DJI Mavic Pro Review

DJI Mavic Pro Review

It’s estimated that in a year drone sales are going to go from just under one million to over three. Why? Because they’ve disrupted the market. Drones are not just toys. They have become widely used recreational and commercial products. Now most of us can afford a drone (in smaller sizes) and it’s within our realm to learn to pilot them. It’s a fact: they’re here to stay. With their place in the market brings an entirely new wave of products. A rapid evolution in the technology, as they say. We’re seeing it across the board. First the drones were scaled down for the public. Then their tech-guts became affordable. Then they started integrating amazing new features. Cameras were implemented, then improved. Everything became smaller and smaller, with the better drones keeping their scale and the toy drones becoming the size of a small hand. The evolution continues to occur, which brings us to the DJI Mavic Pro – the smallest drone of its stature to pack such an impressive punch. This one has quite literally changed what’s to be expected from professional drones in the coming months.

What makes the DJI Mavic Pro so impressive? Well for starters, the size. It has nearly the same functionality as the Phantom 4 which is about double its size. Compared to most drones that have the same functionality, it’s absurd that this thing is 3” x 3” x 8” (HWD) and comes ready to fly at under two pounds. The application which is required to pilot the Mavic Pro works for both iOS and the Android (extra nice because the program comes with a flight simulator).

The DJI Mavic Pro has about twenty seven minutes of battery life (filming included) and can fly up to four miles! When purchasing the Mavic Pro, it’s recommended that you go ahead and get the “bundle”, which comes with two extra batteries. Depending on the flight mode, the battery drain can be substantial. With the sports mode on the Mavic, however, the drone can reach 43 mph.

One of the new features of the Mavic Pro that improves tracking shots is the Terrain Follow mode. Sensors on the bottom of the drone measure the distance from the drone to the ground and factor in the elevation to be maintained, correcting the drone’s position automatically. The feature has been proven to live up to its promise.

The app is beautiful and complex, yet user-friendly. Different components have been integrated into it specifically for the Mavic Pro.  It displays telemetry information (altitude, speed, orientation, amount of space between the programmed ‘home’ point and the drone). You can change modes on the app. Locate the drone on a map in case you’ve lost it in the great blue sky. All the while, all the old Phantom features remain (follow me, return home, collision avoidance).

In terms of camera, the Mavic holds its own with a completely new design. The camera shoots in 4k and has the same bit rate (60Mbps) as the Phantom 4. A new feature offers landscape and portrait views of stills or aerial video: the first time this has been implemented into a drone camera.  The Mavic supports most common forms of recording and records without audio (this isn’t a negative, as with drones most of what you’re going to hear is wind). The video is stabilized by a tri-axis gimbal, which allows for a smooth video image (even, apparently, when flying in sport mode!). With all things considered, despite the size, the Mavic Pro captures the same quality of footage as a Phantom 4. It’s that simple.

In terms of stabilization the drone includes forward and downward obstacle avoidance detection, the same as the Phantom 3 does. The Mavic Pro is just as crafty at avoiding collisions. In essence, it’s basically a smaller Phantom 4 with more features.

Now the DJI Mavic Pro is often reviewed against the GoPro Karma. More often than not, although the Phantom 4 is similar in functionality, customers will be deciding between the GoPro Karma and the Mavic, rather than the Phantom 4. This is due to size, as both the Mavic Pro and the Karma are going for the smaller but better target. These are the backpack drones (just a figure of speech to say they’re easily portable). What gives the Mavic Pro an edge over the GoPro Karma?

Let’s go back to size. The Mavic Pro is about a third of the size of a GoPro Karma, and more compact when folded. That means you can fit three Mavic Pros any place you can store one Karma. If you’re looking for portability, the Mavic beats the Karma by a long shot.

Tech guts. What’s inside these things? The whole point of the Mavic is the smaller but better mantra.  Although Mavic is the smaller drone, it can fly at higher speeds and longer distances than the Karma. It has the same features of the Phantom series (tracking, obstacle avoidance, return home – all of which make it beginner-friendly). The Karma can’t compete there.

While you may think the GoPro Karma beats the Mavic in camera specs (because of the GoPro!), you’ll actually be wrong. The Mavic shoots in Cinema 4k (higher resolution than normal 4k) at 24fps, where the Hero5 shoots in 4k at 30fps (which the Mavic can do too, if that mode is set).

In terms of affordability well – that’s a tough one. The Karma is cheaper off the bat, but doesn’t come with a camera. The Mavic doesn’t come with a controller (although you can use the app on your phone or tablet and don’t really need one). When you bundle them up with all the goodies and accessories, the Mavic comes out to a few hundred dollars more. On paper it might look unappetizing, but the jump in quality is well worth the extra two hundred dollars.

Point here is: the Mavic Pro is certainly the better buy and a fantastic drone all around.

In all reality, the Mavic Pro is only the beginning of these smaller, professional drones making their mark in the marketplace. DJI has proved they technology is possible and that the downsizing does not compromise value or performance. The Mavic has all the same guts as the bigger drones and can perform the same as most and outperform many. It’s the perfect drone for someone who loves to capture 4k images but wants something a bit more portable. The DJI Mavic Pro may be small, but it packs a huge punch. We’re very impressed.

 

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