The DJI Mavic Pro Review: Another Game Changer From DJI

Release Date: February 10, 2017

The usual picture that is formed on your mind when you think about a quadcopter, is a large, flying machine which could easily knock you off your feet. However, in the year of 2016 we have seen the introduction of more miniature sized drones that still function pretty much the same as its larger counterparts. The DJ Mavic Pro is one such drone and this comes at this miniature size and still features the same design as a regular drone. Interestingly enough, this drone still comes at an affordable starting price of around $750 which isn’t too expensive compared to most other drones. You can also choose to get the model that comes bundled with the controller for an additional $250.

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Specs

Dimensions (Folded) 3.26 x 3.26 x 7.8 inches (H x W x L)
Weight (With Battery) 1.62 lbs / 734 g
Max Speed 40 mph (Sport Mode, no wind)
Ascent/Descent Speed 16.4/9.8 ft/s
Camera Sensor 1/2.3”, 12.35 megapixels (4000×3000)
Lens 28mm f/2.2
ISO 100-3200 (video)
100-1600 (photo)
Video Capabilities UHD (4K):

4096×2160 (24p)
3840×2160 (24 / 25 / 30p)

2.7K:

2704×1520 (24 / 25 / 30p)

Full HD:

1920×1080 (24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60 / 96p)

HD:

1280×720 (24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60/ 120p)

Video Container MP4, MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
Still Images JPEG, DNG ( RAW )
Range 8 mi / 13 km
Battery LiPo 3S 3830 mAh 11.4 V
Flight Time less than 27 minutes
Charging Time 60 minutes

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Design and Features

Design

The Mavic Pro comes at a very small size of just 3.27 x 7.8 x 3.27“. What’s more interesting is its extremely light weight of just 743g. This makes it easy to carry around in your backpack wherever you go compared to most of the other drones that are out there. If we compare this with the other flagship drone by DJI, which is the Phantom 4, this is just about half the size and weight of that model. Further, the design of the Mavic 4 is foldable so you can further reduce the size of the drone when you are packing it. Folding it to its compressed state or setting up when using it requires a bit of effort, so you won’t expect the arms of the quadcopter to wobble during flight. The build quality is solid and comes in a very sleek design with its matte finish black colour.

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Features

The usual idea that we have when it comes to things being miniaturised is that they will tend to lose a lot of their features as well. This is definitely not the case with the Mavic Pro as it comes packed with all the regular features with several additional features as well. The Mavic Pro comes with a build in obstacle sensor that can detect when it approaches and obstacle and take the necessary measures to avoid it.

There is sensor redundancy implemented in order to ensure that you will be able to fly the drone safely and reliably as the last thing you would want is the drone crashing into an object in mid-air due to the sensors failing. The drone features the OcuSync technology for its transmission which can let you control the drone remotely from a distance of up to 7km away.

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There is also the Active Track feature on the drone that lets you track a particular subject while maintaining a safe gap from it. This can be very useful if you are filming an animal or want to take a video of yourself from a high vantage point. It is also smart enough to make self-piloted landings if you want it to return back to base. There is also GeoFencing technology implemented to automatically notify you if you are flying the drone in restricted air spaces. If anything has been cut down, the only thing you will be able to find slightly shortcoming is its top speed.

The drone is able to travel at a maximum of 40 kmph which may just not quite cut it if you plan on using it for drone racing. That being said, you can still gain the edge over the opponents in windy conditions if they are using a larger drone. Another interesting feature is that you can control the drone via Wi-Fi using your phone which should make it a lot easier to fly the drone apart from getting the remote for it. Bear in mind that in order to get the drone with the remote you will have to pay about $250 extra for it. But the ability to control it using the app through Wi-Fi could make it completely usable even without the remote. Another feature you can use is the gesture control, where you can control the drone using gestures.

The Mavic Pro also comes with a vision positioning technology that uses GPS and another technology called GLONASS in order to determine the location of the drone with very high precision, regardless of whether you are using it indoors or outdoors.

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Remote

The remote that is used to control the drone comes in as small a size as the drone itself. The remote, just like the drone, is also foldable so you can reduce its size even further when you are packing it into your back pack. There is also a small LCD display on the remote, but you will not be able to receive video footage on it, however you will receive useful metrics regarding the drone’s position. This includes the altitude, speed, distance and the orientation of the robot. If you wish to receive video footage from the drone’s camera, then you can simply use your smartphone for this.

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This will allow you to get visuals provided your smartphone display resolution is quite high. The remote is actually quite worth the additional price that you will have to pay as it does feature a good build quality. The remote comes with metal knobs for the joysticks which certainly does give a premium feel on the hands when used. You will also find the controls fairly simple to use as the buttons are all clearly indicated so you will know which button does what. You can control everything from the self-landing of the drone to adjusting the type of photos or videos that you want to capture.

Alternatively, there is a special accessory called the DJI Goggles that you can receive the footage from the drone’s camera onto. The goggles were released only recently and is fully compatible with the DJI Mavic Pro. The goggles provide an 85-degree view on a 1080p resolution which comes without much lag. Definitely a good investment if you want to get an upgrade on your experience with the Mavic Pro.

