It has been a year since the Mavic Air been on sale. In the fast-paced technology industry, 365 days are quite some time to let new tech feel old. Especially with the risen price from Us tariffs, does the Mavic Air still worth it in 2019?
How does it still perform?
Comparing with products from DJI, the Mavic Air sits between the very amateur Spark and the Mavic 2. Earning its name within the Mavic line-up, the Air provides a much more professional package than the Spark. Not only does the Mavic Air can be folded, video from the Spark is incomparable to the Air’s 3-axis gimbal stabilisation and 4K camera. The Mavic Air also comes with a remote control as standard, rather than the mobile app control that myself and many other hates.
Putting the Mavic Air side by side with the Mavic 2, there is an obvious let down. The video quality from the second-generation product is noticeably better while offering more professional features. The additional features do not come cheap, especially when the price almost doubled from the Mavic Air to the Mavic 2 Pro.
The Mavic Air, I believe, is a great entry point for those who are looking to experience drone with its full features while not being a costly replacement for accidental crashes.
How were the features?
Talking about crashes, it is almost impossible to crash your Mavic Air straight into something, given that you do not turn on Sport mode. The cameras around the drone protect it with, what DJI described, FlightAutonomy 2.0. I don’t really care about the marketing terms. But you can’t crash it into a tree or a wall.
However, the lack of side camera could lead to mishaps, especially for amateur users. Considering that most only fly their drones forward and the less hefty price tag, I will take extra care flying sideways instead.
Talking about sideways, which have nothing to do with what I am going to say, the 4K 30 fps video from the Mavic Air is quite incredible from the small package. With the reputable stabilisation from DJI, the footage is as smooth as you expect from professional drones. The 1080p 120fps video is stunning in capturing fast movements like my downhill mountain bike ride.
And that led to the ActiveTrack ability for the drone to follow a subject. The system is quite intuitive to use. I just tag myself on screen and start riding right away. The drone followed me with ease. And the design is not bad at all. Futuristic and elegant that even Casey Neistat loved it.
Actually, there are. The battery is the first issue. Despite no one really trust the flight time from the manufacturer, the Mavic Air is not offering quite enough flight time. Even with the three batteries from the Fly More Combo, I only get, at max, an hour of total flight time.
What’s worse is that it cannot be charged through USB. Despite having a USB Type C port on the drone, the port cannot be used to charge the battery as well. Instead, you will rely on the proprietary charger to make your life harder.
The control is also a touch too sensitive to my liking. Why do I have to turn on cinematic mode to get gorgeous pan shots? Some better sensitivity curves adjustments can be much more helpful. Or how about letting us to set our own sensitivity curves like the Xbox Elite Controller?
If you are an amateur looking for a full-fledged drone or looking to enter drone-filming from an affordable start point, the Mavic Air is the drone for you. It provides all the necessary feature of professional drones while being portable for travelling. If you are alright with switching between modes and bringing along some more batteries, Mavic Air is a great choice.
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