The Difference Between DJI Phantom 3 SE and DJI Phantom 4 Pro 2.0

Difference Between DJI Phantom 3 and DJI Phantom 4

So many new drones (and UAVs in general) came out in the past few years. In fact, DJI itself put out a few in their Phantom series, including DJI Phantom 3 SE and DJI Phantom 4 Pro 2.0. Both of these are decent, but how are they different? What can possibly be the difference between the Phantom 3 SE and the Phantom 4 Pro?

Before we compare DJI Phantom SE 3 and DJI Phantom 4 Pro, let’s take a closer look at DJI Phantom drones altogether, or rather at DJI itself.[wpsm_titlebox title=”” style=”3″]

DJI UAVs and Drone Equipment

Founded by Frank Wang in Shenzhen in 2006, DJI has become one of the world leaders in UAV technology. Aside from UAVs, they also make flight platforms, cameras, camera gimbals and stabilizers, propulsion and flight control systems. In a word, their business is to make the best drones out there.

They have multiple series of different UAVs, each with their own strengths and setbacks. These include Flame Wheel, Mavic, Spreading Wings, Inspire, Matrice, Spark, and of course, Phantom.

DJI Phantom Series – Notable “Family Members”

DJI Phantom Series Drones

Related Comparison Review: The Difference Between DJI Mavic Pro VS Phantom 4 Pro 2.0

DJI started their Phantom line of drones way back in 2013, with the Phantom 1. By today’s standards, it’s quite modest in its performance. Amateur filmmakers could have fun with its GoPro camera. However, its lithium polymer battery could run for a grand total of ten minutes.

FC40 was an upgraded version of the Phantom 1. It featured no gimbal and an iOS/Android app control.

Phantom 2 was an exponential improvement when compared to the original, and the first model to come out of this new line, the Phantom 2 Vision, had a lot to offer. The intelligent Li-Po batteries were the best feature, as they gave the user 20 minutes of flight time. Moreover, it had a one-dimensional gimbal for its camera that could use a 4GB Micro-SD memory card.

However, DJI went even beyond that with their Phantom 3 line. Released in April 2015, the Phantom 3 featured a Lightbridge downlink. This feature provided the user with a range of 3 miles to work with. In addition, the drone had a visual positioning system for better landing in case the GPS signal was weak or lost.

The current Phantom 4 line also went far and beyond the original Phantom 4, which, as of 2017, is no longer in production. The good people at DJI improved the drone’s propellers, added the Active Track option and equipped it with a stronger battery, among other things.


Which Phantom 4 Drones are Currently in Production

If we’re talking about the latest Phantom UAV, it’s undoubtedly the DJI Phantom 4 RTK. This beast can map areas extremely well with its kinetic positioning done in real time. In case users want to fly it in a crowded city, it has a GNSS module for better stability.

But that’s just the newest member to come out in 2018. Others include the Phantom 4 Advanced, Phantom 4 Pro, its successor Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian, and of course, its newest follow-up – the titular Phantom 4 Pro 2.0.

DJI Drone Production

Who Are the DJI Phantom Series UAVs Built For?

DJI Quadcopter Drone

People use different drones for different purposes. Of course, the DJI UAVs are very much the same in that regard. Take the Matrice series, for example. Professionals use these drones in rescue missions, for instance, during fires or after earthquakes. Inspire and Spreading Wings are two series that professional photographers and videographers use. In contrast, the Spark models are a godsend for customers who are shopping for drones on a budget.

Where do the Phantom series drones fit then? Which category, and who is the target audience?

Considering how popular they are, these drones (including the Phantom 3 SE and the Phantom 4 Pro 2.0) have two types of target consumers. The first group consists of professional videographers. They buy them because of how stable they are and how high-quality their video and photographs can be. The second major target audience includes people like our readers and us. In other words, recreational videographers who just want to have some fun with a drone and a camera.

Is That All?

