DJI Matrice 600 VERSUS S900 & S1000+

DJI Matrice 600 VERSUS S900 & S1000+

Heliguy compare DJI's new Matrice 600 to the S900 and S1000+ to see which of these professional aerial platforms comes out on top.

17 minute read

m600 vs s1000 & s900
UPDATE 24/06/2016: See below for our video of the Matrice 600 in action and find out what our technicians think now that they've had a chance to get to grips with it.
 
 

DJI's Matrice 600 in Action: Our Thoughts

Here's what our technicians thought of their time with the M600: "The Matrice 600 essentially makes flying the largest craft in their lineup no more difficult than it would be to fly their Phantom range. The remote will make previous Phantom users feel right at home along with the DJI GO App showing clear concise information from the craft in words rather than having to be deciphered from a single flashing LED as it was on the older craft." "What took us off guard was how quiet the motors were, once you're twenty or so metres away it's less intimidating in terms of noise than an Inspire 1. Also, the ability to carry the Ronin Mx and Zenmuse line of cameras and gimbals makes it incredibly versatile as a commercial asset." "Finally, what impressed us the most was the flight time - granted we were not carrying anything but 45 minutes in the air is incredible and the potential of 16 minutes carrying a red epic will allow filmmakers to take their time making sure their footage is exceptional."  
UPDATE 15/06/2016: Heliguy have received a shipment of M600s - CLICK HERE - to see our photo gallery, giving you an up-close-and-personal view of DJI's new heavy lift or read on for our in-depth comparison between the Matrice 600, the S900 & the S1000+.
DJI have recently unleashed the Matrice 600 onto the market which is exciting news for anybody looking to capture stunning aerial footage. Aside from being an impressive bit of kit, the M600’s announcement was also used to launch some nifty new additions from DJI like the Ronin-MX aerial gimbal and the new A3 flight controller. In the grand tradition of new releases, it’s time to compare it to what has come before - in this case – the S900 and S1000+ from DJI’s Spreading Wings series. Like the S900, DJI’s M600 is a hexacopter so there are clear parallels to be drawn. However, the new Matrice is also capable of the heavy payloads handled by the S1000+ octocopter. This is an impressive feat and one that handily brings the S900's larger sibling into the discussion. Has the Matrice 600 got what it takes to unseat the S900 and S1000+? Let’s compare them and see how they all stack up. See our comparison infographic below for a more detailed look at each model's specifications:
Matrice 600 Matrice 600 S900 S900 S1000+ S1000+

Diagonal Wheelbase

1133 mm 900 mm 1045 mm

Takeoff Weight

15.1 kg (Max) 4.7 kg - 8.2 kg 6.0 kg - 11.0 kg

Operating Temperature

-10°C to 40°C -10°C to 40°C -10°C to 40°C

FLIGHT CONTROL SYSTEM

Model

A3 A2, WooKong-M A2, WooKong-M

Supported DJI Gimbals

Model

Ronin-MX; Zenmuse X3; Zenmuse X5 series; Zenmuse XT; Zenmuse Z15 series HD gimbals: Z15-A7, Z15-BMPCC, Z15-5D III, Z15-GH4 DJI Z15, Z15-BMPCC, Z15-GH3, and Z15-GH4 (HD) Any of the Zenmuse series

PERFORMANCE

Hover Time

with six TB47S batteries
No payload: 35 min, 6 kg payload: 16 min

with six TB48S batteries
No payload: 40 min, 5.5 kg payload: 18 min
18min (@12000 mAh & 6.8Kg Takeoff Weight) 15min (@15000 mAh & 9.5Kg Takeoff Weight)

Battery

Model

TB47S (standard)
TB48S (optional)
N/A N/A

Capacity

4500 mAh (standard)
5700 mAh (optional)
10,000 - 15,000mAh (DJI recommended) 10,000 - 20,000mAh (DJI recommended)

