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135 of 139 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2014
After owning a Parrot ARDrone 2.0 for the last year, I wanted something with more range, capacity, power, and ability to use other cameras. The Parrot is a very fun, really easy to use quadcoptor for indoor and limited outdoor use, but it leaves a lot to be desired. After doing a lot of research, I decided a DJI Phantom was a good choice for a ready to fly, easy to use, stable camera platform. I used the ARDrone for some aerial footage for work, I really wanted a better camera.
I was a bit worried about all the all the reports of problems with the Phantom, especially the fly-aways, but ordered one anyway. The Phantom arrived (from intelligentUAS) very fast, and with everything it was supposed to. The FC40 camera was in a separate box from the Phantom, but in the same shipment. Assembly was easy, I only had to install the props, and attach the landing skids. While charging the battery, I downloaded the drivers and software for the GPS and NAZA flight controller. Pay attention to the instructions for the installation of the driver and software. I installed them in the wrong order and spent an hour sorting out the connection problems. Once I followed the instructions, setup was fairly simple. The most recent firmware was already installed, so not much was required.
After calibrating the compass, I took the Phantom outside, plugged in the battery, turned on the control, disregarded the flashing LED's, and took off......right into the side of my truck, spinning the props into the tires, the ground, and everything in the immediate vicinity. I paid attention to the instructions this time, including calibrating the compass outside, and waited for the appropriate LED's. The Phantom behaved wonderfully. Setting up the FC40 camera was very easy, and worked exactly as was supposed to.
I've had the Phantom for a month now, and have flown it every day. I learn to fly it better every time I fly it. I admit I crashed it a couple of time the first week, and a lot of that was getting used to the controls after flying the ARDrone (some of the controls are reversed). The FC40 camera is a pretty good camera, and with a 100 meter range, it's great for FPV flying. I've mounted a few other cameras with mixed results, but the Phantom performs great. The 5.8 Ghz controller doesn't interfere with surrounding WiFi signals. I mounted a Sony Action Cam, and the WiFi link with the camera doesn't cause any problems, either.
This is a very powerful, versatile platform that can be used in many configurations. I've used this for work taking aerial videos and photos of construction sites and projects, and everyone loves it. I bought a second battery, and will order a couple of more soon. With the lightweight FC40 camera, I am getting 8 to 10 minutes per battery. In windy conditions, and with a heavier camera, 6 to 8 minutes is about all I'm comfortably getting. I've only had the Phantom try to land itself due to low battery once, but I try to pay attention to the LED's. I did invest in the prop guards, and I'm very glad I did. I've clipped a few branches, and bounced off the side of a house or two, with no ill effects. I also ordered taller, wider landing skids to accommodate the anti-jello mount I installed, for using cameras other than the FC40 camera.
The Phantom is fun, impressive, and quite frankly the coolest "toy" I've ever owned. DJI seems to have come a long way in solving fly-away issues, though a lot of those seem to be user error anyway. I thoroughly enjoy flying the Phantom. I haven't experienced the problems that some have had, and haven't damaged the Phantom, so I'm pretty positive about the experience so for. I may upgrade to a larger, more powerful multi-rotor in the future, but I doubt I will find one that is so well integrated and put together. There is also a very large community of Phantom users out there, so if you have a problem, chances are, someone else out there has also had it, and can offer some insight.
For a beginner getting started with aerial photography, to just plain fun flying, you won't regret getting a Phantom.
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230 of 244 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2014
Another update: After owning my Phantom FC40 for over 3 weeks, today I experienced what can only be described as a fly away. I've owned my Phantom long enough to know it and to fully understand how it works and how to maintain it. Despite routine IMU and compass calibrations and ALWAYS waiting for green lights, I experienced a fly away with my Phantom FC40. In fact I'd performed a compass calibration earlier in the day after returning from a trip. I was flying in a large hay field behind my home. I've flown in this field nearly everyday since owning the FC40. I've never experienced any issues like this until today. I was flying at approx. 100-150 feet when suddenly the Phantom began to free fall. Despite pushing the throttle all the way up I could not maintain any altitude. Moments before impact the Phantom seemed to respond but still slammed very hard into the ground. At this point I assumed the phantom would power off, but it did not. Without any input at that time the Phantom quickly flew upward and to the right of my position. It was flying quickly as I frantically tried to regain control. There were moments when I seemed to have partial control, but the Phantom would not respond long enough for me to land it. After a minute or so I did regain control by switching off the controller and setting it to Atti mode and I landed the Phantom. A close inspection revealed that the landing gear is bent beyond repair. I bent the landing gear back into place. Performed an IMU calibration and compass calibration and took the Phantom out for a test run. It seems to fly ok, but I do need new props and landing gear. I did manage to reach DJI and they agreed that this was not user error and have issued and RMA for repairs. DJI seems to be upping their game in customer support and this it great news.

