DJI today released an update of its popular quadrocopter Mavic Air. The new Mavic Air 2 will cost $799 when it ships to US buyers in late May. This is around the same price as for the predecessor, which means the drone remains positioned as DJI’s mid-range option between the more powerful Mavic 2 and the smaller, cheaper Mavic Mini.
The new version has gained a few grams, but also offers some interesting upgrades compared to its predecessor:
Improved picture quality
The biggest improvement is the new larger image sensor in the camera. The camera of the Mavic Air 2 comes with a half inch sensor, unlike the 1 2/3 inch sensor of the previous model. We expect more details, a higher dynamic range and sharper images from the 12 megapixel camera. There’s also a new option for composite images, which allows several individual shots to be stitched together to create a large 48-megapixel image.
There is also an upgrade in video: the Mavic Air 2 is the first drone from DJI capable of recording 4K video at 60 frames per second and 120 Mbps. There are also slow-motion modes that can record up to eight times slower than in reality (1080 at 240 fps).
Interesting are also new, intelligent features in the camera software, where algorithms support the photographer in choosing the best settings. DJI calls this feature “Smart Photo Mode”. In this mode, Mavic Air 2 performs a scene analysis and then automatically selects a photo mode that matches the current lighting conditions (sunsets, snow, grass and shadows, etc.), optimizing hue, contrast and exposure.
New folding mechanism
The new Mavic Air 2 definitely feels different from its predecessor – the case and the folding mechanism have been significantly redesigned and now more closely resembles the more expensive Mavic Pro series.
The dimensions of the Mavic Air 2 when folded are 180 x 97 x 84 mm (183 x 253 x 77 mm when unfolded). With a weight of 570 g, it is only slightly more than half as heavy as the Mavic 2 Pro. This makes it a particularly light and portable camera drone, especially for pilots who want to have a drone with them at all times.
Flight Performance & Safety
Thanks to a new rotor design and other aerodynamic improvements, the Mavic Air 2 can stay in the air for 34 minutes according to DJI – a neat jump from the previous 21 minutes of flight time.
The new Mavic Air 2 comes with OcuSync 2.0 technology to provide stable HD video transmission at a maximum distance of 3.8 km. An anti-interference technology is designed to eliminate interference from other, unwanted signals.
The “Advanced Pilot Assistance System 3.0” is intended to achieve even greater safety in flying. This refers to improved obstacle detection sensors and algorithms in flight control that allow Mavic to automatically avoid obstacles in the flight path with soft movements. DJI had to make up ground after Skydio set new standards in autonomous flying.
Only available in the USA for the time being, but technically very exciting: The Mavic Air 2 is DJI’s first consumer drone equipped with the AirSense technology . This technology warns the drone pilot of other aircraft in the vicinity. AirSense can receive the ADS-B signals from nearby aircraft and display the position on the drone pilot’s screen. When an aircraft approaches the drone, AirSense warns the drone pilot with messages, sounds and vibrations. According to a report by “The Verge”, other regions outside the US will not receive models with AirSense until summer, due to supply shortages caused by the Corona Pandemic.
Surely an exciting approach, but it should be noted that a consumer drone is strictly prohibited from flying at the altitude of commercial aircraft and also in the vicinity of airports. In the permitted airspace of drones, on the other hand, it is more likely to find flying objects for which the equipment with an ADS-B sensor is not mandatory and is also not standard. It is therefore questionable how much use the AirSense technology really has.
Price and availability
The price of the new Mavic Air 2 is will cost $799 and as usual there will also be a Fly More Combo with additional battery.
DJI mentions that “the Covid 19 pandemic has brought new complexity to the global shipping and logistics of many products,” but announces that the Mavic Air 2 will be delivered mid to late May. Stay tuned for our hands-on review!
However, experience from previous DJI product launches shows that if you hate waiting and want to have a drone immediately, you should choose one of the available models such as the Mavic Mini or the Mavic 2 Pro Series.