds.

(8) MIGHT REALLY WANT:
You probably want to get an FPV System (First Person View System). Yes, your GoPro can transmit wirelessly. NO, you should NOT use that feature. Turn it OFF before flight so that it does not interfere with the remote control link (which is on the same frequency). You should have a 5.8GHz system. There are a variety of options available - check the ranges, frequencies, compatibility with the ZenMuse cabling and the GoPro, and what options are easily available (such as range extenders, dual receiver antenna setups, etc).

(9) MIGHT WANT:
Waypoint system (check here and DJI's website for details). This will allow you to plot courses that the copter will fly automatically.

--------------------------------------------

TIPS:
(1)
FULLY charge your battery before your first flight.

(2)
Familiarize yourself with the instructions on how to land. And then do it again. It's simple, but done wrong, your copter will flip over and you'll damage your props.

(In Phantom 2 control mode) basically, hover it over your landing area, let go of the right stick entirely, and slowly and *slightly* depress the left stick towards you (towards the "down" position), slowly bringing your copter down. As soon as it touches the ground, pull the stick all the way "down" and then pull both sticks to the outside bottom corners to spin down the motors. If you just let go of the stick, the copter is likely to spin up the motors slightly and tip.

(3)
You REALLY SHOULD (a) calibrate the compass (follow instructions, very simple thing to do and takes a few seconds) when it blinks that it needs compass calibration, and (b) ALWAYS wait for a GPS signal before flying (unless you like your copter spiraling randomly).

(4)
IF YOU PANIC at any time during a flight, you can (1) let go of the right stick and slam the left stick upwards (away from you) to give you some altitude to figure out what to do, or (pending imminent disaster from doing such, like crashing into something) turn off the remote, and the copter will fly itself back to where you started.

(5)
Do NOT launch your copter from close to a cliff, body of water, titled surface, etc. You should always launch from at least 20' away from such, just in case you need to (or the copter chooses to) use the "automated return to launch point" feature. Like with any GPS devices, the copter may land 10-20' off the original location. If a lake is 5' away, you might have to go fishing.

(6)
Do NOT fly the copter in over 25mph winds. And in any winds greater than 12-15mph, expect (a) it to be more difficult to control, (b) it to use a lot more power trying to maintain position, and (c) landings to be more difficult.

(7)
Do NOT turn on the copter before you turn on the GoPro. Once you turn on the copter, the gimbal activates. It was like watching a comedy, watching me try to orient the copter so I could press the GoPro buttons, with the gimbal repeatedly moving the GoPro to keep it level.

(8)
This is an important tip from others (for the "copter randomly flies away once turned on" issue)... I have been reading tips everywhere that say, in this case only, to ignore the instructions... (1) turn on the remote FIRST, (2) THEN turn on the copter (opposite order of the instructions), that way the copter finds the remote quickly. I'd add that one should keep the remote closest to the copter (closest out of any other such remotes around). I don't know if it alleviates the problem, but I *DO* know it doesn't hurt.

(9)
Do NOT fly it indoors, unless in a big area where it is legal to do so (like a massive stadium). If you DO find a massive stadium where it's legal to fly such things, BE AWARE that the GPS is unlikely to get a signal, and you'll be manually controlling a lot more of the flight characteristics, since it will no longer be able to (among other things) accurately auto-hover, hold height automatically, or auto land from where it took off.

(10) THE GIMBAL:
There's a little lever on the bottom of the remote that controls the gimbal's tilt angle. Just in case you (like me) are too lazy to download and read the instructions. All other movements of the gimbal are controlled by it (the gimbal), to provide camera stability - and wow it does it great!!!

--------------------------------------------

All in all, it's the easiest to fly aerial RC thing I've owned. It's sturdy. It handles all the "dirty work" (holding location, etc) yet will allow full manual in other flight modes (for those experts out there), has great battery life compared to the competitors, is very durable, and has a lot of options and upgrades available.

