DJI Mavic Air Review

Mavic Air

Last week (at the time of writing), DJI teased a new drone. And now they’ve finally revealed it: the Mavic Air. At first glance, it looks like a hybrid between the Mavic Pro and Spark, but it’s really better than both.

Just watch the intro video above and you’ll see how powerful the Air is.

This drone is, hands down, the best one I’ve ever seen, from its sleek design to its incredible camera. So let’s get into the Mavic Air Review.

Quick Review

Pros Cons
Extremely PortableWifi Signal instead of Ocusync
4K CameraGimbal can be hard to control
Advanced Obstacle AvoidanceFlight is about 15-20 minutes, so you’ll want more than one battery
3 Axis Camera Gimbal

Summing it up: Mavic Air is the perfect drone for travelers with its small size, incredible features, and great camera.

Price

The Air is priced at $799 for the base package, which blows my mind, seeing as it has more features than the $828 Mavic Pro. The base package has the drone, the controller, a battery, carrying case, and other accessories such as propeller guards.

I especially like that the Air has a dedicated controller, as opposed to the Spark’s, which is sold separately. There is a Fly More Combo as well for the Air: it comes with 3 batteries, a travel bag, and a charging hub. The Fly More Combo costs 1000 dollars.

All things considered, 800 bucks is very little to pay because this drone offers so much. It also comes in 3 colors: Arctic White, Onyx Black, and Flame Red.

Flight

For a drone the size of a smartphone, the flight specs are unbelievable. It can go up to 42 mph, with a range of about 4 km (around 2.5 miles). I like that they upgraded this from the Spark, which could only go 2 km.

It has an advertised flight time of 21 minutes, which is a step down from the Mavic Pro’s 27, but it’s not too hard to buy extra batteries (I believe they are $80 per battery). Since 21 minutes is at optimal conditions, you can expect about 15-20 minutes of solid filming time.

The range of the Air is less than the Mavic Pro, and this is because the Air is equipped with an enhanced wifi signal. Mavic Pro, on the other hand, uses a neat feature called Ocusync, which is a radio signal. Ocusync has a much lower frequency than Wifi, which allows the Pro to go up to 4.3 miles away.

To be honest, I don’t think the smaller range will be an issue for you, unless you travel to countries where there are no restrictions for distance.

Mavic Air in FlightMavic Air integrated all the smart features from the Mavic Pro (follow me, return to home, quickshot mode) and the Spark (gesture control, quickshots).

You can control it with your hands, with your phone, or with the controller; or all three at once! So if you just want a quick selfie, you can launch it and control it by gesturing with your hands.

The Air has two new quickshot modes (quickshots are pre-set movements that make cool videos), asteroid and boomerang, along with all the rest from the Spark (rocket, dronie, circle, helix). I can say without a doubt that the Mavic Air is the smartest drone you can buy right now.

I also need to mention the obstacle detection and avoidance system. DJI made a huge upgrade: the Mavic Air now has obstacle avoidance cameras on the front, back, and bottom. I always worry with my Mavic Pro of backing up into something (Pro does not have backward detection), but the Air takes care of that problem.

In the front and back, it also uses new Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems to not only detect but also avoid and move around obstacles. This adds a feeling of security when flying it. Overall, the flight is amazing. I would expect this flight out of a 1500 dollar drone, but the Air is only 800.

Camera

The Camera on the Mavic Air is very similar to the Pro. It shoots 4k video at 30 fps (Spark can only shoot 1080p), and can shoot slo-mo 1080p at 120 fps. For still photos, it has a 12 megapixel camera, which shoots very high-quality photos.

It can also take 32 megapixel Panorama shots, which is a neat feature. Despite the tiny size of the camera, it’s mounted on a 3-axis gimbal, versus Spark’s 2-axis. The 3-axis just means you have more stability, because the camera can move side to side.

Another great feature on the Air is that it comes with 8 GB of on-board storage. This means that for those days that you get to your flight location and realize you left your sd card on your desk at home (it happens to all of us), you’ve still got plenty of space for your videos.

I’m really happy that DJI put a 4k camera on the Air; the Spark’s 1080p camera was fine, but it was time for an upgrade.

Controller

Mavic Air ControllerThe controller for the Mavic Air is basically the same as the Mavic Pro, except DJI took off that screen with the speed and other stats. That’s fine, since you get those on the phone screen anyway.

The controller joysticks pop off, and can be stowed away inside the controller. Then the arms fold in, so the resulting size is about the size of a phone.

I really like the controller design, especially because you could fit the controller in one pocket, and the drone itself in the other.

Portability

Mavic Air FoldedThe drone is about the size of your hand, when folded up. Oh that’s right, I forgot to mention that it folds up. One more huge upgrade from the Spark. It can easily be put into your pocket or backpack, for easy transport.

Like the Mavic Pro, the front arms fold in and the back arms fold up, creating a neat compact block of a drone. The Air also comes with a newly designed gimbal cover, which protects the camera during transport.

Mavic Air Closing Thoughts

While the camera quality is not as good as an expensive drone like the Phantom 4 Pro, the Mavic Air is definitely my favorite drone. It’s an ergonomically crafted, powerful, tiny piece of technology, which blows the doors off the competition. If you are going to buy any drone, this is the one. It’s got the perfect combination of size, camera quality, and good flight to make anyone happy.

Links

Buy the Base Package from DJI or Amazon

Buy the Fly More Combo from DJI or Amazon