We get a lot of questions about the new Mavic Air. Should I buy the Mavic Air? Should I buy the DJI Spark? Is the Mavic Air better? We’re going to lay out the details on why we think the Mavic Air is a solid buy (the Spark has it’s own benefits, but we’re going to focus on the Air for now).
Should I Buy the Mavic Air?
If you love drones, have been flying for some time, and would like an upgrade, this is definitely a drone you should consider. It has everything you need wrapped up into a small package and will work for you whether you are an amateur videographer/filmmaker, a vlogger, or a serious hobbyist drone pilot. Like it’s big brother, the Mavic Pro, the drone is quite impressive. And if you have seen what the larger Phantom is capable of, it does feel like a new standard for prosumer-grade video drones. The Mavic Air will get you closer to a reality where owning and flying your drone is as simple as operating your smartphone.
You can buy the Mavic Air here directly from DJI.
However, if you are new to drones, you probably don’t have a compelling reason for buying the Mavic Air instead of the Spark. For just about half the price you will get a lot of drone packed into the Spark. It doesn’t fly as fast or for quite as long and doesn’t shoot 4K video, but if you are just getting started with drones, the Spark is highly recommended over the Mavic Air. It is almost as compact, easy to fly, and just about much fun to play around with.
But if you really know what you are doing and have started incorporating a drone in your filming, you will be grateful for the lighter travel size.
It is getting increasingly easier to set these newer drones up. We’ve discussed 6 drones you can fly quickly before. The Mavic Air could join that list. Just charge the batteries, download the DJI GO app, turn on your Mavic, connect to its Wi-Fi, and you will have a good start flying the new drone. You will have to run through calibrations and tutorials, but it has never been easier to get a professional-grade flying camera airborne.
The captured footage is incredibly smooth. The footage is steady and smooth even if you fly the drone in windy weather. Stopping midair or whipping around corners at high speeds does not seem to have much of an effect on the camera that’s fitted into a recessed 3-axis gimbal.
The Camera is Powerful
The Mavic Air has a 4K camera on top of the smooth gimbal, which is capable of recording at 30 frames per second, capture 120 frames per second HD video, and even 12-megapixel still images. It is also capable of capturing 32-pegapixel, 360-degree spherical images thus creating panoramas that are completely immersive.
The Mavic Air is the first drone from DJI to come with generous onboard storage. It comes with 8GB of space, which comes in handy if you are unable to find any spare SD cards or yours fills up while flying.
Like the other new models from DJI. The Mavic Air senses and avoids objects it is flying towards. However, unlike the earlier models, it simply doesn’t just stop once it senses something that it does not want to crash into rather it routes a course around it. This means that it may potentially fly over a bush or around a tree. It is also capable of tracking objects autonomously. On the older models from DJI, you had to use the GO app to select the people or objects you wish to track.
New Shot Modes
The new QuickShot modes are a great deal of fun. You will find all those found on the last DJI drones, including the rocker and helix, where the drone would start at eye level and then shoot up above the subject. However, the newest, known as “Asteroid” could be the best one yet. It is capable of transforming a damp and muddy field into something spectacular.
Special modes work just as they should. The drone may take slightly longer to do something than you might expect, but everything works as it should, including the new hand gestures that allow you to control the drone in a way similar to how flying the Spark makes you feel like a Jedi.
Excellent Hardware Design Touches
The design of the Mavic Air feels more considered than previous models. Here are some examples: The radio antenna has been built into the fold-out feet of the drone directly, thus resulting in enhanced connectivity while the joysticks on the controller of the Air unscrew then snap under the controller’s body, which means that it fits in a pocket more easily. The joysticks in older models were left sticking out.
What Is Not So Great About the Mavic Air?
Should I buy the Mavic Air? We’ve told you a lot about the positives. Now a few negatives. A huge letdown is flight time. DJI says that the Mavic Air gets just about 21 minutes of flight time, but in reality, the average battery flight time is just above 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the controller starts to beep incessantly until the drone lands, which means that even if you were to squeeze and additional 3 minutes of flight time, it will probably be an exceedingly annoying several minutes.
You Need Many Batteries
DJI has stated the reason why it expects customers to be interested in buying the Mavic Pro instead of the Air is the longer battery life. If you wish to fly your Mavic Air for longer than 1 hour, you will require at least 3 batteries, perhaps even 4 as well as the patience to swap them in and out. In comparison the Mavic Pro will give you no less than 27 minutes of flight time for each battery.
The Software isn’t the Greatest
One of the major letdowns in DJI products is the software. While the DJI GO app is no longer as buggy as it previously was, it isn’t perfect either. If you open/activate apps such as Siri when flying the drone, the app simply crashes. Fortunately, the Mavic Air is smart enough to land on its own once it realizes that the connection to the app has been terminated. The app is incredibly hard to navigate with functions hidden in tough to find sub menus as well as the information overlaid on the screen while flying is almost impossible to keep track of.
You Still Need a Carrying Case
The drone might be tiny, but it almost does not matter. Between the propeller guards, spare batteries, and the charger, you will still require a bag for carrying everything around. DJI has a package deal that’s inclusive of a travel bag, among other goodies. If you try dropping the drone and controller into your regular backpack, it might feel awkward about possibly snapping the propellers should you drop the bag. You will at least need to zip up the drone in the small case provided by DJI.
It Still May Break the Bank
So should I buy the Mavic Air? What about cost? The Mavic Air might be significantly cheaper and smaller than previous models, but it still starts at $800. The package deal, which includes extra propellers, a bigger charger, and 3 batteries is priced at $1,000. Considering the short flight time of a single battery, it would seem that people would prefer the more expensive package.
Should I Buy the Mavic Air?
Again, if you’re in the market for a new drone and have a good handle on what you’re doing – then the Mavic Air is a good bet. You’ll be happy with its features, the hardware and technology as well as it’s small size. It is a bit pricey for a drone and may be a bit more challenging to fly for the beginner pilot. You’ll most likely need a bag for it and the app isn’t perfect. But when you step back and take a good look at this model, DJI has hit a homerun and the pros outweigh the cons.
Ready to give it a shot? You can buy the Mavic Air here directly from DJI.
If you fly the Mavic Pro, we’d love to hear your feedback. If you’re asking yourself should I buy the Mavic Air, we hoped this review helped you. Drop us a comment below and let us know what you like/dislike about the Mavic Air. Happy Flying!