September 27, 2016 2 Comments


Detailed below is a comparison study between two of the best drones available in the market right now - in my opinion.

**Update** Autel Robotics has announced several major updates about the X-Star Premium Drone at CES 2017 that makes it our preferred sUAV on the market.  Check out this blog post about the new cameras for the X-Star Premium.

Innovations in technology have led to the rise and fall of various types of drones that have set new standards in drone aviation. But there are a few models which have excelled in every aspect of flying and continue to rule the skies. This comparison is based on two such models, the DJI PHANTOM 4 and the AUTEL ROBOTICS X-STAR PREMIUM. Both of these quadcopters offer excellent flying options and are capable of shooting video in 4K resolution. They are excellent value for money and unique in their own ways of performance.


Visually appealing and technologically sophisticated, both these drones are built with perfection to details. Their build qualities are unique where both of them are put together with passion. Even under challenging flying conditions, both these drones offer supreme levels of quality flight and agile controllers to control the flight path easily. They are built using the latest materials available and are intricately put together to withstand some water, snow and dust while in flight or while resting on the ground. The DJI Phantom 4 drone lightens up the skies with its angelic white color and flashing lights. The X-Star however cruises around with its flashy color combination of black and orange or a white version as well. The DJI Phantom 4 has a magnesium skeleton that reduces the overall weight of the drone while maintaining high levels of stiffness to minimize vibrations. The core design keeps the center of gravity closer to the center, which provides a stable flight. The X-Star Premium quadcopter does not feature a magnesium construction because of which it is slightly heavier by 40 grams. The DJI Phantom 4 has carbon fiber rotors that are stronger and lighter than the ones found on the X-Star and offer extreme levels of agility in flight.


Both of these quadcopters offer more than 20 minutes of flying time without their respective payloads. The flight time significantly decreases if the payload is attached. However, the DJI Phantom 4 offers a slightly better flight time of 27 minutes than the 25 minutes offered by the X-Star Premium drone. The longer fight times are useful while shooting at remote locations or in challenging weather conditions.


The overall average weight that these drones can carry is around 800 grams (1.76 pounds). The DJI Phantom 4 is capable of carrying 1.02 pounds whereas the X-Star premium maxes out at 0.40 pounds. Note, that this UAVs are not intended on carrying custom payload.  So if you are looking for something that can handle more weight, a unique camera, look at the Action Drones or the line of Eagle XL sUAV we offer.


One of the primary reasons that these drones would be used is to capture stunning aerial footage from above. The camera systems used in these drones offer state of the art performance with exceptional image quality. Both of them feature a 12 megapixel still camera system that is capable of capturing stunning aerial imagery in 4K resolution. HDR is an addition to the DJI Phantom 4 that makes use of the higher dynamic range capabilities. The FOV on the X-Star Premium is much wider with a 108-degree FOV than the 94-degree FOV of the DJI Phantom 4.  

One of the greatest selling points of the X Star drones is the removable camera.  With a push of a button, the entire camera and gimbal pop off.  I have been told that by Q4 of 2016, Autel will be coming out with a range of different cameras that users will be able to equip their UAS with.  So in the near future, look for NDVI or thermal camera, maybe a zoom lens, or a camera with changeable lenses like the Inspire Pro.


Power is nothing without control and both these drones offer exceptional flight controls beyond the 1 mile range. The DJI Phantom 4 has an operating range of 3 miles which is nearly 3 times than that of the X-Star Premium which maxes out at about 1.25 mile range. Mobile applications are available for either of these drones that make the controlling process much easier with the use of smart tablets.


The Vision Positioning System is a unique trait of the DJI Phantom 4, which is not even an option with the X-Star Premium. This feature will not be significantly useful unless you try to fly the drone indoors or in remote locations where there is an absence of GPS signal. The dual sensors in the front of the drone are able to detect objects in the flight path and avoid accidental collision.


The speed of flight is important during occasions where the drones are programmed to track a moving object that is moving at a constant speed. With the help of carbon fiber propellers, the DJI Phantom 4 is able to travel much faster at 45 mph. The X-Star Premium maxes out at 36 mph which is an acceptable speed for a drone, but lesser than that of the DJI Phantom 4.   As an experienced drone pilot, the max speed of a drone really doesn't matter to me.  I am looking for a UAV that can make slow and smooth turns and movements.  


Here is my honest opinion of the two drones. I do own and fly both the Phantom 4 and the X Star Premium on a regular bases.  I feel that the default color settings on the X Star are far superior than those of the Phantom 4.  My videos are bright and colorful and don't require a lot of post-product adjustments.  

The DJI Phantom 4 does offer a smoother flight which is a really nice feature.  When I am flying is tight condition or trying to smoothly maneuver around tricky objects to get the right shot, I have more confidence in my video smoothness with the Phantom 4.  That being said, if I were to make slower movements with the X Star Premium, and really took my time making sure all my videos were well planned out, I could achieve the same flight as my Phantom 4.  

So in these comparison,  the Autel X Star Premium wins my vote.  For the price of $799 for the Orange version, and  $759 for the White, you get a stellar drone, 64G SD memory card, nice quality hard case, extra set of pros and awesome support based in Seattle WA 7 days a week.

2 Responses

john dougherty
john dougherty

April 12, 2017

That was a nice review and it almost changed my mind. Last week I flew a P3 that belongs to a friend, it was my first experience piloting a drone—very impressive on many levels and very intuitive. Yesterday I ordered a Autel X Star 4k. What swayed me was the purported quality of customer service from Autel and the negative comments about DJI’s customer service. At this price point, cost was not an issue for me, so I would have paid more for the P4 if not for this consideration. I like the fact that the Autel camera can be replaced and that the UAV apparently works well with an Android OS. I am not ignorant of the fact that DJI has some features that are attractive, but this will not be my last drone purchase most likely. Like everyone else, I crave having the latest technology (carbon fiber, range, etc), but service, especially for a newbie is right up there for me. I look forward to this journey. Good luck!

Pat Evans
Pat Evans

October 30, 2016

I just bought the X star yesterday.. coming from a fully rigged Phantom 2. I actually went to buy the P4, which I did. I then left Best Buy to grab a sandwich. The store manager at bb asked me to just look at the X star.. while eating lunch, I did, I immediately went back to BB, returned the P5 and bought the X Star after reading reviews and the price.. flew it today aND was really impressed. Great review, nice to hear it from someone who has both..

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