The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a compelling purchase for any drone or aerial photography enthusiast. It offers some of the best flight time you can expect from a consumer drone, and a camera that surpasses almost every drone under $1400.
Familiar operation and reliability are enhanced by extended flight range, and the inclusion of Ocusync makes the Mavic Air 2 a viable contender for medium-duty aerial tasks. We like this new machine, and we think you will too, this is our DJI Mavic Air 2 review.
Notice: DJI has released the Air 2S, a solid upgrade with a higher price point. We’ll occasionally update this article with new info about the drone. It initially published in May, 2020.
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DJI Mavic Air 2 overview
The first thing you’ll notice about the DJI Mavic Air 2 is that it is now in-line with the looks and functions of other Mavic drones. We never faulted the original Mavic Air for being different, but we’ve been fans of the familiar Mavic folding design since the Mavic Pro in 2016.
Despite the similarities, we’re sad to report that the Mavic Air 2 has all unique parts. You cannot swap propellers, batteries or remote controls with the other Mavic models. The Mavic Pro and Mavic 2 series share propellers, but that’s pretty much the only cross-over across any of the drones.
The Mavic Air 2 is a little bit smaller than the more expensive Mavic drones. In fact, it measures almost exactly halfway in between the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic Mini. That comparison does not stop there, as the Mavic Air 2 is roughly the in-between weight and price of those two as well. DJI obviously had a plan with this new machine.
DJI Mavic Air 2
May 2020Release Date
The DJI Mavic Air 2 drone is more than just a successor to the original Mavic Air, it's more of a transition from its own form-factor into a true Mavic drone. The Mavic Air 2 maintains its place as a mid-tier drone in DJI's lineup. In terms of size, price, and capability, the Mavic Air 2 sits almost perfectly in between the Mavic Mini and the Mavic 2 series drones.
In the same way that the Mavic Air stepped up the camera game for small drones, the Mavic Air 2 is an exciting update in the camera department as well. You're looking at a new 1/2-inch sensor that shoots 12MP stills, but does so from a 48MP sensor! You can capture 48MP stills as well, but the 12MP shots are better, using pixel binning managed by Quad Bayer technology. Photos are great, but the new 4K video capture at 60fps, and a data bit rate of 120Mbps, are more exciting to many users.
Check out the DJI Mavic Air 2 for a starting price of $799 for the base package, $988 for the Fly More combo at launch in May 2020.
We are very excited for one of the biggest updates to the Mavic line we’ve seen, a new camera! Make no mistake, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro still has a superior camera in almost every way, but the Mavic Air 2 is the next generation of non-pro camera, and we’re pretty excited.
If you’ve been following the smartphone market in late 2019 and beyond, you may have seen a new camera standard there as well. No, not the 108MP sensors, that’d be nice on the drones, instead, the 48MP, 1/2-inch sensor that typically produces 12MP images via pixel binning. That’s the one that shoots 4K video at 60fps, and has some solid HDR capabilities.
We’ll discuss the camera in more depth below, but I’ll sum it all up: The image quality from the Mavic Air 2 is beyond our expectations. DJI must have taken a page out of Google’s playbook for a software-driven camera experience. Well done.
Update, April 2021: The DJI Air 2S is on the market now. It is basically the same airframe as the Mavic Air 2, but comes with a far superior camera, greater flight range, and a slew of updated features. The Air 2S is absolutely the better drone, but it comes at a higher price point, so there’s still value in the Mavic Air 2.
Is the DJI Mavic Air 2 any good?
We hate to assume that any DJI drone is going to be great, but they’ve proven themselves time and again, and again with the Mavic Air 2. Yes, it is good.
The Mavic Air 2 balances form and function. The initial Mavic Air was ideal for packing down and taking on the go. The Mavic Air 2 is less portable, but still easier to pack than the Mavic Pro or Mavic 2 drones. The trick here is that there is no compromise in the camera or flight for the reduced size and weight.
The Mavic Air 2 feels like the most responsive drone that DJI has produced. Its rated top speed is no different than the larger Mavic drones, but it has an acceleration rate that you need to be aware of if flying in tight places. If you jam on the sticks, the drone will be gone in that direction at full speed before you can look up from the controller.
You should utilize Tripod mode if you are a first time pilot, or need to snag some slow moving shots from the sky. It is possible to be gentle on the sticks to get slow and smooth movement while in Standard mode, a task that is even harder in Sport mode, but it can be done.
Connection to the remote is solid, and the reaction time from button press to drone action is minimal. You may notice some latency, but you’ll have to go looking for it.
Video feedback from the drone is also very solid. We flew the drone in the same place we’ve flown every other consumer drone we’ve touched in the last 2 years. The Mavic Air 2 produced the best video stream quality we’ve seen from them all.
We attribute this connectivity to Ocusync 2.0 and the newly rated 10KM connection range.
The remote control had us a little worried. It is a new design that is larger and very blocky. Indeed, we wonder why it is so large. It looks like a merge between the initial Mavic Air remote and the newer DJI Smart Controller from 2019. This new Mavic Air 2 remote has more than enough room for a built-in display, even if only the simple LCD from the Mavic Pro and Mavic 2 series. Perhaps we’ll see an option with a display in the future.