This is an update. After owning my Phantom FC40 for almost 2 weeks it has begun to develop some problems. The battery door is not very secure and on one occasion when the Phantom was flying backwards the battery slid out and disconnected from the Phantom. The battery and the Phantom both fell to the ground. Luckily the Phantom was about 15 feet in the air and the fall did not cause any damage. On another occasion the battery slid out and I was able to land the Phantom. Also the camera mount is not very secure. On more than one occasion the battery mount door will come open and the camera will fall from the Phantom. This happened once when I was landing the Phantom and it was only a few feet from the ground. The second time it happened it fell from about $150 feet and I never found it. I have made two complaints with DJI and they have yet to respond. I'm actually concerned flying the Phantom until the battery door issue is fixed and the battery mount is secured better. I'd hate to have the battery fall out at a high altitude.

The video is a short clip of a 12 minute flight I took around our farm. The on board camera takes pictures and live video at a higher resolution, but I lowered the quality so that Amazon would accept the clip for this review. The FC40 camera does produce better result than this video clip shows.

I'm giving this quad 5 stars although setup deserves less than a star. Updating the firmware and setting it up is confusing and time consuming to understand. Once you move beyond those steps everything else is a breeze including calibrating the compass.

If you are like me and this is your first high tech RC Flyer, I suggest reading everything you can about setup before it arrives. DJI recommends updating the firmware before first use and if you've never done it before, it's confusing. You Tube is your friend and there are a few well made videos which will help you through the process. Don't bother calling DJI. They don't answer their phone. I called several times only to be greeted with a recording and the voice mail in box was full so I couldn't leave a message. Totally useless solution in my opinion.

Having worked through all that I'm pleased with my purchase. It's a dream to fly. It's so stable and easy to control. It's very responsive and smart! It stays where you put it (within tolerances) in GPS mode and this is the mode I've been using it in. I'm mostly interested in flying around and I don't care so much for stunts so it's perfect for me. It does have an attitude mode where it will behave more like any other quadcopter (drifting) and while it does not have the same stability as GPS mode it's still very easy to fly.

The camera that is included is easy to setup, no problem at all. It works with Android devices and iOS devices. I use an older HTC EVO 3D when I'm flying and after I'm finished flying I connect the camera to my 10" iPad to few the photos and videos. You can also connect the camera directly to your computer via the included USB cable to copy the hires video to your computer for editing. A note about using it with iOS devices. You must select the FC40 camera as your WIFI network under settings before it will work. With android devices you can select the camera within the app so it's a bit simpler in my opinion with android devices. Also before you can use the camera you'll need a micro SD memory card before you can use it, not included. It supports up to 64GB memory cards, I am using a 16GB card that I had on hand.

One more thing, the FC40 has a tendency to tilt over when landing especially if it is auto landing after signal loss. If it does happen to tilt over the props on the tilt side will rev up trying to stabilize the quad. If this happens your props will grind into whatever surface you are landing on. For this reason I suggest keeping extra sets of props on hand or catching the quad by hand as it makes it's approach for landing. The FC40 does include 1 extra set of props, but I suggest having more on hand. Unfortunately my local hobby store does not have these on hand and yours may not either. It's sad to be grounded waiting for new props.

