DJI just announced the sequel to their popular Mavic Air drone, the aptly named Mavic Air 2. I was sent one by DJI to borrow for a bit and so figured I’d try and do a complete walkthrough on it for you guys.
If you’re not familiar, a complete walkthrough on this channel is where I try and go through every single feature on a new device so you guys are better prepared should you be in the market to actually go buy one.
With that said, there’s a lot to go through, so let’s get started with the hardware.
Firstly, the drone weighs 570g which is roughly the weight of a full bottle of water and a decent chunk more than the 430g of the original Mavic Air from 2018. That size and weight though, according to DJI is the maximum they’ve found through control groups of what someone is willing to carry around in a backpack apparently.
But honestly, I imagine that this is just the smallest they could get it while still giving it all the features they did, and that’s corroborated by the fact the product manager even said: “There is no unnecessary weight on the Mavic Air 2, not even 1 gram”.
Regardless, here it is though compared to that Mavic Mini, which just happens to be the only other drone I have, and even though I love that little drone for how small and easy it is to use, this feels more solid, and a lot more serious than that does. And, judging by the spec sheet, more, in general, is what they were going for.
Firstly, the Mavic Air 2 now has the longest flight time of any DJI Mavic drone at 34 mins per battery (compared to the 21 mins of the original Mavic Air and 31 mins of the Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom).
It’s also the first DJI drone to support up to 4K 60fps and can do so and 30fps at 120Mbps (vs the up to 4K/30 at 100Mbps of the original Air, the Mavic 2 Pro, and Zoom) and also supports either 120 or 240fps 1080P slow-mo.
Another upgrade over the entire Mavic lineup (minus the $1600 Mavic 2 Pro with it’s 1” sensor) is the use of a ½” Quad Bayer sensor with a 48MP resolution. By default, those pixels are binned together in sets of 2×2 to get larger pixel sizes which translates to better dynamic range at the loss of resolution and brings the final still image resolution to 12MP.
You can also take advantage of the full 48MP readout by selecting the high-res mode under photo in the app.
Also thanks to that 48MP sensor they added 8K timelapse to the Mavic Air 2. Unfortunately, that feature isn’t available on this unit as it is coming out in a mid-May software update (sad). But, essentially, I imagine they just take photos using at least 33.2MPs of that sensor (the equivalent of 7680×4320 resolution for 8K) that the drone can then stitch together into a video as it does with a 4K timelapse.
Besides the up to 4K 60fps, we can also shoot in HDR up to that resolution and frame rate as well and it spits out HLG or Hybrid Log-Gamma videos in h.265 format with higher dynamic range and a wider color gamut.
Speaking of color, you can also use DJI’s D-Cinelike color profile and it’ll use a flatter log-like color to give you more flexibility while coloring the footage in post.
For connectivity, the drone now has a 10km range (compared to the Mavic Pro with its 7km) and can fly at up to 68kph/42mph in Sport mode (compared to the 36kph/22mph of the Mavic 2 Pro).
Part of this range at least is due to a new controller that uses their proprietary connection tech they call OcuSync 2.0.
That controller just also seems to be more thoughtfully designed.
First, we have a retractable spring loaded holder at the top which easily fits my rather large Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and having the screen above the controls just feels more natural to me.
On the controller, we also have a nice gap at the top where the phone sits that makes sure the buttons on that side of the phone aren’t being pressed which is a nice touch. And we have included lightning, USB-C, and MicroUSB cables that you can not only swap out under where this holder comes from but can easily be stored in there going forward.
Moving around the controller, we also have our usual controls on the top for moving the camera on the drone and a trigger to record or take a photo.
On the face of the controller, we have a function button that can be customized for tapping double-tapping to either turn the auxiliary light on the bottom on, off, or set it to auto or recentering the camera.
We have a return to home button and power button, as well as a button to switch between photo and video modes, and we have a switch in the middle to allow you to change the flight speed modes: from tripod mode, the slowest and smoothest, to normal, to sport, the fastest.
On the bottom, we have two spots to store the removable joysticks and a USB-C port while on the back we have a large speaker that is louder than before apparently.
Moving on to the software, the drone uses the simpler DJI Fly app that debuted along with the Mavic Mini instead of the DJI Go app that most of their Mavic lineup uses, but they have added features particular to this drone.
Firstly, we have three new FocusTrack features that can be accessed by tapping and dragging a box around a subject on the screen and then you can choose from three options:
ActiveTrack 3.0: (Unfortunately I couldn’t really test this safely here so tried to just show it moving around the studio indoors which isn’t quite a good example). But the concept is that the drone will follow that subject and try and maintain a similar distance at all times while also now dodging obstacles using new mapping technology and flight path algorithm. It even supposedly can reacquire a subject even if it disappears from the shot and reemerges.
Point of Interest 3.0 Lets you set an automated flight path around the selected subject and apparently this has been updated to track better than it did in the last iteration.
Spotlight 2.0: Found in the more professional Inspire 2 drone, it will have the drone keep the target within the frame at all times while allowing you to still control its movement.
Next, we have all of the Quickshots you’re used to including:
Dronie: The camera track a subject and then the drone will shoot back and upward.
Rocket: The drone will shoot straight upward from the subject.
Circle: Self-explanatory maybe but it’ll do a full circle around the subject.
Helix: Similar to circle but it does a spiral outward and upward.
Boomerang: Circles the subject in an oval pattern and ends where it began.
Asteroid: Flies upward like Rocket, but ends the video with a small world effect.
Now, you can take photos in 12 or 48MP as mentioned, but you can also shoot using their SmartPhoto option and that has three modes:
Scene Recognition: This can use algorithms for determining the type of scene your shooting between sunset, blue skies, grass, snow, or trees to alter the color and saturation. This sounds a lot like the AI camera features found in phones nowadays that I am not a fan of so probably won’t be one of it here either.
Hyperlight: Speaking of features borrowed from phones, this takes multiple photos at varying levels of exposure to create a better lowlight image (sounds like Night Mode on phones, which if you want to learn more of how that works, I did an explainer video in my Decodr series on the channel here).
HDR Photo: Similar to Hyperlight, it takes photos at various exposure levels but is used to balance out various lighting instead of seeing in the dark as it were.
And finally, for software, we also have AirSense which uses the ADS-B signals from airplanes and helicopters to notify you when one is nearby and shows it to you on the map so you can steer clear which is super clever. Unfortunately, according to DJI this feature will only be available in North America at launch due to some sort of setback caused by COVID-19 but will be rolling out to other regions in the Summer of this year.
The Mavic Air 2 will cost the same as the original Mavic Air: $799. There is also a Fly More package that gives you three batteries as well as case, charging hub and a set of ND filters for $988. As always, here’s an updated link below to the best price I can find on the device.
Let me know what you guys think though about the new drone and this video. It’s my first walkthrough on a drone so let me know if I answered most of the questions you had about it and how I can improve for next time. As always though, thanks for watching.