I'd highly recommend this to any multi-rotor enthusiast.
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65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quadcopter good, Zenmuse bad, July 7, 2014
This review is from: DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro Video Camera (Electronics)
I really, really want to love this product and give it five-stars, but I cannot. The Quadcopter is a five, but the Zenmuse is a one, so I will average it to three. The problem was unknown to me until after I purchased. Let me explain.

DJI recently updated the H3-D3 to version 1.1. The version 1.0 (and previous H3-D2) connected to the port on the back of the GoPro camera. This made for a solid & simple connection to the GoPro, and is one of the reasons this gimbal was recommended to me by another DJI customer.

With version 1.1, DJI went away from the connector to the back of the GoPro. They now attach to the USB port on the side of the GoPro. That connector is the problem. DJI elected to use the type of flat wire connector that is normally used internally to connect PCB boards together. While this type of connection works fine in static and stable environments, it was never intended to be frequently connected & disconnected. And given where the GoPro memory card is, this has to be unplugged every time you want to grab a video off the memory card. Not to mention this flat cable to is exposed on the outside of the apparatus and not internal like its design necessitates.

Google: "DJI Replacement USB Output Connection Cable for Zenmuse H3-3D Gimbal" for more info. (Hint to Amazon: Sure would be nice if you carried this replacement cable! I already have a half dozen spares on order from an odd-ball Internet vendor.)

Within two days and three flights, that flat cable has already broken on my Zenmuse H3-D3. I could tell it was fragile from the start and I was very careful with it. It simply cracked in two after a flight. I am glad it happened when the quadcopter was near landing, otherwise I would have lost first-person video as I had previously been flying beyond my sight.

DJI, to their credit, does include some extra parts with the kit. Things you might expect to have problems with and need to replace - like small screws or prop blades. They also include an extra flat cable to replace this one when it breaks. THIS INDICATES DJI IS FULLY AWARE THIS PART IS EASILY & FREQUENTLY BROKEN.

I do not know why DJI 'redesigned' the connector from Zenmuse H3-D3 v1.0 to v1.1. There is plenty of speculation online which seems to indicate this is a financial, not a technical change. This is an expensive kit on the market and is the market leader in this space. It is all brought down by a very poor design on one critical component.

The general online consensus is a GoPro provides better pictures then the DJI Vision does. Perhaps this is DJI's way of driving customers away from one product on to a different product?

So, five-stars for the quadcopter. One-star for the Zenmuse H3-D3. I strongly encourage prospective buyers to avoid the Zenmuse H3-D3 v1.1 until (and if) DJI decides to change this design.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quadcopter, May 27, 2014
By 
bk (Spokane, WA USA) - See all my reviews
DJI is the de facto leader when it comes to multirotor aircraft. I own four Phantom 2s, one is a Vision and the other three are the standard Phantom 2 with Zenmuse brushless gimbals for my GoPro 3 and 3+ cameras. While the Phantom is simple to fly, people will have issues with them if they don't calibrate their compass and IMU. Both of these are easily done. If your aircraft flies in a spiral, chances are good you need to calibrate the compass to prevent "toilet bowling." The Software Assistant permits you to create a "geo fence," placing limits on how distant and how high the aircraft is permitted to go. Built in failsafe will return the aircraft to its takeoff point if it loses contact with the radio control or the battery level gets too low. The Phantom is a fun aircraft to fly, but it excels at aerial photography, permitting photos and videos that can't be taken any other way. It is necessary to wait for the aircraft to "boot" up, lock onto GPS satellites and to record its position for failsafe return. As long as you read and follow the instructions, you should have a great aircraft that will deliver around 20 or so minutes of flight time.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smoothest aerial footage humanly possible, from a GoPro, April 25, 2014
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This rig is amazing. The footage out of the GoPro looks like a professional Hollywood movie. The one thing missing is a carry case and a FPV (First Person View) of the camera. KumbaCam helped with both of those issues. Their FPV kit just complimented this already amazing system. The Phantom 1 was good, the Phantom 2 was great, the Phantom 2 with H3-3D gimbal is AMAZING!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Fun Fun - but don't rush to get it in the air :), August 29, 2014
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This review is from: DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro Video Camera (Electronics)
I have read the reviews - and I have to say the ONE thing I totally understand is people's frustration with customer service. This is clearly a company who has exploded in popularity and has not done well expanding their customer service. I have seen this time and time again on forums. However, with that said, I have also seen that MANY times (not all) people with no experience with RC flying models are not fully understanding the process of setting the Phantom up properly, calibrating and updating firmware etc. There is risk in this hobby - especially with cutting edge technology - and the only thing you can do is really understand the aircraft and read, read and read some more the forums of users who really know what they are talking about.

