Considering the Crystal Sky Ultra, but how does it stack up?

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#1
I've decided that I fly enough to justify the expense of a dedicated high end monitoring solution, but I'm mainly concerned about how reliable is the video feed? I've only seen one report of any issues with the Crystal Sky, but for a grand, my expectations are high. Is the video feed at least as reliable as an iPad Pro with ample memory, and what are some other advantages, besides the brightness of the display? Thank you in advance.
 
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#2
I have had the High Bright now for 4 months. I have used it on Spark, Mavic and P4 Pro.

Spark, it's worthless as you need the Wifi turned on from CS and thus battery life suffers, but I had a ton of control problems so said, no more.

Mavic, it's for the most flawless. A lot of flights, no App lock ups, no Video lock ups. The only thing I see is an occasional video lag on pans. The video jumps to catch up as you pan. Sometimes the video live view pixelates, but that does not last more than a few seconds.

P4 Pro and P4 Pro Vr 2.0. Both have IMO really severe issues.

1. App disconnects, during flight you get a message that the app has disconnected, your video will freeze where the disconnect happened. You still have full RC control and if in VLOS can fly back manually, but if you are a ways out say 1600 feet, (I still can see a P4 out that far), you still have to figure out craft orientation and that far out it can be difficult to not to panic.

2. Video Freezes, here the app never disconnects, but the video still is frozen. You can attempt a reboot of the CS or power cycle, but personally I would rather not do that.

3. Camera freeze when switching between video and stills. This just started with the latest firmware to support P4 Vr 2.0.
On switching to the stills from video, the shutter button is greyed out and all camera features are locked up. Reboot or power off of CS does not fix this, you have to power cycle the drone so I am not sure if it's a CS or P4 Vr 2.0 issue. But I have not seen this with the iPad on the Vr 2.0.

Net, I love the hardware and design of the CS. I returned my Ultra bright due to all the problems folks were having with the ultras burning out. The high bright 7.5 is a great design, love the size and touch screen is excellent. I can see the high bright in most of the outdoor shooting and the screen resolution/app have a much better unification. Thus your stills look more in focus than with the iPad (the djigo4 app does not respect retina resolution, "respect" is an Apple developers term) Instead the djigo4 app is displaying around 720 and that is way below the iPad screen resolution. So critical focus is much hard to work. This is not an issue with the CS as images on screen have much better display resolution.

Battery life, is all day, (well 1 battery will last much longer than a P4 on 6 flights). You need a p4 charger to charge the CS as it doesn't come with one.

I am surprised at just how many issues the Phantom seems to have with the CS. Problems that IMO should not be there. The version of djigo4 on the CS is not the same as the standard android version and DJI rolls out updates a bit behind the standard android version. But still if android users were seeing as many lockups and app disconnects with their phones or tablets, I feel that there would be a lot more posting. Instead those products seem pretty solid.

For now I only use the CS on my P4's for short flights and where I know I will stay in good VLOS. On the Mavic I have gone out much further, with no problems.

Paul Caldwell
 
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#3
I have had the High Bright now for 4 months. I have used it on Spark, Mavic and P4 Pro.

Spark, it's worthless as you need the Wifi turned on from CS and thus battery life suffers, but I had a ton of control problems so said, no more.

Mavic, it's for the most flawless. A lot of flights, no App lock ups, no Video lock ups. The only thing I see is an occasional video lag on pans. The video jumps to catch up as you pan. Sometimes the video live view pixelates, but that does not last more than a few seconds.

P4 Pro and P4 Pro Vr 2.0. Both have IMO really severe issues.

1. App disconnects, during flight you get a message that the app has disconnected, your video will freeze where the disconnect happened. You still have full RC control and if in VLOS can fly back manually, but if you are a ways out say 1600 feet, (I still can see a P4 out that far), you still have to figure out craft orientation and that far out it can be difficult to not to panic.

2. Video Freezes, here the app never disconnects, but the video still is frozen. You can attempt a reboot of the CS or power cycle, but personally I would rather not do that.

