This DJI Mavic Air review looks at the outstanding features and answers your many questions regarding this new quadcopter. The Mavic Air is another feat of elegant design and new innovative technology from DJI.
This DJI Mavic Air has a weight of less than 16 ounces, is small is size and very sleek. It folds up neatly and is easy to carry. For it’s size, the Mavic Air is packed with a lot of amazing new technology.
DJI have created a fun quadcopter, which is super easy to fly. It has some exceptional technologies such as smart gesture recognition, 3 axis gimbal, 4k camera, 3 directions of obstacle detection sensing. The Mavic Air follow me active tracking of people or objects is more advanced than the Spark or Mavic Pro.
The camera and intelligent flight modes allow you to take quick shots from different angles. The Mavic Air can take 4 different types of Panorama shots and has an intelligent exposure system to help you get the lighting just perfect in your aerial photos.
The Mavic Air flies for 21 minutes with a video transmission of 4 km (2.48 miles). It’s has a 10 km max flight range without wind and has a max height above sea level of 5 km (3.1 mile) which is totally WOW.
In this Mavic Air review, you will read all about these features and specifications with some terrific Mavic Air videos along the way.
Smaller DJI Drone
Now, in October 2019, DJI released an even smaller drone called the Mavic Mini. It doesn’t have as much technology as the Mavic Air such as follow me modes or collision avoidance. However at 249 grams (8.78 ounces), it was created for a specific purpose. In most countries you probably won’t need a license to fly it. It is a beautiful quadcopter. It flies super stable and has an excellent camera.
Now, lets take a look at the excellent features of the Mavic Air which has been a huge favorite by drone pilots the World over.
DJI Mavic Air Review, Specs And FAQs
Mavic Air Review – Features
The Mavic Air introduction took place in January 2018 to much fanfare with thousands connecting online to see this latest release from DJI. There is so many new design and technology features on this latest DJI quadcopter. This first video is the Mavic Air introductions. After, the video, we have all the information on the Mavic Air features and specifications.
What is the Mavic Air Flight Time?
The Mavic Air has a maximum flight time of 21 minutes at a consistent speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) with no wind. The hovering time for the Mavic Air is 20 minutes without wind.
How Fast Can The Mavic Air Fly?
Mavic Air Max Speed
68.4 km/h (42.5 mph) flying in Sports mode with the remote controller at close to sea level with no wind.
28.8 km/h (17.9 mph) maximum speed in P-Mode.
28.8 km/h (17.9 mph) maximum speed in WiFi Mode.
Mavic Air Max Ascent Speed
4 meters per second (13 feet) in Sports mode using the Remote Controller.
1.5 meters per second (5 feet) in P – mode.
1 meter per second (3.2 feet) in WiFi mode.
Mavic Air Descent Speed
3 meters per second (10 feet) in Sports mode using the Remote Controller.
1.5 meters per second in P – mode.
1 meter per second in WiFi mode.
What Is the Mavic Air Flight Distance?
From DJI, the Mavic Air has a 6.2 mile flight distance (10 km range) with no wind.
What is the Mavic Air Weight?
The Mavic Air takeoff weight is just under 16 ounces (430 grams). This is very light. Also, because of it’s intelligent gyroscope and flight systems, the Mavic Air flies exceptionally smooth even in windy conditions.
Mavic Air Global Navigation Satellite System
The Mavic Air uses both GPS and GLONASS so you pick up many satellites. The dual satellite system also assists with precision flying and safety.
Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level
The Mavic Air max height is 5000 meters (3.1 mile) above sea level. You can read exactly the full description of max service ceiling here.
Can The Mavic Air Fly In High Winds?
Is The Mavic Air Waterproof?
Unfortunately the Mavic Air isn’t waterproof so be careful flying over water and also not to fly if it is raining. It is a good idea not to fly in heavy mist or real heavy fog. Flying in these conditions would leave visibility almost impossible.
How To Fly The Mavic Air?
There are 3 ways to fly the Mavic Air;
- Dedicated remote controller.
- Smartphone using DJI Go 4 app.
- Smartphone connected to Remote Controller Using DJI Go 4 app.
Max Video Transmission Distance
The Mavic Air max video transmission distance is 4 km unobstructed and in line of sight using the Remote Controller and DJI Go 4 app connected. The area should be clear of electromagnetic interference which will disrupt the video transmission.