Of course not. So far, Phantom drones have also been active in search and rescue missions, hurricane searching, farming, nature preservation, 3D landscaping, inspecting aircraft, chasing tornadoes and exploring active volcanoes. In fact, Fox News even used a Phantom drone to promote the popular TV show 24 during the 2014’s edition of San Diego Comic-Con. However, we would still advise that our readers use their DJI Phantom drone of choice in more mundane situations, such as recreational photography.[/wpsm_titlebox][wpsm_titlebox title=”” style=”3″]

Comparing the Phantom 3 SE and the Phantom 4 Pro 2

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. Both of these models stand out in different ways. And if online retail and user reviews are any indications, customers have received them extremely well. But which one is better? Which one will be the better choice for users with a lighter wallet? Let’s compare and contrast to see.

DJI Phantom 3 SE Quadcopter 4K 30 fps video and 12 MP photos (Renewed)...
  • 4K camera
  • Vision positioning
  • 25-Min max flight time
  • 4 Km
  • Video transmission

No products found.


[wpsm_accordion_section title=”Obstacle Avoidance“]

Phantom 4 Pro 2.0:

Unlike older Phantom models, the Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 has a bigger Flight Autonomy. It includes what is called a 5-direction obstacle sensing feature and 4-direction obstacle avoidance.

Moreover, it also sports the 6-camera navigating system. When flying this UAV at 31 mph, users can easily avoid obstacles that come at it. But if that’s not enough, we ask our readers to consider this – no drone before it has had an infrared system of sensors. Avoiding obstacles is a must-have feature if anyone plans on flying the drone in a crowded city or a dense forest. That way, the owner of the UAV can avoid potential damage to the propellers or the body.

Phantom 3 SE:

Sadly, the Phantom 3 SE doesn’t feature any obstacle avoidance hardware. Of course, this doesn’t mean that people can’t fly it properly. It just won’t work as well as the Phantom 4 Pro in this regard.[/wpsm_accordion_section]
[wpsm_accordion_section title=”Performance Speed and Agility“]

Phantom 4 Pro 2.0:

If there’s one word to describe this drone, it’s “fast,” though we can add “as hell” too. If we were to switch off the obstacle avoidance, this bad boy could reach up to 45 mph.

Moreover, it’s easy to control and rushing with it through the air will be a blast. However, if we plan on recording while at full speed, we will be headed for disappointment. At this speed, this drone will visibly jerk, which can affect the quality of the recording. Nevertheless, it handles very well and flies smoothly.

Phantom 3 SE:

Of course, the Phantom 3 SE isn’t as fast as its newest “cousin,” but it’s by no means slow. Its top speed is 35 mph, which exceeds the preferred 31 mph of the Phantom 4 Pro 2.0.

People might think this isn’t a big deal, but the Phantom 3 SE can still pull off amazing video shots at this speed, without jerking. In addition, this UAV is very agile. Even without obstacle avoidance, it can maneuver around trees and other objects without too much trouble.[/wpsm_accordion_section]
[wpsm_accordion_section title=”Build and Design“]

Before we go on to compare the two drones, it’s important to point out how similar they are. But then again, they have to be similar – this is the Phantom series we’re talking about.

Nearly every drone in this series is white and has four main propellers. While this might turn away customers who like variety, it’s also a good indicator of how loyal DJI is to a design that has proven itself the best.

Phantom 4 Pro 2.0:

Looking at it from a distance, we cannot tell what exactly is new about this drone’s design. But let’s focus on the propellers for a moment. The Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 uses 9455S propellers and FOC ESC drivers.

Both of these provide smoother flying and less noise. How less are we talking? Exactly 4 dB less.

Phantom 3 SE:

Again, we have a mostly white drone with the Phantom 3 SE, but unlike others, it sports four golden stripes on the two arms of the UAV’s front. The propellers themselves look modest but are incredibly easy to set up onto the motors.

They’re very durable, which makes them great for harsh, windy weather. [/wpsm_accordion_section]
[wpsm_accordion_section title=”Battery Life and Flight Time“]

Phantom 4 Pro 2.0:

One thing that every good drone needs to do is to stay airborne for as long as possible. How long it will do so depends on its battery, and the Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 has a pretty tough one.

