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The new people’s quadrocopter. Overview of the DJI Mavic Air

With competition in the market kvadrokopterov all very bad. Only the Chinese DJI can boast of cost-effective and functional devices aimed at the mass market and the consumer who knows the value of money. Some competitors in the world can be found, but in Belarus they are practically not represented. On this fertile ground, people’s love for the new DJI Mavic Air drones is ensured.

Mavic Air – continued in the line of folding Chinese quadrocopters. The first Mavic Pro was introduced in October 2016. He solved the main problem of drones Phantom – compactness. The Mavic series features a folding design: even the screws now do not necessarily need to be removed and remounted between flights, as was the case in the Phantom series. And if Pro seemed a big step towards mobility and compactness, then Air went even smaller – compare it with just the very toy Spark . But in some moments the novelty came up with nothing inferior to the Pro version.

The model received a 4K-camera, three-axle suspension, obstacle clearance system, several pre-installed flight scenarios, a more pleasant design, ideal physical dimensions and, more importantly, a more democratic price recommended by the manufacturer – about $ 800. But first things first.


The external view of Air is very different from Pro. It seems that in the very first Mavic, the company’s engineers concentrated more on practicality, pushing the zamorochki about the beauty in the background. Hence the angularity of the quadrocopter. The new device justifies its name by the super clean air lines of the hull and smoothed corners. In total, there are three color versions of the case: matte white and black, as well as glossy red. In the latter case, Air most resembles an expensive supercar, which features solar flares.

Notable differences in the novelty are the design of the camera and suspensions, which are similar to similar elements in Spark. Propellers, in contrast to the Pro, do not fold up, but extend along the body, which nevertheless does not affect compactness in any way.

On the front beams of the drone are peculiar supports that not only raise the body above the surface, but also contain antennas.

The Air model comes with a hard carrying case. Quadrocopter can be called a miniature, because if you want it can be hidden in a bulky pocket jacket or jacket. What can we say about hiking backpacks. The dimensions of the device in the folded state are equal to 168 × 83 × 49 mm, which is at least as long as modern smartphones.

As we have already noted, the propellers of the new drone do not add up, unlike the Pro version. In addition, they are smaller: 133 mm against 214. They sound like a swarm of small evil bees, whereas in a larger model the sound of propellers is lower, because of what it seems that it behaves more quietly.

The control panel is also compact. Even its levers can be unscrewed and hidden in the case. A simple, but very elegant solution that makes the transportation of the remote control much more convenient. In the reclining holder for the smartphone, no problem is placed devices with a diagonal screen for 6 inches.

For management, it’s enough to install DJI Go 4 on your smartphone. It already has all the basic steps for connecting a quadrocopter. Anyone who has a gamepad from Xbox or PlayStation in their hands will easily get used to the buttons and levers of the controller from Air.

The control panel lost the built-in screen, which, in principle, can be considered a positive change. After all, all the important information is much easier to get from the screen of the connected smartphone. In theory, this should have a positive effect on the autonomy of the remote, equipped with a battery capacity of 2970 mAh. In addition, you can control the drones from your smartphone directly. In this case, the devices will be connected via Wi-Fi. Naturally, the communication range will be quite small – up to 100 meters to the side and up to 50 meters in height. In the urban environment should take into account the abundant interference.

In flight

Chinese engineers managed to equip the quadrocopter with six sensors to prevent the collision, and make it much less than its predecessor. Two sensors are located on the front of the drone, two – on the rear, two more – on the bottom. All of them protect the device from collision with obstacles. It is thanks to the sensors that the quadrocopter can be launched indoors and not be afraid to break it against the wall. Already two meters from the obstacle, he begins to give menacing signals about a possible collision.

The Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) is based on these sensors. It does not just stop the drone in front of the obstacle, but forces it to fly around, continuing to move forward. Because of this system, the quadrocopter will not turn very low above the ground, but in the settings it can always be turned off at your own peril and risk.

In the standard mode, the new Air flies at a speed of up to 30 km / h, in the sport mode it accelerates to 68 km / h. We did not dare to risk and test overflights at this speed: there are still no cameras on either side.

It may seem that, because of its small size and weight (430 grams), the drone is quite difficult to remain stable under wind gusts, but the manufacturer claims that everything will be fine with the device even at a wind speed of 35 km / h. In fact, the spring wind of the spring in Minsk did not deliver problems to the quadrocopter. Attempts to drag him by the foot from the place led to the fact that he quickly and fairly smoothly returned to its original position.

The range of flight and control largely depends on the density of construction. In an open area, without interference, a drone can fly a distance of about a mile and a half, after which there are gaps in the picture and control. This should be borne in mind when choosing a quadrocopter, because many other DJI products have a more stable connection channel.

The device recognizes not only objects, but also gestures. This even tied the management system. However, issuing passes with hands in the air is rather tedious – it’s much easier to give the device a command from the console in a quick way.

Camera and Shooting Modes

A 12-megapixel camera with a three-axis stabilizer is capable of shooting at 4K resolution with 30 frames per second. At a resolution of 1080p, it is possible to record images in slow motion at a rate of 120 frames per second. Dron has 8 GB of internal memory, but it is possible to expand it with memory cards up to 128 GB. All recorded can be merged directly to the computer through the USB-C connector.

Thanks to Active Track technology, a quadrocopter is able to follow and move behind objects that the operator has selected on the screen of the smartphone.

The company DJI has added several new shooting scenarios, which allow everyone to feel like a cool videographer. For example, in the “Boomerang” mode, the drone is first spiraled away from the point, and then as smoothly back to it. In the “Rocket” mode, the device takes off clearly above the object, and in the “Asteroid” mode, removing the object, it is removed skyward, and then shoots the panorama, stylizing the neighborhood under the planetary ball. In TapFly mode, you can distract from the direct control of the quadrocopter, just tapping on the screen by specifying a point on the route of movement.

Autonomy and equipment

The flight time is difficult to calculate. It largely depends on the completeness of charging the battery and the weather outside the window. Although the manufacturer claims that a 100% battery charge of 2375 mAh is enough for 21 minutes of flight, in fact the device is discharged to 5% in about 18 minutes. It’s only a few minutes less than the Pro version. It is also reported that the maximum range is 10 km. Probably, you can make sure of this only if you force the drone to track the car in which the console is located.

The Air Quadro Copter comes with one battery, but, as is usually the case, for an additional fee you can buy a Combo-kit with three batteries, screw protection, eight additional propellers and a special bag with compartments for both the drone and the control panel.

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