DJI Mavic Air 2 Review
Is DJI's newest drone ready for prime time?
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DJI has released the newest addition to the Mavic family series, the Mavic Air 2. With enhanced technological features, this product is a smart drone that builds on the features of the Mavic 2 Pro. It is small, lightweight, and can fly longer. The Mavic Air 2 has improved features and functions, including the redesign of the controller.
The compact Mavic Air 2 is the perfect portable drone for the pro or the serious enthusiast, providing amazing cinematic shots and footage. This DJI drone combines the latest technological advancements with scientific engineering to give you a top of the line drone with excellent film quality.
Mavic Air 2 Overview
The Mavic Air 2 has upgraded technological features to enhance your creativity and capture the amazing footage you’ve been wanting.
Size & Design
Weighing in at 570 grams (1.26 pounds), the Mavic Air 2 is slightly larger than the Mavic Air but quite a bit smaller than the Mavic 2 Pro. It will fit in the palm of your hand when folded up, measuring 180x97x84mm (7×3.8×3.3”). It can be easily transported in a bag to take when you go out hiking or are traveling. When ready to fly, the Mavic Air 2 unfolds to 183x253x77mm (7×9.9×3”) in size.
The drone has a sleek and compact design but only comes in one color. DJI went back to the basics, opting for a neutral light grey color. While the coloring might be dull, the drone and its features certainly make up for it.
Most drones have a distinctive noise caused by the propellers that you can sometimes hear on videos. The Mavic Air 2 has low-noise propellers that provide less interference when recording videos. The low-noise propellers deliver excellent aerodynamic efficiency while using less power.
The most dramatic change is the design of the controller. It is much bigger than other controllers in the Mavic series and uses an ergonomic design for a better grip. The battery life of the remote lasts up to 240 minutes. No antennas are sticking out of this remote, though, as they are integrated into the controller for better user experience.
The buttons for remote flying are easy to toggle between, with joysticks located at the bottom of the controller. Charging the controller is easy, using a USB-C that can connect to your phone with a short cable that is stowed in the top of the controller. The package also comes with a micro USB and a USB-C cable for extra charging options.
The smartphone mount has been moved to the top of the controller. The phone clamp is similar to the DJI Phantom series controllers but is only usable with smartphones and not compatible with tablets. The phone clamp can be challenging to adjust, and you will have to double-check that your phone is properly secured before you start flying.
In The Air
Size and weight don’t mean a thing when the Mavic Air 2 is in flight. With up to 34 minutes of max airtime, this drone can fly up to 68.4 kilometers per hour (or 42.5 miles per hour) in sport mode. That speed is about the same as its predecessor and just a little slower than the Mavic 2. Keep in mind that hovering will decrease the amount of time the drone can stay in the air for. Moderate wind conditions don’t significantly affect flight time.
With the press of a button on the remote, the Mavic Air 2 will return home. If your drone flies outside its established flight range, it will automatically return to your set home location. There is also a Find My Drone function that records its last known position so you can make an emergency landing. These options help to keep you from losing your valuable asset.
The Mavic Air 2 has an auxiliary vision and infrared sensors and an auxiliary light to improve positioning, provide safe landing, and have greater visibility while in the air. The sensors, which are located on the bottom of the drone, can be turned on and off manually or with the remote controller.
The FAA now requires all small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operators to register their drones before taking flight. DJI provides an easy and secure link on their website for drone registration, or you can go directly to the FAA website to register a drone. You will get compliance labels you can attach to the drone and a Flight ID card that you should keep with you when flying the Mavic Air 2. The registration fee is only $5 for a three-year license, which is a lot cheaper than being caught flying a drone that isn’t properly registered.
The Mavic Air 2 has a slightly bigger 1/2-inch camera sensor than the Mavic Air, which has a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor is capable of shooting 4K/60fps video at 120 Mbps and 12 and 48-megapixel images, with assistance from the Quad Bayer color filter array. The array provides high-resolution images with incredible details or low-resolution images with a better vibrant range. The camera upgrades beat all the other DJI drone models, even the Mavic 2 Pro.
The Mavic Air 2 can film in three color modes: standard, Cinelike, and HDR. DJI improved upon the HDR capabilities to improve the realistic saturation levels of the film. There is also a microSD card slot and 8GB of internal storage on this model, enhancing the ability to store HDR shots. It is recommended to use up to a 256GB card, leaving the internal storage as a backup if the memory card becomes full.
The Mavic Air 2 also comes with SmartPhoto. This feature integrates scene recognition, HyperLight, and HDR into one mode for optimal results. Scene recognition adjusts camera settings automatically depending on light conditions and other parameters. This mode can detect different scenes, including sunsets, trees, grass, or snow.
The battery for the Mavic Air 2 has been enhanced to provide up to 34 minutes of flight time. In comparison, the Mavic Air can only fly up to 21 minutes. The flight time is a significant improvement in battery life, and the new battery is also smaller and lighter.
The DJI Intelligent Battery Management System can monitor battery status and display battery levels in real-time through the app. The battery pack uses high-energy lithium-ion batteries and has overcharging protection, over-discharging protection, and low-temperature protection.
