DJI Mavic Air - A First Look

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Today DJI unveiled their new DJI Mavic Air … depending on how you look at it this new drone is either a supped up DJI Spark or a smaller Mavic Pro . With a starting price $799 the new DJI Mavic Air  sandwiched right between the Spark’s current price of $399, and the Mavic Pro ’s $999 price tag. Either way DJI has a drone for almost every one. But lets go over the new DJI Mavic Air . 

Ok lets talk money, the new DJI Mavic Air has a starting price of $799. With that you get the drone, a newly designed remote controller, 1 battery, 4 pairs of propellers, propeller guards, a protective case and any necessary cables. It comes in 3 color arctic white, onyx black, or flame red and they should be shipping on January 28 ( except the red one, that one is shipping a little later). And theres also a fly more combo option for $999. With this bundle you’ll get a total of 3 batteries, 6 pairs of propellers, a battery charing hub, a battery to power bank adapter, and a travel bag to carry it all in. 

Now lets talk about specs, the DJI Mavic Air can be control either by your phone with gestures just like the Spark or with the included controller. When controlled with your phone the DJI Mavic Air will have a range of about 250 feet. But when controlled with the included controller the DJI Mavic Air will have a range of 4000 meters or 2.5 miles. And the Mavic Air will have a max flight time of 21 minutes. For comparison the DJI Spark has flight time 16 minutes, the DJI Mavic Pro  has a flight time of 27 minutes and the DJI Mavic Pro  Platinum has a flight time of 30 minutes.  

Concerning the camera and gimbal system, the Mavic Air has a newly designed 3 axis gimbal system similar to the Mavic Pro . Again for comparison the Spark has a 2 axis gimbal system which only compensates for pitch and roll. The Mavic Air is rocking a 12 megapixel camera with an aperture of F2.8 and can shoot 4K video up to 30 frames per second, 2.7K up to 60 frames per second, and 1080P up to 120 frames per second. And it has a max bitrate of 100 megabytes per second. And just incase you forget to add your own SD card the Mavic Air also has 8 gigs of internal storage. If you’re shooting in 1080 its a good amount of space but if you’re shooting in 4K that aint a lot. 

Ok lets about design, if you haven’t noticed by now this thing fold up just like the Mavic Pro . Its slightly bigger than the spark and slightly smaller than the Mavic Pro . And it weighs in at 430 grams. And in my experience the larger the drone the more control you’ll have over it when flying in windy conditions. The Mavic Air also has sensors on the front, back and on its belly. And even though the Mavic Air has DJI’s new Flight Autonomy 2.0 which create a 3D map in real time so the Mavic Air can position it self and avoid obstacles, I’m still a little disappointed it doesn’t have sensors off to the side. Cause I think it will still crash into stuff if you’re flying to the side. But with DJI’s Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems the Mavic Air is supposed automatically avoid obstacles even while you’re piloting it instead of just stoping in its tracks like the Spark or Mavic Pro . 

The Mavic Air is also going to have gesture control just like the Spark. But from the demo on stage the gesture controls on the Mavic Air are a little more robust and accurate. Which is a good thing to see cause the gesture control on the Spark are very hit or miss. Active track has also been improved and its also supposed to be more precise this time around. DJI also introduced 2 new Quick shot modes, asteroid and boomerang and I wouldn’t be surprised if these new modes made their way to the Spark and Mavic Pro  in the near future. And finally when used in sport mode with the included controller the Mavic Air has a top speed of 42 miles miles per hour but obviously its going to take its toll on the battery life. And you’re flying blind, the onboard sensors will not be able to save you. Talk to me goose. 

So to wrap things up, I think the Mavic Air is a great addition to the DJI drone family. Its clearly giving us a preview of the next generation DJI Mavic Pro . The 21 Minute flight time is ok but it is more than enough time to get some epic aerial shots if you plan your shoots. I like the new design and I like the addition of the new sensors, but I still wish the the Mavic Air had sensors off to the sides. Personally I only ever crash when I’m flying sidewards. Never forwards and very rarely backwards. But still, I cant wait to see how the DJI Mavic Air performs when I get. The DJI Mavic Air has a good blend of the best stuff from the Spark and Mavic Pro . Its looks simple to fly and it can be an epic selfie machine just like the Spark but it also has the versatility and capability of the DJI Mavic Pro .