How Much Does Mavic Air Weigh

By | 23/11/2022



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DJI’s commencement existent endeavour to sell drones to the masses wasn’t as rousing a success every bit yous’d expect from the company, which has dominated the market place in terms of quality and sales since consumer drones take go a thing. The Spark, released concluding year, was hamstrung by really short bombardment life and a command interface that needed some refinement to exist set for mass consumption. The Mavic Air ($919) is what the Spark should have been—foldable, with a 4K camera, and a battery that keeps the drone flying longer. It packs a lot of tech into a modest package, including some panoramic photo and video tricks, and is a great choice if you don’t desire to spend $1,149 on our Editors’ Selection, the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum.

Editors’ Notation: The price of the DJI Mavic Air increased from $799 to $919 on September 4, 2019. DJI states that the increase in cost is related to tariffs levied by the United States.

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Design

The Mavic Air ($499.00 at Drone Nerds)(Opens in a new window)
is the smallest drone that DJI makes. Like the Mavic Pro serial it folds for storage and send. When folded it measures one.ix by 3.3 by 6.six inches (HWD), small plenty to fit into almost jacket pockets, and information technology weighs a little fleck less than an iPad, at 15.2 ounces. Later on it’south unfolded and ready to fly information technology measures 2.5 by 7.2 by 6.half-dozen inches. You tin buy it in an Arctic White, Flame Red, or Onyx Black cease.


Carrying Case

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Unlike the Spark ($589.90 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window)
, a remote control is included in the base of operations packet. Just you don’t demand to employ it—the Mavic Air can be flown with hand gestures or with your smartphone. As with any drone, you’ll get smoother, more pleasant transmission control when flight with the remote, too as extended operating range. DJI says the Mavic Air has a 2.5-mile control range with the remote, but but 262 feet when flight with a smartphone. I didn’t fly it that far away, merely had no problems with the video feed or control at an 1,800-foot altitude in testing.

The remote is similar to the i yous get with the Mavic Pro Platinum ($1,599.00 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window)
, only like the Air, it’s smaller. The control sticks detach for storage and there’southward no information LCD. It has clips to hold a smartphone at the lesser, and so you lot can wing with the sticks and enjoy a start-person view from the drone’s olfactory organ-mounted photographic camera. The housing for the phone is tight, and then you’ll have to take your device out of its case in order to get it to fit. The cable to plug in your telephone is detachable—DJI includes Lightning, micro USB, and USB-C cables.


DJI Mavic Air 31

The battery installs in the bottom of the chassis, rather than the top, a departure from the Mavic Pro Platinum ($one,599.00 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window)
. Unlike the Spark, you tin’t charge it via USB, yous demand to utilize the included charger, which as well replenishes the remote’s internal battery. If you lot need actress batteries, consider ownership the $999 Wing More parcel. It includes everything in the base package, plus two extra batteries, a ability hub to simplify recharging, and 3 sets of propellers (the standard package includes two sets).

DJI says the Air is skillful for near 21 minutes of flight fourth dimension on a fully charged battery. Its stated flight times are always a scrap optimistic. In our test flights, the Air averaged about 18 minutes per bombardment, and when y’all consider that you’ll need to give yourself a good half-minute to take off and get going, and some other minute or and so to ensure a safe landing, the actual useful flight time is a niggling bit less. Information technology’s still a lot better than the Spark, which netted but 12 minutes, but not on the same level as the Mavic Pro Platinum, which delivers 28 minutes. If you’re a fan of longer flights, and because the Wing More Bundle, it’south worth information technology to spend a trivial bit more than and go with the Mavic Pro Platinum instead.


USB-C and microSD

The Air has 8GB of internal memory and a USB-C port to offload files to a computer. It also has a standard microSD slot, with support for microSDHC and microSDXC media. The internal memory is just skilful for nigh 10 minutes of 4K video, so you lot’ll probably even so want to use a memory carte for trips and longer flights. Merely it’s prissy to have internal storage available for those times when you lot forget a retentivity carte du jour.

DJI oftentimes pushes out firmware updates, which can be a pain for infrequent flyers. You’ll (unremarkably) be able to fly without updating the firmware, but information technology’s proficient practice to check for an update and top off any batteries the night before a planned flying. Firmware updates are performed via your smartphone and usually take between 15 and 30 minutes to complete. In the three months we had the Mavic Air on hand for review, there were two firmware updates pushed out by DJI.

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Flight Modes

Like other DJI drones, the Air is equipped with both GPS and GLONASS satellite positioning. They pinpoint its location on the globe, enabling automatic and semi-automated flight modes, as well as steady hovering and the of import return-to-dwelling safety feature. The location detection likewise enforces no-fly zones. There are a number of alert levels, some of which you can override if y’all’re authorized to fly, and others that tin can’t exist overridden—the airspace effectually Washington DC, for example. If you’re concerned about flying where you live, bank check out DJI’due south interactive map(Opens in a new window)
before yous buy a drone.


