*Updated August 2016*
With the release of the Phantom 4 now comes the search for the best DJI Phantom 4 accessories and mods to upgrade the already great Phantom 4 experience. Here is an overview of the best options I recommend as well as the ones I don’t:
One of the easiest and most sought after Phantom 4 accessories to recommend is the Phantom 4 Intelligent Flight Battery. Quite simply, the more charged batteries you have on hand, the more flight time you have with your Phantom 4. How many batteries you need depends on your flight habits. If you like to fly aggressively in Sport mode at high speeds over long distances and long periods of time, then you will need more batteries.
Each Phantom 4 battery gives up to 28 minutes of flight time. Some people only need 2 or 3 batteries, while others need 6 or more. Most cases and backpacks have dedicated space for 3 to 6 batteries. You should take your flight habits into account to help you decide how many batteries you need for your desired flight time, and a case or backpack big enough for that amount of batteries.
One of the DJI Phantom 4 accessories that isn’t included is a phone or tablet to display relevant flight data and the video feed from your drone camera. If you have one of the DJI recommended smartphones listed below, then you could use it, but most people prefer the tablet experience. Using a tablet as your display gives you much more screen real estate, making your piloting experience much more immersive and fun, and letting you seen more details from the camera and giving you easier access to the on-screen flight data and buttons.
I’m recommending the Apple iPad series of tablets, as they have historically provided a much smoother and less buggy experience than their Android counterparts. If you absolutely want the biggest screen possible, then go with the iPad Air 2. Otherwise go with the iPad mini 4. It is lighter than the Air, so it is easier to hold and operate the controller. It fits nicely in included styrofoam case (the iPad Air 2 needs to be awkwardly inserted under the top), and it is cheaper.
You could also consider the iPad mini 2, which is even cheaper than the iPad mini 4, but the experience is not as smooth as the iPad mini 4, and the screen is much harder to see in sunlight, making a sun guard or a matte screen protector or both a requirement for the mini 2. I are recommending the Wi-Fi iPad version over the cellular version, as you only need the cellular version if you want to use the Follow Me feature or be able to reset your home point to your current location after takeoff.
Most Phantom owners are probably not using either of these features, as the ActiveTrack feature of the Phantom 4 does not require GPS on the controller like Follow Me, and it works much better than Follow Me. The Wi-Fi version also lacks maps and controller GPS on the DJI app. You can hotspot your Wi-Fi iPad to your phone to enable access to maps, but not GPS.
iOS: iPhone 5s,iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPod touch 6, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular. The DJI GO app is optimized for the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
Android: Samsung tabs 705c, Samsung S6, Samsung S5, Samsung NOTE 4, Samsung NOTE 3, Google Nexus 9, Google Nexus 7 II, Ascend Mate 7, Huawei Mate 8, Nubia Z7 mini, SONY Z3 EXPE, MI 3, and MI PAD
Tablet and Phone Accessories:
First of all, if you are going to be using a heavy tablet like the iPad Air 2 or you will be piloting the quadcopter for extended periods of time, then I recommend the DJI Phantom Neckstrap Remote Controller Lanyard. This will make it much less fatiguing to hold your controller, letting you focus better on the piloting.
If you are piloting in sunny areas or are using a tablet without anti-glare protection like the iPad mini 2, then you should attach one of the following sun guards to your remote and maybe an anti-glare screen cover to your tablet:DJI Remote Controller Sun Guard For Smartphones
DJI Remote Controller Sun Guard For iPad Mini
Summitlink 10 Inch iPad Air SunShade
Tech Armor Apple iPad mini Anti-Glare/Anti-Fingerprint (Matte) Screen Protectors
Tech Armor NEW High Definition ANTIGlare Screen Protector for Apple iPad Air
Your Phantom 4 includes a 16GB microSD card, giving you enough space for 36 minutes of recorded 4K video. That is just slightly more time than the flight time from one battery. The Phantom 4 officially supports a maximum size of 64GB microSD cards. I recommend purchasing one or more 64GB cards, each affording 2.4 hours of 4K video storage.