Note: Be fully knowledgeable and comply with your countries drone flying rules and regulations.
The max video transmission when you are flying directly from a Smart Phone or Tablet mobile device is as follows;
- Max height: 50 meters (164 feet).
- Max distance: 80 meters (262 feet).
Resolution of the Mavic Air’s Video Transmission
Latency of the Mavic Air Video Transmission
Frequency Bands During Video Transmission
What Are the DJI Mavic Air Bundles Available
Mavic Air Obstacle Sensing Reviewed
The Mavic Air can sense objects in 3 directions. It has Forward, Backward and Downward Vision system which is constantly scanning for obstacles in front and behind the Mavic Air, allowing it to avoid collisions by flying either flying around the obstacle or hovering in front.
FlightAutonomy 2.0 is the name for the DJI integrated system of sensors, algorithms and advanced VIO technology for the Mavic Air to sense it’s surroundings and take action based on what is senses.
In general terms, VIO or Visual Inertial Odometry technology fuses information from a camera and inertial sensors, specifically gyroscopes and accelerometers, to accurately estimate device position without relying on GNSS systems.
Now, the DJI Mavic Air uses advanced VIO technology in its powerful sensor system FlightAutonomy 2.0. This consists of a primary gimbal camera, forward, backward, downward dual vision sensors, downward infrared sensing system, IMU redundancies and a group of computing cores.
Together, they collect information from the surrounding environment and transmit it to the high performance processor for more precise hovering and better flight performance.
The Downward Vision System helps the Mavic Air to maintain its current location. It can hover in place very precisely. The Mavic Air Downward Vision System also allows the quadcopter to fly indoors or other environments where their is no GPS signal.
The main hardware components of the Downward Vision System are 2 cameras and also a 3D Infrared module.
Mavic Air APAS System
The Mavic Air has an Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) technology which is totally new. The Mavic Air APAS system will allow the quadcopter to attempt to bypass obstacles in front of it, while you are flying using the Remote Controller.
In other words, when you are flying forward, the Mavic Air is constantly scanning it’s surroundings for potential obstacles. If the Mavic Air detects an object or obstacle, it will calculate a safe path around the obstacle without stopping. This is totally new technology which isn’t on DJI other drones, the Mavic Pro or Spark.
If it is unable to calculate or find a safe path, it will stop and hover in place.
Mavic Air Sensing System Specifications
Precision Measurement Range: 0.5 – 12 meters (1.6 to 39 feet).
Detectable Range: 0.5 – 24 meters (1.6 to 78 feet).
Effective Sensing Speed: ≤ 8 meters per second (26 feet).
Field of View: Horizontal 50°, Vertical ±19°.
Precision Measurement Range: 0.5 – 10 meters (1.6 to 33 feet).
Detectable Range: 0.5 – 20 meters (1.6 to 66 feet).
Effective Sensing Speed: ≤ 8 m/s (26 feet).
Field of View: Horizontal 50°, Vertical ±19°.
Altitude Range: 0.1 – 8 meters (0.3 to 26 feet).
Operating Range: 0.5 – 30 meters (1.6 to 98 feet).
Note: There are many reasons and environments where the environment sensing system won’t work or will not work optimally. For example, vision sensors won’t sense in darkness or bad light. Reflective or transparent surfaces will also pose difficulties with the Vision and Infrared sensors. In the Mavic Air manual, read the section regarding the Mavic Air sensing system.
Obstacle Sensing is fascinating technology and you can read further in this article entitled “Top Collision Avoidance Drones And Obstacle Detection Explained“.
Mavic Air Return To Home Safety Feature
The Return to Home (RTH) function brings the the Mavic Air back to the last recorded home point. Having the RTH feature gives great confidence to both beginner and professional pilots when flying. The RTH function is even greater on the Mavic Air compared to other quadcopters on the market.
The are 3 types of Return to Home;
Smart RTH: This is initiated by the Pilot either by tapping ‘H’ in the DJI Go 4 app or by pressing the RTH button on the Remote Controller.
Low Battery RTH: The return to home is triggered when the battery is depleted to a point that may affect the safe return of the Mavic Air.
Failsafe RTH: The Forward Vision system will allow the Mavic Air to create a real time map of it’s route as it flies. If the Home point was successfully recorded, the Failsafe RTH will be automatically activated if the remote control signal is lost for 3 seconds when flying with Remote Controller or 20 seconds if flying with mobile device.
