A Review of the DJI T600 1 Quadcopter with 4k Video Camera with Dual Controllers
Taking things a step beyond the power and technology of their Phantom line of 4k-capable quadracopter drones, DJI emerged with the Inspire 1 drone for the more professional and less budget conscious consumer market.
Featuring a rich assortment of specs and characteristics for some truly exquisite aerial 4K video and photo still capture, the Inspire 1 is also unique in the fact that it comes with two controllers for a maximum of usability. One controller manipulates and flies the drone itself while the other can be used to control just the 3-axis gimbal-mounted 4K ultra HD camera. Furthermore, with top speeds of 50 miles per hour and an altitude ceiling that’s literally in the clouds (or possibly higher), the Inspire 1 offers a truly powerful aerial filming experience.
Only weaknesses like a limited amount of air time and a somewhat higher than normal price tag might keep this particular DJI drone from being a better seller.
Where to start? The Inspire 1 T600 4K drone from DJI is genuinely loaded with superb features, and depending on which package you buy on amazon.com or elsewhere, it can also come with both controllers, an extra battery, a hard case and a number of other accessories, or you can opt for a more economical approach and simply get the basic drone + controller + 1 battery package. Whichever may be the case, the essential top notch qualities of the Inspire 1 that you get your hands on will be identical. And what are some of these qualities?
For starters, the Inspire 1 is pretty much ready to fly right out of the box. This is a very useful benefit of the drone for those who aren’t exactly inclined to or very smooth at pre-assembly. Within minutes of being unpacked and activated, this drone can go shooting up into the skies and all of its core technology is built into it right from square one.
Furthermore, the remote control features of the Inspire 1 are downright awesome in their versatility. Unlike the vast majority of drones in its class, this machine has two different controllers for both the camera and drone itself. While the Inspire 1 can be completely piloted with just a single controller, if you have a photo and video savvy friend with you, they can take the shots while you fly the drone along select scenery.
The overall design of the Inspire 1 is also a lot more.. well.. inspiring than that of DJI’s also excellent Phantom drones. This machine just looks cool and it’s also built tough to match. It’s carbon fiber arms are nicely strong and great for more articulated maneuvering in the air while also being able to move completely out of the view of your camera, for easy panoramic photo or video shooting from a stationary position. The overall build of the Inspire also results in a drone that’s light-weight while also being exceptionally durable.
Finally, there is the 4K camera itself. As the absolute centerpiece of this drone, its camera is almost better than the whole machine in its own way. It can not only take extraordinarily good 4K video and high resolution 12 MP photos, it’s also capable of a surprisingly versatile range of video and image shooting options.
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The Inspire is an excellent piece of hardware but it’s also far from perfect. For one thing, this 4k drone for sale comes with a notably shorter battery life while in the air. Unlike the Phantom 3 from the same company, which is capable of 25 minutes in the air, the Inspire 1 can just manage about 18. The extra features of the drone come with their cost.
Furthermore, the Inspire 1, like the Phantom 3 does not feature a controller with its own HD viewing screen. This drone is capable of delivering a live 720p HD feed of its video to your controller but it can only display this feed if you first attach a smartphone with the DJI Pilot app installed and running on it. The app is great for photo, video and flight control but we think that rival Yuneec’s controller design with its built in HD display is definitely more practical.
Finally, the Inspire 1 is certainly expensive for a mini drone. Unlike the Phantom 3 or the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 drone line, --both of which are in the $1200 to $1500 range-- this bad boy will cost more than $2000.
On the whole, the Inspire 1 from DJI is absolutely recommendable. This is a fantastic drone with very few flaws and a far larger array of superb features. Furthermore, for 4K video and excellent aerial photos, you’d be hard pressed to find anything else which delivers the same quality through its own built-in camera.
Max Ascent/Descent speed: 16.4 feet per second/ 13.1 feet per second
Vertical/ Horizontal Hover accuracy: + or – 1.6 feet/ + or – 8.2 feet
Max altitude: 14, 764 feet
Flight time: 18 minutes but variable depending on conditions
Flight control: downloadable DJI Pilot app for smartphone with touchscreen camera controls and a physical GPS/GLONASS 50Hz controller with Lightbridge support
Transmitter Frequency: 2.400 to 2.483 GHz
Connectivity: 1 x USB type A female slot for mobile device interface, 1 x MicroUSB female for firmware updates, 1 x Mini-HDMI video output, 1 x CAN-Bus port, 1 x charge port
Camera: Gimbal mounted 12 megapixel Znemuse X3 video/photo camera
Camera Resolution: up to 4K ultra HD at 4096 x 2160 pixels at 24p for video and up to 12 megapixels for photos
Recording Media: microSD/SDHC/SDXC up to 64 GB
Gimbal: 3-axis (pitch, roll, yaw)
Weight: 6.5 lbs (with battery and propellors)
Dimensions: 17.2 x 17.8 x 11.9"
The design of the Inspire 1 definitely amounts to a much heavier drone than the DJI Phantom machines but at the same time, this drone looks so much cooler in its own highly utilitarian style.
The central body has four carbon fiber arms which extend from it at opposite angles, creating a sort of spiderlike/insectile look that’s a definite winner. Furthermore, this carbon fiber arm structure isn’t just some random engineering whimsy, it’s designed to provide serious strength while reducing weight in what is already something of a hefty drone for its class. The arms are also motorized so they can move up or down and out of the camera’s way as needed for a completely unrestricted camera view.
