DJI Mavic Air Review [2021]

As you know DJI has been dominating the drone market and keeps introducing some awesome units to consumers. 

Back in 2018, when the Mavic Air came out, both drone enthusiasts and professionals couldn’t wait to get their hands on this cool little gadget. 

The DJI Mavic Air drone sees a lot of advanced technology crammed in a small package.

Other selling factors include its affordable price point and portability. 

Although DJI brought out the Mavic Air 2 which promises a better camera and specs, some people still swear by the original Mavic Air. 

Keep reading this DJI Mavic Air review to have an in-depth look at the features and capabilities of this drone. 

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Mavic Air, Fly More Combo, Onyx Black
  • Flight range: 2 miles
  • Flight time: 21 minutes
  • Weight: 15.2 oz

DJI Mavic Air Review 

DJI Mavic Air, Fly More Combo, Onyx Black
  • Flight range: 2 miles
  • Flight time: 21 minutes
  • Weight: 15.2 oz

DJI Mavic Air bridges the gap between DJI Spark and Mavi Pro.

It offers all the fun features of the Spark and the pro flight features of the Mavic Pro.

This unit also has a smaller footprint than the Spark so with legs folded, it is easy to transport.

The Mavic Air comes with a 4K camera and offers DNG RAW stills, longer flight times, D-Cinelike video color profile.

It is also the first DJI drone under $1000 that introduced a 100Mbps data rate for video capture which led it to be the best video drone at its price point.

What is more is the 3-axis gimbal that stabilizes the unit in the air for clearer, sharper and distortion-free video captures

Let’s move on to the specs of the drone in detail.

DJI Mavic Air Specs

Design

The DJI Mavic Air is one of the smallest drones offered by DJI.

When folded it measures just  1.9 x 3.3 x 6.6 inches and 2.5 x 7.2 x 6.6 inches when unfolded.

This makes it small enough to fit into most jacket pockets once folded.

Don’t worry about weighing down your pockets as the unit is a mere 52 oz.

The unit comes in various colors including Arctic White, Flame Red and Onyx Black.

Camera

dji mavic air drone capture

The Mavic Air camera features a lens with a field of view of 85 degrees with a 1/2.3 inch camera sensor.

The best upgrade of all with the camera on the Mavic Air is its ability to record video at a 100Mbps data rate.

While in theory, it may mean nothing to you, you’ll see the results after capturing the video.

Image quality 

The Mavic Air can produce images across a wide variety of lighting conditions with good results.

It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy, midday or sunset light, the results are always stunning.

The camera is capable of capturing 12 MP photos with the ability to capture pictures in RAW format or JPEG.

The RAW files provide some dynamic range to push and pull while the JPEG images look fantastic with an awesome color story.

One deal-breaker may be the lack of aperture control, especially for professional videographers.

However, if you just want a small and portable drone for non-professional applications, the Mavic air is the perfect choice due to its image quality.

Video quality

The Mavic Air produces awesome quality 4K videos which is a welcome upgrade from its predecessor the Mavic Pro.

If you need footage that doesn’t capture all the fine details then this drone is going to work just great to meet your video demands.

Its resolution and color production are outstanding for a sensor of this size.

The camera’s 3-axis gimbal stabilizes videos and allows for buttery smooth captures even when making turns or changing altitudes.

The lack of a D-log may be an issue for some but this drone still carries a fair dynamic range without it.

To capture slow-motion aerial footage, the 2.7K/60fps works best and coupled with a creative eye, the right camera setting and ND filter, you can generate professionally worthy content.

However, severe color and detail losses in shadow sections on trees, grass and pattern areas may occur which is the unit’s biggest disadvantage in terms of video quality.

Remote Controller

mavic air controller

Unlike the Spark, the Mavic Air comes with a remote controller but you don’t need to use it as the unit can be flown using hand gestures or with your smartphone.

However, it is recommended to fly it with the controller as you’ll get smoother and better manual control when flying as well as an extended flight range.

The Mavic Air has a control range out to 2 miles and just 262 feet with your smartphone.

The remote is similar to the one that comes with the Mavic pro platinum but of course, it’s smaller.

It includes detachable sticks which allow for better storage and include clips to hold a smartphone at the bottom.

This way you can fly with the sticks and enjoy a first-person view from the drone’s camera.

However, you may have to remove the case from your phone as the housing for the phone is a bit tight.

DJI includes Lightning, Micro USB and USB-C cables so you have a cable that matches your phone which you’ll use to connect the phone to the remote.

The battery is installed at the bottom of the remote and cannot be charged via USB.

You’ll have to use the included charger that also recharges the remote’s internal battery.

Flight Time

The Mavic Air has a flight time of around 21 minutes on a fully charged battery.

In reality, you’ll get anywhere from 18-19 minutes because of the implementation of the Auto Landing feature.

