DJI Mavic Air 2: just an updated Air or almost a Pro?
DJI has just unveiled a new addition to its line of mid-range compact drones, the Mavic Air 2. It should be noted that the new product is a bit different from what many of us expected from the next Air. In fact, in terms of size and, to some extent, weight, the device is closer to the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom models than the original Mavic Air. The question of how much such an increase in size will be of interest to current Mavic Air owners is highly debatable.
But what’s undeniable is the plethora of additional features that the new drone comes with, along with a redesigned and vastly improved camera, as well as an all-new remote control.
Yes, the current moment seems to be a very strange time for the release of a new drone, but in the future, after the situation improves, this is the model that is definitely worth paying attention to.
As mentioned above, the new Mavic gained a little weight: 570 grams versus 430 grams of the first version. That’s an understandable weight gain given the extra features and the new larger camera. What is less clear is the increase in overall dimensions and major stylistic changes in case design.
Considering that one of the main competitive advantages of the Mavic Air was its compact size (something between the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic Mini), as well as a nice rounded body, it seems strange the decision to use a more aggressive body design in the new version, which in size (180 ×97x84mm) is closer to the Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom (214x91x84mm) than the original Mavic Air (168x83x49mm). Now the two lines have become quite difficult to distinguish from each other in appearance.
The new drone boasts a DJI-record flight time of 34 minutes on a single battery charge (it takes 90 minutes to charge). The flight time of the novelty is as much as 13 minutes longer than that of the original Air. However, unlike its younger brother, the Mavic Mini, the battery does not charge via USB, so if you plan to shoot away from electricity sources, you will need extra batteries, and a car charger is also available.
In terms of speed, Mavic Air 2 offers three different flight modes with different maximum speeds: in Sport mode, the aircraft reaches 68 km/h; in normal mode — 27 km / h; in tripod mode for accurate and precise control during video shooting — 18 km / h.
In general, the Air 2 could hardly be expected to deteriorate in terms of flight performance. Derek Adams from t3.com has already managed to test a sample of the new drone. According to him, the Air 2 is very stable even in strong winds, and it is also the quietest DJI drone he has ever dealt with: its low, soft drone almost disappears after the quadcopter rises above 10 meters.
While it is illegal to fly out of sight in most countries, it is possible under the right conditions to fly over 10 km while still receiving video using Occusync 2.0 dual-band data transmission technology.
The absolute maximum flight range has reached an incredible 18.5 kilometers, but the video signal will disappear much earlier.
Mavic Air 2 is equipped with front, rear, and bottom obstacle detection sensors to greatly reduce the chance of a collision.
Obstacle recognition sensors. Source: dji.com
It is also equipped with auxiliary lighting under the body, which makes the drone more visible at altitude and provides enough light for landing in dark and low visibility conditions. Mavic Air 2 comes with 8GB of internal storage and a Micro SD card slot.
Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS) technology has also received an update, allowing the Air 2 to automatically avoid obstacles more accurately and smoothly than any other DJI quadcopter.
Drones that will be sold in the US market will receive the AirSense system, which will warn the owner of the drone about the presence of nearby aircraft and helicopters. It is not yet known when this system will appear in devices intended for sale in other regions.
New remote control
The new remote control was one of the most obvious changes. It’s bigger and shorter than before, but its square body feels great in the hand. The smartphone attachment mechanism has also become much more convenient. Instead of flip-down handles and a cable that wasn’t easy to attach properly, there’s now a top-mounted spring-loaded stand that’s big enough for large smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra or iPhone 11 Pro Max, and a simple cable connection system that retracts into the control box.
The remote is equipped with smooth textured joysticks that can be stored in small recesses at the front for easy transport. The gimbal height control wheel provides comfortable tactile feedback — its speed and damping can be adjusted in the app settings.
And here the most interesting begins. The original Air was equipped with a compact camera with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that can shoot 4K video at 30 fps at 100 Mbps and take 12-megapixel photos. The novelty received a completely new 48-megapixel 1/2-inch Quad Bayer CMOS matrix, which allows you to shoot 4K at 60 fps with a bit rate of 120 Mbps. If you lower the settings a little to 4K/30p, the Mavic Air 2 allows you to shoot HDR video, and slow motion is available in 1080p at 240 fps.
It can shoot 12-megapixel stills with a special 48-megapixel «super-sampling» option that uses a three-axis gimbal to compensate for movement between shots. There’s a new SmartPhoto mode that also allows you to capture 12MP footage using one of three special options that DJI says uses «advanced scene analysis and deep learning to automatically select one of the shooting modes.» The ISO range of the novelty is also impressive — up to 1600 in automatic mode and up to 3200 in manual mode.
Sample photo of the new Mavic Air 2. Source: DJI/dpreview.com
In terms of in-flight shooting modes, in addition to the mandatory automatic Quick Shots (drones, boomerang, asteroid, etc.), the Mavic Air 2 also features three FocusTrack features that should help you create professional-style footage. So the Spotlight 2.0 mode allows you to fix the camera on an object (you just need to draw a square around it in the application), while the pilot can concentrate directly on controlling the drone. There is also an ActiveTrack mode (a kind of “follow me” function) and Point of Interest (the drone moves along a pre-set route, bypassing static and moving obstacles).
All of these features are available through the updated DJI Fly app, available for Android (6.0 and up) and iOS (10.0 and up).
Price and date of sale
The Mavic Air 2 is priced at $799. The device has already gone on sale in China, the exact date of appearance of devices in Russia has not yet been named, but in most regions the model should go on sale in mid-May. The standard package includes Mavic Air 2, one battery, remote control and all necessary cables. The Fly More comes with everything you get in the standard version plus a backpack, ND filters, charging hub and three extra batteries. The cost of such a kit will be 988 dollars.
The new Mavic Air 2 loses a little in terms of portability, moving away from the original Air with its rounded, streamlined body towards a larger size and aggressive design in the style of the Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom.
At the same time, the novelty received upgrades in almost all aspects — from flight characteristics to the camera. Now the drone flies longer, farther and faster, and the quality of the shooting is very close to the top Pro model. At the same time, the novelty received a number of new interesting shooting modes, which the top line does not (yet) have.
That being said, the cheap and compact DJI Mavic Mini will still suffice for most beginners. However, if you want to take a step forward in both shooting quality and flight capabilities, but are not ready to overpay for a pro line, the characteristics of which the new product comes close to, then the Mavic Air 2 is definitely the DJI drone that you should pay attention to. first of all.
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