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There’s a popular quote about the value of tools: “Good equipment ain’t cheap, and cheap equipment ain’t good.” Neither part of this quote applies to the Phantom 3 Standard.

Just under $500, this model is the entry point in the Phantom lineup. Released a few months after the Professional model, you’d be forgiven for looking at what’s missing. Yes, there are a few features absent, but unless you’re comparing them side-by-side, you may never notice.

The Standard only uses the U.S. GPS satellites for positioning, and drops the visual positioning entirely. Hover stability suffers a little, especially in wind, but the aircraft remains incredibly easy to control. Live video and telemetry is achieved via a Wi-Fi downlink instead of DJI’s Lightbridge technology, and you’ll see some latency and frame drops, especially in a saturated network area. The view is clear enough to set up a shot, but you should hesitate to use the live view alone to navigate through close obstacles. Recorded video footage is stable and clear, even if it loses the 4K resolution.

Conclusion

Aside from its cheap-feeling controller and weak mobile-device clip, everything about the Standard smacks of quality. If you’re on a budget and need a camera in the sky, the Phantom 3 Standard offers incredible value.

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