Voltage

22.2 V (standard)
22.8 V (optional)
N/A N/A

Type

LiPo 6S Compatible with non-DJI batteries e.g. Gens Ace Compatible with non-DJI batteries e.g. Gens Ace

Energy

99.9 Wh (standard)
129.96 Wh (optional)
N/A N/A

Net Weight

595 g (standard)
680 g (optional)
N/A N/A

Max Charging Power

180 W N/A N/A

CHARGER

Model

A14-100P1A N/A N/A

Voltage Output

26.3 V N/A N/A

Power Rating

100 W N/A N/A

REMOTE CONTROLLER

Operating Frequency

920.6 to 928 MHz
5.725 to 5.825 GHz
2.400 to 2.483 GHz
N/A N/A

Max Transmission

FCC Compliant:
3.1 miles (5 km)
CE Compliant:
2.1 miles (3.5 km)
N/A N/A

EIRP

10 dBm @ 900 M
13 dBm @ 5.8 G
20 dBm @ 2.4 G
N/A N/A

Video Output Port

HDMI, SDI, USB N/A N/A

Dual Users Capability

Master-and-Slave control N/A N/A

Mobile Device Holder

Supports smartphones and tablets N/A N/A

Output Power

9 W N/A N/A

Built-in Battery

6000 mAh, 2S LiPo N/A N/A

Max Tablet Width

170 mm N/A N/A


M600 versus S900 & S1000+ Key Features

It’s time to take a look at these three models side-by-side to compare their functionality, features and all-round quality. This rundown will focus on the following key features: what’s included, appearance, performance, compatible cameras and battery life. We'll also take a look at the DJI Assistant 2's new, overhauled ground system which allows for the control of multiple crafts.  

1. What’s Included?

Before making such a large purchase, it’s always worth checking what you’re going to get in the box. For instance, the M600’s marketing materials may play up its ability to carry professional quality cameras with the Ronin-MX, however, it’s important to note that this revolutionary aerial gimbal is a separate purchase.   Matrice 600 DJI’s sturdy new hexacopter comes with plenty of new features and additions. See below for what’s included in the box for the Matrice 600.
  • Centre Frame
  • A3 Flight Controller
  • Lightbridge 2 Air System
  • Frame Arm (With Propeller Holder) x6
  • Landing Gear Leg x2
  • Landing Skid x2
  • Retractable Module (Left and Right)
  • Remote Controller
  • Intelligent Flight Battery (TB47S) x6
  Spreading Wings S900 & S1000+ Aside from the number of arms, the actual kit out of the box is fairly similar for both of the Spreading Wings series models. See below for what’s included in the box for the DJI S900 & S1000+:
  • Centre Frame
  • Frame Arms x6 (S900) x8 (S1000+)
  • Landing Skid Tubes x2
  • Landing Gear Legs x2
  • GPS Collapsible Mount
  • Connector Set
  • 3-PIN Connection Cables x8
  • 3-PIN Servo Cable
 

2. Appearance

matrice 600 s900 s1000 appearance The Spreading Wings series has a very distinct look. Not concerned with smooth edges and frills, their red and black exterior is all business. Named for their trademark folding arms, the portability and easy set-up offered by the series is of massive benefit to aerial filmmakers and photographers who are always on the move. This stripped back looks also serve a practical purpose, for example, in the centre of the S900 is a removable panel which gives you access to its console. This allows the user to add-on and revise features including the main flight controller, iOSD (on screen display) and Lightbridge to name but a few. Then there’s the S1000+, a heavy lift octocopter excellent for mounting high-quality cameras. It's large size and eight rotors ensure reliable stability and all of its sturdy aluminium and carbon parts are beautifully finished. Finally, it's the turn of the new kid on the block. DJI’s M600 doesn’t break the mould in terms of aesthetic design, but beneath its familiar appearance lies a huge amount of power. An improved modular design lets you alter which attachments sit where, distributing weight to your specifications and tailoring its flight performance to your specific use case.  

