DJI isn’t resting on its laurels as it works to make sure it has a drone for every possible customer. After introducing the simplified Spark as its first entry in the consumer market, DJI has now announced an entry-level version of its Mavic Pro, called the Mavic Air. I guess I did always wonder why the Mavic was called the Pro when there was only one model, but now we know. The Mavic Air is designed to have some of the Spark’s ease-of-use features like gesture control, but also some advanced capabilities like obstacle sensors in all directions, typically found in higher-end models.
DJI’s Mavic Air: By the Numbers
Like the Mavic Pro, the Mavic Air folds. In addition, it weighs in at a svelte 430 grams (15.1 ounces). DJI says that folded it isn’t much bigger than a large smartphone. For me, folding is a big deal. Because it folds, I actually think it can be easier to travel with the folding propellors and arms of the Mavic Pro than with a Spark. The Air will make travel even easier.
DJI claims a 21-minute flight time for the Mavic Air, between the Spark and the Mavic Pro. Of course, that’s best case; expect shorter flights in tricky conditions or if you don’t want to risk running your battery too far down.
The Air will also pick up gesture control from the Spark, for casual use without the remote. The updated FlightAutonomy system uses upgraded processing technology to construct a 3D model using its seven cameras and infrared sensors. This is supposed to result in better obstacle avoidance, an area where the Mavic Pro has been criticized by many users. Similar to the Pro, the Air is touted as being able to fly in winds up to 22 mph and at elevations up to 16,000 feet above sea level (but not that high above the ground, of course). Range is listed as up to 2.5 miles, thanks to antennas mounted on the foldable landing gear. In Sport mode, it’s good for up to 42 mph and will work with DJI’s Goggles.
Lots of Photo and Video Goodies
Purists who shoot photos in RAW, video in D-Log, and use programs like Litchi to create massive panoramas may not see much they need in the new Mavic Air software. But for those looking to get fast results, it’s chock full of productivity assistance. In addition to the new panorama modes, there are some intriguing new pre-programmed QuickShot video effect flight modes like Asteroid and Boomerang which you can see illustrated here:
Pricing and Availability
The Mavic Air retails for $799, including a dedicated remote. That puts it not much more than the Spark plus a standalone controller. You can pre-order one starting today, with the first orders expected to ship on January 28th. There is a Fly More Combo available for $999 that includes a couple additional batteries, a travel bag, extra pairs of propellers, and a battery-charging hub. DJI’s replacement plan, DJI Refresh, is $89 per year, but you’ll need to register within 48 hours of activation.
ET Deals Roundup: Lowest price on DJI Mavic, New Quad-Core i7 Dell Inspiron 15 Laptop, and more
Right now, Amazon is selling the incredible DJI Mavic Pro for just $769 – 23 percent off the retail price. With full HD video streaming, up to 27 minutes of battery life, and camera stabilization, it’s an excellent little drone. You can also pick up a motherboard, VR bundle, or laptop on the cheap, so…
Google Is Working With the Pentagon to Build Project Maven, an AI for Drones
Google has been working directly with the DoD to bake artificial intelligence into drone footage analysis software, despite previous concerns about such collaborations and apparent blowback from its own employees.
GM Stations Chevrolet Bolts in Austin for Maven Ridesharing
Austin, the city that hassled Uber and Lyft two years ago, now welcomes Chevrolet Bolts EVs aimed at the gig economy.
Google Employees Revolt Over Project Maven Pentagon Collaboration
Google employees are more than a little concerned about the company's collaboration with the DoD on Project Maven and many have called on Sundar Pichai to withdraw from it altogether.