Obstacle Avoidance During RTH
The Mavic Air senses and actively attempts to avoid obstacles during automatic Return To Home. The Mavic Air RTH obstacle avoidance works as follows;
- The Mavic Air slows down when an obstacle is sensed.
- It will stop and hover, then fly backward and ascends upwards until no obstacle is sensed.
- Next the RTH process resumes and the Mavic Air will return to home point a the new altitude.
*Note*: The Vision Sensors won’t work properly in bad light or may not work at all. When you receive your Mavic Air, it is a great idea to read the User Manual especially the sections on the Vision Systems, Intelligent Flight Battery and Return to Home Features. Read these sections a few times.
Mavic Air Follow Me Review
The Mavic Air ActiveTrack technology can sense up to 16 subjects or persons etc and they become selectable on screen in the DJI Go 4 app. You then choose the right tracking subject.
With higher tracking precision and broader scenario applications, ActiveTrack follows you even when running, jumping or cycling. It can follow people, bicycles, cars and boats etc.
There are 3 Mavic Air follow me modes, which are;
Trace Mode: This Mavic Air Trace mode tracks the subject at a constant distance. It follows the subject and keeps it in the frame.
Spotlight Mode: The Mavic Air keeps the camera pointing at the subject during flight.
Profile Mode: The Mavic Air Profile mode locks the subject in the frame at a constant angle and distance from the side.
Note: There is no obstacle detection on the sides of the Mavic Air so flying in profile mode, you will need to be fully aware of where you are flying.
Mavic Air Autonomous Flight Modes
Points of Interest Waypoints
With Points Of Interest, you select a subject or object and set the circle radius, flight altitude, speed, the the aircraft will fly around the subject according to the parameters.
TapFly Autonomous Flying
If you want to focus on your aerial filming or photography, then choose the Mavic Air TapFly mode in the DJI GO 4 app.
TapFly lets you fly wherever you tap on your mobile device screen in the DJI Go 4 app. TapFly works in Forward, Backward, Free, and Coordinate modes.
Forward: The Mavic Air will fly towards the target using the Forward Vision System sensing obstacles.
Backward: The Mavic Air will fly in the opposite direction of the target using the Backward Vision System sensing obstacles.
Free: The Mavic air will fly toward the target. However you can also use the remote controller to maneuver the orientation of the quadcopter freely.
Coordinate: Tap a specific location in the DJI Go 4 app. The Mavic Air will travel to the point at its current altitude, then hover in place.
You can change the direction while in flight by just tapping another area of the screen where you would like the Mavic Air to fly. You can also adjust flight speed during the TapFly flight.
Mavic Air Gimbal
The Mavic Air camera technology is superb. The Mavic Air 3 axis gimbal has an angular vibration range, which is now reduced to 0.005 degrees. Most other drone manufacturers can’t even measure the angular vibration range of their camera gimbals. Now, the Mavic Air gimbal is set in a triangular formation with new innovative dampeners for almost perfect gimbal stability.
Mavic Air 4k Camera
The Mavic Air camera shoots video in 4k at 30 frames per second. It also records at 100 Mbps to capture every second in UHD quality. The camera also supports recording 1080p at 120 frames per second slow motion video.
Can The Mavic Air Take Panorama Shots?
The Mavic Air supports the following panorama modes;
- Vertical: The camera automatically takes 3 vertical photos. It then stitches them into one panorama.
- Horizontal: The camera will take 9 aerial photos from different angles, stitching them into one panorama.
- 180°: The Mavic Air rotates its body while the camera takes 21 pictures. It then stitches them together in the DJI GO 4 to care 180° panoramas.
- Sphere: The Mavic Air rotates its body while the gimbal camera takes 25 photos. It then stitches them together to create spectacular 32 megapixel spherical panoramas.
Mavic Air Camera Intelligent Exposure System
The DJI Mavic Air uses new HDR photography algorithms which help you obtain the right exposure settings intelligently, according to lighting conditions.
Overexposed or dark areas of photos are processed for a more natural transition between highlights and shadows, while DSP acceleration allows for more efficient shooting.
HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range“. This Dynamic Range is the difference between the lightest light and darkest dark you can capture in a photo.
Once your subject exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, the highlights tend to wash out to white or the dark areas simply become big black blobs.
It is quite difficult to snap a photo which captures both ends of this spectrum, but with the new DJI HDR algorithms, the camera exposure setting is adjusted intelligently.