The white-over-black body of the drone is elegant and strangely minimalist and in general terms, this particular drone definitely looks much better than its bulbous, almost silly looking Phantom 3 cousin. It looks, essentially, as a drone should look, and we strongly suspect that the look of the Inspire 1 has been imitated by a number of other manufacturers for this reason.
Because of its light and mostly aerodynamic design, the Inspire 1 is also something of a master at quick movement and fast acceleration. For this reason, this remarkably slim bodied drone can shoot along at up to 50 miles per hour, the cruising speed of a car during light traffic.
Setup with the Inspire 1 is remarkably minimal for such a largish and complex looking machine. For the most part it consists of making sure the battery is charged, screwing on the rotors for the four arms and adding batteries to one or both controllers. Beyond this, you’ll also need to download the DJI Pilot app to your smartphone or tablet and attach whichever device to the flight controller via an included USB cable. With these steps and a few others from the included instruction manual completed, you’re good to go with the Inspire 1.
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The camera power of the Inspire 1 is its single biggest selling feature. This drone has been built with some very impressive 4k video and photo capture capacity and a skill at designing built-in cameras that would be excellent all by themselves seems to have become one of DJI’s better traits.
Once the drone is in the air and the carbon fiber arms are safely out of the way for unobstructed viewing, the camera will now have a full 360 degree unobstructed view of its surroundings and this in turn gives a pilot the ability to record in any direction at all, regardless of which direction the drone is flying in. Thus, both video and photo shooting can be done in front of, behind below and even partially above the quadracopter.
The Inspire’s point-and-shoot 4K camera also comes loaded with a range of recording options for both stills and videos while still being a very compact, aerodynamic and flexible little device. The 12 megapixel still shots that the Inspire 1’s camera can take are definitely superb, with vivid colors, contrast and a very decent range of ISO variations, from 100 to 1600 for photos and 100 to 3200 for video sequences.
There is also an electronic shutter speed of 1/8000 and the camera’s sensor is a fairly powerful Sony EXMOR ½.3, with a 20mm (35 mm format equivalent) zoom lens and an anti-distortion feature that will completely remove the “fish-eye” look from your photos and videos as captured in the air.
The DJI Inspire can also shoot video sequences in several different resolutions at an assortment of frame rates and offers a maximum video storage bitrate of 60 Mbps. The different shooting resolutions and frame rates consist of the following:
• DCI 4K (4096 x 2160): 24p, 25p
• UHD 4K (3840 x 2160): 24p, 25p, 30p,
• 1080p (1920 x 1080): 24p, 25p, 30p, 48p, 50p, 60p
• 720p (1280 x 720): 24p, 25p, 30p, 48p, 50p, 60p
Furthermore, photo shooting modes include the following: Single shot, burst shooting of 3, 5 or 7 shots per second, Auto exposure bracketing at 3/5, and time-laps video shooting. The file formats of video consist of MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 in MOV wrapper (up to 60 Mbps) while photo formats are JPEG and DNG.
All of the Inspire’s photos and videos can be stored to microSD cards of the following types microSD/SDHC/SDXC and the Inspire 1 handles a maximum storage capacity of 64Gb. Finally, the Zenmuse X3 3-axis gimbal is a master at keeping the drone’s camera steady as a rock by using an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) to detect the slightest changes in movement and adjust accordingly. All movement compensations are done in real time with data updates that occur once every millisecond.
We should also note the excellent dual-controller feature of the Inspire 1. With this, a user who has a second controller can set it to offer control of just the drone’s flight while the first controller is used strictly for camera manipulation. With this in place, you can fly the Inspire along while a camera-savvy friend grabs both video and photo shots.
As we’ve already said, the Inspire 1 drone can be flown through the main master controller while a second user maneuvers the camera from a secondary controller. This allows for a more user-friendly flight experience in which the flier himself can better concentrate on actual flight details. All of these flight controls communicate wirelessly with each other and the drone so quick switches between which controller does what or control handovers to just one controller can be done right during flight.
As far as flight itself goes, the Inspire 1 is definitely a very flexible, agile and fast moving piece of hardware, with the ability to capture some exquisite shots and move in complex ways easily with a bit of flight practice. Users who have a smartphone or tablet installed can watch all of the aerial action live and even use the DJI Pilot apps’ touch screen controls to either control flight or take photos on the fly through the live 720 HD video feed of the Inspire.
We should note also that the Inspire has been known to get glitch at times and a number of users have reported cases of the drone either suddenly dropping from the sky, crashing into structures or losing control due to internal firmware and motor or rotor failures. We can’t corroborate any of these claims, so they can be taken with a grain of salt and a bit of caution during flights.
The DJI T600 Inspire 1 drone is not one of DJI’s cheaper models and the base kit of one drone, one battery and one controller retails on Amazon.com for $2,775.00. There are also more complete packages with extra batteries, extra controllers and a hard case for transport available for between $3500 and more than $4000 dollars depending on specific package.
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• Excellent video and photo quality
• Highly agile flight capacity
• Strong, light design
• Awesome camera flexibility
• Cool dual-controller flight mode
• Built-in 4K/HD camera
• Lower than ideal battery life
• Lower altitude ceiling than Phantom 3
• Reports of crashes caused by firmware glitches