However, you can bypass the Auto landing with a firm upward press on the joysticks but this may not be best in certain situations especially if you’re flying over water.

It can reach speeds up to 42.5 mph and can handle winds up to 23mph.

To extend flight time, you can purchase a few spare batteries, keep them charged and nearby so you can swap the depleted battery for a fully charged one.

Swapping the batteries can be frustrating at first but over time you’ll get the hang of it.

To swap batteries. Fold the arms inward in this order; front landing legs into arms first, then front arms followed by rear arms.

Flight Performance

This drone is fast and extremely responsive which makes for outstanding flight performance.

You can get slow cinematic shots if you wish when in tripod mode which dampens the controller inputs.

It also stays still when hovering in a similar manner to the Mavic Pro.

You’ll find that the signal strength on a Mavic air is good for Wi-Fi and flying the drone within half a mile away should pose no issues if there is no significant signal interference.

That being said the unit may be susceptible to the pitfalls of Wi-Fi interference.

If there are any objects between the controller and the drone or the drone is at a far distance, it may drop the connection which can disrupt the smooth movement in a cinematic shot.

It features downward, forward and rear obstacle sensors which makes it one of the cheapest DJI drones that take safety to a whole new level.

These sensors work best when the unit is cruising at speeds under 17.9mph.

At this speed, it can avoid obstacles up to 40 feet forward, 33 feet backward and 26 feet forward.

The effectiveness of these sensors gave birth to a new feature that can be found on DJI drones called APAS.

APAS stands for Advanced Pilot Assitant Service which allows the drone to analyze objects that appear in front of it and adjusts its flight path to avoid crashing into the obstacle.

The Mavic Air isn’t exactly the quietest drone so if you are looking to operate with any level of stealth.

On the other hand, it is small enough that many people consider it a toy and will probably ignore it.

Other aspects that make flight performance awesome is that the whole system can be set up and packed down faster than almost any other drone in the market,

The only things that will slow you down are the lack of access to the battery without unfolding arms or the difficulty of removing the micro SD card.

Flight Modes

Similar to other DJI drones, the Mavic Air comes with both GPS and GLONASS satellite positioning.

This means that they can pinpoint the drone’s location on the globe which enables automated and semi-automated flight modes.

It also helps with keeping the drone steady while it’s hovering and also allows it to return home safely when using the return-to-home function.

The DJI Mavic Air can be controlled by the controller, from your phone via the app or by hand.

However, you’ll find that the majority of the flight modes are controlled through the DJI GO 4 app on your phone.

It is recommended to use the remote controller for the best results but you can utilize the fun autonomy functions if you wish.

The Mavic Air includes various self-piloting modes like Active Track, TapFly, Tripod, Cinematic Mode and Point of Interest.

You can also find SmartCapture and QuickShot.

Quickshot includes:

Rocket – the drone rockets straight up with the camera facing a downward direction.

Dronie- the camera faces the subject and backs away from the subject slowly in an upward direction.

Circle- The drone flies around the subject in a circle with the camera focused on the subject.

Helix- combines the Dronie and Circe functions

There are also some new QuickShots Mode that was introduced in this unit.

They include:

Boomerang- the camera focuses on the subject and flies around the subject starting close then flying out as it circles and coming in close again.

Asteroid- the drone starts out close to the user and flies out as it would in Dronie to a maximum distance, stops and captures a full sphere.

After capturing your videos, you can enjoy fast and easy editing.

Simply tap the button in the DJI Go 4 app and the captured footage will be automatically edited to a fun video with music included.

Smart Capture is probably the most fun way to control your Mavic Air drone.

Using hand gestures to take off, land, move left and right or snapping your photos is easy.

However, while the selfie capabilities of the SmartCapture mode are fun, it’s only for selfies.

If you want to capture other footage, you’ll need to use your phone or the dedicated remote controller.

Sale
DJI Mavic Air, Fly More Combo, Onyx Black
  • SmartCapture
  • 21-Minute Flight Time
  • Advanced Pilot Assistance System
  • Top speed:68.4 kmph in sport mode
  • Tilt: -100° to 22°; Roll: -30° to 30°; Pan: -12° to 12°

Pros: Mavic Air

  • Compact and portable
  • Fast and fun
  • 100Mbps video capture rate
  • Affordable
  • Autonomous flight modes
  • 3-directional obstacle avoidance sensors

Cons: Mavic Air

  • No OccuSync
  • Short flight time
  • No aperture control

DJI Mavic Air vs Spark

DJI Spark

DJI Spark with Remote Control Combo (White)

  • Flight range: 100m without controller
  • Flight time: 16 minutes
  • Weight: 11 oz

The DJI Spark is a budget-friendly option and is half the cost of the Mavic Air.

However, the Spark does not come with a controller and can be controlled using your phone.

This means that the control range is extremely limited and that you need to 100% rely on your mobile phone to operate the drone.

