DJI Mavic Pro
November 2016Release Date
The DJI Mavic Pro is a compact, folding drone that was a pioneer for portability. This quadcopter folds down to fit easily in a backpack, or large pocket, while opening up to take 4K video to over 40mph in the sky. The 3-axis stabilized gimbal offers very smooth footage and OcuSync enables long range and HD live video streaming. The Phantom line of drones may have established DJI as a leader in the consumer drone market, but the Mavic Pro made high-quality aerial photography fun and highly accessible.
The DJI Mavic Pro is a special drone to us. It was launched in the fall of 2016, which is around the time we started covering drones at large on our sites. We often give this compact, folding drone credit for changing the landscape of the consumer drone market, and we stand by that claim today, just as we still fly this machine for fun on a regular basis.
At launch, there were no other drones on the market that offered the same camera features and quality in such a portable design. At the official announcement, the Mavic Pro was unveiled in a water bottle pouch. I often carry this drone in the large cargo pockets of my shorts.
Since then, many competitors have emulated the design and features, and DJI has introduced an update in the Mavic 2 drones. The question is, is the Mavic Pro still worth it for 2019?
Mavic Pro OverviewMeasuring about 9 inches long, the Mavic Pro is about the same wide when unfolded, but gets as narrow as 3.5 inches when folded. The propellers fold as well, and tuck in nicely to create a compact profile for transport.
Portability is a huge selling feature for the Mavic Pro, but how the machine handles in the air is part of the appeal. It is not fair to say that flight is easy, many drone manufacturers struggle with the finer points of the best flight features. DJI proved with the Mavic Pro that they nailed it.
Granted, the Phantom line of drones offered stable flight, including an impressively stationary hover, the Mavic Pro shrunk it down. Better yet, the Mavic Pro shipped at a lower price tag than the typical Phantom drone, putting pro drone flight into more people’s hands.
Some hard specs, the Mavic Pro has enough battery to stay airborne for almost half an hour, and can hit a little over 40 mph while it’s up there. The camera was one of the smallest on the market to offer 4K video capture. That’s a 12MP, 1/2.3-inch sensor. A common sensor size in many drones now.
Solid camera specs and capture capabilities are enhanced by a fully stabilized 3-axis gimbal. You can manually control much of the camera angle, and some is handled automatically to keep the image flat while the drone tilts. The gimbal tilts, turns and spins from straight down to a little way up, half of a right angle to the sides and rotates a full 90 degrees to capture portrait images along with landscape photos.
OcuSync changed the game. DJI had been using LightBridge on larger drones, and many manufacturers were using Wi-Fi and standard RC connectivity to connect drone to remote control. OcuSync enables drone to remote connectivity of over 5 miles range. Not just for navigation controls, but also to live stream HD video over a mile, 720p video up to that 5 miles.
The Mavic Pro is still a prominent part of our drone collection. It’s the go-to for testing, comparisons and training, if nothing else. DJI long ago started selling drones with better cameras, but few major advances have been made in terms of flight. I suppose that’s what we’re here to discuss today.
Related reading: DJI Mavic Pro and the DJI Goggles
Is it worth it?
This is a really, really hard question to answer. Our instinct is simple, the Mavic Pro is totally still worth purchasing, but what do you want out of a drone?
If your goal is to put a superb camera into the air, we can recommend many drones with higher price tags, and one that is a bit cheaper, all with better cameras. If you want a machine that is extremely portable, we can think of a few that are smaller and lighter but offer similar flight capabilities.
DJI Mavic Mini
DJI has made this decision even harder. Released in November 2019, the DJI Mavic Mini offers a very similar flight experience, very similar camera capabilities and a reduced price tag. If your goal is to carry a cable little camera drone wherever you go, and to capture some simple aerial imagery on a nice day, it’s hard not to recommend the Mavic Mini for half the price of the Mavic Pro.
What it boils down to, the DJI Mavic Pro is not the best drone on the market. That said, it remains an absolute favorite for many pilots.
With the Mavic Pro you get stable flight, superb connectivity well beyond visual line of sight, a strong drone for smaller payloads and a perfectly adequate 4K camera. You also gain access to hundreds of accessories for this very well supported drone.
We say the Mavic Pro is still worth it, when the price is right.
In the beginning, you needed $999 to get the drone alone, $1299 to make that the Fly More combo. Prices still fluctuate often, but they sit around $758 and $928 today. Truth is, there have been deals floating around, particularly for Black Friday, that made the Fly More combo just $814, watch for deals.
With the fluctuating prices, let me say this, if I were buying the DJI Mavic Pro (again) today, I would be happy with the Fly More combo for a maximum of $1,000.
For reference, you can grab the Mavic Air Fly More combo for around $850 and the Mavic 2 Zoom can be found for $1,229. Both of these drones have superior cameras to the original Mavic Pro, while the Air is slightly less capable in the air and the Mavic 2 Zoom, and the Mavic 2 Pro for $1,449, are superior in almost every way.
We want to know what you think, is the DJI Mavic Pro still worth buying today?