The Mavic Air 2 has front, rear, and bottom sensors to detect and avoid obstacles. The APAS (Advanced Pilot Assistance System) helps the drone avoid obstacles on its flight path. However, there are no sensors on the top, so there is still a blind spot on the drone itself.
AirSense, a new feature for the Mavic series and unique to consumer drones in general, is an ADS-B transponder to warn you when there is an airplane or helicopter near your drone. Since the drone can fly 400 feet up in the air, this is an essential feature that prevents accidents. However, it is not recommended, or even legal, to fly above 400 feet or in close proximity to airports.
The Mavic Air 2 comes with a 2.4 and 5.8GHz dual-frequency communication system. This system will automatically switch between the two channels with minimal interference in real-time, which improves the systems’ anti-interference in challenging environments, enhancing safety while flying.
DJI Fly App
The DJI Fly app provides a fantastic platform for recording and editing videos. With the integrated DJI Mimo app editing suite, you gain access to manual settings, advanced functions, and templates to turn your footage into professional-quality videos. The app has gone through several updates and has a straightforward, user-friendly interface. The firmware can be updated via the DJI Fly app or through the DJI Assistant 2 for desktop software on Mac and Windows.
The DJI Fly app also includes video tutorials and detailed instructions that appear when a feature is selected for the first time. The app shows how many minutes and seconds are left on the battery instead of just having a battery icon, giving you plenty of time to land your drone. You can find additional tutorials online.
Optional ND Filters
The Mavic Air 2 has optional ND filter sets to enhance your photo and video quality with exposure control. The ND 16/64/256 set adjusts the shutter speed for extreme light conditions. The ND 4/8/32 set improves vivid imaging in low ISO value situations. Both filter sets make an excellent addition to enhance your creativity. DJI provides tutorials and instructions on how to put the filters on your camera correctly.
Fly More Combo
The Fly More Combo delivers additional value. This bundle pack includes two intelligent flight batteries, the ND 16/64/256 filter set, three pairs of extra propellers, a battery charging hub, a protective case, and a battery to power bank adapter. This bundle includes all the accessories you will need to fly your drone.
DJI Care Refresh
DJI has a comprehensive protection plan option for all of its products, including the Mavic Air 2. The DJI Care Refresh plan includes up to two replacement units a year, covers collision and water damage accidents, includes two-way shipping, and provides access to VIP tech support. This protection plan is worth an additional charge to keep you flying and filming.
Mavic Air 2 Comparisons
Drones have come a long way. DJI has established itself as an innovative manufacturer that delivers small and lightweight drones packed with smart features. Long flight times and outstanding photo and video capabilities are two staples of the brand. The Mavic Air 2 is an excellent choice for a consumer drone, but there are other DJI products to consider.
DJI Mavic 2 Air vs Phantom Series
The Mavic Air 2 is smaller than DJI’s Phantom series drones, making it more portable and quieter. The Phantom series drones do not fold up like the Mavic series drones. The flight times are comparable, though the Mavic Air 2 beats all the drones in the Phantom series by a few minutes. The Mavic Air 2 also has better video and photo technology than any product from the Phantom series.
DJI Mavic 2 Air vs Mavic Mini, Pro and Zoom
The Mavic Air 2 is larger than the Mavic Mini but smaller and lighter than the Mavic Pro. The Air 2 has improved safety features and a much more extensive flight range. The camera performance, intelligence features, and transmission system are a significant improvement from the Mavic Air. And the new DJI Fly app provides a better flying experience.
The flight speed of the Mavic Air 2 is not as fast as the Mavic 2 Pro or the Mavic 2 Zoom, but only by approximately 2.5 mph. But it is a drastic improvement over the Mavic Mini, which can only go 29 mph compared to the 42.5 mph of the Mavic Air 2.
What Makes the DJI Mavic Air 2 Unique?
The Mavic Air 2 has several technological advancements that make it a great buy for photographers and videographers. The photos and video upgrades allow artists to tap into their creativity with ease and use footage to tell unique stories. The 8K Hyperlapse, 48 MP camera, and advanced HDR capabilities make this drone stand out from other DJI products.
The Mavic Air 2 drone is also the only drone with a controller that can charge your phone. And speaking of remote control, the controller is larger than previous models and more comfortable to hold. The phone also now clips onto the top of the remote instead of the bottom, making it easier to view the DJI Fly app.
Mavic Air 2 Videos
Check out some videos showcasing the Mavic Air 2 and its high performance camera:
The Mavic Air 2 is convenient to carry around, fun to fly and takes excellent photos and videos. Even with all the technological advancements and upgrades, there are a few minor issues. The DJI Goggles are not compatible with the Mavic Air 2, parts are not interchangeable with other Mavic drones (like the propeller blades), and the battery charging port size has changed.
These drawbacks are minor, and we didn’t find any major issues when researching the drone to create our Mavic Air 2 review. The DJI Mavic Air 2 features several improvements compared to previous drones, and it’s truly one of the best options on the market if you’re looking for a drone that is fun and easy to fly. We recommend getting the Fly More combo pack, which comes with two extra batteries you can use for longer flying sessions.