DJI Mavic Air : Review

Mavic Air In-depth Review: the Perfect Balance

Adventure Unfolds

Now that I sold my Mavic Pro, I’m on the hunt for a new camera quad.  At first I was looking at the Spark for the form factor…  But the Mavic Air release!  The Air have the form factor but has a 3 axis gimbal with a descent camera…
A marvel of engineering and design, the Mavic Air was built to go wherever adventure takes you. Inheriting the best of the Mavic series, this ultraportable and foldable drone features high-end flight performance and functionality for limitless exploration.  In this review, you can read all the technicality of the Mavic Air and also, look at the video at the bottom of the page.

Imaging System:

Your Life, Now Epic give your the epic perspective it deserves with 32 MP Sphere panoramas1, HDR photos, 4K 30 fps 100 Mbps video, and 1080p 120 fps slow-motion video.

32 MP Sphere Panoramas:

Beyond the Horizon with a combination of refined vision technology, new image stitching algorithms, IMU, and an Image Signal Processor, the Mavic Air stitches 25 photos together in just eight seconds to create crystal-clear 32 MP 8192 × 4096 Sphere panoramas. The Mavic Air also supports multiple pano modes including horizontal, vertical, and 180°. You can even view panoramas from an immersive perspective with DJI Goggles.

3-Axis Gimbal Camera:

The Mavic Air is the most portable DJI drone to house a 3-axis mechanical gimbal. The newly designed gimbal system is suspended from a set of dampeners in a triangular formation, further reducing vibration for steadier shots. Precision has also been improved, with the gimbal’s angular vibration range reduced to 0.005°.


4K 100 Mbps Video:

The Mavic Air shoots video at an incredible 4K 30 fps, recording at 100 Mbps to capture every second with UHD quality.

Slow-Motion Video:

With support for recording 1080p 120 fps slow-motion video, the Mavic Air captures all your epic high-speed adventures.

HDR Photos:

New HDR algorithms help you obtain the right exposure settings intelligently, according to lighting conditions. Overexposed or dark areas are processed for more natural transitions between highlights and shadows, while DSP acceleration allows for more efficient shooting.

Design


Geometric Elegance:

With arms and propellers that sit flush against its slender, aerodynamic chassis, the Mavic Air has a presence that oozes style and elegance.

Seven onboard cameras are reinforced by durable, magnesium alloy brackets, the recessed camera provides better protection for the gimbal, and the surface of the drone is protected by an alluring and robust UV plastic coating. The Mavic Air even has enough space for efficient heat dissipation through the vents on its back.

3D Foldable Design:

As tall and wide as a smartphone when folded, the Mavic Air is an ultraportable drone that stretches the boundaries of what’s possible for a device its size.

Foldable Remote Controller:

The dedicated remote controller uses a foldable, low-profile, ergonomic design to hold your smartphone for maximum convenience. Detachable control sticks store inside the remote controller to pack more comfortably on the go.

Intelligent & Intuitive:
The Mavic Air features a wide array of Intelligent Flight Modes such as QuickShot, SmartCapture, TapFly, and an upgraded ActiveTrack, all of which enable you to capture breathtaking shots in a matter of seconds.

SmartCapture:
Fun, simple, and intuitive, SmartCapture offers a new and interactive way of controlling the Mavic Air by hand. Launch and control the drone with hand gestures, then take photos or videos however you like.

ActiveTrack:
ActiveTrack can sense up to 16 selectable subjects simultaneously, letting you choose the right tracking subject on the go. With higher tracking precision and broader scenario applications, ActiveTrack can follow targets even when they’re running, jumping, or cycling.
QuickShots:
Choose from six different QuickShots — Rocket, Dronie, Circle, Helix, Asteroid, and Boomerang. All are just a tap away and will get you those epic selfie drone videos without needing to think about composing your shot. Share your new creations to social media through the DJI GO 4 app instantly.

 

Flight Safety


Vision-Based Protection
FlightAutonomy 2.0 is the result of the Mavic Air’s powerful vision sensing system. The aircraft observes the surrounding environment and learns its orientation, achieving comprehensive protection. Your grand adventures of discovery have never been so safe and easy.

