New Mavic Air available from 28th January

DJI launched the new  Mavic Air yesterday for USD$799 only months after the more affordable entry-level Mavic Spark (price was recent dropped to USD$399 from USD$499) was introduced into the market. The $799 Mavic Air seems to be positioned in between the company’s entry level drone (the $399 Spark) and the professional model (Mavic Pro USD$999). The Mavic Air will  go be available on January 28th. DJI seems to be following the Apple Macbook’s marketing strategies by labelling their products in similar names.

 

DJI launched the new  Mavic Air yesterday for USD$799 only months after the more affordable entry-level Mavic Spark (price was recent dropped to USD$399 from USD$499) was introduced into the market. The $799 Mavic Air seems to be positioned in between the company’s entry level drone (the $399 Spark) and the professional model (Mavic Pro USD$999). The Mavic Air will  go be available on January 28th. DJI seems to be following the Apple Macbook’s marketing strategies by labelling their products in similar names.

The Mavic Air looks like a hybrid between Mavic Pro and the Spark. It folds up to a smaller size than the Spark and the features are similar to the Mavic Pro but it’s 41 per cent lighter.

 Technical specifications

The specs of the Mavic Air are much closer to those of the Pro as the Spark is not versatile enough for filming or photography due to its short distance range and battery life. . The Mavic Air uses a 1/2.3-inch sensor that shoots 4K video at 24 or 30 frames per second, or 12-megapixel stills, all with a wide-angle 24mm f/2.8 lens. It tops out at 42.5 miles per hour, can withstand winds of up to 22 miles per hour, and has a 2.5-mile range (within visual line of sight), thanks to a new antenna design.

The Mavic Air also got a redesigned ventilation system that DJI says will help keep it from overheating, along with a new 3-axis gimbal casing for the camera for smooth footage. It should be relatively easy and safe to fly, too, with a seven-camera obstacle avoidance system. There’s also a new remote control , which is included in the $799 price.

DJI is promising both updated and improved software features on the Air, too. There are new shooting modes (including a 32-megapixel panorama option, or a tiny planet mode), better gesture controls, and the company claims it’s improved its image processing in order to squeeze better photos and videos out of that relatively tiny sensor. New obstacle-avoidance software, which calls on more sensors and better algorithms, will help the drone avoid and move past obstacles instead of just stopping in front of them, according to DJI.

Flight  time is again disappointing as most of us would like to fly our drone far enough to capture beautiful landscapes. The Mavic Air is only capable of staying in flight for 21 minutes, which is five more than the Spark, but six short of the Mavic Pro. (The flight time is nine minutes short of the flight time of the Mavic Pro Platinum, an upgraded version of the Mavic Pro that costs $1,099.)

Having said that, the Mavic Air is still a highly desirable gadget for amateur drone enthusiasts as it would definitely serve the purpose of most hobbyist especially in Hong Kong. The next time you go hiking, you can pack a smaller Mavic Air and capture all the amazing views of the outlying islands and hill tops of  Cheong Chau or Dragon’s back.