3. Performance

The measure of a good drone is how it performs in the air, its overall functionality and how intuitive it is for the pilot controlling it. While the Spreading Wings series was built for serious professional filmmaking and aerial photography, the M600 has been taken a step further. DJI suggest that as well as capturing footage, their new aerial platform is capable of industrial applications such as surveying structures or offshore rigs. All of these tasks require a high level of quality and reliability from the model. Matrice 600 versus S1000 S900 The DJI S900 is an advanced piece of equipment made for serious drone users. As such, it has developed a bit of a reputation for being a bit difficult to control. Powered by six motors and fifteen-inch blades, the S900 can lift up to 4.7kg (more than its own weight of 3.3kg). The lightweight construction is aided by carbon-fibre arms which are stable, robust and, like the rest of the series they also fold down. This makes transport and set-up easy as its pretty much ready to fly out of the box (for those with the skills). In the S1000+, as with the S900, every arm is integrated with a 40A electronic speed controller (ESC). However, despite being a highly advanced octocopter it’s relatively simple to pilot. Coupled with the DJI A2 controller and an iOSD onscreen display as well as the DJI Lightbridge 2.4G HD downlink, the S1000+ provides a seamless, controlled flying experience. Beloved by videography and photography professionals, the autopilot feature makes it ideal for capturing footage and images while maintaining the necessary level of stability whether flying or hovering. Like the S900, the S1000+ is conveniently portable. Folding arms and GPS antenna make transport easy; it’s a breeze to pack away and just as simple to set up. Then there's the Matrice 600. It's compatible with a range of new features and add-ons including:
  • DJI A3 (and A3 Pro) flight controller
  • DJI Lightbridge 2
  • DJI Ronin-MX
  • DJI Assistant 2
However, this doesn't mean it will be complicated to use, it’s been designed to let you set up and get airborne as soon as possible. The M600 can also be easily controlled via the DJI GO app, even letting you set the camera focus (depending on the camera and gimbal). It also supports HD quality live feeds, up to 1080p through the Lightbridge 2. The landing gear is retractable so as not to get in the way of the full 360° view range and the propulsion has been made dustproof for easier maintenance. The Matrice 600 is an aerial platform aimed at seasoned photographers, videographers and industrial professionals. This drone has all the power to carry heavy cameras and plenty of accessories while still effortlessly maintaining its height in the air, with an impressive max payload of 6kg when using 6 TB47S batteries. The M600 certainly needs this carry capacity as it's fully compatible with DJI's range of Zenmuse gimbals and cameras as well as the ground-breaking new Ronin-MX which is capable of lifting the mighty RED EPIC.  

4. Battery Life

Matrice 600 Battery The longer a camera drone can stay in the air; the more chance you have of capturing that perfect moment on film. It’s no surprise then that battery life is one of the key factors taken into account when purchasing a drone. The M600 is seriously impressive when it comes to endurance. Six DJI Intelligent Batteries not only provide power but also redundancies if one fails, allowing you to focus on the task at hand without worrying about your beautiful new rig falling out of the sky. Carrying a Zenmuse X5, it can fly up to an astounding 35-36 minutes. With a larger camera, 16 minutes is the recommended flight time. Despite the laudable flight duration when using a smaller gimbal and camera set-up, it's worth taking into account that the M600 has been built for those who want to use the heavier equipment. This means that if the Matrice is used as advertised it’s not far off its predecessors where battery life is concerned. The S900 uses 6S LiPo batteries such as the Gens Ace (recommended capacity of (10000mAh-15000mAh). When powered by a 12000mAh 6S it can achieve a respectable 18 minutes of flight time which is nothing to sniff at for a drone of its size. This should be enough time to get some seriously impressive footage. Last but not least, DJI’s S1000+ can get up to 15 minutes in the air when powered by the recommended 6S 15000mAh capacity LiPo battery, slightly less than its little brother the S900. This is understandable, however, due to the size and weight disparity between the two models.  