3. Camera freeze when switching between video and stills. This just started with the latest firmware to support P4 Vr 2.0.
On switching to the stills from video, the shutter button is greyed out and all camera features are locked up. Reboot or power off of CS does not fix this, you have to power cycle the drone so I am not sure if it's a CS or P4 Vr 2.0 issue. But I have not seen this with the iPad on the Vr 2.0.

Net, I love the hardware and design of the CS. I returned my Ultra bright due to all the problems folks were having with the ultras burning out. The high bright 7.5 is a great design, love the size and touch screen is excellent. I can see the high bright in most of the outdoor shooting and the screen resolution/app have a much better unification. Thus your stills look more in focus than with the iPad (the djigo4 app does not respect retina resolution, "respect" is an Apple developers term) Instead the djigo4 app is displaying around 720 and that is way below the iPad screen resolution. So critical focus is much hard to work. This is not an issue with the CS as images on screen have much better display resolution.

Battery life, is all day, (well 1 battery will last much longer than a P4 on 6 flights). You need a p4 charger to charge the CS as it doesn't come with one.

I am surprised at just how many issues the Phantom seems to have with the CS. Problems that IMO should not be there. The version of djigo4 on the CS is not the same as the standard android version and DJI rolls out updates a bit behind the standard android version. But still if android users were seeing as many lockups and app disconnects with their phones or tablets, I feel that there would be a lot more posting. Instead those products seem pretty solid.

For now I only use the CS on my P4's for short flights and where I know I will stay in good VLOS. On the Mavic I have gone out much further, with no problems.

Paul Caldwell
Thank you for the honest review, it's much appreciated, I had no idea there was this many issues with CS, and I would have expected DJI to offer better support for it.
 
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#4
I was surprised also. It's strange to me that DJI can't get the software issues fixed. This forum, the mavic forum, and the DJI Phantom forum all have similar posts which point to software non-reliability issues with the Phantoms.

Still keep using mine as when I can, it's still the best solution, I guess besides a Pro+ monitor/controller.

Paul C
 
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#5
I've had the 5.5in model for a while now, I haven't had any issues at all. I've flown it with the P4P, Mavic Pro, Mavic Air and Inspire 1 Pro. One thing I like with my iPad Air 2 over the CS is the ability the ability to switch between 3rd party apps and Go 4 mid-flight without issues, this isn't the case with the CS, with the CS you need to land, force close the app prior to opening the next. This hasn't been a huge issue for me but requires some additional pre-planning. The biggest advantage is obviously how bright the display is, you can't get close with any other device.
 
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#6
I have the CS Ultra 7.85" display. Visually, it's very good, although I'm a bit disappointed that it's using 20 year old backlight tech instead of OLEDs.

Operationally, it's not reliable. I experience one app shutdown about every flight. Usually when I hit the icon to change camera mode to stills so I can take RAW photos. At that point, it's very sluggish to switch and then I get a message that "DJI Go 4 has stopped."

Got that message again last night while manually landing my P4P 2.0.

Another problem I have is video stuttering and freezing and picture breakup when using the Intelligent Flight modes. As soon as I cancel IF mode, the video is back to normal.

Not enough CPU to handle video + flying?
 
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#7
I have the Ultra about a month now and it is a little finicky at start up (may need a reboot) but nothing comes close to this display PERIOD I was sick of not flying because it was sunny out and tired of using a sunshade and still looking for a shady spot to barely be able to see my display , them days are over it seems others are having more then me even flying within line of sight which is fine for me, Sunday I took two 3 mile flights back to back just to compare battery consumption of P mode vs Sport mode which to my surprise was within 1-2% difference between the two,
It is a little quirky though compared to my iPad mini 2 that I was using but I’m not givin up on it,it’s part of my kit now.
 