DJI Fly Safe Geo Zone Map

There are a number of means to command the drone. It supports the aforementioned gesture controls—DJI calls it SmartCapture—every bit the Spark. Wave your hand and the drone volition take off the from the footing and follow its movements. You don’t need the remote, or fifty-fifty your phone, to start SmartCapture—only press the button on the rear of the Air twice after powering information technology on to enable gestures. SmartCapture is limited to 1080p, but you can prepare the frame charge per unit using the DJI Go four app, with standard options from 24 through 60fps available.


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The control system has some actress functions, including the ability to tell the drone to move farther away from you in order to get a wider shot—information technology will move up to xix feet away from the person controlling it. You can commencement a video by making a picture frame gesture in forepart of your face—the Mavic will rail your movements as long every bit information technology’southward recording. You can also snap a still image by making a V sign with your alphabetize and eye finger. The drone’southward front lights will wink to let you know that it’south going to snap the shot, and so y’all won’t e’er look like Winston Churchill flashing a victory sign in your aerial selfies.

You’ve also got a modicum of movement control with gestures too. Moving your mitt up and downwardly, with the palm facing out, control distance, while you can movement the drone toward or away from y’all by belongings both hands out in front of you lot and bringing them closer together or farther apart. Landing the drone is a matter of property your hand out with your palm facing the ground.


DJI Mavic Air : App

Phone command is available via the DJI Go 4 app, for Android and iOS. (Like other DJI drones, the Mavic Air has an open SDK, and then third-political party app control will come in the hereafter.) If you merely use your smartphone you’ll be limited in operating range, and you’ll need to use on-screen control sticks for transmission flight. I’m non a fan of phone control in general, as the tactile feedback you get from real sticks makes smoother manual flight possible. But if you leave the remote at habitation, or if it’s out of juice, it lets yous get up in the air and grab a shot.

Using the phone by itself is better suited for the automated flight modes. The Mavic Air has pretty much everything DJI has cooked up included. That ways information technology can runway a subject using the ActiveTrack arrangement—just draw a box around what you want to follow on the phone screen and it volition keep it centered in frame. Information technology also supports TapFly, the mode that lets you fly merely by tapping on your phone’s screen. Meet something interesting? Tap information technology, and the Mavic Air volition fly toward it.

And it supports QuickShots, first seen in the Spark. These automated camera shots movement the drone through the air in a predetermined blueprint. Yous become Rocket (an up flight with a downward-facing photographic camera shot), Dronie (a back-and-up reveal shot), Circle (an orbit around a point in space), and Helix (a corkscrew orbit). New to the Mavic Air are Asteroid, shown above, a reveal that combines some video with a Little Planet style image, and Boomerang, a reveal that flies away from and around y’all earlier circumvoluted back dwelling house.

Even with forward and rear obstacle detection, you lot should take extreme care with some of the QuickShots. Understand that the drone volition be flight itself, and if you don’t correctly judge your environment these automated paths can pb to a collision. I had trouble finding an area open up enough to safely perform the Helix, for instance. Asteroid is the safest bet, as the Air stays in place during the unabridged shooting sequence, and it’s easy to estimate if you lot are clear above for a Rocket shot or ahead for a Dronie.

Finding the shots in the app takes a little piece of work—y’all’ve got to click on an icon in the app and drill downwards to get to them. And they’re not the nigh intuitive to go started. I struggled a chip to get the Asteroid mode going, not realizing that I needed to draw a box with my fingers on the telephone screen first. In one case I figured it out, it was easy, but some additional on-screen guidance would be nice.

Finally, y’all can simply option up the remote control and fly the drone manually, the old-fashioned mode. The Mavic Air volition fly at 17.9mph with obstruction abstention enabled, or at upwardly to 42.5mph in Sport mode, a mode in which the obstacle detection system is disabled. Sport flying is a lot of fun, but you want to do it in a broad, open expanse free of obstacles. It’due south hands accessed via the remote—the toggle switch is at the center, betwixt the two command sticks.

The Mavic Air’s obstacle detection and abstention system is better than what we’ve seen in previous drones. It has forward, downward, and rear sensors, so you lot can fly backward with more than confidence. The front sensors leverage the new Advanced Airplane pilot Awareness System (APAS). Instead of simply stopping in place when they find an obstacle blocking the drone’s path, the Mavic Air examines the environment and automatically adjusts flight to avoid it, either by flying to the side or rising higher up it.

I tested APAS at a local park, flying depression to the ground nether a canopy of trees. Switching the arrangement on does deadening the Mavic considerably—information technology didn’t exceed 3mph in our testing. But the system works equally advertised. I tried to fly the Air directly into both tree trunks and myself, and each time it averted the course on its own, changing the angle approach simply enough to avoid a crash. It’south not perfectly intelligent—a broad swath of low-hanging, skinny branches stalled the drone in its tracks, but the only fashion to avoid hitting them would have been to brand a 90-caste turn, well out of the view of the Air’s lens and obstruction sensors.

