DJI Mavic Professional overview (Up to date for 2018)

MSRP $999.99

“DJI’s Mavic Professional is the perfect drone you should purchase for $1,000.”

Execs

  • Tremendous transportable design
  • Strong building
  • Outrageously lengthy vary
  • Gimbaled 4K digital camera
  • Fairly priced

Portability is all the fashion in drones proper now – pilots need quadcopters they’ll pack up and take wherever. Sadly, a compact type issue normally interprets to fewer options and skills. However with DJI’s Mavic Professional, that couldn’t be farther from the reality. Along with being some of the transportable drones we’ve ever seen, the Mavic additionally occurs to be some of the feature-packed drones in the marketplace.

However do portability and functionality actually coexist in the actual world? We took it out for a strong week of hardcore flight exams to search out out.

Options and specs

Surely, probably the most standout function of the Mavic is its portability. DJI went again to the drafting board with this drone, and it reveals. As a substitute of a space-hogging fixed-arm hull, the Mavic incorporates a set of folding arms and props that, due to their intelligent configuration, permit the drone to fold down right into a neat little package deal that’s roughly the scale of an ordinary brick (however not fairly as heavy). This, together with the tremendous compact controller, make the Mavic certainly one of hte most transportable drones we’ve ever encountered.

Up entrance, it’s additionally outfitted with a 4K digital camera and tremendous compact 3-axis gimbal. This permits the gadget to seize tremendous stabilized video with out the decision cutbacks required for digital stabilization. Plus, behind the digital camera, the drone additionally has DJI’s ActiveTrack and Optical Move software program, which permit it to trace objects and sense obstacles (respectively) utilizing nothing however the digital camera and picture evaluation algorithms.

Flight and vary specs are additionally fairly spectacular. DJI outfitted the Mavic with an all-new video transmission system referred to as OcuSync, which stretches the Mavic’s max vary to over 4 miles and likewise boosts its resistance to interference. At shorter ranges, this tech may even stream footage to you at 1080p decision, permit picture and video downloads at 40Mb/s – which is totally nuts.

To spherical out the package deal, the Mavic Professional additionally sports activities all the identical Clever Flight Modes that DJI’s Phantom 4 has — plus two new ones. Along with the usual Observe mode, Level of Curiosity, Waypoints, and Course Lock, the Mavic additionally has DJI’s new Terrain Observe and Gesture modes. It’s completely filled with options.

Construct high quality and design

Construct high quality is off the charts. The Mavic Professional is a sturdy little beast with one of many hardest hulls we’ve ever encountered. We crashed it a handful of occasions and it didn’t even appear fazed. Certain, it’ll complain and inform you “Ouch, you crashed me!” in a collection of annoying beeps — however after a fast reset it’ll neglect the entire thing ever occurred and get proper again to flying like a champ. We wouldn’t belief it to outlive an enormous plummet onto a tough floor, however 30 toes onto a patch of grass? No downside.

In the case of transportable drones, the Mavic Professional has no equal — no less than not but.

Similar goes for design. DJI deserves a Pink Dot Award for this one — it’s nothing in need of good. I imply, we’ve seen folding drones earlier than, however this one takes it to a complete new degree. Due to a really intelligent hinge system, the arms fold up right into a neat little package deal simply smaller than the size of your common brick, which makes it a breeze to stuff in your backpack or messenger bag and lug alongside in your adventures. It would even slot in a handbag.

One other design aspect that we’re completely in love with is the transportable controller. It’s not a measly little smartphone app that forces you to make use of digital joysticks, and it’s additionally not a huge floor station that takes up half your backpack — it’s a thoughtfully designed hybrid that provides you the perfect of each worlds. When it’s all folded up, it’s roughly the scale of a walkie talkie — however flip out the antennas and pop in your smartphone, and all of a sudden it’s a full-fledged controller with tons of telemetry knowledge, an intuitive format, and implausible vary.