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#8
I have the Ultra about a month now and it is a little finicky at start up (may need a reboot) but nothing comes close to this display PERIOD I was sick of not flying because it was sunny out and tired of using a sunshade @nd still looking for a shady spot to barely be able to see my display , them days are over it seems others are having more then me even fly within line of sight which is fine for me Sunday I took two 3 mile flights back to back just to compare battery consumption of P mode vs Sport mode which to my surprise was within 1-2% difference between the two,
It is a little quirky though compared to my iPad mini 2 that I was using but I’m not givin up on it,it’s part of my kit now.
What is the Ultra Lickitysplit? Diff type of pad? It's not the Crystal Sky is it?
 
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#11
We're referring the Ultrabright 8.75" version. Probably same processor, but brighter, bigger screen.
I had the High Briteness CS for about a week and returned it for the Ultra , I started seeing lots of comments about the problems that existed with the Ultrabrite were fixed and thought I'd give it a go...
 
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#12
I had the High Briteness CS for about a week and returned it for the Ultra , I started seeing lots of comments about the problems that existed with the Ultrabrite were fixed and thought I'd give it a go...
Cool! How much is the Ultra Brightness model? I don't use Litchi that much so I don't care too much about 3rd party software. But is it even much brighter than the new Ipad Pro's?
 
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#13
Cool! How much is the Ultra Brightness model? I don't use Litchi that much so I don't care too much about 3rd party software. But is it even much brighter than the new Ipad Pro's?
I think the new iPad pros are in the 600 nit range,android has a few that are brighter then that but I wanted a dedicated tablet just for flying,
The High briteness model Is 1000 nit $750 and the Ultra is 2000 nit and $1000 and a bracket for another $80 fit either model
The iPad mini 2 ran the Go app pretty good the new IOS tablets are probably fantastic but the screens aren’t one of their strengths
 
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#16
On the flip side, the Crystal Sky Ultra is great on the screen but weak on the processing.
Yeah kinda, the only issues I've had since updating the FW are on start up ( may need to reboot for first flight) , never after that, offline maps work now and flight records are working fine now, I'm happy.
 
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#17
Thank you for all the replies and pertinent information on the Crystal Sky, I'm definitely backing away from the idea of getting one until, and if it's rock solid. So far the most reliable and stable option I've tried is the iPhone X, which rarely loses the video feed up until it totally disappears from the icon, followed by the iPad 10.5" Pro, which I need to use the Hoodman sun shade for, has a great picture, but loses the video feed very sporadically. It literally goes from 5 bars to none in a split second, and then back up to 5 bars again right away, very disappointing, especially considering it's the flagship iPad model, and has 512Mb. Lastly, the iPad Mini 4 has been the biggest disappointment, because although it's the perfect size, and plenty bright with a minimal sun shade, it has in my experience been an absolutely unreliable video feed, with constant green screens, and total blackouts constantly in every situation I've flown in.
 
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#18
Another option is an external 1000 nit monitor like the SmallHD. You need some HDMI out and I'm not sure how that works on a P4, but on P3's you can use the HDMI output box. It is more clumsy than the Crystal Sky but it is a professional piece of kit and Just Works.
 
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#19
Another option is an external 1000 nit monitor like the SmallHD. You need some HDMI out and I'm not sure how that works on a P4, but on P3's you can use the HDMI output box. It is more clumsy than the Crystal Sky but it is a professional piece of kit and Just Works.
Wow the specs say it’s 3000 nits , it sounds like it’s just a monitor though can the App be loaded to it?
 
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#20
2200 nits and $3,000! I'll pass.

I do think CPU power has a lot to do with these green screens and frozen video/blocks/breakups, as my older tablet had all these symptoms. I was almost going to return the drone thinking that the receiver in the controller was broken. But then I tried my 2 year old Android phone and it worked perfectly.

The Intelligent Flight modes probably push the CPU much harder than just decoding video, and hence, when the ceiling is reached, it exhibits the freezing/blocks/tearing of video signal.

I took my drone up for a couple of longer distance missions tonight before supper and to my utter shock, the Crystal Sky Ultra did not freeze or need to be restarted. I think this is the first time I got through an entire flight without CS having an error!
 

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