Drone Wilderness

The DJI Mavic Air was just released today and it’s a head scratcher.

It fits somewhere between the DJI Spark and the DJI Mavic Pro.

But with a 4k camera, half the size the of the Mavic Pro, and at $200, it’s a no brainer right?

But first, the always entertaining Casey Neistat pumped out this awesome video with flight comparisons of the Mavic Air vs the Mavic Pro, Spark, and Phantom 4 Pro. In Bermuda. Tough life:

Casey’s takeaways:

  • One word summary: elegant
  • The untrained won’t be able to tell the difference between this drone and the others like the Mavic Pro and Phantom 4
  • Loves the carrying case
  • Folding it is a bit awkward, feels like he may break it
  • Gimbal cover, he couldn’t figure it out
  • Uses wifi signals instead of radio signals, doesn’t make much of a difference
  • Says this is his favorite drone, is going to replace all his other drones

My Thoughts on Video

One big thing that doesn’t get mentioned though, is that if you look at 4:15 in the video I think that the Mavic Pro stabilization looks better. The Mavic Air looks a bit more shaky.

You can see this even better when you compare the Mavic Air to the Mavic Spark at 4:28. The footage of the Mavic Air looks better than the Mavic Spark, but not necessarily the Mavic Pro.

I’m not a video pro by any means, but I see much more depth in the film from the Mavic Pro than the Air. The colors look deeper, and the pixels just look better.

That’s my opinion, but take a look yourself.

Where the Mavic Pro is Better than the Mavic Air

  • Flight time of 27 minutes vs 21 minutes on the Air
  • Farther distance (because of flight time)
  • Faster speed in standard mode: 36 kph vs 28.8 kph
  • More intelligent flight modes. Mavic Pro includes these and the Mavic Air does not:
    • Fixed-Wing Mode
    • Terrian Follow
    • Point of Interest
    • Course Lock
    • Home Lock
  • Ascent and descent speeds are faster – 60-100% faster, depending on mode

Where the Mavic Air is Better than the Mavic Pro

  • $200 cheaper
  • Over 40% lighter (430g vs 734g)
  • Smaller drone – 168×83×49 mm (L×W×H) vs 198×83×83 mm (L×W×H)
  • Faster in sport mode: 68.4 kph vs 64 kph

Read more stats on their comparison page

So Which Should You Buy?

I think the Mavic Air is really, really good. These specs make it much better than the Spark and just about as good as the Mavic Pro in the big areas.

If you want a great 4k drone that’s 40% more portable, with good flight time, and $200 cheaper, get the Mavic Air.

If you want longer flight time (27 minutes vs 21), farther distance, better video stabilization (a big one for me), and faster ascent and descent, go with the Mavic Pro.

I’m slightly biased because I just bought the Mavic Pro, but that’s ok, I’m super happy with it.

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