Video and Imaging

Despite its size, the Mavic Air has a 4K photographic camera, mounted in the nose and stabilized using a iii-centrality gimbal. It captures smoothen, loftier-quality video at upwardly to 4K UHD resolution at 24, 25, or 30fps with 100Mbps pinch. It also supports 2.7K at standard frame rates upwards to 60fps, and 1080p and 720p at up to 120fps. There is no support for the wider 4K DCI standard, as you get with the Mavic Pro Platinum and Phantom four series.

Even then, video quality is stiff. The camera’s 3-centrality gimbal steadies video, and then it’s silky smoothen even when making turns and irresolute altitutde. The lens captures crisp footage, backed with a high 100Mbps bit rate with H.264 compression. The Air does not back up the more modernistic, efficient HEVC/H.265 codec, currently supported by the larger Phantom 4 Pro and high-end Inspire 2.


DJI Mavic Air : Sample Image

For still imaging, the camera is 12MP, using a similar ane/2.3-inch CMOS sensor paired with a 24mm f/2.8 (full-frame equivalent) prime lens. You can capture photos in Raw (DNG) format, or in JPG. If you shoot in JPG y’all’ll have the option to enable HDR capture, to ameliorate emphasize highlights and shadows in scenes with mixed lighting. The image above is a Raw capture, processed in Lightroom, and the shot below is an out-of-camera JPG shot in HDR mode. The images were taken minutes apart.


DJI Mavic Air : HDR

There’s also a stitched Panorama mode, the offset one nosotros’ve seen in a DJI drone. The Mavic Air rotates about its centrality to capture a series of photos, stitching them together into a wide shot. Y’all can shoot a three-shot vertical pano, a nine-shot horizontal, or a 21-shot 180-degree paradigm. There’s as well a spherical way, which captures 25 photos, to simulate the effect yous get with 360-caste cameras.

Shooting panoramas can exist a little problematic. The drone has serious issues with exposure when shooting scenes with varying levels of effulgence, like the spherical sunrise panorama to a higher place. (It does a better task on overcast days, or shots captured when the lord’s day is higher in the heaven.) Subject movement is also a concern—something you always deal with when stitching multiple exposures together. If in that location’s move almost a stitch point lines tin blur. This is definitely a 1.0 implementation—hopefully DJI tin amend information technology with hereafter firmware updates. There is plenty of resolution and particular in the final results; the total spherical panoramas avowal 33.5MP of resolution.

Conclusions

The Mavic Pro showed us that small drones tin can be just every bit capable as larger ones. The Mavic Air aims to have things i footstep further, putting a powerful aircraft and 4K camera into a form factor you lot can slide into a large pocket. Information technology doesn’t have the aforementioned type of battery life as the Mavic Pro Platinum, which netted 28 minutes in our tests, but bated from that, there aren’t many compromises made to achieve the delightfully small form gene.

Information technology does a few things that the pricier Mavic Pro and Pro Platinum don’t, including automated navigation around obstacles, panoramic images, and gesture controls. Y’all as well go QuickShots (the Mavic Pro series does a few of these, like Orbit, only omits the newer modes that we first saw in the Spark) and rear obstruction avoidance.

The Mavic Air is what the Spark should have been—foldable, with a bundled remote, gesture controls, and battery life that doesn’t make yous feel hurried every time you want to go an aerial shot. But it’s as well significantly more expensive. The Spark debuted at $499, only it’s at present selling for closer to $300 on its own and at around $550 when bought with a couple of spare batteries and a remote.

That puts the Mavic Air, at $799 on its own or at $999 when bought with a pair of spare batteries, in a tough spot. Coincidental pilots volition be lured past the Spark’s low cost, even if its bombardment doesn’t continue it flying long. Pros are likely to spend more than on the Mavic Pro—currently selling for around $850—or the Pro Platinum ($1,099), especially if DCI video and longer flying times are priorities. The Mavic Air, the proverbial middle child in DJI’due south pocket-sized drone family unit, is certainly a meliorate performer than the low-cost Spark, and goes toe-to-toe with the pricier Mavic Pro in about respects, with the exception of flight fourth dimension.

Everything else falls into identify—the small size, stability, and imaging and video quality are simply every bit good equally y’all get with the pricier Pro Platinum. If you lot think you lot’ll be happy spending around 18 minutes in the air at a fourth dimension, the Air is a stiff value prospect. But we’re yet recommending the Mavic Pro Platinum as our Editor’due south Selection for pocket-sized drones. It costs more, just it flies for a good x minutes longer per charge.

The Bottom Line

The Mavic Air is DJI’s smallest, nigh portable drone, and is simply equally total-featured as its larger siblings.

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Source: https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/dji-mavic-air