Best Drone Of 2020: DJI Mavic Air 2 Review

On 28 April 2020, DJI Innovations introduced the new DJI Mavic Air 2. We have tested the latest DJI drone extensively before its launch. In the review of the DJI Mavic Air 2, we detail the innovations, improvements, and features. We also explain the advantages and disadvantages of the DJI Mavic Air 2, focusing on the technical improvements and the control with the DJI Fly app.

DJI Mavic Air 2 Review

DJI Innovations, the market leader in the field of camera drones, has launched the new DJI Mavic Air 2 under the slogan “Increase Your Capabilities” or “Up Your Game.”

More than three years ago, DJI launched its first generation of DJI Mavic Air. The second generation of DJI Mavic Air will follow in spring 2020. The redesigned camera drone has several improvements and innovations. It is a great drone for both beginners and professionals, which offers excellent money value.

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a mid-range drone positioned between the DJI Mavic Mini and the DJI Mavic 2. With an entry-level price of $700, the DJI Mavic Air II costs the same as the DJI Mavic Air 1. Despite increased performance data, better camera, and even more functionalities.

You can order the DJI Mavic Air Drone immediately from the DJI online store or Amazon. In addition to a single version, the DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo is also available.

The delivery time of the DJI Mavic Air 2 varies depending on the order volume and region. Compared to the DJI Mavic Mini or camera drones weighing less than 250 grams, the DJI Mavic Air 2 requires a drone license plate!

The DJI Mavic Air 2 achieves a considerably increased flight time of up to 34 minutes (in-flight under ideal windless conditions) compared to other camera drones. Therefore, half an hour of flight time is no problem for the DJI Mavic Air 2, leaving more room for taking aerial photos and aerial videos. One of the most important new features of the DJI Mavic Air 2 is its powerful signal transmission.

Thanks to OcuSync 2.0, already used in the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Zoom, the DJI Mavic Air 2 achieves enormous ranges and offers much more stable signal connections compared to the previous generation. We expect a full 6 km range in the CE standard and 10 km in FCC standard in concrete terms.

The decisive factor is the enormously increased signal range and the significantly more stable signal connection. It ensures even more safety and user-friendliness in control, FPV view, and transmission of flight parameters.

DJI Mavic Air 2: Single or bundle version?

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is available in both a single version and a bundle version. These are the two versions of the DJI Mavic Air 2, which do not affect the drone’s performance but affect the DJI Mavic Air 2’s supplied accessories.

The single version of the DJI Mavic Air 2, for example, only includes a battery and necessary accessories such as remote control, protective cap for the gimbal, connection cable (with Lightning, USB-C, and micro-USB cable), spare propeller, extra joysticks, a battery, as well as a power cable and power supply unit. The drone comes with a Quick Start Guide and various documents. The single version is available from $799.00. 

All this comes with the Bundle version – the DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo. However, in addition to the single version already described, it includes two additional batteries (making a total of three batteries), an ND filter set, a carrying case, a battery-to-power bank adapter, a multi-charger, and extra replacement propellers.

On the cost side, the bundle variant of the DJI Mavic Air 2 is $988.00, resulting in a price difference of about $200.

We recommend purchasing the Fly More Combo version of the DJI Mavic Air 2. Thanks to additional batteries, it offers even more flying fun and practical accessories such as a power bank adapter or a practical storage bag. Thus it is even more comfortable and user-friendly in practice.

Alternatively, you can, of course, opt for the single version and purchase the accessories for the DJI Mavic Air II separately in the DJI Online Store. Speaking of accessories: It should not be forgotten that within the United States and many other countries, a drone license plate is required for the DJI Mavic Air 2. The same applies to liability insurance.

DJI Mavic Air 2: Unboxing and details

Visually, the DJI Mavic Air 2 has little in common with the DJI Mavic Air 1. With the DJI Mavic Air 2, DJI is inspired by the new design language of DJI Mavic 2 and DJI Mavic Mini.

