DJI Mavic Air: the ultimate drone for travellers

News Corp Australia

WE get to review some pretty cool gadgets, but few go close to the stunning simplicity, power, performance and exceptional photography and video results of DJI's Mavic Air.

This is one super cool little drone which even manages to perform well in the wind from clifftops and across the ocean.

Weighing at just 430 grams and with folding arms, it packs away superbly into its own carry case, with the remote control in the pocket.

Sure, it is not as powerful or stable in wind as some of its bigger brothers, but for adventurers and video enthusiasts, it's just about perfect.

Setting it up is easy. You just download the DJI Go 4 app on your phone, plug the phone into your remote control and connect it to your drone.

You calibrate the drone by rotating it around your body and then turning it on its side and doing the same. It also a good idea to set the home point at the same time via the app.

That way if you lose sight of your drone (which is not that hard when it is small) you can have it automatically return to home base.

The Mavic Air features a 12 megapixel camera with a 1/2.3" CMOS sensor and the equivalent of a 24mm F2.8 lens.

It has a three-axis mechanical gimbal suspended from dampeners to reduce vibration.

We flew it near waterfalls, high in a mountain range, above the ocean, as well as testing its sports mode in an empty park.

The Air is DJI's first drone with 8 gigabytes of onboard storage, meaning you can save photos and videos directly to the aircraft on the go.  You can also add to that storage with a microSD card. Transferring videos back home is quick via the USB-C port.


Pt Cartwright looks pretty special from above when shot on DJI's Mavic Air drone.
Pt Cartwright looks pretty special from above when shot on DJI's Mavic Air drone.

It can also shoot 1080p slow-motion video at 120 fps.

DJI says it can fly stably in windy conditions of up to 36 kph and at elevations of up to 5,000m above sea level.

When in sport mode, it can fly up to 68kmh, while it has a maximum range of an impressive 4kms with 720p real-time transmission - when flying with the remote controller.

The new Asteroid QuickShot video mode is particularly cool. It flies above you, capturing the surrounds to produce a sensational spherical image.

Other cool modes include Rocket, Dronie, Circle, Helix and Boomerang - all of which create videos which would have once required some decent piloting skills.

The ActiveTrack intelligent flight mode has also been improved to automatically sense multiple subjects.

For the photographers, new new Sphere panorama feature stitches together 25 photos, creating a  32-megapixel panoramic image within a minute.

Like its smaller sister, the Spark, you can also use hand gesture commands to launch, follow, photograph, record, push, pull and land, without the need for a remote controller.

Mavic Air is available in three colors: Onyx Black, Arctic White and Flame Red. The Australia retail price including the drone, battery, remote controller, carrying case, two pairs of propeller guards and four pairs of propellers, is $1,299 AUD.

But with the battery lasting less than 20 minutes, the  Mavic Air Fly More Combo with three batteries, a remote controller, a travel bag, two pairs of propeller guards, six pairs of propellers, a battery to power bank adapter and battery charging hub, is probably a better option at $1,599 AUD.

DJI's Mavic Air fits in your hand.
DJI's Mavic Air fits in your hand.