What is DJI Mavic Air?
It's no secret that we're big fans of the DJI Mavic Pro drone: it won the Drone of the Year award at Trusted Reviews Awards 2017, after all. The tracking, the Mavic Air, takes the foldable and compact design of Mavic Pro and makes it even smaller. Considering that the DJI Mavic Pro was not a giant, it's no small thing.
The Mavic Air is available for just £ 769, which includes the drone, remote control, battery, briefcase, two pairs of propeller guards and four pairs of propellers on Onyx Black, Arctic White and Flame Red.
Other DJI offers, there is also a Fly More Combo that includes three batteries, the remote control, a travel bag, two pairs of tip protectors, six pairs of props, a battery to power the bank adapter and a charge concentrator . This costs £ 949 and arguably is the best value perspective for most users.
The DJI Mavic Air takes the Mavic Pro model and improves it in many ways, which now puts the DJI Mavic Pro more expensive in a bit uncomfortable position. In the end, the DJI Mavic Air is probably the best option for most unmanned aircraft pilots.
DJI Mavic Air – Design
When dubbed, the DJI Mavic Air's footprint is slightly larger than that of a phablet, and approximately half the size of the Mavic Pro. This makes it the most portable DJI model. Until now. While it's unlikely to fit in your pants pocket, it fit reasonably comfortably in the pocket of my jacket.
Similarly, the remote control is designed to collapse in size. The base of the phone at the bottom is folded next to the antennas at the top. The control levers are now unscrewed and can be stored in the lower part, which speeds up the controller even more. The result is a device that has the same size as the folded Mavic Air, so perfect for your other pocket.
Related: Best action cameras
For the first time, you could take out a full-featured drone without the need for a bag, making improvised flights when a moment guarantees it much easier. The Mavic Air accompanied me on a recent vacation in Morocco, and it was liberating to be able to quickly take out the unmanned aircraft to record captivating sequences from the surrounding area or take a group selfie from the sky.
I had some people that I was surprised that I could take the Mavic Air to Morocco. Supposedly, several drones have been confiscated at the airport. I suppose his shape factor, clearly unrecognizable when folded, helped him go through the X-ray scanners without being detected.
As a result of its new form, DJI has had to add air vents to keep the Mavic Air fresh. The Mavic Air weighs only 430g, so it will hardly be difficult for your next outdoor adventure.
DJI has also made improvements in the storage area. The Mavic Air includes 8GB on board, the first for DJI. Do not lose in microSD storage either. I guess most people will still use a microSD card, but 8 GB will be accepted if it is without a memory card.
A USB-C port has been added instead of micro-USB, so data transfer from the drone will be faster if you need access to that integrated storage.
DJI Mavic Air – Features and flight
The Mavic Air not only borrows the folding design of its big brother, but also the 4K camera. It means that the Mavic Air is between the DJI Spark (which does not double and has only one 1080p camera) and the larger DJI Mavic Pro.
In total, there are seven cameras and IR sensors on board to help Mavic Air track objects and the surrounding terrain. DJI says that its more powerful capabilities and optimized algorithms will allow a better three-dimensional map of the environment, as well as a more accurate flight and flight performance.
The detection of objects is present in the front and back, which has been improved to a maximum of 20 meters. With luck, you will have fewer accidents now.
Morocco proved to be an excellent testing ground for the Mavic Air flight, as some days were particularly windy. Under such conditions, the ability to avoid objects and suspend can be compromised, as was noticed in the DJI GO 4 application. Even then, the Mavic Air did remarkably well under some particularly test conditions.
Only once did hiccup, and that was due to cold conditions. At one point, in the snowy mountains, the application reported that the batteries were too cold for takeoff. That's actually the first time I've encountered this problem, since on many occasions I have flown the device in cold and snowy conditions in the United Kingdom. Keeping the heated batteries in my wool-lined pockets brought them back to life eventually.
The Mavic Air has developed advanced pilot assistance systems (APAS) to avoid objects, adjusting their flight plan to fly actively on or around objects instead of simply coming to a stop.
At least in theory, that's it. The Mavic Air actually needs a fairly large run towards an object so that the automatic elusion is activated. If you start too close to the object, it is likely to stop abruptly, which is better than a frontal crash. shock. He also fought when there were two obstacles in the vicinity. If the second obstacle is obscured by another, Mavic Air will not see it and, as such, will not have enough time to redraw a route around it.
Given a little more space to assess your surroundings, the Mavic Air can climb and overcome obstacles like trees or simply surround them. I can see that this is a useful safety net for beginners. You can simply activate or deactivate APAS in the DJI Go application.
The Mavic Air can be flown by remote control or synchronized with your smartphone via direct Wi-Fi. The range is considerably lower for the latter, but it can be useful if you want to take some shots quickly. However, annoying, going between the two control methods required re-linking the drone to the remote control, which makes it much less convenient for when you want to return to more nuanced controls.
Initially, I also had some problems getting the DJI Go 4 application to recognize my OnePlus 5T smartphone, which was connected via a USB-C cable (short micro-USB and Lightning cables are also included for compatibility with other devices). It turns out that you must have USB debugging enabled, and possibly USB OTG, for your phone to recognize a connected remote control. It is worth taking into account.
