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.
January 2018Release Date
DJI found great success with the Mavic Pro, they followed that up with the far less expensive Spark. The Mavic Air bridges the gap between these two, offering all the fun features from the smaller Spark as well as all the pro flight features of the Mavic Pro. Better yet, the Mavic Air introduced a 100Mbps data rate for video capture on a DJI drone under $1500. That sounds like a mouthful, suffice to say that the Mavic Air instantly took the crown for the best video at the lowest price of any drone on the market.
After the launch of the Mavic 2 series of drones, we had to recommend the newer Mavic line as the best camera on a compact drone, but the Mavic Air still remains our top pick if ultimate portability is your concern. The Mavic Air manages to pack down to almost fit comfortably in your pocket.
The DJI Mavic Air managed to take all the best features of the DJI Mavic Pro, save for OcuSync connectivity, and cram them into a smaller package. Then, they added a few fun flight features previously found in the DJI Spark, namely the hand gestures and Quickshot. The result was that the DJI Mavic Air took the honor as the best camera drone under $1000. While it did shoot superior video to the Mavic Pro, the lack of OcuSync in the Mavic Air created limitations for advanced use.
The DJI Mavic Pro, with OcuSync, was able to connect to multiple controllers and Goggles simultaneously. The Mavic Pro was still a small drone, but large enough to handle a few different payloads. This was never really officially supported, but you can still strap a GoPro or lighting and more to the drone, just be wary of magnetic interference for the GPS antenna.
The DJI Mavic Pro has been handily replaced by the newer Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom, but the Mavic Air remains the leader in the segment for drones that fold down to fit in your pocket, without much compromise in flight capabilities. The choice between these drones can be tough, considering the price tags.
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