There are a few great drone manufacturers on the market today, but there is only one that is absolutely dominating the market, DJI. Their latest drones are some of the best we’ve ever seen. In terms of cameras that take to the sky, DJI is leading the pack. One of their more advanced offerings in the consumer class for a long time was the Mavic Pro, a folding quadcopter that is extremely easy to fly and produces some superb aerial shots.
We spent some time with DJI for some hands-on flight training with the Mavic Pro in the early days, and we’ve been flying ours ever since. We are un-apologetically in love with this drone, but it’s not perfect. Let’s explore more in this DJI Mavic Pro review.
Bottom line, the Mavic Pro is still a fantastic machine, it flies extremely well, is very portable and has a lot to offer. The newer Mavic 2 drones have better cameras and more security features. The Mavic Pro is almost half the price of the newer machines now, so it’s totally worth considering, but for the best photos and video from the sky, Mavic 2 drones are the way to go.
Likewise, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is a fantastic replacement for the aging Mavic Pro.
More important, Mavic Pro availability is beginning to dwindle. You can still find it to purchase, but you’re now looking at packages put together by other vendors. In a manner of speaking, DJI has discontinued the drone, but it is still well supported, emulated and has a vast accessory market.
Previous updates of note:
- New DJI Mavic Air is out
- Offline maps
- Dual pilot option and fixed wing flying mode
- Update to the DJI GO 4 app
DJI Mavic Pro one year review (2017)
If you are looking for all the juicy tech specs on the Mavic Pro, you are already reading the article you want, but if you want to hear how our first year experience has been with this craft, head on over to our Mavic Pro one year review. Perhaps better called our One year impressions.
DJI announced the new Mavic Pro Platinum
Our opinions of the original Mavic Pro remain unchanged, as you’ll read below, but the new release of this machine packs more than a just a new color. The Mavic Pro Platinum improves software and some internals, plus introduces new propellers to increase flight time and reduce noise. We’ll be updating this Mavic Pro review with new info once we get the new propellers – that’s right, the new props fit the original Mavic as well.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the new DJI Mavic Pro Platinum, we can’t wait to see how much better it is than the original.
Platinum Propellers on the original Mavic Pro
We flew the Mavic Pro with the new propellers from the Mavic Pro Platinum. We’re trying to figure out in a semi-scientific manner how much of an improvement the new props are. For now, join us to talk propeller science, we’ll have some Mavic Pro propeller info for you very soon.
Update: This was a great idea, folks. If you were wondering, I highly recommend installing the gold (or silver) tipped propellers on your Mavic Pro. The ESCs are not fully tuned, but it reduces motor RPM by about 500 when the drone is at hover. That’s a great amount of power reduction and reduced wear and tear. They are quieter as well, but, I had to use sound recording tools and analyze the recording – let’s just say that they are quieter, but it is not likely you will hear that difference by ear in your normal flights. Still, we think it’s totally worth putting the Platinum props on your original Mavic.
Original review from November 2016:
From the moment you receive your Mavic Pro, the box alone will have you wondering where DJI is hiding the drone. Unlike most high-end quadcopters on the market today, the Mavic Pro is very small. Able to easily slip into a larger purse, a smaller pocket on your backpack or even into most water bottle holders, this collapsing drone is one of the most portable flying units we’ve ever seen.
Where the small size may invite the expectation of low quality, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, this is a metal drone with impressive fit and finish. It is also a very thoughtfully engineered unit, look for quick release propellers, no tools required, and a slender controller with options beyond what you might expect.
Available in just one color, this slate grey drone arrives folded and requires just a few quick maneuvers to prepare for first flight. Fold out the front arms from the sides, then fold the rear arms from underneath.
The landing gear lives at the base of the front arms and on the fuselage near the rear. Clearances are minimal all the way around, including the landing gear, you’ll want to find flat and solid surfaces to take off and land on.
The battery is easily removed, simply pinch together the buttons on either side of the battery itself and pull up.
The front of the drone houses the 3-axis gimbal with 12MP, 4K camera. The optional plastic dome will keep things dry and safe, but go ahead and remove it if you find it to distort your images. Just above the camera is a pair of sensors, these help prevent damage to your drone, providing obstacle identification and avoidance.
As best we can tell, the Mavic Pro is a tiny super computer packed into an aircraft. Downward facing sensors compliment the front mounted sensors, combined with the camera, this drone is packed with intelligent, autonomous flight modes, self landing capabilities, dual-GPS radios for redundancy and absolute location precision and more.
Not only does the Mavic Pro have its own internal cooling fan to keep the computing electronics at optimal temperature, but the remote control does as well. This is no toy.
Finally, you’ll find red LED lights just below the front propellers, and a single large light at the very rear of the fuselage. This rear LED flashes different colors to let you know the status of the craft, just remember, green is good.
The key to the Mavic Pro, the shining mark by which DJI should be proud, this drone is one of the most user friendly quadcopters around. The small size, quick fold setup and easy pairing remote and smartphone app will get you from your backpack to the sky very quickly.
Beyond the basic setup, flying this drone is downright child’s play. Perhaps that was a poor choice of words, this really isn’t the drone you want for children, but we’ll talk about that later. My point is, the Mavic Pro almost flies itself, you do little more than tell it where to go.
With the drone itself setup in just seconds, the remote control may take a few more, by itself, simply flip out the antenna and get ready to fly. The optional connection of your smartphone can add a bit of time, but the FPV is well worth the hassle.
As the Mavic Pro is easily considered more of a flying camera than it is a drone that has a camera, we must judge the photo and video features and capabilities as well. They’re good.
There are dedicated buttons on the remote control to quickly take either a photo or start/stop recording video. Photos are taken at 12MP of resolution and there is a 2X zoom to accompany full manual camera controls. In auto mode, simply tap the smartphone display to choose your desired focus and exposure points, or hit the left rear button on the remote to center focus, hit the right top trigger and enjoy your photo.
The right top spinning wheel control allows for quick exposure level changes. The top left spinning wheel tilts the camera up and down to help capture your target.
Video recording controls are a little more complicated, in one regard, otherwise offer the same one click operation with on-screen tap to choose focus. Changing between the video capture modes takes a moment to configure, select from 1080P, 2.7K or 4K recording at various framerate settings. I must remember to take the camera out of 1080P at 90FPS before I head back up. Slow-mo is great, but I like the 2.7K recording the best, just a preference.
Update: I have changed my opinion on video resolution, I shoot everything in 4K now. It is a little bit more intensive to edit and I find the need to do just a tad more color grading, but it’s 4K. Future-proofing my footage just makes sense.
I keep mentioning that the Mavic Pro nearly flies it