DJI has upgraded its lightweight foldable camera drone lineup with the release of the new Mavic Air 2; it gets an upgraded camera, control communications and battery, and the ability to detect other aircraft in the area.
The Mavic series was the proverbial game-changer when it debuted 2017–a foldable drone you could throw in a backpack. It soon gained popular siblings–the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom, the Mavic Mini and the Mavic Air.
The Air was barely bigger than a smartphone, but offered what New Atlas called “a decent little gimbal-stabilized 2.7K camera, 21 minutes of flight time, and some intelligent flight features for an impressive sticker price of US$799.” The Mavic Air 2 is equally tiny and keeps the affordable price tag, but the 2.0 blows the original Air away according to multiple consumer press reviewers, including my colleagues at TechRadar who called it best in class in their review.
The camera has a larger, 1/2-inch sensor, set in a new rectangular casing that reminded New Atlas of “the Hasselblad-branded box hanging off the Mavic Pro 2”. Stills resolution quadruples to 48 megapixels; video is 4K/60fps with slo-mo at 240 fps at 1080p resolution.
- A Suite of HDR Features: Mavic Air 2 is preprogrammed with a suite of HDR features including HDR video and HDR panorama. HDR video max resolution is 4K 30fps.
For effects, Mavic Air 2 supports standard Dronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket, Boomerang and projection-stitching Asteroid modes built in for one-touch shooting, but it also has an AI object-tracking suite, capable either of flying itself while tracking an object or letting you fly the drone while it keeps the camera fixed on a target. There are also multiple modes for hyperlapse shooting as well.
- 8K HyperLapse – Mavic Air 2 is the first done to feature 8K Hyperlapse. Users can additionally choose lower resolutions including 4K, 2.7K and 1080. Note that 8K Hyperlapse will be available in mid-May 2020 via a firmware update.
A bigger battery, as well as optimized flight electronics, lets DJI claim 34 minutes of flight time in optimal conditions, and a top speed of 68 km/h (42 mph). New Atlas singled out the “vastly upgraded OcuSync 2.0 transmission system [that] allows you to fly the Mavic Air 2 up to 10 km (6.2 mi) away, while still streaming HD video back to your screen in real time. Extraordinary.”
The Air 2 also has obstacle avoidance, with front and rear sensors capable of detecting things up to 23.6 m (77.4 ft) away.
The redesigned controller has an improved runtime, with a 240-minute battery life. And the Air 2 becomes the first DJI drone with built-in AirSense system that communicates with nearby planes and helicopters to give you very clear warnings when you’re flying too close.
Priced at $799 to start, there’s a $988 “fly more” combo with three batteries, a charging hub, a shoulder bag and a set of ND darkening filters to help you capture better footage in bright lighting conditions.
The folks at Drone DJ put it through its paces:
and crash it.