All the rumors were true: The DJI Mavic Air 2 is now official, and we’ve had a few days head start evaluating the new $799 wunderkind. (Buy at DJI or Adorama/$988 Fly More)
Talk about big numbers in a small (570g) package: 48 Megapixel camera which shares the Sony IMX586 sensor with recent flagship smartphones. Add the ability to record 4K video at 60 frames per second, which is double the framerate of the big brother Mavic 2 Pro.
There’s a lot more to this, so read on as we bring you exclusive footage and takes below:
Mavic Air 2 Pricing and availability
The Mavic Air 2 will be priced at $799 alone or $988 for the Flymore bundle which will include 2 extra batteries, a case, charging hub, and ND filters. Compare that to the Mavic 2 Zoom/Pro priced $1349/1499, and the previous Air, originally priced at $900 but currently selling for $599.
Mavic Air 2 out of box and first flight
Because I had a review unit, the box I had was checked over. But it is a pretty easy assembly. Simply put the battery on the back, slip on 4 props and throw your smartphone in the connector. (Mine came with Lighting cable attached and USB-C in the box.)
There’s a new DJI Fly app to download, if you haven’t already downloaded it for the Mavic Mini. Reviewers got a special version with the ability to fly the Air 2. It is a little easier for beginners to pick up piloting with this app but for those used to Go 4 app, the learning curve is pretty mild.
Batteries were charged about 3/4 full, so I walked right outside and launched. I gave it to my son to pilot, as he’s flown other Mavics quite a bit. I also brought up my Mavic 2 Pro to take some 4K footage, albeit at 30fps.
Here’s an example of the flight of the Air 2. Notice the gimbal movements as the Air 2 accelerates and stops. Here’s another:
Sadly, I probably should have thought to do this type of video work at the end of the review because what happened next is super cringey. My son was flying the Mavic Air 2, and I decided to do an unannounced flyby. At that same time, he decided to go up. I managed to nick 3 of the 4 props on the Mavic Air 2 with my Mavic 2 Pro, and it went down.
This incident might have been avoided if the Mavic Air 2 had an upward-facing sensor. In brief testing of its sense and avoid system, the drone was able to avoid trees and even small branches that had tripped up previous DJI drones. I guess this is the one type of incident they weren’t prepared for!
Both drones were able to stabilize themselves long before they hit the ground, but I only have 2 extra Air 2 propellers even though 3 sustained significant damage. The rest fo the Mavic Air 2 was fine. So unfortunately that’s all the flight testing I could do until I get new propellers this week.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t learn a ton about this Mavic Air 2 Drone and get to try out all the new features just yet. But it didn’t at all diminish my enthusiasm for flying it. Check out the full review video below:
Here are the new features you should be aware of and stuff we’re going to cover in the coming weeks
- High Quality Camera – Mavic Air 2 uses a 1/2″ camera sensor on a 3-axis gimbal, capable of recording 12MP photos as well as 48MP images using the new Quad Bayer sensor. Mavic Air 2 is the first Mavic drone to offer 4K video at 60fps and 120Mbps.
- SmartPhoto – Pilots can choose this new feature; and, using advanced scene recognition technology, Mavic Air 2 will optimize the camera settings and automatically choose one of three modes to apply. General scene recognition (including grass, trees, sunsets, snow) or HyperLight for low-light scenes where the camera takes several images of varying exposure and merges them for a high-quality image with low noise or an HDR image. 48MP mode is not available when using SmartPhoto.
- 8K HyperLapse – Mavic Air 2 is the first done to feature 8K Hyperlapse for stunning footage to share with the world. Users can additionally choose lower resolutions including 4K, 2.7K and 1080. Note that 8K Hyperlapse will be available in mid-May 2020 via a firmware update.
- A Suite of HDR Features: Mavic Air 2 is preprogrammed with a suite of HDR features including HDR video and HDR panorama. HDR video max resolution is 4K 30fps.
- 34 Minutes of Flight Time – Combining updates in battery technology, weight of the drone, an aerodynamic design, new motors/ESCs, the Mavic Air 2 features a max flight time of 34 minutes. Please note, due to the way drones are designed, longer flight times are achieved when the drone is in motion vs. hovering.
- APAS – Mavic Air 2 features the latest and most advanced autonomous flying from DJI. APAS 3.0 uses new mapping technology and flight path algorithms for ultra-smooth transitions around, under or over objects in the drone’s path.
- FocusTrack – Pilots can choose from three new modes to capture cinematic footage with a subject locked in the frame.
- ActiveTrack 3.0: Pilots can select a subject for Mavic Air 2 to automatically follow, helping operators easily record compelling content. In the 3rd iteration, the updated ActiveTrack feature uses state-of-the-art mapping technology and new flight path algorithms to offer improved subject recognition and obstacle avoidance, along with the ability to quickly re-engage the subject if it temporarily moves behind an object. 4K 30fps is the max resolution when using ActiveTrack.
- Point of Interest 3.0: Set an automated flight path around a specific subject. The updated iteration improves surface recognition, which can sometimes interfere with center tracking and the ability to dynamically track subjects like people, vehicles, and more.
- Spotlight 2.0: Found in professional DJI drones like the Inspire 2, Spotlight 2.0 locks a subject in the frame while the user has free operation of the drone’s movement.
- 10km Image Transmission Range – DJI’s proprietary OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology delivers an extremely reliable HD video feed from the drone at a max distance of 10km. OcuSync 2.0 supports both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequency bands and uses an auto-switching feature to move between the two based on signal strength, while anti-interference technology blocks unwanted signals to keep the video feed clear. Pilots should always check rules and regulations in the region they are operating in before flying. Pilots should always keep their drone within line of sight.
- The DJI Fly App – The new DJI Fly app offers a simple and intuitive user experience, enabling you to capture cinematic shots easily. It even features creator templates and beginners flying coach, a feature that gives new users the basics they need to get started quickly and safely.
- Updated Remote Controller – A new ergonomic remote controller design offers a well-balanced feel and now mounts the phone on the top of the controller. A robust speaker on the back also projects messages clearly to the operator. The new spring-loaded phone mount on the top of the controller provides a clearer line of sight to the mobile device. Custom buttons are easy to access.
- AirSense: Mavic Air 2 is also DJI’s first consumer drone designed to include AirSense technology, which provides enhanced safety by warning drone operators of other aircraft nearby. AirSense receives signals called ADS-B from airplanes and helicopters, and displays their location on the controller’s screen. The coronavirus pandemic has created some supply chain issues, as a result AirSense in the Mavic Air 2 will initially only be available in North America where officials have implemented the strongest regulations while a version without AirSense will be sold in all other regions, where ADS-B requirements for helicopters and planes are less strict. Due to the pandemic, North America will receive Mavic Air 2 with AirSense first. All other regions will begin shipment of units with AirSense in the summer.
- Additional Safety Features – Mavic Air 2 uses obstacle sensors on the front, rear, and bottom to let pilots know when they are too close to an object. An auxiliary light has also been added.
If you are at all thinking about a drone in the $500-$1500 range, I have to believe the Mavic Air 2 is the one to get right now. Its camera, with the 4K60 capability and 48MP sensor, is way better than any other drone in this price range. Its 34 minute flight time 10km OcuSync 2.0 range are also killer features. For a comparison, just look at the matrix DJI provided below:
Slightly bigger than the original Air and with many of the capabilities of the Mavic Pro/Zoom at a low price, this is more than just an upgrade. As DJI says this is a whole new generation of drone.(Buy at DJI or Adorama/$988 Fly More)