The remote control has a range of 2.5 miles / 4km with 1080p transmission in real time, which represents an improvement over many consumer drones that only allow 720p transmission of video. When using the remote control, you can also toggle in Sport mode, which unlocks Mavic Air's maximum speed. This is DJI's fastest drone so far, and it seems so. Fly nimbly, however, and it's fun to use beyond the capabilities of video and image capture.
The Mavic Air can withstand turbulent environments of up to 22 mph, and you can expect maximum speeds of up to 42 mph in Sport mode for those who feel particularly brave.
The driver is similar to Mavic Pro, minus the screen and a wheel that can quickly adjust the exposure.
DJI Mavic Air – Quickshots and gestures
Automated flight modes also make a return, for a more flight "without intervention". Known as the "QuickShot" mode, this first debuted with DJI Spark, allowing you to capture professional-looking videos automatically.
These predefined flight routes resulted in some dramatically serious shots. These include & # 39; Rocket & # 39 ;, which locked the camera on a target and then shot up into the air; and & # 39; Circle & # 39 ;, which caused the camera to fly around a target while remaining in the frame.
The Mavic Air has all this functionality and more, with the addition of two new QuickShots in the form of Asteroid and Boomerang. The asteroid, in particular, is super cool. It begins with a spherical image approaching as the drone descends towards the subject on the ground. Everything is a bit Deep Impact .
Here is an asteroid video that I took where the video was taken from the memory card. It is worth noting that when saved through the DJI Go application, the application saves a version of it reproduced in reverse to fulfill its name of & # 39; asteroids & # 39; that is crashing. However, the drone actually registers that it moves away from you instead of toward you. The following is reproduced as recorded:
Also comes SmartCapture from DJI Spark, which allows you to control Mavic Air with hand gestures to capture selfies, follow you and much more That means you will not have to dig out the remote when you want to take a footage, making you feel like you're controlling the drone with The Force.
DJI also adds new gestures such as using two separate or joined hands to control the distance of Mavic Air while locked in a subject. Launching a "peace" sign now tells you to take a still picture.
In general, the accuracy of gesture recognition with the palm of the hand seemed better than that of DJI Spark, who often found himself struggling to achieve a block. However, it is still far from perfect. It requires a conscious effort to keep the drone under control and focused on your hand, and I would not feel comfortable using it in a busy environment. Keep the remote control or your phone nearby, just in case.
DJI Mavic Air – Video and image quality
The Mavic Air is equipped with a three-axis mechanical gimbal that is recessed and suspended from the shock absorbers to further reduce vibrations. The new mechanics result in seriously soft footage, even in the most difficult wind conditions.
The camera itself has a 1 / 2.3-inch CMOS sensor that captures 12-megapixel and has an equivalent lens of 24 mm f / 2.8. You can capture mechanically stabilized 4K images at up to 30 fps with a maximum bit rate of 100 Mbps. You can even download 1080p for slow motion images at 120 fps for some additional aerial dramas. The image quality is excellent in general, with many details and sharpness.
The only time the DJI Mavic Air fights is in low light conditions, where you will get noticeably more grainy and less detailed shots.
The DJI Go 4 The application will also help you edit your drone images with transitions and music. You can automatically generate featured videos, similar to the GoPro Quik application too.
Here is a summary of some of my flights in Morocco:
You can capture 32 megapixel spherical metamorphic images, with all processing and stitches completed by Mavic Air in about a minute. There is also HDR still image capture. You can see some sample images not processed below:
DJI Mavic Air – Battery life
You can wait up to 21 minutes of flight from the Mavic Air, in optimal conditions, which is more than the DJI Spark managed, but by under the Mavic Pro. This was felt directly on my flights and made Fly More Combo's extra battery packs a more tempting prospect.
Charge the batteries in a separate smart charging cradle.
The remote control should last approximately two hours; Your battery is drained by your connected smartphone, as it acts as an external charger. One disconcerting aspect is that the remote control is charged via micro-USB, while the drone uses USB-C for its data transfer. Potentially, this means transporting two different cables.
Why buy the DJI Mavic Air?
At this point, DJI is almost competing with itself in the space of consumer drone, such is its recent domain. The DJI Mavic Pro presented some great shoes to fill, but I think the Mavic Air really manages to improve it in many areas.
The smallest and most compact size is one of the greatest achievements. The fact that I can capture videos and images that look as good as those of Mavic Pro but in a small body is super impressive. The small form factor makes transporting the Mavic Air even easier, just because it can now fit in a large pocket.
The improved stabilization was also evident in the images I took, and the new QuickShots are fantastic. The 360-point spherical photos are a great addition, too, allowing you to capture the environment around you in a novel way. I'm still not a big fan of QuickCapture, simply because I'll never feel completely sure of his palm recognition; It is more a pleasant characteristic of having to have.
In many ways, I feel that the DJI Mavic Air is going to cannibalize the market of those interested in Mavic Pro. Apart from the longer flight time, there are not many reasons to opt for the larger model now. I suspect that DJI will have something in the sleeve as a replacement for the Mavic Pro not too far in the future.
But for now, the DJI Mavic Air comfortably wears the crown of the king of heaven.