Right To Rise was able to test the DJI Mavic Air 2 which was released a few weeks ago. The first impressions when this recreational drone was discovered were confirmed after numerous test flights. The light aircraft has enough to dominate the market for quite some time.
On paper, when its release was announced, the Mavic Air 2 had left RTR with the impression of a drone so inspired by DJI’s pro models that it could well become the reference drone for the general public. While the author of these lines is used to and certified in remote piloting of professional drones, this impression was confirmed by testing the Mavic Air 2 for two weeks. The replacement for the Mavic Air no longer plays in the same yard at all. It evolves in the air practically as well as a professional drone and delivers images which approach it. Difficult to criticize this drone for beginners. He will immediately put them in confidence with his anti-collision systems. This arsenal inflates the price, but it actually allows to start without risking the destruction of the drone from the first turns of propellers. The lover of beautiful images will appreciate the programmed evolution modes and a quality very close to professional models.
On the design side, as RTR had already mentioned, the device takes up the aesthetics of the Mavic 2 with the same architecture as regards the folding arms. It is simply smaller, which allows it to be held in the hand when folded. Its weight of 570 grams does not require passing the free training on Alpha tango. This is compulsory for leisure drones weighing more than 800 grams. On this point, we really stay in the universe of the leisure drone …
When folded down, the DJI Mavic Air 2 can fit in your hand. Its dimensions are however much larger than those of its predecessor. © DJI
Almost flawless remote control
Its rectangular remote control is compact and the small control levers can be unscrewed to store on the front side. Practical not to damage them in a bag. The remote control does not have a visible antenna. It is integrated on the front of the retractable telephone holder. This gives access to the connection cable which is connected and stored inside. This system is very practical, because it is difficult to lose or forget this essential cable. It is with him that the mobile is connected and that we have the settings and the video feedback via the DJI Fly app. The only problem is that the clamp of the support tends to press the volume or shutdown buttons on the mobile.
The remote control incorporates the new proprietary Ocusync 2.0 wireless link. According to DJI, it remains stable and its range is 6 km. A distance that we obviously can not advise while it is mandatory to keep the view of the drone during evolutions. For example, in classic activity scenarios, a professional remote pilot does not move the aircraft more than 200 meters away from an unpopulated area and 100 meters from a populated area. In terms of height, remember that the maximum altitude remains 150 meters and often less close to urban areas. Better not to try the devil, even if the aircraft has a return to take-off system.
The maneuverability and stability of a pro drone in less than 600 grams
During the flight tests, the small drone impressed by its stability despite its low mass. The rotors and stabilizers do more than their job properly while the drone remains unmoved by maintaining its hover in the event of a gust. The device is nervous and swings when necessary and in particular by using the sport mode proposed on the remote control. From the piloting point of view, the Mavic Air 2 does not really differ from a professional drone. Similarly, compared to the latter, the model tested impressed with the speed with which it manages to hang a sufficient number of satellites to ensure its geolocation.
The video feedback via the DJI Fly application is of very good quality and practically without latency. Obviously, it is strongly advised not to pilot the drone via this video feedback. In addition to being strictly prohibited, this slows the progression of the handling of a drone. And on this last point, the Mavic Air 2 has really been strong.
The device is loaded with proximity sensors found on professional models. As a result, the risk of collision is very limited. Only the side and top sensors of the drone are missing. For a regular, this absence allows to sneak the drone between obstacles laterally. The application is certainly simplified, but it offers most of the automated shooting modes found with other more advanced models. These QuickShots are six in number and deliver spectacular sequences automatically.
Very gifted in pictures
For the pictures, again, the Mavic Air 2 seems to do as well as some of the pros. Its optics equivalent to a 24 mm (f / 2.8) houses a ½ Cmos sensor. It is capable of taking 12 or 48 megapixel shots. During our tests, the best results were obtained in 12 megapixel mode. The camera was most impressive for the videos. It can shoot in 4K with 60 frames per second, which is better than more expensive models. However, to benefit from HDR mode, you must limit the number of images to 30 per second. The result is very convincing, even without adjustments.
Question autonomy, the manufacturer claims that the Mavic Air 2 can stay in the air for up to 34 minutes. A time almost impossible to wait without completely draining the battery. With these drones, it is better not to go below 20% of autonomy, for safety, but also to prolong the longevity of the battery. During our tests, we respected this rule and the flight time exceeded 25 minutes, which is already very good for a drone of this category.
It is clear that with its price of 849 euros, the Mavic Air 2 is not cheap. But at this price, the drone outperforms any other leisure model with its anti-collision sensors, its stability, the quality of its images and its very simple handling for a beginner. It is so close to professional drones that it could almost be one of them.