The one actual flaw we may discover on the machine was its 3-axis gimbal meeting. It’s impressively small and compact, nevertheless it’s additionally held in place with 4 small rubber bands that appear to be a bit fragile. If certainly one of these bands snaps (which occurred to our overview unit whereas it was within the earlier person’s possession), the digital camera can have bother stabilizing itself, which in the end means you’ll find yourself with shaky, “Jello-effect” video footage. That’s actually the one design flaw we may discover although — all the things else on the Mavic is well-built and designed to final.

Battery life and recharge time

Regardless of its compact type issue, the Mavic Professional boasts spectacular battery life, and really has one of many longest flight occasions we’ve ever seen in a quadcopter. It’s a little bit of an oddity although — the rotor system is optimized for ahead flight, so the drone can really keep aloft longer in movement than hovering. DJI claims it might keep a hover for twenty-four minutes, however due to its aerodynamic design, it might allegedly keep airborne for 27 minutes in case you “fly on the optimum velocity for vitality consumption.”

To place these claims to the check, we ran Mavic by means of our regular collection of endurance exams. First up was a straight-up hover check, the place we let the drone hover till it drains the battery and robotically lands itself. Our hover check lasted for precisely 23 minutes and 19 seconds — which isn’t very far off from DJI’s claimed 24 minutes.

Subsequent, to get a way of how lengthy it’ll final throughout regular flight, we recorded the flight occasions from each different flight check we performed and averaged them out. Over the course of 14 completely different flights that went from one hundred pc battery to emergency low-battery computerized touchdown, the Mavic averaged a flight time of 25 minutes and 6 seconds. That’s not fairly so long as DJI’s claimed 27 — nevertheless it’s price mentioning that we did log a couple of flights that broke the 26 minute barrier, so we will affirm that flying the Mavic round does certainly enhance your flight occasions — which is fairly cool.

Dan Baker/Digital Developments

Dan Baker/Digital Developments

As for recharge occasions, a mostly-drained battery (round 10 p.c remaining) will take about an hour to recharge. A completely drained battery (which isn’t regular, because the drone will auto-land earlier than it reaches that time) takes roughly an hour and quarter-hour to juice again as much as one hundred pc. So usually talking, you need to count on a little bit over an hour for every recharge session — which actually isn’t too dangerous for a battery that gives 25 minutes of flight time. Nonetheless, you’d be smart to select up a spare in case you plan on doing loads of flying.

Flight efficiency, autonomy, and vary

DJI has outdone itself with this drone. When it comes to uncooked flight efficiency, the Mavic Professional is definitely probably the greatest quads we’ve ever flown. Technically the motors aren’t fairly as highly effective as those you’ll discover within the Phantom 4, however one way or the other the Mavic nonetheless manages to match — or in lots of circumstances even surpass — its huge brother in plenty of completely different respects.

The primary of those are velocity and agility. On paper, the Mavic tops out at 40 miles per hour — however our flight logs confirmed that we really clocked speeds as excessive as 51 miles per hour underneath sure situations. On a reasonably breezy day, it cleared our 100-meter dash check in 5.3 seconds, which suggests a high velocity of about 42 miles per hour. In fact, your high velocity will differ relying on the situations you’re flying in, however so far as we will inform, the Mavic is each bit as fast and nimble because the Phantom 4 — if no more so.

The Mavic has all the identical flight modes as DJI’s top-of-the-line Phantom, plus a pair additional. You possibly can set the Mavic to orbit a degree in house with Level of Curiosity Mode; repeat flights alongside a preset path with Waypoints; observe your actions through Observe Me mode, and even regulate the best way it responds to joystick management with Course Lock and House Lock. These modes are kind of the identical within the Mavic as they’re within the Phantom 4 — however Mavic has a couple of new methods up its sleeve as nicely: Terrain Observe and Gesture modes.

In Terrain Observe, the drone makes use of its Downward Imaginative and prescient System to take care of a sure distance from the bottom, which is implausible for filming over terrain that varies in elevation. Gesture mode, however, permits you to arrange and snap a selfie by doing nothing greater than standing in entrance of the digital camera, waving your arms a bit, after which making a “image body” form together with your fingers. Mainly, this makes it attainable to take drone selfies with out having your controller within the image, which is fairly neat.

