DJI Unveils Redesigned Mavic Air 2, Adds 8K Support

Popular drone puts on a little weight but also increases flight time

One of the most popular drones on the market got a makeover that increases weight, but also improves flight and imaging performance. It remains, though an intriguing mix of power and price ($799).

DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI Mavic Air 2.  DJI

DJI is merging some of its popular consumer drone products into a single, more consistent design. The new DJI Mavic Air 2, which DJI unveiled on Monday, represents a significant redesign and power-upgrade over the last Mavic Air, and it’s one that is clearly based on the larger Mavic Pro 2.

A whole new look: Gone is the colorful plastic body covering, replaced by sharper lines and an all-gray body. In virtually every way, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is like a pint-sized little brother to the Mavic Pro 2. The power button now sits on the top, the fold-out propeller arms are repositioned, the 3-axis gimbal camera is now housed in a square container, and the propeller blades now curve up gently on the tips, just as they do on the Pro.

The included remote control also looks completely different, though it still lets you connect your favorite smartphone and use the phone as a flight control screen.

DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI Mavic Air 2 folded up.  DJI

Putting on weight: At 570 grams (roughly 1.25 lbs.), the new Mavic Air 2 is noticeably heavier than the 430-gram Mavic Air 1. On the other hand, the 21-minute flight time limit on the old Mavic Air is now a robust 34 minutes on the Mavic Air 2.

How far and fast can it go: According to DJI, the Mavic Air 2 now has, with updated OcuSync software, the ability to deliver a solid HD video signal to the connected smartphone from up to six miles away. The maximum flight altitude is roughly 16,400 ft above sea level, though in restricted areas (near airports) you’re usually required to stay under 400 ft. The max speed of 42.5 mph is unchanged from the last Mavic Air.

  • Mavic Air 2 Weight: 430 grams
  • Max video resolution: 8K
  • Max photo resolution: 48 MP
  • Drone speed: 42.5 mph
  • Price: $799

Your best drone footage: This is also DJI's first foldable drone capable of shooting 8K video, which will be cool when more of us finally own 8K TVs and computer displays. The 48 MP camera, which is backed by a 0.5-inch sensor, also shoots 12MP HDR photos, 4K video, and 1080p slow motion video up to 240 fps.

DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI Mavic Air 2 top view.  DJI

Is it safe? The best drones are, essentially, flying robots and can protect themselves sometimes better than inexperienced pilots can. Like the last Air, the Mavic Air 2 includes forward and rear obstacle sensors which you can use to either warn you of obstacles or let the drone avoid them on its own. There are sensors and auxiliary lights on the bottom to assist with landings.

This is DJI’s first consumer drone to communicate directly with airplanes and helicopters, using Automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS–B), and warn drone pilots of nearby aircraft.

DJI Mavic Air 2 Remote Control
DJI Mavic Air 2 Remote Control.  DJI

Just wait: DJI is still selling the DJI Mavic Air 2 for $799 for the drone, remote, and a single battery. The $988 Fly More package includes a carrying case, three batteries, camera filters, and a charging hub. Pre-orders started this week, but availability is coming first to China and expected in the U.S. by late May.

Bottom line: By the time the DJI Mavic Air 2 arrives outside of China, we may be emerging from our COVID-19 stay-at-home orders so we can take these drones for test flights. On the other hand, there will still be significant limits on where and how far we can go. Drones like this may let us virtually reach out a little bit further.

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