Unlike the first generation DJI Mavic Air, the second generation DJI Mavic Air is no longer available in different colors, but only in light gray.

Admittedly, this makes the DJI Mavic Air 2 look a little inferior in visual terms. The DJI Mavic Air 2 also does away with the design of the first DJI Mavic Air, which was inspired by a sports car, and slightly diminishes the previous premium impression.

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is characterized by the haptic qualities of its design and the attention to detail. The folding mechanism of the DJI Mavic Air 2 has a high-quality finish and makes a solid impression. The DJI Mavic Air 2 has little in common with the former DJI Mavic Air in size and appearance.

Nevertheless, with dimensions of 180 x 97 x 84 millimeters (folded) and 183 x 253 x 77 millimeters (unfolded) and a weight of 570 grams, the drone is still comparatively compact and portable.

DJI Mavic Air 2: New controller with new design

We will see significant changes in the design of the drone and the design of the remote control.

The new remote control of the DJI Mavic Air 2 differs significantly from previous DJI camera drones’ remote controls and now features integrated antennas and a redesigned smartphone holder.

The smartphone holder is now located above the remote control and is no longer unfolded but pulled out of the remote control.

Since the smartphone with FPV display is now located above the remote control, better readability is possible. Also, the smartphone can now be operated even better and more easily during the flight.

In addition to the larger design, the new controller of the DJI Mavic Air 2 has a small disadvantage – it is comparatively top-heavy and slightly less ergonomic. A telemetry display integrated into the remote control has not been built in and is therefore reserved for the DJI ecosystem’s professional models only.

Unlike the DJI Mavic Mini, you can’t charge the DJI Mavic Air 2 via USB. If you want to charge the drone, you must always use the included power supply and is, therefore, dependent on an electrical socket. With the optionally available Battery-to-Powerbank adapter, in the Fly More Combo, it is at least possible to charge a smartphone or other mobile device (e.g., the drone’s remote control) using the battery of the aircraft. Thus, the drone’s battery can be converted into a power bank in seconds.

Of course, the remote control’s joysticks are removable and stored at the remote control’s bottom. Thus, making the remote control comparatively transportable despite its increased dimensions.

Also, four LEDs on the front panel indicate the charge status of the remote control. Typical switches and buttons for switching on and off, activating the return function, or switching between photo and video mode are, of course, still available. Together with a freely assignable function key, ensure intuitive control. A central slider allows you to switch the flight mode of DJI Mavic Air 2 between tripod, normal, and sport in seconds.

Other properties and features

In addition to foldable stabilizers, foldable propellers, and a radically new design, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is characterized by 34 minutes of flight time and a maximum speed of up to 19 m/s or 68.4 km/h.

This maximum speed is available in the Sport mode. In P or Normal mode and T or Tripod mode, the airspeeds of the DJI Mavic Air 2 are respectively 12 m/s and 43.2 km/h and 5 m/s and 18 km/h.

The DJI Mavic Air 2 can fly at a maximum altitude of 5,000 meters above sea level. The possible flight altitude with the controller is limited by software and is a maximum of 500 meters. The hovering accuracy, maximum pitch angle, and maximum angular velocity of the DJI Mavic Air 2 are based on previous DJI drones and are mainly on the same level as DJI Mavic 2 and other professional models.

Flight and hovering characteristics of the DJI Mavic Air 2

DJI Mavic Air 2’s flying and hovering characteristics are state of the art and are extremely precise and accurate thanks to GPS, Glonass, and Vision Positioning System. The DJI Mavic Air 2 can hardly be unsettled even by stronger winds, and thanks to automatic positioning based on GPS and vision sensors, it is ideal for beginner and intermediate pilots.

The Vision Positioning System – VPS for short – of the DJI Mavic Air 2 has been improved over previous DJI drones (e.g., DJI Mavic Air 1 or DJI Mavic Mini) and now operates in a detection range of 0.5 to 60 meters instead of just 0.5 to 30 meters. Also, the vision positioning system of the DJI Mavic Air 2 is supported by a so-called Auxiliary Light, as in the much more expensive DJI Mavic 2 (Pro/Zoom).

