DJI working on a foldable Phantom 5? A collection of thoughts

DJI Phantom 5

There have been many discussions surrounding the release of the DJI Phantom 5, with various ‘leaks’ suggesting it’s around the corner and the Phantom series being axed due to the Mavic series’ popularity. Let’s take a dive into history to see if DJI will release the Phantom 5.

A past full of ‘leaks’

We have been seeing supposed leaks for years at this point. It all started back when a hand-drawn picture was shared of a Phantom drone with the heading Phantom 5. In the picture, we can see the new darker color scheme along with an interchangeable lens camera. Soon after, we began to see images of the same drone in the wild. This led people to believe that it is the Phantom 5, and it will be released soon.

As we all now know, that was not the case at all. In fact, the drone was a custom run Phantom for a specific customer that required interchangeable lenses. Once DJI told the world of the news, everyone was slightly saddened because it wasn’t the Phantom 5, along with having to wait longer for its release.

$150 million fraud

However, everyone stayed hopeful thanks to the Phantom 4 Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 constantly going out of stock with possible links to a much larger $150 million fraud case that had struck DJI. It was alleged that a substantial group of staff was caught stealing parts and entering false information into DJI’s system to use the parts for other purposes.

Simultaneously with the fraud case, the Phantom 4 Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 was going in and out of stock, and the DJI website stated that the Phantom 4 Pro was no longer being produced. Once again, giving people a glimmer of hope. This is thought to be related to the fraud, causing DJI to cut ties with key suppliers for the Phantom series.

A foldable Phantom?

Several years ago, we got patent images of what looks to be a Phantom-type drone with foldable arms. In the images, we can see the drone with legs that fold into the drone’s arms upon takeoff, similarly to the Inspire series of drones. The images appear to be patent drawings, which doesn’t always mean that the product will be brought to life.

A foldable Phantom would be really cool and valuable to have with the ability to have the camera rotate a full 360-degree without getting any of the legs in the shot. This would also allow for 360-degree tracking to be done more easily.

I don’t think DJI would want to come out with a foldable Phantom as it would begin to take market share from the Inspire series. The Phantom 5 would be much cheaper than an Inspire but would lack the Inspire’s larger sensor, something that isn’t wanted by many people.

2020 release date

Earlier this month, we got an image of a supposed test email for the Phantom 5 launch happening later this year in December. It is rumored that someone close to the marketing managed to get this photo of the email but opted to take a photo rather than a screenshot, interesting.

In the image, we can see an outline of a Phantom drone with the battery indicators light up, forming a V shape, which is the Roman numeral for 5. While this does look good, we have a feeling that the image is fake. It seems to have been set up in a way that we can’t see the sender easily. The bottom of the image has been blurred out, and it has been placed into Gmail to appear real.

Will the Phantom 5 ever come?

Although there has been a lot of support for DJI to release the Phantom 5, it just doesn’t look likely at all right now. The previous leaks we have seen of an unknown Phantom drone have been debunked by DJI and are were custom run for a specific customer.

On top of the debunked leaks, the big $150 million fraud case DJI saw back in 2019 was rumored to have involved the Phantom 4 and the parts it’s built from. As we know, this caused the Phantom 4 to go out of stock for what felt like forever, and since then, it hasn’t been the same for the Phantom 4 series with it and accessories being out of stock a lot.

DJI essentially killed the Phantom line for most people with a much smaller and equally impressive Mavic line. Both the Phantom 4 and the original Mavic Pro were released in 2016 around 209 days apart. Both of them had the same 1/2.3” CMOS sensor capable of 12 MP stills and 60 Mbps 4k UHD video at 24 fps. This obviously caused the Mavic to be the go-to choice due to the smaller size and matched specs.

For the above reasons, we don’t think a Phantom drone from DJI is coming anytime soon if it ever is released. It’s been over two years since the release of the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, a time period longer than the average release schedule from DJI.

Photo: OsitaLV

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