A folding 4K mini drone that’s close to perfect. The DJI Mavic Air is an easy-to-fly drone that shoots great 4K video, packed into an impossibly small package. It’s the latest and in many ways greatest consumer drone from DJI, the name that’s effectively become for drones what Apple and Samsung are for smartphones. The Mavic Air effectively combines the best aspects of the company’s top-end Mavic Pro my go-to consumer camera drone recommendation since it was introduced in October 2016 with the portability of its more casual-focused, travel-friendly Spark, while adding some great new capabilities to the mix, including better obstacle avoidance and an improved 4K video camera.
Starting at $799, £769 and AU$1,299, the Air is a clear step up from the Spark, but its position against the $999 Pro is more hazy. The Mavic Pro has a couple features the Air doesn’t, but the opposite is also true. Mainly, the Pro has a slight edge on battery life and video transmission range and can record video at a “true” 4K resolution of 4,096×2,160 pixels. There’s also a Pro Platinum edition that’s quieter and flies a few minutes longer than the baseline Pro model.
The Air, on the other hand, is a much smarter drone than both the Spark and Mavic Pro thanks to new tech inside that not only makes it safer for you to fly, but keeps the drone itself out of harm’s way as well. For nonprofessionals looking for a camera drone that does more than snap selfies, but is still amazingly compact for travel, the Mavic Air is just about perfect.
- The Good The DJI Mavic Air’s folding design makes it great for travel while its 4K-resolution camera and three-axis gimbal capture nice-looking photos and video. Automated shooting options and obstacle avoidance make it easy to get good results fast.
- The Bad Flight time is typically between 15 to 18 minutes, so expect to buy extra batteries. Piloting by app can be frustrating, especially on smaller screens. Obstacle avoidance doesn’t cover you from the sides or top.
- The Bottom Line An amazing amount of tech in a pocketable drone, the DJI Mavic Air is the best travel drone you’re going to find right now.