This year’s trend is smaller drones. Following Dobby, Breeze, and GoPro’s Karma, DJI has finally launched its own mini drone, Mavic Pro.
Let’s have a look and see how the Mavic Pro compares to the competition!
Its appearance might be the most defining part of the Mavic Pro.
Its four propellers and frame arms are foldable, reducing the size to just one third of a piece of A4 paper. There are three things you can re-design to reduce size: battery, camera system and frame arms. If you use a smaller battery you will usually get shorter flight time, while a smaller camera system may reduce image quality. Therefore, the best option is to find a way to fold up the frame arms and propellers to reduce size at the same time as reducing the arms’ weight.
The Mavic Pro strikes a wonderful balance between two sides of this equation.
(3-axis gimbal + longer flight time + 7km video transmission range + new Intelligent Flight modes = small size = portable)
It is possible to achieve all things on the left side, at the same time as reducing size to improve portability? Or is it too good to be true? Let’s find out.
The composition of an aerial photo or video depends on the altitude of your drone. But motors spinning at a high speed create vibrations and impact air flow, and may therefore make your photos and videos so blurry as to be unusable.
The best way to reduce vibrations is to use a mechanical gimbal. It not only reduces vibrations and movement to give you smooth shots, but also helps you to control the camera.
The Mavic Pro is equipped with the smallest high-precision 3-axis gimbal and camera, while still keeping the same size 1/2.3 image sensor. With 12.35 million effective pixels, and an ultralow distortion lens, the camera also supports 90° vertical shooting and always captures high-quality footage.
The Mavic Pro’s theoretical flight time is 27 minutes.
How does it fare in practice? Let’s try it out.
We tested Mavic’s flight time using the Point of Interest mode, and set it to fly at a height and radius of 10 meter. After flying for 24 minutes, there was an 8% battery charge remaining. We drained the rest of battery to 0% and the Mavic finally landed itself after 26 minutes of flight.
We trialed its flight time several times that afternoon and despite windy weather, the Mavic managed to fly for 25 to 26 minutes in each test. We also flew the Mavic in Sport Mode, and when we landed the drone after 10 minutes it still had a 52% charge left.
The official rating of 27 minutes is achieved in ideal conditions without winds, just like the ratings of other products like the 0–100 km/h acceleration for cars, or smartphone benchmarks. Since there isn’t a universal test standard in the drone industry, flight time is a better and more direct measure over battery capacity.
The Mavic remote controller has a battery life of 2.5 hours and more importantly, it also has a built-in screen, offering flight information including flight data, battery level and so on.
So even if your phone is out of battery, you can still use the remote controller alone to control your Mavic Pro.
7km Video Transmission Range
DJI uses a new transmission system in the Mavic Pro which allows you to change between different radio frequency bands to extend the transmission range or avoid interference. DJI claims that the max transmission range is 7km, which beats the range provided by commonly used 2.4G Wi-Fi video transmission.
We tested this, too.
When Mavic reaches a 6km range, the system warns that the signal is weak, but video transmission is stable and smooth as always. When it’s 7km away, we still have transmission signal.
New Intelligent Flight Modes
Mavic comes with many different Intelligent Flight Modes, including Circle, which is the mode I use the most. When a target has been selected, the Mavic will start to circle around it.
Other than that, Mavic Pro also supports the new Spotlight and Profile Modes, where the drone flies in parallel to the subject. You can adjust the distance between the drone and the subject by using the control sticks. You are suggested to use these modes in places with one side open and wide, such as canyons or roads along the sea.
A new important feature called Gesture Mode has been added to the Mavic. In this mode, the camera will recognize moving objects in the frame, and the front LEDs start to flash slowly after finishing calibrate its recognition system. When you make a specific gesture, for example, a frame gesture, the Mavic confirms your gesture and the front LEDs flash quickly and the camera takes a photo. All you need to do is pose before the flashing stops.
Phone control and goggles
Finally, the Mavic Pro can now be controlled with just a phone. However, in this mode its maximum flight range, altitude and speed are all restricted. There are also specially design FPV goggles coming soon, so that users can experience Mavic’s flight in an immersive way.
Let’s sum up all the highlighted features of the Mavic Pro. Transforming frame arms and remote controller, high-precision 3-axis gimbal, new Intelligent Flight Modes, intelligent Obstacle Avoidance, TapFly, Profile Mode, Terrain Follow, controllable with a smart phone, Gesture Mode and vertical camera angle.
The concept of a selfie drone is not new. Rather, it’s an extension of consumer drone category, just more consumer-oriented and optimized in terms of their size, weight, intelligent features, flight time and so on. That’s how the Mavic Pro was born.
Despite its small size, Mavic has everything needed inside. If you have higher expectations than just a “selfie drone”, you will be amazed by what the Mavic can do.
That’s all for today’s review. Thank you for watching. See you next time!