At 5.870 mAh, this UAV’s intelligent Lithium Polymer battery can keep it in the air for 30 minutes. However, to be on the safe side, expect it to be in the air for 24. Naturally, the battery is removable should a user need a new one.

Now, 24 minutes might sound insufficient considering it’s a recent product. But bear in mind, the Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 will be airborne during this time at maximum speed, and it’s a drone that weighs 3 lbs.  So, this is one durable little craft.

Phantom 3 SE:

The battery of the Phantom 3 SE has a 4.480 mAh capacity. Naturally, this is less than the Phantom 4 Pro 2.0, but there’s a catch. While the battery might have fewer milliampere hours, it still gives the drone a flight time of 25 minutes.

This is a minute more of safe flight than its successor. Another key benefit is that the owners of the Phantom 3 SE can use batteries of older Phantom 3 models for it.

That way, they won’t have to buy extra batteries in case they feel like recording for longer than usual.[/wpsm_accordion_section]
[wpsm_accordion_section title=”Controls“]

Phantom 4 Pro 2.0:

A great drone demands a great set of controls. One look at the Phantom 4 Pro 2.0’s remote will reassure its user that they are getting a quality product. First off, it sports a powerful 6.000 mAh battery.

Next, it has two standard-issue control sticks, where the left controls the movement at a single altitude, and the right makes it either rotate or move up and down. Directly above those is the built-in screen with a very clear picture.

One of the major benefits of Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 is that the controls are easy to master. Even unskilled pilots can fly this UAV without breaking a sweat.

Phantom 3 SE:

When compared to the drone above, the Phantom 3 SE has a remote control with shorter battery life, at 2.600 mAh. However, it still offers a wide operating range, and it can function properly in a hotter climate.

Another major benefit of the Phantom 3 SE’s remote is that it can work with other tablets and smartphones. We can simply strap our device of choice onto it and start flying.

In addition, the image will remain crystal clear even if we were to use a different smart device.[/wpsm_accordion_section]
[wpsm_accordion_section title=”Subject Tracking“]

Phantom 4 Pro 2.0:

It wasn’t until the fourth generation of Phantom drones that DJI introduced a form of subject tracking called Active Track. Considering how good the feature is, DJI then began to update the software of some of their older products.

What’s so good about Active Track? Well, it offers three different types of tracking an individual with the drone.

The first is called Trace Mode. With Trace, the drone will follow a subject at a constant distance. Of course, we can use the stick to move it around the person for a better recording.

The second mode is called Spotlight. This mode won’t make the drone follow the subject, but the camera will remain fixated on them. Finally, there’s the Profile Mode. Unlike Trace, Profile allows us to track a person from the side, at one constant angle. This mode also has a decent obstacle avoidance system.

Phantom 3 SE:

As stated above, DJI updated most of their old UAVs to include Active Track. Sadly, Phantom 3 SE was not on that list. We don’t get to follow anyone around automatically with this drone.

However, other Phantom 3 models got the upgrade, so there could be hope that DJI will get to Phantom 3 SE in the future. [/wpsm_accordion_section]
[wpsm_accordion_section title=”Signal Range and Reliability“]

Phantom 4 Pro 2.0:

With a powerful remote and a strong battery, Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 must have a good range, right? The answer is a resounding “yes.” With this drone, we get 4.3 miles of range, as well as a decent distance for recording and flight.

While it can work well in windy weather, it still has issues with outside interference.

Phantom 3 SE:

Considering it’s a generation behind, it’s only normal that the control range of Phantom 3 SE isn’t as large as that of Phantom 4 Pro 2.0. Without obstruction and resistance, the drone will receive controller commands at a range of 2.5 miles. Anything beyond is already risky.[/wpsm_accordion_section]
[wpsm_accordion_section title=”Case and Setup“]

Phantom 4 Pro 2.0:

The newest in the Phantom 4 series keeps its iconic look, the only difference being the new propellers. All it needs is a minor assembly, which is exceptionally easy to do.