All of that said - I LOVE this thing! I have flown a bunch of RC heli's and I am sure that experience helps - but I can see how a relative novice could pick this up and get real enjoyment out of it! If you follow the instructions, and wait for a solid GPS lock - it really flies rock solid. For those with a little more experience - the ATTI mode (basically a bit more manual flight mode) adds the ability to really control shots and have some advanced fun.

I will say that the instructions aren't super clear (loading the software, knowing that you need to load drivers first etc). But there are some forums that have instructions written by members that really spell it out.

I literally can NOT wait to get home and fly this thing on the weekend!

Just take my advice - if you are new to the heli world - don't expect to get the box and have it in the air in 20 mins. If you somehow pull that off - you have probably missed an important step, calibrations step or firmware update. Take your time... read everything... and within an hour or two you'll be ready for your maiden flight - and it will be awesome!

DJI - hire yourselves some more CS reps - and splurge and get some in the USA - the Chinese to English chat I had was a bit hard to follow due to all the syntax problems I was having with the rep.

This was a great purchase!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I just wanted customer support? On my "Orders" page as an option., August 15, 2014
This review is from: DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro Video Camera (Electronics)
We received this product, our second P2. The Phantom itself works great. However, the gimble was easily installed, however, the gimble cannot be accessed via the P2 Assistant (is not connected to software, does not recognize it, cannot make any x1 calibrations? The slide stick on back of the controller does not move camera up or down, horizontal axis works, barely a left or right movement, not sure if that is normal. Looking at videos, it appears this is not working properly as well. No shaking, test flight vids, all works great, vids terrific, just no vertical movement at all. The "View your orders" page does not show that this item was received, no "Contact Seller" to submit complaint. I am disappointed that I cannot access Customer Support on my Orders Page? Must be a glitch on the site, or- Someone doesn't want to hear about any more complaints from Amazon, this vendor, or this issue, since there appears to be quite allot of complaints. However, the Phantom is excellent, our second, and not our last...but, maybe not through Amazon, I hope not...we love Amazon! Just not this gimble, and I just wanted to tell this all to customer support? However, there is no option on our "ORDER DETAILS PAGE"
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you buy it, be prepared to lose it., August 4, 2014
This review is from: DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro Video Camera (Electronics)
The seller was great and everything came just fine, but this is more of a cautionary feedback on the product itself.
Do not buy one of these, unless you're okay with losing it.
One crash can wipe it and your gopro out, including any mods you may have attached, including FPV transmitters, and iOSD etc. I had about five successful flights on mine before it was lost to a bath in the lake. While there are many reasons that this can happen, these were all checked prior to flight, including firmware being updated, software assisted and pre-flight calibration, gps lock, being in a remote area with no interference, and no wi-fi interference from other devices.
So, after five successful flights where it operated as expected, on the sixth it took off, started getting out of control, and as I attempted to catch it (within feet of me, well away from water), it took off, past the lake beach and out over the water and crashed right down into the water all within seconds, without responding to the controller, and not giving enough time to activate a return home or any of those other great features.
I loved the gopro, but I'm staying away from quadcopters for a bit. Too much money invested in something that could, without any warning or specific reason, lose control, even when it's a few feet from you. Just glad no one or property was around to be hurt or damaged.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Quad Copter with Excelllent video stability, June 4, 2014
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I did a lot of research prior to buying this basic set up. Right out of the box it flew like a dream. When I became comfortable I attached the Gimbal and GoPro 3+...The stability of the gimbal even in high winds is tremendous. We shot some video on the beach and while the copter struggled in the wind, the video came out smooth as fresh butter!! Even though the copter struggled it still flew extremely well based upon the conditions. Since this pruchase, I've added FPV capabilities and waypoint controls. I just purchased a 2nd complete set up and plan to use both in my video editing business.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great flying Quadcopter and the Gimbal works perfectly for flawless video., September 24, 2014
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This review is from: DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro Video Camera (Electronics)
I read some reviews where people belly ache about the bad customer service or the QuadCopter (QC) not flying right or spinning out of control and I wonder if these people did the calibration correctly when you put it together. I watched the YouTube video on how to install the gimbal and that went perfectly. I then re-read the instructions on calibrating the GPS function, after not doing it right the first time, and that went well. On my first flight in my back yard I backed it into some tree branches, but the QC survived. Just some green stuff on the blades from chopping up leaves. I then took it to a park near my house and had plenty of room to test it out. I flew it pretty high. High enough my neck hurt watching it, but luckily the QC hovers smoothly so I was able to back it down to Earth while only glancing up periodically. As far as advanced maneuvers go, I was able to master that pretty quickly as well. So the QC has great flight controls and is easy to learn. I would suggest flying in an open area until you get the hang of it, then taking it to areas with tighter maneuvers. Three flights so far and all have been right around 20 minutes. I noticed on my last flight. that was exactly 20 minutes, that the QC was losing power, so common sense told me to bring it closer to the ground in case something happened. Obviously the battery was nearly drained. Just fly with common sense and I'm guessing your experience should be every bit as awesome as mine.