No SD card company is perfect, but I’ve had the fewest issues with Samsung SD cards, and the many positive Amazon reviews and very few negative reviews back this up. You want a card that supports at least UHS-1 or Class 10 writing speeds, as that is the minimum requirement for 4K video recording. UHS-3 cards, like the Samsung Pro Plus, are even faster, reducing file transfer times. Here are a couple recommended Samsung cards that you can’t go wrong with:Samsung 64GB EVO Plus microSD card
80MB/s Read, 15MB/s Write
Samsung 64GB Pro Plus microSD card
95MB/s Read, 90MB/s Write
Antenna Range Boosters:
While the Phantom 4 officially has a 5 km (3.1 mile) maximum range from the controller to the drone, sometimes I can be in want of more range. In urban environments with a lot of electronic radio interference, your maximum range can be significantly reduced. To counteract this and extend your maximum range, you can modify your controller antennas to boost their range.
There are no official range extenders available and basically DJI does not recommend any invasive hardware modification, such as with the BLUEPROTON and DBS Mods, as your warranty will be voided by doing so and they could damage your remote if installed improperly. Instead we recommend a very simple, non-invasive, and cheap Phantom 4 mod known affectionately in the Phantom community as the Windsurfer antenna mod.
You can Google instructions on how to craft this mod on your own, but I instead recommend a cheap yet much sturdier pre-made alternative from the company BTG: the BTG Antenna Signal Range Booster for DJI Phantom 4. It provides a 15-20% range boost of around 1 km (some report 50%+ range boost, depending on conditions), it’s inexpensive, it installs and uninstalls from the antennas in seconds, and most importantly: it does not void your warranty. You especially don’t want to void your warranty for a drone, where accidents do happen.
This is one of the cheapest must-have Phantom 4 accessories. The current furthest reported Phantom 4 range using the Windsurfer mod was 19,460.7 ft (5.93 km) from user “Ozziebattler.”
Here are some testimonials on the Windsurfer Phantom 4 mods:
“I have the DBS mod, and while it works ok you can get the same range with 20 dollar windsurfers you buy on Amazon. Don’t waste your money.”
“I’ve installed about 5 of these DBS Mods. They work as stated but you have to remember to point the panel towards your drone to achieve maximum connection. Standing just a little off of a straight line results in a connection like stock antenna’s.
For best results I’d go with a nice windsurfer mod. It has a wider directional angle to the drone and you don’t have to be as precise as you do with the DBS Mod.
I’ve stopped installing these DBS Mods for people because the expectation is higher than it actually works. People like to enjoy themselves while flying and not concentrating on alignment.”
Cases and Backpacks:
If you just want to take your drone to the park once a week, the styrofoam case it comes in will be just fine. If you plan on taking this thing on a plane, hiking, biking, or any other adventure, the styrofoam case that it comes with is probably going to break instantly. There are many case and backpack options for the Phantom 3. However, the Phantom 4 is still very new, so there aren’t many carrying case options yet.
If you want a backpack, the one from DJI is an extremely nice option. It has multiple pockets on the outside and even on the inside to hold things like ND filters, keys, money, ID, 3 batteries, external hard drives etc. One of the best features of the backpack is the laptop compartment, which will hold a 15 inch Macbook Pro. You can get the Phantom 4 backpack from DJI, but it might take a while to ship until its production is ramped up. Of all the Phantom 4 accessories, a protective case or backpack is essential for keeping your quadcopter safe in between flights.
Here are some alterative acclaimed backpacks and cases I recommend:LowePro DroneGuard CS400
Can carry Phantom 4 with controller, props, charger and 3 or 4 batteries. It meets carry on size regulations.
They are superb quality for the money, and include spaces for six batteries and all the kit you need.
Procraft Phantom Backpack Case
Greatest value for money.
GoProfessional Universal Hard Case for Phantom 4
One of the most rugged and premium case options. It fits: Phantom 4, 6 Batteries, 1 Charger/Cable Cavity, 1 Radio, Square Props, 1 iPad Air or iPad mini, 4 Filters, 1 SD Card, 1 Accessory Cavity
If you are dead-set on waiting for the official DJI Phantom 4 Multifunction Backpack and want something “good enough” in the meantime or you don’t think you need much more than the included styrofoam case, then there is a simple case mod for you included styrofoam case that might interest you. The mod involves spraying Plasti Dip on your styrofoam case, giving it a rubberized coating to hopefully help it last longer.