This is an extremely bright, downward-pointing LED. This LED light provides better illumination of the floor at dusk or night. It allows the hover sensors to operate reliably, even in low light and visibility conditions.

Camera: 4K resolution at a maximum of 60 fps

One of the most important innovations and improvements of the DJI Mavic Air 2 is the camera. For the first time, the camera features a 1/2-inch image sensor with a larger sensor surface than the 1/2.3-inch image sensors used in the past, thus a higher light sensitivity.

As before, the camera is attached to a 3-axis gimbal, which compensates for the drone’s movements during flight and enables ultra-fluid aerial shots.

Another essential feature of the new DJI Mavic Air 2 camera is the improved 4K video resolution. Compared to other camera drones such as DJI Mavic 2, DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, or DJI Mavic Air 1, this resolution is no longer just 4K and 30 fps, but now 4K and 60 fps.

The higher frame rate makes DJI Mavic Air 2 ideal for capturing moving objects. However, 4K recordings at 60 fps can also be helpful when a slow-motion video is to be created as part of subsequent video editing. This is because the higher frame rate means more reserves during post-processing if the 4K source material was recorded at 60 fps instead of 30 fps.

Alternatively, the DJI Mavic Air 2 also offers FullHD recording at up to 240 frames per second, resulting in up to eight times slower slow-motion video. In addition to improved photo resolution, the DJI Mavic Air 2 also offers enhanced photo resolution. Not only conventional 12-megapixel photos are possible, but also 48-megapixel images in the right lighting conditions.

As the first DJI drone, the DJI Mavic Air 2 also combines three HDR modes in one aircraft: HDR video, HDR photo, and HDR panorama, allowing shots with an exceptionally high dynamic range.

DJI Mavic Air 2: New features and innovations

  • Price: from $700 in the DJI Online Store
  • Combo-version with accessories: $988.00
  • Foldable 4K camera drone in the middle price segment
  • Camera compensation with 3-axis gimbal (mechanical)
  • Range: 6 km (CE standard) or 10 km (FCC standard)
  • Flight time: about 34 minutes (under ideal conditions without wind)
  • Dimensions when folded: 180 x 97 x 84 millimeters (L x W x H)
  • Dimensions unfolded: 183 x 253 x 77 millimeters (L x W x H)
  • Airspeed: max. 19 m/s or 68,4 km/h (in sport mode)
  • App control with DJI Fly app for DJI Mavic Air 2 (for iOS and Android)
  • Three HDR recording modes: HDR video, HDR photo, and HDR panorama
  • Camera: 1/2-inch CMOS image sensor with 12 megapixels / 48 megapixels
  • Familiar premium finish and design based on DJI Mavic 2
  • Obstacle avoidance thanks to APAS 3.0 (Advanced Pilot Assistance System 3.0)
  • QuickShot modes with Dronie, Rocket, Circle, Helix, Boomerang, and Asteroid
  • FocusTrack with ActiveTrack 3.0, Spotlight 2.0, Point of Interest 3.0 (POI) 3.0
  • Hyperlapse videos with four sub-modes (Free, Circle, Course Lock, Waypoint)
  • Video resolution: max. 4K (UltraHD) at 60 fps or 1080p (FullHD) at 240 fps
  • Weight: 570 grams (drones license plate required for DJI Mavic Air 2!)
  • Video bitrate: 120 Mbps / formats: MP4 / MOV (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.265/HEVC)
  • 48-megapixel photos (High Dynamic) for ultra-high resolution aerial photography
  • Memory cards: max. 256 Gigabyte / internal memory: 8 Gigabyte / FAT32 / exFAT
  • With GPS, Glonass, hover sensors as well as obstacle sensors (front, rear, and bottom)

App control with DJI Fly for iOS and Android

Of course, the DJI Mavic Air 2 can be connected to a smartphone, controlled, and configured with the DJI Fly app.

