10 Drones Similar to the Mavic Pro
An industry favorite, the Phantom 4 Pro is a staple of drone engineering. It’s the first of its kind to offer 360 degree obstacle avoidance, a sports mode that allows it to fly up to nearly 50mph, tap-to-focus, the draw feature (you can draw a line on the supported tablet and the drone will follow it), and more. It took everything brilliant from the Phantom 4 and expanded on it in a way that makes the 4 Pro stand on its own, rather than be an improved version of the 4. It can shoot in 4k and it livestreams FPV via Lightbridge technology at 1080p, rather than 720p of the 4. Often, you’ll see the Mavic Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro compared (despite the price points – kudos to the Mavic) and you’ll find that the Phantom 4 Pro is a bigger machine with better stability and a better camera system. If you’re looking for a drone that’s going to be able to tackle most conditions, can take industry standard photography, and is nearly completely autonomous, then that’s the Phantom 4 Pro.
You’re obviously going to see a lot of DJI models on this list; since it’s only natural the drones most similar to the Mavic will have been engineered by the same company. One of the best attributes of the Phantom 4 is that after its successor, the 4 Pro (and now a second one: the Phantom 4 Advanced), it experienced a nice price drop. Filled with DJI autonomous features, a camera that can shoot in 4k, obstacle avoidance sensors, and a sports mode that allows it to fly up to 40mph, this drone is basically the one that started it all. Sounds corny, but the Phantom 4 paved the way for some of the best-known consumer drone engineering we see today. And for good reason. It comes with all the autonomous features expected from a Phantom (active track, return home, hover, follow me, etc) and it still holds its own in picture quality. It livestreams FPV in 720p and has about a 3 mile range. If 360 degree obstacle avoidance, a more dynamic camera and a bit more dexterity in flight doesn’t matter to you, then the Phantom 4 suits you perfectly.
Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
Often this drone is referred to as a ‘Phantom knock off’ which, in the grand scheme of things, is actually a compliment. It’s cheaper than the Mavic Pro, and basically offers the exactly the things. It shoots in 4k, flies for around 25 minutes (although it’s a bit slower), has a stomach filled with autonomous tech guts, and livestreams FPV in 720p. By no means is this a toy, or even a mid-grade drone; this is a professional machine capable of quality aerial photography (and fun!). It’s fit with a GLONASS/GPS system which allows for higher position accuracy, and it sports a 3-axis gimbal as do the Phantoms. The included controller comes with an LCD screen that serves as your FPV view. It offers 5.8GHz frequency so you won’t experience any interference on the transmission end. The X-Star Premium is a quality machine.
The Phantom 3 sub-series could quite possibly be the best ‘bang for your buck’ on the market. It’s an excellent machine capable of 4k footage and with all of the successor units released in the last two years, its price has dropped immensely. Although it doesn’t have obstacle avoidance, it still comes with multiple flight modes, autonomous DJI features, and a 3-axis gimbal. It can fly for around 25 minutes under 40mph and it livestreams FPV in 720p. It contains features such as hover, waypoint following, tracking, and return home. Don’t overlook the Phantom 3 just because it has been succeeded be other drones in the series. It’s still a terrific machine.
this is the first drone engineered by GoPro to support its cameras. If you already have a Hero (3 or better), then you’re really capitalizing on the drone, as it costs about the same as the X-Star Premium and offers a whole lot more. Its lithe and sleek design allows it fly up to 35mph with 22mph wind resistance. It has one touch takeoff and landing, hover, and return home features. Since it was designed to support GoPros, it can also live stream the GoPro FPV. The controller comes with a screen that supports the 720p downlink, so you won’t need an extra tablet (although you could use one if you wanted to) to support the live stream. Again, if you already have a GoPro, this is an excellent choice. If not and you’re desire is to have a drone capable of aerial photography and FPV, you’re still buying a fantastic drone, abut you’ve entered the price range of the Phantom 4.
Another GoPro fan pick, 3D Robotics worked closely with GoPro to engineer the first drone that could fully live stream a GoPro FPV. Since the drone is sold without the camera, 3DR guided their efforts more towards flight optimization than anything else. This machine is simply a maverick. It flies for around 25 minutes and can hit speeds up to 55mph. When you fit the gimbal to it, you’ll get a stabilized picture even at higher speeds. It comes equipped with the 3DR version of drone autonomy (cable cam; think waypoint following; orbit, follow me, and return home). Since it’s powerful enough to fly up to 55mph, it does a lot better than some of the abovementioned drones in harsher conditions. It even looks like the Mavic Pro and is nearly as sleek.
This is the least expensive drone on our list and is often thought to be the most professional mid-grade drone on the market. Despite the fact that it was once the top-of-the-line, now it’s a relic of a time passed, and yet for its price and capabilities, it’s simply terrific. The standard can shoot in 2.7k UHD stabilized by a 3-axis gimbal. It flies for around 20 minutes and can livestream in 720p. It’s fit with DJI intelligence (Return Home, Position Lock, Hover, and more). It doesn’t come with a VPS system, so you’ll have a bit of trouble with position accuracy in crappy reception areas, but at the same time you’re getting all of the above for $500. Which is, well, crazy. It’s surprising that people don’t talk more about is, especially as a beginner machine. It’s like the Mavic’s little brother.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional
Basically, for $200 more, you’re upgrading your 3 standard to a 4k camera and giving it a VPS system. It’s the same model, same design, still flies for around 20 minutes at around 30mph, and still has the same autonomous components, but you’re capable of higher position accuracy and taking 4k footage -- also, it remains capable of live streaming the FPV. On paper, this drone looks nearly identical to the X-Star Premium in both specs and price. That’s a good thing. For both drones.
This drone is actually the exact same price as the Mavic, and happens to accomplish a lot of the same things. First, it’s a hexacopter so you’re getting a bit more power and the failsafe features. It can shoot in 4k with a 360 degree 3-axis gimbal (the landing gear is retractable -- which is, oh, so nice). It flies for up to 25 minutes per charge and comes equipped with a slew of autonomous features (orbit, tracking, return home, and more). It sports multiple flight modes and even comes with collision avoidance. It’s not nearly as sleek as the Mavic, but makes up for it in size and power. Go read some reviews on it. They’re almost always absolutely positive.
Okay, so this one isn’t exactly like the Mavic Pro, especially when you take into consideration that it’s a fixed-wing rather than a quadcopter. However, what it’s done as a fixed-wing is similar to what the Mavic Pro has done as a quadcopter. It has swept the market with its RTF design that can fly over 50mph, live stream FPV in HD, and take 1080p camera footage. Fixed-wings aren’t as easy to fly as quadcopters, because well, there’s no breathing room, but the Parrot Disco makes it easy with Parrot’s own brand of autonomy. Oh, and did we mention it flies for nearly an hour at a time?
The best drone that has come from 2017 is probably the Mavic Pro. But now that it’s an anchor model, we’re going to see a rise in competition across the board. The idea is this: who can drop the next Mavic Pro? Being realistic here, it’s probably going to be DJI, but we’ll see a whole assortment of exciting new drones hit the market.