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DJI Mavic Air – First look, Features & Release Date

 

 

DJI Mavic Air Specifications and Overview:

 

  • 4K/30 fps Camera and 1080P/120 fps
  • 1/2.3 CMOS sensor and new ISP (Image Signal Processor)
  • 21 minutes of flight time
  • 3-axis gimbal
  • Gesture controls
  • 32-megapixel Panoramic shots
  • Compact and foldable design
  • Front, back and bottom obstacle-avoidance sensors
  • 3 different colors: white, black and red
  • Compatible with DJI Goggles
  • Priced at $799

Design

The design of the new DJI Mavic Air is a weird mix between the DJI Mavic Pro and the smaller DJI Spark – as if they’ve had a baby 🙂

The Mavic Air has a similar foldable design where all of the 4 legs fold towards the body, but overall the form factor is a lot more compact. In fact, the Air is now 41% smaller than the Mavic Pro, and when folded it’s even smaller than the DJI Spark, which almost seems unbelievable.

In addition to the smaller footprint, the Mavic Air now has a very sleek and elegant look, due to the upper shell of the drone and the whole new air vent design for increased airflow and cooling.

When we talk about design and external features, we can’t forget to include the three different colour options – you can pick between Arctic White, Onyx Black or Flame Red.

Features

When it comes to features, the DJI Mavic Air has plenty of new ones to talk about.

First off, we have to start off with the obstacle avoidance sensors, as they are the biggest improvement over the DJI Spark. The Air now has a 3 directional obstacle avoidance technology: There are obstacle avoidance sensors on the front, back and bottom of the drone.  In addition, DJI has stated that they have significantly improved their obstacle avoidance technology which is now called Flight Autonomy 2.0. Basically this technology guides the drone between the obstacles, and instead of stopping, the drone “senses” the obstacles and goes around or over them, continuing its flight.

The all-popular Active track mode has been improved too – the drone can now “sense” up to 16 objects to follow, and the following process actually is a lot simpler – instead of having to draw a box around the object you want followed, now you simply need to tap on the screen and the drone will automatically follow it. Tapping on another object from the screen of your device will adjust the followed object and the drone will re-locate itself in order to follow the new object.

Talking of intelligent flight modes, the “Quickshots” from DJI Spark return in the Mavic Air again, but we also see 2 new ones. So in total we have 6 quickshot modes, allowing the drone to automatically create short cinematic sequences by itself. You can now use the following Quickshots:

  • Dronie
  • Circle
  • Helix
  • Rocket
  • Asteroid
  • Boomerang

The Mavic Air is the first DJI drone ever to have a built-in storage – this one comes with 8GB of internal space. This is extremely useful for people who often forget their SD cards home and end up not being able to shoot anything because of that. Now, you will be limited but you’ll still have plenty of space to record a couple of nice clips/stills even without an SD card. Quite a handy feature if you ask me.

Unfortunately the Occusync video transmission technology which was present in the Mavic Pro did not make it to the Mavic Air. Instead, we now have an enhanced WiFi video transmission technology, which promises to be more sophisticated than the one in the Spark, bringing up the total flight range up to 2.5 miles (4km). Just for reference, the DJI Spark has a maximum range of 1.2 miles (2km), and the Mavic Pro has a maximum range of 4.3 miles (7km).

Last, but definitely not least are the gesture controls – that’s something which the Mavic series is generally not known for, but thanks to the Air this is going to change.  Similarly to the DJI Spark, you can now control the Mavic Air with the palm of your hand, but this time the tracking technology has improved and the overall speed, stability and agility of the drone is much better when compared to the first iteration of the gesture control technology, presented back when the Spark was announced.

Camera

The new camera present in the DJI Mavic Air is a 24mm 1/2.3 CMOS f2.8, capable of taking 12 MP still photos, 4K Video at 30 frames per second, 2.7K video at 60 frames per second or 1080P video at 120 fps. Alternatively, you can use the Panoramic mode which results in 32-megapixel shots, stitched automatically and saved to your Camera roll. The whole process takes around 1 minute.

What’s interesting is that the camera can shoot 4K at 30fps at 100 Mbit/s, whereas the Mavic Pro shoots 4K in 30fps at only 60 Mbit/s, so technically the Air should be performing better, but as we all know not everything on paper ends up being true, so we’ll have to put that to the test – stay tuned for a detailed comparison between the two drones!

Another feature which was announced during the release of the DJI Mavic Air was the HDR mode, which helps you obtain the right exposure settings intelligently, according to the lighting conditions around you. So when shooting in situations where you’re trying to capture both the shadows and the details in the clouds, the HDR mode will come in extremely handy.

Remote controller

The remote controller of the Mavic Air uses a foldable design just like the one of the DJI Spark – it does not have a built-in screen with telemetric data, but what’s interesting is that the control sticks are detachable and are easily stored inside the remote controller itself for more convenience when travelling. This is a small, but very useful feature as I’ve had plenty of situations where I’ve almost snapped off my remote controller’s sticks, and having to buy a remote controller guard was an easy, but unpleasant fix. Now unscrewing the sticks and storing them in the remote controller solves that problem and also saves you a couple of bucks, as well.

Battery life

The battery life of the DJI Mavic Air is up to 21 minutes, and the battery itself is 2970 mAh. With just one battery included in the package, make sure you get at least one or two additional ones to never ever miss out on flying because you’re out of juice.

Luckily, the FlyMore Combo of the DJI Mavic Air comes with 3 batteries in total, so that solves the problem.

Price & Release Date

The price for the basic DJI Mavic Air package is $799, compared to the base price of the Spark ($399), and the Mavic Pro ($999)

For the FlyMore Combo, the Mavic Air is priced at $999, compared to the FlyMore combo of the Spark ($599) and the Mavic Pro ($1299).

DJI has stated 28 January 2018 as the shipping date, so that’s what I count as a release date as well. Hopefully there won’t be any hiccups (we all remember what happened when the Mavic Pro was announced).

You can purchase the Mavic Air on DJI’s official website.

What you get in the box

Here’s everything you get in the regular DJI Mavic Air package:

  • DJI Mavic Air
  • Carrying case
  • Remote controller
  • Battery
  • Gimbal clamp
  • Charger
  • 4 Propellers
  • 4 Propeller guards
  • Connecting cables
  • USB adapter
  • Spare control sticks

And here’s what additional extras you get with the Mavic Air FlyMore Combo:

  • 2 additional batteries
  • Battery charging hub
  • Battery to power bank adaptor
  • Travel Bag

Order the DJI Mavic Air

You can preorder the DJI Mavic Air today here.

 

Final words

So what do you think about the DJI Mavic Air? Do you think it’s a worthy addition to the DJI fleet or it’s not up to your taste? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

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