ALL E RC answered the Phone every time I called and they are very knowledgeable. Shipping was fast and I won't hesitate to order from them again.
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89 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2014
Before I purchased this drone I looked at YouTube videos for several days trying to find out which one I wanted. That being said, I choose this one because of the included camera, I was afraid that I would crash it and destroy both the drone and my GoPro. By the way I have crashed it numerous times in the first week of flying, the first crash was into a tree. Needless to say the drone has a few scuff marks on it but no real damage.

The first MUST have is the propeller guards, at $15, they will save both damage to the propellers and the drone. Second get more batteries and an extra charger, as of now I have 3 batteries with the fourth one and the extra charger on the way. Third watch the videos. Fourth WATCH THE VIDEOS!!!! There are not many videos on the FC40 but the ones for the Phantom and Phantom 2 will help.

The GPS flight control is awesome and makes learning to fly the drone so easy. I have not taken it out of GPS so I can not comment on ATTI mode for now.

Connecting to the computer and doing the firmware up grade was easy, however reboot your computer after you install the DJI programs. The app for FPV is easy to use and connects to the camera easily. If you are using an IPhone you will need to go to settings and connect to the WiFi there before it will connect to the camera.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2014
I have been shopping for a drone for over two years and finally settled on the FC40 by DJI. Overall this is a really good starter drone, it has a ton of great features that work well and most importantly you can be flying within hours from the time you get the box. But here are some things to know...

1) Assembly Required - You need nothing more than a phillips screwdriver and a computer with a YouTube connection. There are no instructions in the box, because DJI believes it's so simple you don't need instructions. That isn't totally true, you will probably want to follow the DJI Phantom assembly video on YouTube. It takes about fifteen minutes to assemble the FC40, and it is rather simple to do following the video.

2) Learn To Fly - Yes the FC40 is ready to fly upon assembly, but all this means is you don't have to weight balance, tune the props or do other things you might have to do with other drones. This does not mean you shouldn't take the time to learn to fly the FC40. The FC40 is NOT a toy - it can be used for commercial purposes. I use mine for Law Enforcement. How is this so? Because it has pretty advanced flight features and you really need to understand the controls or you are going to get frustrated - in fact, you might not even figure out how to turn it on if you don't understand the controls. There is no - "on/off" button for the drone. So just spend thirty minutes and watch the DJI videos on "how to fly" the Phantom. Once you are done with the videos, your batteries are fully charged, you will be hovering and swooping in no time.

3) Extra Battery - You should invest in an extra battery - it really is more fun to just swap a battery than wait for a recharge.

Flight Characteristics

The FC40 is built on the amazing Phantom platform and hence has really stable flight dynamics. It is not quiet, it can reach one thousand feet of climb (which would be illegal in the states so stay under 400), it is nimble, fast, can hover, rotate on it's axis and climb or dive quickly. It takes about ten minutes to get proficient in GPS mode, but you also have other flight modes supported (watch the videos before you try them).

Return To Home

The FC40, will return to home if it loses the connection to the remote controller. This is very cool, but also can be very scary. There is a very specific order to power up the FC40 and power it down - an actual flight checklist - if you don't follow these steps, the FC40 may take off on it's own and try to get back to the last "return to home" location. Meaning you will see it fly away and have to hunt for it. Many people have lost their FC40 because they didn't know the right startup/shutdown protocol. Follow the checklist! Under normal operating conditions, meaning you followed the checklist, when you initialize the FC40, it will record it's latitude and longitude, as well as it's orientation on a 3D plane. If during flight, the FC40 loses it's connection to your remote control, if will get to about 60' feet and then plot a course to it's original starting point and land itself within a few feet of the take off location. This is pretty damn awesome - but remember if there are buildings, wires or trees - it could crash - this is a last resort - don't rely on this - as it might not make it home!

FPV (First Person Video)

The FC40 has a wireless camera that can connect to your SmartPhone. In this mode it will stream live video to you and you can actually see what the FC40 sees in real time. There are limits to the wireless connection and so you should always rely on watching the FC40, because the FC40 can go a lot further than the wireless connection.

Distance/Altitude

It can climb to about 1,000 feet and has a range of about a 1mile...that is scary...and all depends on atmospheric conditions and the geography. Remember this - if you send your FC40 off on a long flight - and you lose site of it - you might be out your investment! Keep in mind that if the battery dies it might not make it home. Just like a real pilot - know your fuel levels or you might just become the next person who donates their drone to someone a mile away.

