The DJI Phantom drone range, sold by Heliguy for almost seven years, has been named as one of the gadgets of the decade by several influential websites, including TIME and The Verge.
When the original Phantom was released in January 2013, it was something of a gamechanger for the industry and propelled drones into the mainstream. Since then, this iconic series of white quadcopters has become a firm favourite with hobbyists and commercial users alike.
The first two Phantoms didn't have a camera, while the original didn't even come with a gimbal and was commonly equipped with a GoPro.
But as technology advanced, so did the drone. Now, the Phantom 4 Pro V2 has an integrated and sophisticated camera which can capture 20MP and 4K video, while the Phantom 4 RTK is a next-gen aircraft which can achieve survey-grade accuracy and has become a key tool on construction sites.
It is perhaps no surprise that this popular aircraft is considered as one of the decade's most important and influential gadgets.
And it is among good company, featuring alongside the likes of the Amazon Echo, Apple iPad, Tesla Model S, Apple iPhone 4, the Sony PlayStation 4, and the Samsung Galaxy Note.
What They Had To Say
The DJI Phantom drone has been highlighted as one of the most important pieces of technology of the 2010s by TIME, The Verge, and Gizmodo. Here's what they had to say.
The DJI Phantom made it into TIME's list of The 10 Best Gadgets of the 2010s. Here's the verdict:
While you might hear a drone before you see it, chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what it sees, and how cool the view is a few hundred feet in the air.
And of all the footage-capturing drones around, DJI’s Phantom is the most recognisable — and the most popular drone on YouTube. Its signature all-white design makes it hard to miss, and the company’s dedication to making drone piloting as simple as possible has made the Phantom an easy choice for beginning pilots, and a satisfying tool for aerial photography. And this is only the beginning.
There’s already a professional drone racing league, and with companies betting on drones to handle everything from shipping goods to construction to surveillance, you’re bound to interact with more than a few in the decade to come.
The DJI Phantom was an impressive 23rd in The Verge's list of 100 gadgets that made a difference and defined the 2010s. Here's the verdict:
Despite DJI launching a palm-sized drone just last month and drones at large getting smaller by the hour, the drone that’s remained ingrained in my mind is the original DJI Phantom.
It’s the drone that pushed lawmakers into shaping UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) laws, and the silhouette you see on “No Drones” signs. Heck, if you look for clip art online, most of it is that exact shape. It took a few iterations for DJI to nail the formula, however — the first two didn’t include a camera, and the first one didn’t even have a gimbal. But since the Phantom 3, there’s been little competition for the iconic drone-maker.
Gizmodo picked out the DJI Phantom 3 for praise in a list of The Most Innovative Gadgets of the Decade. Here's the verdict:
For the better part of the decade, consumer drones were synonymous with the DJI Phantom. First released in 2013, this white quadcopter was sometimes called “the iPhone of drones” because it had so many capabilities and was so easy to use.
While the original Phantom required a third-party camera like a GoPro for aerial photography, DJI released a version equipped with an HD camera and three-axis gimbal just a few months after the original model’s launch. By the end of the decade, the Phantom was on its fourth-generation and featured a 4K camera as well as obstacle avoidance technology.
Although DJI and other companies now seem more focused on smaller, folding drones, the Phantom will always be the mean quadcopter that started it all.
Thoughts From DJI
DJI is pleased with the recognition - and hinted that there's much more to come!
Olivier Mondon, DJI's Communication Manager, shared the news on LinkedIn about making TIME's list, while DJI announced The Verge's recognition with this tweet:
Summary: The DJI Phantom - Flying The Flag For The Drone Industry Since 2013
Nothing quite epitomises the advancement, success and transition of the drone industry like the DJI Phantom.
It's hard to think now that when the original Phantom was released in 2013, it didn't have a camera or a gimbal. Its battery life was around 10-15 minutes - roughly the same as a Tello Mini drone.
But, with the world of drones in its infancy, the Phantom completely changed the landscape of what was then a new hobby - offering an easy-to-use, sturdy and reliable solution which gave operators the chance to capture content, albeit from a third-party camera.
It was a hit. It was groundbreaking. It pioneered out-of-the-box, ready-to-fly drones. And the Phantom never looked back.
Mirroring advancements in technology and the drone industry as a whole, the Phantom continued to develop, and future generations were built with high-tech cameras, obstacle avoidance, subject tracking and longer flight times.
What started as a hobbyist aircraft has been adapted into a key tool for professional and enterprise users, including high-end photographers and surveyors requiring accurate measurements and RTK data.
Not only has the Phantom stood the test of time, but it has kept pace and led from the front with the changing face and requirements of the drone industry - which has shifted from the consumer to the commercial.
The Phantom is synonymous with DJI. The Phantom is synonymous with the word drone. The Phantom is synonymous with the changing tide of the industry. The Phantom provided a blueprint for future DJI releases, such as the Mavic series and the Spark. And Heliguy, as one of the world's longest-serving DJI retailers, is delighted to say that we've been there since the start.