Mavic Air Still Shots
The Mavic Air’s on-board camera integrates a 12 megapixel CMOS sensor and an f/2.8 lens with a 35 mm equivalent focal length of 24 mm to shoot high-quality photos and videos.
Mavic Air Sensor And Still Image Size
- 1/2.3” CMOS.
- Effective Pixels: 12 MP.
- 4:3 4056 x 3040.
- 16:9 4056 x 2280.
Mavic Air Lens
- FOV: 85°.
- 35 mm Format Equivalent: 24 mm.
- Aperture: f/2.8.
- Shooting Range: 0.5 m to ∞.
Here is some spectacular cinematography filmed with the Mavic Air. It is incredible how such a small quadcopter can film so perfectly.
Mavic Air Quickshots
With the Mavic Air, you have a choice of six different QuickShots. The first 4 listed below were on the DJI Spark quadcopter. The Asteroid and Boomerang quick shots are totally new. These quick shots allow you to concentrate on capturing the film or photo while the Mavic Air flying autonomously. The Mavic Air quick shots are as follows;
- Rocket: Ascend with the camera pointing downward.
- Dronie: Fly backward and upward, with the camera locked on your subject.
- Circle: Circle around the subject.
- Helix: Fly upward, spiraling around your subject.
- Asteroid: In Asteroid Quickshot, the Mavic Air flies backward and upward. It takes several photos, then flies to it’s starting point.
- Boomerang: The Mavic Air flies backward around the subject in an oval path.
Mavic Air Smart Capture And Gesture Recognition
SmartCapture uses both Face Aware and Palm Control to allow you to take selfies, record videos and control the Mavic Air.
Gesture Launch , Follow And Land
The Mavic Air features a new mode to launch and land the drone. After take off, you can fly the quadcopter with hand gestures while taking picture or video also using hand gestures.
It uses the vision sensors on the front of the quadcopter and intelligent gesture recognition technology to recognize your hands and take action based on your hand gestures.
It is very simple to set up.
You need to activate FaceAware and PalmControl by choosing the SmartCapture option in the DJI Go 4 app on your phone.
Next, you place the Mavic Air on a flat piece of ground facing you and approximately 1.5 to 3 meters (5 to 10 feet) away from you. You then face the palm of your hand towards the Mavic Air.
After a second, it will take off and rise to your eye level. You can then control the Mavic Air with the palm of your hand.
There are gestures to move the Mavic Air away or close to you, take photos using the Peace sign and film by creating a frame using your fingers at chin level. It’s pretty cool technology.
Another great feature is switching control of the Mavic Air to another person who can then use their hands to control the quadcopter.
What Is The Max Control Range Of the Mavic Air In SmartCapture?
Mavic Air Video Resolutions
2.7K: 2720 × 1530 24/25/30/48/50/60p.
FHD: 1920 × 1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p.
HD: 1280 × 720 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p.
How Does the Mavic Air Store Photos And Video?
The Mavic Air has 8 GB of internal storage which will allow you to save photos and videos directly to the quadcopter. You can then export the files through its USB 3.0 Type-C port.
The Mavic Air also has a Micro SD card slot which can take the following recommended cards
Is the Mavic Air Compatible With DJI Goggles?
Yes. the Mavic Air works with the DJI Goggles. These are an excellent accessory and are good value. Flying using DJI Goggles is a terrific experience and they are great to fly with when their is strong sunlight.
What’s In The Mavic Air Box?
In the standard Mavic Air package, you receive the following;
- Mavic Air Quadcopter With Propellers x 1.
- Remote Controller x 1.
- Intelligent Fight Battery x 1.
- Spare Propellers x 2.
- AC Power Adapter x 1.
- AC Power Cable x 1.
- Propeller Guards Set x 1.
- Gimbal Protector x 1.
- USB 3.0 Cable Type C x 1.
- USB Adapter.
- RC Slider Cables x 3.
- Small Carrying Case x 1.
- Pair of Spare Remote Control Sticks x 1.
- Manuals x 5.
DJI Mavic Air Review Videos
This first DJI Mavic Air review video delves into its design, flight, gimbal, camera and all its fantastic technologies.
This next review video takes the Mavic Air on location in Bermuda and compares the Mavic Air to the Mavic Pro and also to the Phantom 4 Pro. Terrific video.