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DJI Phantom 4 drone has extra eyes to avoid obstacles (pictures)

The industry leader in flying cameras for consumers has redesigned its Phantom 3 quadcopter with more optical sensors, so it can fly around trees instead of into them.

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Joshua Goldman
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1 of 12 Joshua Goldman/CNET

The Phantom 4 builds off the excellent Phantom 3 Professional with a streamlined design, better battery life, new autonomous flight modes and, most importantly, obstacle avoidance.

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New camera gimbal and optical sensors

Though the camera has the same shooting options as the Phantom 3 Pro with the exception of full HD slow-motion video capture, it has an improved lens with better sharpness in the corners. Much of the gimbal is now internal, protecting it and creating less drag.

The two black dots on the legs are the new optical sensors that the Phantom 4 uses to avoid obstacles.

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Two more on the bottom

The set of sensors on the bottom are there to help it fly indoors when it doesn't have a GPS lock to help it hover.

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From behind

The landing gear is shorter and wider.

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New battery

From the outside, you can't really tell it's a new battery pack aside from the grippy bits that help with removal.

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Against the Phantom 3 battery

The new battery is more powerful than the old, along with being more compact.

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P4 vs. P3

Here you can really see the difference in the gimbal design as well as things like the motor mounts and the shorter, wider landing gear.

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Push and lock

No more seemingly endless spinning to take your props on and off! The push-and-lock style lets you take them on and off with just a twist, and they won't come loose while flying.

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microSD slot and Micro-USB port

One for photo and video storage, the other for transfers, the card slot and port are easily accessible.

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Flying from the right

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Price and availability

The Phantom 4 will sell for $1,399. That converts to £1,005 for the UK and AU$1,960 in Australia, with official prices for those countries yet to be announced.

It's available for preorder through DJI.com as well as Apple.com, and DJI says customers will start receiving these orders on March 15. On that same day you'll be able to buy them in DJI and Apple retail stores. It won't be until March 23 that it will be available from other retailers for April 1 delivery.

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