5. Compatible Cameras and the New Ronin-MX

matrice 600 ronin-mx The S900 fully supports a range of DJI gimbals. This allows for some real variety in cameras, from Panasonic’s fantastic GH4 which records 4K video at up to 200Mbps to Sony’s A7R with its 36-megapixel full frame sensor and Carl Zeiss optics. The frequently used Zenmuse Z15 GH4 gimbal makes your experience smoother by controlling the angle of the camera at a steady level. Add this to the S900’s retractable landing gear and a special low gimbal mounting bracket, and you’re provided with a vast range of possible shooting angles and camera motions. DJI's Zenmuse Z15 3-axis gimbal system, which is one of the most popular additions to the S1000+, ensures quality image capture even for beginners. This allows you to control the camera angle according to factors such as roll, pitch, and yaw. Even flying in strong winds won’t hamper your ability to get smooth, stable footage. If you decide to change the gimbal you use with the S1000+, it's easy to swap between both Zenmuse gimbals and those made by different manufacturers to suit your needs. But now there's a new standard in professional aerial gimbals. When combined with the Ronin-MX, there’s no doubt that the M600 is a force to be reckoned with. Whether you want to carry the Panasonic GH4, BMCC or even the massive RED EPIC, the Matrice has you covered. The new Ronin gimbal allows your camera to rotate 360°; never locking in place after a full rotation and continuing to spin endlessly. This vast range of motion doesn’t end there, as the tilt axis ranges from 90° straight down and beyond to 135°. This range of motion and variety of industry standard camera models outshines the S900 and S1000+. By utilising DJI’s ambitious new Ronin-MX gimbal, you can’t do much better for high-quality aerial shots than the M600.  

6. DJI Assistant 2: Pushing Boundaries

With the announcement of the A3 flight controller, it was also revealed that the DJI Assistant 2 has an improved Ground Station that is able to control multiple drones to fly and capture images in formation. Their site describes it as follows:
"The brand new DJI Assistant 2 is powerful yet simple, making it easy to set up a variety of DJI aerial systems. A new, built-in flight simulator ensures that complex moves can be practised in advance without risking the aircraft, and a completely overhauled Ground Station supports touch screen interaction, offline mission design, route planning and even formation flight for multiple aircraft."
If you skimmed through the sales pitch, you'd be forgiven for missing what could be a potentially game changing feature for aerial photographers. The ability to control multiple crafts in formation allows you to get a range of shots from numerous angles simultaneously giving a comprehensive advantage over competitors limited to one perspective. This feature could revolutionise aerial filming, everything from cinematography to capturing live events for news purposes would benefit from having multiple viewpoints at their command. Certainly, one of the most interesting announcements to come from the Matrice 600 launch, this is going to be one to watch.

Our Take on the Matrice 600

Heliguy Opinion The Heliguy team have been discussing the Matrice 600 in depth both internally and with our customers. While there is undoubtedly a lot of buzz around its release, there are still those who are more than happy to stick with the Spreading Wings series mainstays. Here are the main points that have been brought up: The benefits of opting for the M600 include its integrated Lightbridge 2 system which offers a very intuitive control system, much more so that the S900. There's also the A3 to take into account, DJI's innovative and much more reliable flight controller which comes as standard with the new Matrice (although it's worth mentioning that you have to shell out if you want to upgrade to the Pro version). The batteries are easier to maintain on the M600 than they are with the other models, complete with foolproof cables and two charging hubs. While it's true that some users prefer the use of larger single battery set-ups utilised by the S900 and S1000+, the ease of use may be enough to change some minds. Also, the improved redundancies due to the M600's integration of six Intelligent Batteries means that you can fly safely and carefree, even if you experience a cell failure. That's not to say there aren't reservations. The aforementioned battery redundancy and increased power of the new Matrice require that all six are attached before flying. Aside from guaranteeing that this will end up leading to a larger outlay on batteries, there are also concerns over charging times in the field with six cells split between two hubs. There's also weight to take into consideration. The Matrice 600 is heavier than the comparable S900, thus requiring a CAA approved flight test indicative of the 7-20Kg category. Although this increased mass is balanced out by the M600's hefty payload capability, especially for a hexacopter, it adds another hurdle to jump before getting airborne with the new Matrice. There's no denying that the M600 is an impressive craft. Whether it diminishes the popularity of the S900 and S1000+ remains to be seen.