As a result, the DJI Mavic Air 2 no longer uses the DJI GO 4 app, but the DJI Fly application introduced with the DJI Mavic Mini. However, there is no need to sacrifice functionality.

Although the DJI Fly app has a much more orderly and tidy design, combined with the new DJI Mavic Air 2, almost all the functions are already known from professional models such as the DJI Mavic 2 (Pro/Zoom).

Despite its extensive functionality, the DJI Fly app for the DJI Mavic Air 2 is characterized by its ease of use and extremely intuitive operation. In addition to the classic and very detailed live view of the camera image – thanks to OcuSync 2.0 also in FullHD resolution (1080p), the main screen of the DJI Fly app naturally displays telemetry data and flight parameters, so that the user always and constantly retains full control of the drone. Information such as flight altitude, distance, speed, signal connection, or battery status is always available for viewing and provides real-time information on the camera drone’s status.

A wide variety of recording and flight modes

The DJI Mavic Air 2 offers a rich selection of recording and flight modes and is in no way inferior to professional models like the DJI Mavic 2. In addition to the classic choice of video resolutions (e.g., 4K and 60 fps, FullHD and 240 fps), DJI Mavic Air 2 also offers a wide range of image modes. In addition to traditional single shots, the user can also choose to take interval shots, continuous shots, bracketing, or panoramic shots of various types.

There are, therefore, hardly any limits to individuality and creativity. On the video side, the DJI Mavic Air 2 offers not only different resolutions but also HDR videos with high contrast or dynamic range or even slow-motion videos on request.

Hyperlapse video or moving time-lapse recordings are also possible, with four different sub-modes called Free, Circle, CourseLock, and WayPoint. Conveniently, the different Hyperlapse modes’ functionality and results are explained with short preview videos and explanations directly in the DJI Fly app.

Even beginners can quickly get to grips with the functionalities. Those who want to use the drone for particularly spectacular video recordings are spoilt for choice with the six different QuickShot recording modes called Dronie, Rocket, Circle, Helix, Boomerang, and Asteroid, and can astonish later viewers.

As an alternative to the QuickShot shooting modes, you can choose to shoot from the air or use the revised and optimized FocusTrack functions. FocusTrack is the name of the latest DJI Mavic Air 2 object tracking and tracking feature (prices and info here). FocusTrack again combines three main functions, namely ActiveTrack 3.0, Spotlight 2.0, and Point of Interest 3.0 (POI).

DJI Mavic Air 2’s tracking system allows the drone pilot or any other person to be filmed during activity and kept in view by the camera drone. In addition to people, FocusTrack enables tracking vehicles too, animals, or any other moving subjects. ActiveTrack 3.0 is one of the three ways DJI Mavic Air 2 can track a person or object, ensuring that the subject is always positioned in the center of the image and allowing for remarkably fluid shots of moving objects.

A second option within the DJI Mavic Air II’s FocusTrack modes is Spotlight 2.0, which differs from ActiveTrack 3.0. It allows manual intervention in the direction and altitude of the drone’s flight while tracking objects.

Point of Interest 3.0 (POI) is the third mode within the FocusTrack recording modes. POI 3.0 differs from ActiveTrack 3.0 or Spotlight 2.0. The drone does not simply follow the tracked and filmed object but orbits the object during flight. New in POI 3.0 compared to POI 2.0 or POI of the first DJI drones is that not only static objects but also moving objects can be flown around.

Conclusion

Despite a grown design and a slightly less high-end look, the new DJI Mavic Air 2 is convincing throughout the line – and not only compared to the DJI Mavic Air 1. Thanks to OcuSync 2.0, a still slim design and low weight, optimized object tracking, and an excellent camera, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is a good alternative even compared to the DJI Mavic 2. Simultaneously, DJI Mavic Air 2 impresses with its user-friendly and intuitive control via the DJI Fly app, long flight time, and a high level of safety and precision in flight. So what more could you want?

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