Camera

The camera is pretty good, but not great. If you want great you will need to upgrade to the higher end Phantoms and get a GoPro camera. For those just starting out, exploring and learning this camera is amazing. You can't make it turn or swivel, but you can control the zoom, which is really cool and you can decide when to take photos or when to shoot live video (if you are using FPV). You can also then save your video/photos to your camera and not have to transfer things from the SD card.

What else?

It is a great entry point that balances cost with features - this is really packed full of REAL features that are rather mature. Other drones have a lot of features, but they sacrifice quality and that just sucks. Overall this is a great platform for up to the intermediate drone pilot. It is not something you will outgrow overnight and it will bring out the inner kid in you!

Resources

There is an entire website dedicated to Phantom Drone pilots where you will learn a ton...so check that out as well as YouTube. The biggest thing you can do with this drone is take time to learn - it is not a toy - it is a real drone that has the same technology as some military drones.

Required:

- 4 AA Batteries for the remote
- Micro SD card for the camera

Gotcha:

One thing that took time to figure out and a bunch of research, was charging the camera battery. The camera has it's own battery and it is charged by a micro USB cord. For whatever reason, it doesn't charge if you connect it to a computer. So invest in a wall charger and charge the camera battery using the wall charger. The camera will blink red when charging and then solid red when close to fully charged and eventually not display any light when it is fully charged. Totally whacky but it is what it is and now you know.
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80 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2014
UPDATE: Well I DID love this drone and really loved the so called GPS return home feature except it DID NOT WORK! After owning this drone only a couple of weeks we were flying it this afternoon to take some arial shots and before I knew it I was helplessly watching my beloved Phantom fly away! Nothing I did brought it back. We searched for hours looking for it till 10pm with no success.
Be warned: This so called return home feature may not be all that it appears. All I have left is the remote. I did register the drone so my hope is that somebody will find it and contact me but at this point I think it's gone for good.

FIRST REVIEW: If you want a drone of any kind at all, this is the one. Top quality build and materials and so easy to fly due to the GPS. The camera can be a bit confusing and it would be nice if the WIFI had a longer range but it really is a nice drone. The kids and myself fly it about every other day. Good price also. Highly recommended!!!!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2014
First of all, the product was well packaged and arrived safe and sound. It took only 5 days for it to be delivered to my front door (standard shipping), which is pretty good for things coming to Hawaii. So, kudos to this particular merchant. Okay, moving on to the product itself. This particular model (FC 40) is one of the five versions in the Phantom family (Phantom, Phantom FC 40, Phantom 2, Phantom2 Vision, Phantom2 Vision Plus). For more details on each version, you can visit the Dji Website. I will try to cover this product in the following 3 areas: Fun Factor, Ease of Maintenance, and Potential for Upgrade. I highly recommend that you make a visit to the Dji Website and download the User Manual before you make your purchase. This will give you an idea to see if this is something that you would want to get into. The 2nd good reason for downloading the manual - the Phantom does not come with written instructions (everything is on the Internet). Other than that, this quad-copter is great. Everything that you need to make this device fly and start having fun is in this one box (well, you will need 4 AA batteries for the transmitter, and if you want to record videos, you will need to buy a micro SD memory card separately). Right out of the box, the Phantom is ready to fly (of course, after the battery is fully charged). It is easy to fly and control this machine, and it takes very short time to learn the basic maneuvers. My 9-year-old daughter can do it. The important part here is that you absolutely have to follow the operating instructions. You will come across a lot of stories on the Internet about people losing their Phantoms in the sky and never get them back. I believe most of them, if not all, are due to improper calibration and risky maneuvers. A fully charged battery will give you approximately 12 minutes of flying time; and it takes about an hour and 45 minutes to charge it back up. The original battery that came with the Phantom is a reliable product and will serve you well for quite long time (several hundred times of re-charging). Other than charging the battery, there is really nothing else you need to do to keep this quad-copter flying. Down the road you may want to purchase additional batteries (less waiting in between, and more flying time). Buy some extra propellers and the landing skids too - usually they are the first to get damaged when you crash a Phantom. The FC 40 version is a very basic model when it comes to aerial photography/video. The included camera does an ok job with 720P resolution (there is no audio feature for this camera). If in the future the stock FC 40 Phantom doesn't satisfy enough of your flying needs, don't worry, there is a big market out there that carries an abundant amount of upgrades and accessories. Anywhere from better-performance propellers to higher capacity batteries. For example, I installed a dual-battery carrier onto my Phantom; and with 2 batteries, it boosted my fly time to 19 minutes. The bottom line: It is fun and easy to fly. I love my Phantom.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2014
Make sure you go on-line to DJI's website and watch all the instructional videos. You have to go to their website to download the manual. I wish that had been in the box somewhere. I thought the manual was missing. It took awhile to figure that out. Once I did, it was straightforward. They have instructional videos on how to unpack, set-up, test and fly the quad-copter.