1. Coupled with a new generation of flight controller navigation algorithms, Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) brings a more stable and precise flight performance to the Mavic Air.

2. The more accurate forward and backward dual camera vision systems can now sense obstacles up to 20 meters away, even when the aircraft is flying as fast as 8 m/s. Thanks to the onboard Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS), the Mavic Air actively bypasses obstacles right in front of it.

3. The combination of the brand-new vision compass and terrain detection system makes Return to Home (RTH) and landing safer and more reliable.

4. Two independent but complementary fusion algorithms and redundant modules work seamlessly with the 15 groups of sensors inside the aircraft, providing multi-layered protection.

5. Specially designed lock sensors detect if the Mavic Air‘s Intelligent Flight Battery is properly mounted, providing an additional warning before takeoff.

 

FlightAutonomy 2.0


The powerful sensor system included in FlightAutonomy 2.0 collects and transmits information from the surrounding environment to the high-performance processor. Powered by VIO technology and a new positioning algorithm, FlightAutonomy 2.0 can conduct real-time positioning by building an accurate 3D map of the immediate environment. Furthermore, the redundancy of critical modules has also been significantly improved, increasing the Mavic Air’s flight safety.

Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO):
A combination of VIO technology and the new positioning algorithm has doubled the Mavic Air‘s precision positioning. VIO technology calculates the speed and attitude of the aircraft in real-time and locates it, making dual-camera attitude measurements while hovering or flying at any speed. The working range of the vision positioning system is now 0.5 to 30 meters. With VIO technology, the Mavic Air hovers more precisely indoors and responds better to complex environments with finer control stick movement.

3D Map Building:
Equipped with an advanced sensing system, the Mavic Air locates itself with accuracy and precision. By processing data from the seven cameras at the front, bottom, and rear of the body, alongside the advanced infrared sensors and IMU, the Mavic Air will construct a 3D map by sensing the environment in real time, which significantly improves overall flight safety.
Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS)
APAS is the result of DJI’s extensive research on flight path calculation. Users can keep flying forwards, and APAS will plan an appropriate flight path to bypass obstacles automatically.
More Reliable Return to Home (RTH)
Expanding on existing RTH systems, the Mavic Air will ensure the safest flight path during RTH. It does this by recording its real-time flight path, and when the control signal gets lost, the aircraft will fly towards the Home Point, bypassing any signal obstruction and reconnect to the controller. When the Mavic Air detects an obstacle, it will choose a proper path to bypass it according to its altitude. The aircraft will match the images of the ground with those captured at takeoff for increased landing accuracy. When landing automatically, the Mavic Air will scan the terrain of the landing area in real-time, then warn the user and safely hover if it detects an obstacle or water in the landing area.

Multiple Redundancies:
Besides dual IMUs, FlightAutonomy 2.0 has more redundant modules to increase the Mavic Air’s safety level. The Vision Compass will assist the navigation system to estimate flight direction when the compass experiences interference. When only one direction of the front, bottom or rear vision systems is functioning normally, the aircraft will still position itself successfully. There are two sets of sensor fusion algorithms based on two independent hardware platforms. When an error occurs to one set of algorithms, the aircraft will switch to the other pair seamlessly to resume normal functionality.

Flight Performance:
The Thrill of Flight
The Mavic Air’s accurate and responsive flight performance offers a thrilling experience like no other. Fly for a maximum of 21 minutes on a single charge(with best condition possible, 19 minutes ish), reaching speeds of up to 68 kph in Sport mode.   Pair it with the DJI Goggles for FPV flight, and take to the skies for an immersive aerial adventure!

 Is it For you?

If you’re looking for your first drone and want something that is small, powerful, and competitively priced, you really should check out the DJI Mavic Air.  Travelers will love it because it’s small and super easy to take on a trip. Photographers will love it because it’s capable of taking high-quality photo and video. Beginners will also love it because it is effortless to fly, with built-in safeguards.  And for drone nerds like me? Well, I love it because it encapsulates where my hobby and the industry is heading – smaller, lighter, more powerful, and more convenient. They say balance is the key to a happy life; perhaps it’s also the key to the perfect drone.