However, software setup has proven to be a problem with some users. Luckily, there are plenty of tutorials online on how to set up this specific drone in case we run into an issue. Nevertheless, this is definitely a setback.

Phantom 3 SE:

Screw on the propellers, link the remote, and we’re good to go! That’s generally the case with the Phantom 3 SE, but there were some reports of remotes not being responsive.

Unlike with Phantom 4 Pro 2.0, however, these issues can easily be solved.[/wpsm_accordion_section]
[wpsm_accordion_section title=”Flight Sensors“]

Phantom 4 Pro 2.0:

With the Phantom 4 series, the DJI introduced an infrared sensor system for avoiding obstacles. The range goes from 0.6 to 23 feet with a 70-degree horizontal Field of Vision.

The sensors will allow the drone to avoid solid surfaces like trees, rocks, walls, and living beings.

Phantom 3 SE:

There isn’t a whole lot to say here. Phantom 3 SE doesn’t have an infrared sensor system, nor do other Phantom 3 drones. This is definitely a setback for any drone enthusiast who wants a decent obstacle avoidance system. [/wpsm_accordion_section][wpsm_accordion_section title=”Cameras, Gimbals, and Optics“]

Phantom 4 Pro 2.0:

This UAV’s camera is an absolute delight. Firstly, it can perform 4K recordings with its small, single-inch CMOS sensor. It’s mounted on a 3-axis high-quality gimbal, perfect for maneuvering and tracking.

Video capture is also stunning. We were able to record a 4K video at either 3840×2160 (standard) or 4096×2160 (cinematic) resolution at 30 frames per second and at 100 Mbps.

A high-quality video with a solid frame rate is always a solid choice.

Phantom 3 SE:

In many important ways, the Phantom 3 SE is similar to the other drone in this review.

It also records 4K video at 30 frames per second, though the still-image mode is somewhat weaker.

For example, the Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 can take 20 MP still images, whereas the Phantom 3 SE can only go up to 12. Nevertheless, we will still get a versatile recording, as this UAV also uses a 3-axis gimbal. It reduces shaking well and allows for smooth, steady shooting.[/wpsm_accordion_section]
[/wpsm_accordion][/wpsm_titlebox][wpsm_titlebox title=”” style=”3″]

Why Should I Choose Phantom 4 Pro 2.0?

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When we take everything into consideration, we can see how powerful this UAV actually is. Sure, it might be slightly bigger and more expensive than the older models, but it more than makes up for it with how well it performs.

Stable recording at rougher weather and strong battery life are just some of the reasons to buy this drone. In addition, it flies more smoothly and doesn’t make as much noise as other commercial UAVs, even within the Phantom 4 range. And to top it off, it has great obstacle avoidance, and the Active Track is the perfect icing on the cake.

 Why Should I Choose Phantom 3 SE?

DJI Phantom 3 SE Quadcopter 4K 30 fps video and 12 MP photos (Renewed)...
  • 4K camera
  • Vision positioning
  • 25-Min max flight time
  • 4 Km
  • Video transmission

While reading this review, people might think that there’s no reason to compare the two; that Phantom 3 SE is just not as good. However, this UAV has more than enough redeeming features to its name.

First off, it captures beautiful, high-quality videos and images with little to no issues. Next, it flies well despite its modest range, and it will be in the air longer than other, new drones with better cameras.

Finally, it’s probably the most reasonably priced drone on the market at the moment. If we’re shopping for drones and don’t plan on splurging, this little guy is the way to go.


Differences Between the DJI Phantom 3 SE and DJI Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 – The Conclusion

Both DJI Phantom 3 SE and DJI Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 have their strengths and flaws. Whenever we compare DJI UAVs, we tend to run into problems because of how similar they can be.

Design-wise, there aren’t too many differences between the Phantom 4 Pro 2.0 and the Phantom 3 SE. Then again, they also don’t differ from any other Phantom 4 or Phantom 3 drone. But whatever their differences may be, the DJI Phantom drones are high-quality gadgets that any drone enthusiast will appreciate.


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