The New DJI Mavic Air May Be the Best Travel Drone Yet! - Running with Miles
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The New DJI Mavic Air May Be the Best Travel Drone Yet!

DJI Mavic Air
Written by Charlie

The new DJI Mavic Air may just be the best travel drone yet! Find out what this little drone has that could elevate the videos and photos of your trips!

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Last year, DJI released their tiny Spark drone which I thought would be a great travel drone. There were some really nice features on it that, combined with the size, made it attractive to people wanting travel shots from a different perspective.

However, after using both it and my Mavic Pro, I found the DJI Spark lacking quite a bit in a few areas. For one, the video recorded was 1080P instead of the 4K of the Mavic. It also had unmovable arms that kept it from being as tiny as it could/should have been. Another couple of differences that I did not really care for was the flight time (16 minutes) and the fact that the gimbal itself was 2-axis as opposed to the true 3-axis gimbal on the Mavic Pro.

The New DJI Mavic Air

Link: DJI Mavic Air

DJI Mavic Air

The New DJI Mavic Air – Courtesy of DJI

So, the Mavic Pro continued to be my drone of choice for travel. However, I really had wished that it could have had some of the size and intelligent functions of the Spark. Apparently, I was not the only one as DJI just today released their latest consumer drone – the DJI Mavic Air. It is a perfect fit in the slot between the Mavic Pro and the Spark. In fact, it even has a couple of features that are even better than the Mavic Pro!

Here are some of the key features of the new DJI Mavic Air:

  • 4K video up to 30fps and 12MP camera
  • 3-Axis Gimbal-Stabilized Camera
  • GPS- & Vision Position-Based Navigation
  • 8GB of Internal Storage
  • FlightAutonomy with Obstacle Detection
  • Top Speed of 43 mph in Sport Mode
  • ActiveTrack Subject Tracking Modes
  • Up to 21 Minutes Flight Time
  • Slow motion of 120fps at 1080P
  • Bitrate of 100Mbps (up from 60 on the Mavic Pro)

Video

The DJI Mavic Air has some features that are welcome additions to the Mavic family. These include such things as slow motion up to 120fps which is great! It also has an increased bitrate of 100Mbps which allows for more data to be recorded which translates to greater detail and flexibility in post processing.

DJI Mavic Air

The new Asteroid mode – Courtesy of DJI

It also has some nice tracking features and new intelligent modes called Asteroid (which pieces images together to create a beautiful sphere image before zooming in) and Boomerang (which handles some nice cinematic moves to circle your subject as it shoots around like a boomerang). It also has the gesture controls from the Spark.

new DJI Mavic Air

The new Boomerang mode – Courtesy of DJI

Photo

DJI Mavic Air

The new Sphere panorama – created by dji camera

DJI had a very well-known adventure photographer, Chris Burkard, at their presentation to talk of the photo capabilities. It has some great features like Sphere Panorama mode which DJI says will “automatically shoot and stitch together 25 photos, creating a crystal-clear 32-megapixel panoramic image within one minute.” That is pretty impressive! Plus, it looks great as well!

Is It the Best Travel Drone?

When it comes to something like a travel drone, I personally look at a few things – size, portability, and performance. DJI has a great track record in the performance department and, in the last 1.5 years, has made great moves in the size and portability department.

With this new DJI Mavic Air drone, I think those three components have a perfect blend. While the propellors themselves do not fold (like they do on the Mavic Pro), the arms fold now so you can easily put the drone in something as small as a pocket or pouch. Plus, DJI has made even the control yokes on the controller remove-able to make that more streamlined.

The size is pretty much just a bit larger than a big smartphone so it will make it tremendously portable. Plus, they now have built-in memory (8GB) which is a great move for those that have ever forgotten to put their memory card back in the drone! 🙂

The performance, on paper, of the new DJI Mavic Air should let you take photos and videos on your travels like you have never been able to do before. I personally am excited about the possibilities with this drone for things like running, especially on trails. With DJI’s improved ActiveTrack modes, this should make for some interesting video and photo shots of your runs in new places.

Price and Availability

The basic drone package rings in at $799. The Fly More combo is $999. That throws in extra batteries, a carrying case, charging hub, and extra propellers. It will come in Black, White, and Red options.

To put it into perspective, we have seen prices on the Mavic Pro for as little as $799 (though normally $999) and Spark at $359 (though it is mostly around $399 now). The $799 price puts it in the perfect place between the two.

It is scheduled to ship from DJI on January 28 so you could have it in your hands pretty soon! For me, I had just sold my Mavic Pro so will be giving the new Mavic Air a try. Having been a bit disappointed with the DJI Spark for my purposes and wanting that size-ish for the Mavic, I am pretty excited about it!

Source: DJI

Featured image courtesy of DJI

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

3 Comments

  • Charlie, we’ll be in Cairo, JNB/CPT, & Croatia this summer but I’ve been reading different stuff about the laws in Cairo. Some say it’s illegal but yet u see a lot of videos on YouTube from different people. Do u know where to check the rules for the places u wanna visit? Tnx!

    • Hi, Dino,
      I usually use UAV Systems and have found them to be pretty good. Unfortunately, Egypt seems to be pretty tight (Egypt Rules).
      I do know this – you will see a lot of drone videos in places they are not supposed to be. Many people use a better-to-ask-forgiveness approach but that is definitely not the way to go. I had a friend who was arrested because the laws had changed since he had previously checked and he had to go to multiple hearings about criminal charges for it. Not worth it! 🙂
      Probably the best thing would be to join some of the drone forums and reach out to drone operators in the countries you want to visit as they will likely be the most up to date. Remember, some of the rules were adopted without there even being a way to check or enforce so it kind of makes it something on the books that the country doesn’t even operate by or use.

  • […] The New DJI Mavic Air:  DJI is out with their latest and greatest drone and it may be their best yet.  Their DJI Mavic Pro made some waves when it came out due to its size, maneuverability, video quality and more.  However, the new Mavic Air is a traveler’s dream with its size.  Many of us don’t like carrying a bunch of stuff while traveling, but the Mavic Air can find a small spot in your luggage! […]

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