Camera and Gimbal

Camera

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Another important determining factor when it comes to selecting a drone would be the camera and the capabilities of the gimbal that it is mounted to. The camera of the Mavic Pro is capable of recording 4k Video at 30 fps. You also have the choice of recording at 1080p if you want the higher frame rate of 96 fps. There is also the feature of recording live to your Facebook and other video hosting sites like YouTube, at a speed of 30 fps. The camera can also capture great still images with its 12MP shooter. The file format of the images will be in the Adobe DNG RAW format. The camera has a wide 79-degree view. You can also zoom in the focus to around 20 inches to get a closer shot while maintaining the image quality to be quite decent as well. If you want to get the video feed to your phone, then you can do so with about a 120ms delay.

Mavic PRo 4K Test Footage:

Gimbal

The gimbal of the Mavic Pro is able to rotate the camera at 90 degrees left and right so you can cover a wide area of view with the camera. The stabilisation features are also quite steady as it uses a 3-axis stabilisation feature. This makes it possible to even capture images of large structures as well. One of the biggest drawbacks with the gimbal is that it is non detachable, so you cannot take off the camera when the drone is not being used in flight.

Battery and Flight Time

The battery of the Mavic Pro can last for up to about 27 minutes even if it is constantly travelling at its maximum speed of 40kmph with a single charge. On a normal usage basis this should be quite sufficient as you can simply recharge the battery again to allow it to be used again. That being said, it is always going to be a good idea to bring along extra batteries in case you feel you will be using it for a long time. You can purchase separate batteries for the Mavic Pro, which will cost you around $89. This battery is rechargeable and fully compatible with the Mavic. There are also indicators and LEDs indicating the status of the battery.

DJI Phantom 4 vs Mavic Pro

Go here to see the comparison between Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro.

Pros and Cons

Right, so now that we have looked at all the features of the DJI Mavic Pro, it is time to assess some of the Pros and Cons that we found when using it.

Pros

The In-App Controls

One of the main pros that we found in using the Mavic Pro is the ease of controlling it using your smart phone. The in-app controls of the Mavic Pro are quite simple to use and it is as simple as just tapping the location that you want the drone to go to. It can then navigate on its own without your intervention as it can also detect any obstacles that it encounters and take steps to avoid them.

Size and weight

This is definitely one of the biggest advantages of the Mavic Pro when compared to most other drones as its small size allows it to be carried around with ease. Further its size can be reduced even further due to the foldable design that it incorporates, allowing you to carry it around with ease on your backpack. The weight of the drone is also as light as a feather, as it weighs well below a kilogram. This allows for the drone to be carried around in one hand if needed.

Follow mode

The follow mode is an interesting feature of the drone that allows the drone to automatically follow a particular subject without the need for you to control it. When testing this feature out the results were quite satisfactory as the drone is able to quite easily take stable visuals of the subjects and also maintain a safe distance away from the subject without getting too close to it.

Range

Another thing that you may like about the Mavic Pro is the range of the remote sensor on the drone. You can control the drone from distances of over 5 km which is significantly higher than most drones that are out there. Additionally, you can still receive crystal clear video feedback with a very low lag, even if the drone is so far away from you.

Price

The price of the Mavic Pro seems quite reasonable as it matches some of the other drones that are in the market in terms of price. Priced at $749 without the controller, it certainly seems like a good choice as far as price is concerned. That being said, if you do decide to put in the additional few bucks, you can also get the controller bundled with the package at $999.

Cons

There aren’t all that many cons that you will be able to find with the Mavic Pro, unless you are probably knit picking a few minor details when compared to another specific product.  Here are a few things that maybe could’ve been a bit better.

Non-detachable gimbal

The Gimbal of the Mavic Pro is non detachable which may come as a disadvantage if you want to use the camera separately when the drone is not being used. Further, a detachable gimbal can let you change the camera if you desire. This was one of the features that is maybe lacking with the Mavic Pro.

Battery Life

The battery life of the Mavic Pro isn’t all that great as it provides around 27 minutes of use. Surely enough you can perhaps optimise this battery life by driving it at much slower speeds than its maximum speed of 40kmph, but still the battery could’ve probably been a lot better.

Camera quality

The camera quality of the Mavic Pro isn’t as stunning as the visuals you may get from a drone such as the DJI Inspire 1 (consider the price of the last one though). That being said, the camera is still not that bad either but seeing as it is one of the most important features of a drone, it was still a little bit shortcoming.

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Conclusion

In an era where technology is constantly being miniaturised, the Mavic Pro is truly an innovation as far as drones are concerned as it comes in such a small size. The size is probably one of the biggest advantages of the drone and that too without the compromises to the features of the drone. There are a few shortcomings that you can find on the Mavic Pro, but ultimately this might not be too much of a concern depending on the usage for the drone. The Mavic Pro is definitely a top recommendation as far as drones as concerned and it is highly recommended that you get the package that comes with the remote if you can afford the $999 price tag that it comes with.

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