If you want to increase the control range, you will have to purchase the controller separately or in a bundled package when making your drone purchase.

The Spark also offers lesser video quality, shorter flight time, less stabilization, and obstacle avoidance sensor than the Mavic Air.

DJI Spark with Remote Control Combo (White)
  • DJI spark remote control Combo includes remote controller and standard spark accessory Kit (see…
  • 2-Axis Stabilized Gimbal Camera 12MP Still Photos/ 1080P/30 Video gesture and Tap Fly control
  • Flight autonomy with obstacle detection subject tracking from various angles GPS- & vision…
  • Top speed of 31 mph in sport mode up to 16 minutes flying time
  • Up to 1. 2 mile control range control, edit, share with DJI go app

DJI Mavic Air vs. Mavic Pro

DJI – Mavic Pro Quadcopter

DJI - Mavic Pro Quadcopter with Remote Controller - Gray

  • Flight range: 4.3 miles
  • Flight time: 27 minutes
  • Weight: 32 oz

The Mavic Pro is far more expensive than the Mavic Air so naturally, it needs to offer a whole lot more than the Mavic Air.

The Mavic Pro gives you a flight time of 27 minutes compared to 21 minutes of the Mavic Air.

If camera quality is important to you, then the Mavic Pro is going to emerge as the winner in this category as well.

The camera offers more advanced tracking options, a greater ISO range for videos and cinema 4K and UHD 4K video resolutions.

However, the Mavic Pro is far heavier than the Mavic Air so it may not be as easy to transport.

Let’s not forget the price as well which can be too steep for some.

Sale
DJI – Mavic Pro Quadcopter with Remote Controller – Gray
  • Fly for miles. From your pocket. Inside the Mavic’s pocket-sized remote controller is DJI’s…
  • No bumps and scrapes When you know what’s in front of you, you won’t bump into it. The same is…
  • Absolute Precision Flight Autonomy technology means the Mavic can hover precisely in more…
  • Stay flying longer Why fly for 10 or 15 minutes when you can fly for up to 27? With the Mavic you…
  • Use every single pixel The Mavic is the only drone of its size to carry an integrated high-precision…
  • Includes: DJI Mavic Pro Quadcopter [US Version], Battery, 16GB microSD, Propeller pairs x3, Remote…

Difference between DJI Mavic Air vs DJI Mavic Air 2

DJI Mavic Air 2

DJI Mavic Air 2 - Drone Quadcopter UAV with 48MP Camera 4K...

  • Flight range: 6.2miles
  • Flight time: 34 minutes
  • Weight: 20.1 oz

The Mavic Air 2 is the follow-up version to the original Mavic Air that seeks to bring better performance in a little package while remaining at an affordable price.

So what are the differences?

First off, the Mavic Air 2 is only available in a grey color while the original came in 3 different colors.

It is also bigger and heavier which makes it not as portable as the original version.

However, the camera is better since it features a bigger sensor.

It can capture 48 MP photos which are of far better quality than the Mavic Air’s 12 MP photos.

Recording 4K videos are even faster with the Mavic Air 2 capable of recording 4K videos at 60fps.

Stabilization and the obstacle avoidance sensors are pretty much the same in both units so not much difference there.

The Mavic Air 2 does come with a longer flight time and range which makes it one of the best performing drones on the market in terms of flight time.

DJI Mavic Air 2 – Drone Quadcopter UAV with 48MP Camera 4K…
  • 【UP YOUR GAME】: The Mavic Air 2 camera drone takes power and portability to the next level. It…
  • 【NEXT-LEVEL CONTENT】: Capture impressive 48MP photos with a 1/2-inch CMOS sensor while the…
  • 【IMPROVED FLIGHT】: An impressive flight time of up to 34 minutes allows you to pull off epic,…
  • 【INTELLIGENT TRACKING】: Mavic Air 2 features intuitive shooting functions that make aerial…
  • 【APP COMPATIBILITY】: The DJI Fly app requires iOS v10.0, Android v6.0, or above. Compatible…
  • 【WHAT YOU GET】: Mavic Air 2 Aircraft, Remote Controller, Intelligent Flight Battery, 3x…
  • 【VIDEO CAPTURE RESOLUTION】: 4K Hd

Final thoughts: DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter

So is the DJI Mavic Air quadcopter still worth it in 2021?

Our short answer is yes.

The Mavic Air remains a reliable little unit that captures great images and offers some of the best flight features from DJI.

Check out how the Air matches up ion this mavic air vs mavic pro review.

If your budget allows, you can opt to get the Mavic Air 2 instead.

For more read best travel drone and best drone for photography.

Drone

Features

Price

DJI Mavic Air, Fly More Combo, Onyx Black
  • Flight range: 2 miles
  • Flight time: 21 minutes
  • Weight: 15.2 oz

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