Expert Service From Heliguy

heliguy build service Here at Heliguy we have been building and repairing a wide range of multi-rotors like the DJI M600 since 2008. Our tech team is highly experienced with everything from quadcopters to larger drones - including hexacopters or octocopters designed to carry heavier payloads and specialist equipment. Fully insured and in possession of a recognised ISO9001 QMS, we're passionate about attaining the highest standards for both ourselves our customers. Because of this, Heliguy's expert service levels are unmatched. We follow an exclusive 35-point checklist that ensures that every craft we work on is both safe to operate and a joy to fly. When the build is completed, we offer 'handover days' here at Heliguy HQ. A technician will talk clients through the individual components and the operating procedures for the hardware and software before taking them for an introductory flight at our test field. These handovers are especially useful for those wanting to get to grips with the DJI Matrice 600. For instance, if you're wanting to upgrade your A3 flight controller to the Pro version, our team's technical experts will guide you through the notoriously tricky process. To discuss your options when choosing to buy an M600 from Heliguy, don't hesitate to get in touch. We're open 9 to 5, Monday to Friday and our team of UAV specialists are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Matrice 600 FAQs

There has already been significant interest in the M600 from Heliguy’s customers, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about DJI’s new aerial platform. What are the new features of the Matrice 600 when compared to the S1000+? The M600 is a fully-integrated aerial platform designed for professional filmmaking and various industrial applications. Its A3 flight controller ensures reliable flight performance while the E2000 Pro propulsion system increases payload. The M600 also integrates the Lightbridge 2, which has the ability to communicate directly with gimbals like the Ronin-MX. In comparison, the S1000+ is a more basic aerial platform with no integrated electronic devices on board. What is the maximum payload of the Matrice 600? When 6 TB47S batteries are installed, the maximum payload is 6kg. When 6 TB48S batteries are installed, the maximum payload is 5.5kg. What is the maximum flight time of the Matrice 600? With TB47S batteries, the M600 can fly for 35 minutes with no extra payload or 16 minutes with 6kg of payload. With TB48S batteries, the M600 can fly for 40 minutes with no extra payload or 18 minutes with 5.5kg of payload. Does the Matrice 600 come with the A3 or the A3 Pro flight controller as standard? The standard flight controller is the A3. However, you may upgrade to the A3 Pro by adding two additional A3 GNSS and IMU modules. You can also upgrade to D-RTK for greater positioning accuracy. Can the Matrice 600 be connected to multiple remote controllers? The Lightbridge 2 on the M600 supports up to one Master and three Slave devices at the same time. Will the Matrice 600 come with a carry case? The M600 has no case, the package is same as M100. Do you need to have all 6 TB47S or 6 TB48S batteries in at the same time? Can you mix the TB47S with TB48S? All six batteries are required to be in use at the same time and there should be no mixing. Will the Matrice 600 be offered as a combo with Ronin-MX and A3 Pro? There are currently no combos planned including the M600, A3 Pro and Ronin-MX. To add an A3 Pro into your M600, you are required to purchase the A3 upgrade kit.
Watch the video below to see the Matrice 600 in action:

Heliguy's tech team have been hard at work building and test flying this new arrival to prepare for a video showing it in action. For now, here's a close up look at DJI's impressive new hexacopter:

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