Make sure you start off in a big, open field. I would recommend the add-on prop-guards as it is easy to beat up the propellers while you learn to fly it. DJI Part28 Phantom 2 Series 9-Inch Prop Guards (White)

It is quite durable, as I've crashed it several times and it still flies just fine. Get a few extra sets of props, too.CRW® DJI Phantom FC40 Replacement Parts Self-Tightening Propellers Props Set (2 Cw, 2 Ccw)

You will need to buy a micro-SD card for the camera. The coolest thing about the camera is the ap you download to your phone so you can see what the camera sees. When you are ready to fly it, start off slow, just lifting off and getting used to the controls. It can be disorienting when the Phantom is facing you, as the controls are then backwards. That's the neat thing about the ap. Looking at you smartphone, it's like you are in the Phantom.
There are so many cool videos of what people have done. There are lots of good tips and tricks as well. I am now having a blast with it and really like it.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2014
I ordered this FC40 in April. Being a newbie in RC, I read the manuals many times, and watched hours of youtube videos just to make sure that I got it right. The firmware was also upgraded and I made sure that the calibration shown in the software is within the range, limited the flight coverage to a very conservative range, and that it is in the Go Home-Land mode.

Upon use in an open field, I manually calibrated until I got the green lights on, waited for several seconds before flying it to make sure the home location was recorded. The GPS setting is on... and flew it up... made a few turns, and brought it back to ground again. More confident that it is really as easy to fly and that intelligent as they said, I raised it up again, moved it several meters away from me, and then it started drifting even when I wasn't touching the controls. Then it drifted farther and quite fast. I turned off the control, expecting it to fly back to me. Unfortunately, it continued to fly fast that I wasn't able to chase it. Went over trees beyond the field, and then it's gone. My $500 literally just flew away (actually it's even more since I also purchased propeller guards and 3 extra batteries which I can't use now).

I did many research work before I purchased this. I thought that it's something that I can really use for my work. While I still need it, I'm not sure anymore if DJI-Phantom is the right product for me. Granted that it got very good reviews, I am afraid that when I get another one, it can be defective. I did everything according to instructions... how could its fail-safe feature fail? I emailed DJI 2x already but still no response.

So -- if you're considering this, especially if used overseas (that's where I am now somewhere in SE Asia), and might have difficulty getting customer support via email, buy with extreme caution. Unless you'll consider attaching it to a string on its first flight to make sure it doesn't fly away. Pretty expensive kite.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2014
This is quite simply the coolest toy. I love it. I have had a couple other quad copters including Parrot AR. This is light years ahead of the Parrot. Just buy it. You'll love it. The performance is incredible and I am shocked by how durable this thing is.

If you do buy it please take this advice:
1. Don't ever fly close to people. Those blades are sharp and they spin FAST! I cut my finger on a blade installing it. I've also sliced the limbs off plants.
2. Don't ever forget to lock in the GPS before taking off.
3. Buy the prop guards. You can either buy them now; or buy them later with your next set of props.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2014
Flew this for just three days and then it one day i was flying and it just flew away controller would not work and it fell from 400 feet hit a house broke the fc40 and my go pro.
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