The mod has been well-received, as shown by the many testimonials:
“Been almost two weeks since I did my case. Still looking perfect and has taken a beating. The glossifier made it look real nice. Definitely will last til my back pack gets here. Thank for sharing.“
“PlastiDip is a great idea. It’s very durable. One of my kids has plastidiped part of their car (emblems & Wheels). It’s lasted 2 years and thousands of miles now without any signs of degradation.”
There is also a case-mod variation that uses Minwax Polycrylic:
“I coated mine with Minwax Polycrylic. Its clear like Polyurethane but safe on Styrofoam. Its water soluble so you can brush it on in the house. I have put about 5 coats on so far and it is holding up pretty good. Just another option for people. I do like the plastic dip – black coating though. Looks good!“
Neutral Density and Polarizing Filters:
In bright and sunny shooting conditions with excessive amounts of light, you’re often required to increase your shutter speed to reduce the amount of light your camera sensor takes in. Being forced to increase your shutter speed can make your videos look less cinematic and more video-camera-like, and can make take the beautiful movement blur out of a still photo of a moving stream.
A neutral density filter solves this by lowering the amount of light the camera sensor takes in without affecting color saturation. This helps you to use a get an equivalent exposure while lowering the shutter speed. If you want the most cinematic video, an industry guideline is to shoot at a shutter speed that is one divided by twice that of your video framerate. So if you’re shooting at 30fps, then set your shutter speed to 1/(2×30)s, which equals 1/60s. For 60fps that would equal 1/120s.
Polarizing filters help reduce the glare and reflections from bright surfaces, and also help make the sky a richer blue with increase color saturation. They are most effective when used at an angle of 90 degrees from the sun, and less effective when the sun is directly in or behind your shot.
The PolarPro DJI Phantom Filter 3-Pack is a highly recommend and well-reviewed neutral density and polarizing filter set that contains two different neutral density filters and one polarizing filter.
Propellers and Guards:
The Phantom 4 comes with 8 Quick Release Propellers, but you might need more spares depending on how and where you fly it. As for prop guards, they are one of the Phantom 4 accessories I don’t recommend, as they almost universally tend to enhance a wobbling state when a drone hovering or descending called Vortex Ring State (Google it), leading to drone instability and crashes. Here’s more, the Phantom 4 Obstacle Sensing system is disabled when propeller guards are installed.
If you are still nervous about flying your Phantom 4 indoors or near potential obstacles, then I instead recommend buying an inexpensive drone to train and develop your “drone legs” with. Check out my articles on the inexpensive Syma X5C quadcopter and then take my quick training course to rapidly increase your piloting skill and confidence, without risking your Phantom 4.
Pairing your Phantom 4 with the HeadPlay HD FPV Headset and a DJI HDMI Output Module will give you the best FPV experience possible with a drone, as detailed in my FPV Drone Kit guide. These are some of the most experience-enhancing Phantom 4 accessories you can buy. If you are dead-set on buying the smaller-FOV Fat Shark goggles then the Fat Shark Dominator HD2 and Fat Shark Dominator V3 are both solid, though more expensive, options.
If you find yourself excessively worried about damaging or crashing your Phantom 4, then there is a solution. Take your worries away and relax with DJI CARE. Available in 6 month or 1 year packages, it is a service plan that provides you with peace of mind, covering damage to your DJI aircraft, gimbal or camera sustained during normal use. During DJI Care’s period of validity, if damages occur accidentally under normal use, the repair fees and related costs incurred will be covered by DJI.
You are eligible for DJI CARE as long as your Phantom 4 is new and has been activated for no more than 48 hours.
I hope you’ve found this guide to the various DJI Phantom 4 accessories useful. I will continue to update it as new and useful Phantom 4 accessories are released. If you haven’t already checked it out, explore my photography drone buying guide to see how the Phantom 4 stacks up with its competition.