The Zenmuse Gimbal is AMAZING! The videos I have shot so far with my GoPro Hero 3+ is awesome! The smoothness and stability of the video while making moves in flight is great. Every now and again, when you turn too sharp, one way or the other, you'll catch the little landing skids in video frame. That's a small price to pay though for Hollywood quality video. I also LOVE the fact that I can adjust the tilt of the camera from the remote. I can't wait to see what I can do with this QC and gimbal. Best toy purchase ever!

Now all I need is more QC batteries, and a FPV monitor. :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Incredible Fun, This Is It., August 18, 2014
By 
Bill Oterson (About 60 miles, or so, east of Manhattan.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro Video Camera (Electronics)
10/12/14 Update: Encountered an issue being unable to tilt the attached GoPro and although I found DYI receptive to help I, instead, found a fix on the internet and within minutes had corrected the problem. Additionally, I've blundered, again, crashing the copter into low hanging tree branches and it fell to ground, about 5 feet. Only cosmetic damage and I repositioned it and went about learning to fly correctly. Very much fun.

I was a bit surprised that the "Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D" wasn't exactly 'plug and play' but the additional part that required installing was an opportunity for me to take the Phantom 2 apart and find out what makes it tick. And the video explaining 'how to' was excellent. In fact, I found the included instructions accurate and easy to follow. And there's quite a bit of information on the internet, too.

Did the deed, put it all together again and set it up, according to directions, and, in my backyard, it was in the air. The remote works really well and the Phantom 2 responds immediately to direction changes. In a short while I felt in command, but, then I got cocky (typical me) and sure enough while putting it through some, possibly unworthy, maneuvers I crashed, not once, not twice, but three times. I couldn't help myself :)

No problem, the Phantom 2 came through the experiences with no damage, except for some stain from the flora it landed on/in which was easily removable. I've since come to my senses, though. Took it over to the park and found the GPS functions as it should, and the gimbal keeps the GoPro pretty steady. What a delight - what fun to fly. I love it. If at all possible, you have got to get one of these. Did I not even mention exciting? Incredibly!

Update 9/11: I've had the Phantom 2 up higher than the lights, at the ball field, in a bit of wind gusts and am amazed at it's ability to automatically hover in place.
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