At $799, the new Mavic Air is, basically, an improved version of DJI’s cheapest drone Spark ($399) -launched last year – and incorporates features of the company’s most expensive unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) the Mavic Pro, which was released in 2016 carrying a price tag of $999.
Mavic Air can fold up like the Pro and, at 15 ounces, weighs just a little over half the Pro’s weight. Folded up, it is smaller than the Spark and can easily fit into a jacket pocket, as demonstrated by DJI executive Michael Perry when he announced the drone on Tuesday at a DJI event in New York.
With 4K video footage and 32-megapixel panoramas, the new “ultraportable” drone is a big improvement on the 1080p shooting and 12-megapixel still capabilities of the Spark.
Costing $200 fewer than the Mavic Pro and the kind of portability comfort it offers, the Mavic Air is not a bad buy – a good one for many, in fact.
With a flight time of 21 minutes, the Mavic Air is five minutes better than the Spark; however, it does fall way short of the Pro’s air-time of 30 minutes.
The Air has a top speed of 42.5 miles per hour, 11 mph faster than the Spark, and can hold its own in winds of up to 22 mph. Plus – by virtue of a new antenna design – it has a visible-to-the-sight range of 2.5 miles.
And yes, it’s faster than the Pro as well – just a bit.
An improved ventilation system will prevent the UAV from overheating, and the new 3-axis gimbal camera mount will ensure smoother footages, claims DJI.
A good obstacle avoidance system, including seven cameras and an array of sensors and improved software, offers relative safety for the $800-dollar drone.
AND, not only is the Mac Air foldable, it comes packed with a remote control that is also foldable and has detachable joysticks, as well.
With GoPro out of the competition, having recently scuttled the Karma project – its own version of a foldable UAV – DJI is set to, somewhat monopolize, the drone marketplace.
And more so because the other big drone maker Yuneec, as of now, is concentrating on fixed-wing drones, as we saw at CES 2018.
It certainly looks like a win-win all the way for DJI; well, at least until Yuneec, or some other player, gives the company something to think about.
That said, DJI’s continuing innovation in terms of UAV size, weight and portability with no compromise on quality, specs or features and making these drones available at affordable prices, make it seem unlikely that there will be much competition any time soon.
Here’s how DJI describes the Mavic Air features:
- The Mavic Air is the most portable DJI drone to house a 3-axis mechanical gimbal, with its angular vibration range reduced to 0.005°. Set in a triangular formation, gimbal dampeners help create even steadier shots.
- In addition to Horizontal, Vertical, and 180° panoramas, the Mavic Air stitches 25 photos together in just eight seconds to create crystal-clear 32 MP Sphere panoramas.1 View them from an immersive perspective with DJI Goggles.
- The Mavic Air shoots video at an incredible 4K 30 fps, recording at 100 Mbps to capture every second with UHD quality.
- With support for recording 1080p 120 fps slow-motion video, the Mavic Air captures all your epic high-speed adventures.
- New HDR algorithms help you obtain the right exposure settings intelligently, according to lighting conditions. Overexposed or dark areas are processed for more natural transitions between highlights and shadows, while DSP acceleration allows for more efficient shooting.
- 12 MP Stills
- 8 GB Internal Storage
- As tall and wide as a smartphone when folded, the Mavic Air is an ultraportable drone that stretches the boundaries of what’s possible for a device its size.
- The dedicated remote controller uses a foldable, low-profile, ergonomic design to hold your smartphone for maximum convenience. Detachable control sticks store inside the remote controller to pack more comfortably on the go.
Here’s what we’ve been trying to talk about.