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Phantom 3 or Inspire 1 – What Is the Difference Between the Two?

By November 18, 2015Reviews

Are you in the market for a drone? Two of your most popular options for personal drone use are the DJI Phantom 3 and the DJI Inspire 1. If you’re torn between the two, here are their points of comparison and contrast so you can more easily determine which drone is better for you.


The most noticeable difference between the two is seen in their size. This is the common starting point of many Phantom 3 vs Inspire 1 reviews. The Phantom 3 is obviously much smaller and lighter than the Inspire 1. When weighed, the Inspire 1 brought in 6.45 lbs while the Phantom 3 managed less than half of that at 2.8 lbs.

Don’t for one second think that the Phantom 3 is the cheaper of the two. Even if it feels like a toy in comparison, it’s also tougher in a lot of ways. The Inspire 1 consists of carbon arms and landing gear, which have been known to break easily. Meanwhile, the Phantom 3’s plastic construction is likely to suffer less damage if dropped from a few feet in the air.

In pitting Phantom 3 against Inspire 1, some of their differences can be spotted in the following areas:

  • Props: The Phantom 3 has self-tightening 9.4” props that you just screw onto the threads, while the Inspire 1 has DJI’s new QuickRelease props, which are stiffer and larger at 13”.
  • VPS: Both drones use DJI’s visual positioning system (VPS). The Phantom 3’s work from three to 300 cm while the Inspire 1 works from five to 500 cm.
  • Camera and gimbal: Both feature 4K cameras, use the Sony EXMOR ½.3” sensor, record through a 20mm f/2.8 lens with a 94° field of view, and are fitted with 3rd party ND filters.  Both are perfectly suited for  aerial photography.  The Inspire 1 also comes with an ND4 filter while the Phantom 3 does not. As for the gimbal systems, the Inspire has a more self-contained and sleek-looking removable Zenmuse X3 that can rotate 320° both up and down. The Phantom 3 is inferior with open motors and exposed ribbon cables, and can only pitch 90° down and 30° down. The Inspire 1 camera has a Micro SD slot and an active cooling fan. The Phantom 3’s Micro SD slot is on the gimbal plate and depends on air cooling alone.
  • Batteries: Both are powered by Intelligent LiPo batteries with the Phantom 3 using a 4 cell, 15.2 V 4480 mAh that provides about 15 minutes of flight time, while the Inspire has a 6 cell, 22.2V, 4500 mAh (TB47) that gives up to 18 minutes of flight time, but commercial dronea larger capacity battery that offers up to 22 minutes is also available.
  • Intelligent flight modes: Both of the drones come with a set of intelligent flight mode features.  This includes new automatic modes that make flying easier then ever before.  Including features like follow me, course lock, way- points, home lock, and point of interest.

There are also marked differences in their controllers, their flight characteristics, their portability, etc. The general consensus among many reviewers is that while the Inspire 1 trumps the Phantom 3 when it comes to camera platform and stability, the Phantom 3, which retails at less than half the usual price of the Inspire 1, offers amazing value, so it makes a much more practical choice for enthusiasts.  If you want to see the newest drone concept by DJI check out our blog on the Phantom X!