One of many Mavic’s standout options is unquestionably its vary. It’s outfitted with DJI’s new OcuSync video transmission know-how, which stretches the drone’s most vary and offers a reside HD video feed from the digital camera from as much as 4.3 miles away. The factor is, these numbers aren’t essentially an correct reflection of the distances you’ll be capable to obtain in real-world situations.

In our longest flight check, we took it out to 11,000 toes (roughly two miles) earlier than our feed stuttered, anxiousness obtained the perfect of us, and we turned again. We didn’t push the Mavic to absolutely the restrict, however there are movies on-line of individuals taking it out over 17,000 toes earlier than it loses sign and robotically returns to house — so we’re fairly certain that in any case, the Mavic’s vary will probably be sufficient to fulfill even probably the most demanding customers.

Digicam, equipment, and upgradability

The digital camera on the Mavic is fairly spectacular. Regardless of being significantly smaller than the digital camera on the Phantom 4, it principally has the very same specs. It shoots in cinematic 4K, snaps 12.7 megapixel stills, and likewise helps options like burst taking pictures and publicity bracketing. It even has a super-compact 3-axis gimbal to maintain the digital camera secure when you fly — a function that’s notably absent in different transportable drones just like the Yuneec Breeze and Hover Digicam Passport. The one actual distinction between the Mavic’s digital camera and the Phantom’s is discipline of view. At 79 levels, Mavic’s FOV is barely narrower than the Phantom 4’s, which is 94 levels.

The digital camera is arguably simply as essential because the software program behind it. Very like its huge bro, the Mavic sports activities DJI’s object monitoring know-how (ActiveTrack), in addition to its Optical Move system, which makes use of picture recognition to identify obstacles and observe the drone’s place whereas flying indoors. As we talked about earlier than, it’s additionally outfitted with gesture recognition software program and adjustable focusing skills — two options that the Phantom 4 doesn’t have.

As for equipment and upgrades, DJI doesn’t presently provide a very big variety for the Mavic — however that may doubtless change within the coming months. The corporate lately unveiled its personal FPV goggles, which will probably be suitable with the Mavic Professional once they’re launched. Other than that, all you will get proper now’s alternative elements, a carrying case, and a particular hub that allows you to cost as much as 4 batteries without delay.

Our Take

After flying it nonstop for every week, we’re satisfied that the DJI Mavic Professional is among the greatest drones you will get for $1,000. We wouldn’t even hassle getting a Phantom 4 proper now. Along with being cheaper and quicker, the Mavic additionally has extra flight modes, an extended vary, and an excellent transportable design. So on the finish of the day, it’s simply extra bang on your buck.

Are there higher choices out there?

In the case of transportable drones, the Mavic Professional is unquestionably probably the greatest choices in the marketplace proper now — however relying on what you’re in search of in a drone, there could be a better option for you. DJI’s newly-released Mavic Air drone is smaller, lighter, and boasts superior impediment avoidance. It’s additionally $200 cheaper.

As such, you need to solely go together with the Mavic Professional in case your predominant issues are battery life and digital camera efficiency. The Professional outlasts the Mavic Air on the subject of airtime on a single cost, and its digital camera additionally performs barely higher in low gentle situations. Try our detailed comparability to get a fuller image of the variations.

Different transportable drones, just like the Yuneec Breeze and Hover Digicam Passport, provide comparable ranges of portability, and are additionally significantly cheaper than the Mavic ($500 and $600 respectively) — however they’re nowhere close to as succesful.

In the event you don’t care a lot about portability, Yuneec’s Storm H can be a worthy contender. It boasts lots of the identical options, and has a 4K digital camera that swivels in 360 levels. This, together with dual-pilot capabilities, would arguably make the Storm H a better option for novice filmmakers — however provided that you don’t thoughts lugging your drone round in an enormous backpack.

How lengthy will it final?

Most likely a couple of years or extra. DJI continuously rolls out updates to its merchandise, and we’ve no purpose to assume the Mavic Professional will probably be any completely different. Firmware updates come by means of regularly, and DJI already has a set of upgrades, attachments, and equipment within the works. So, assuming you don’t destroy it, the Mavic Professional ought to final you for fairly a while.

Do you have to purchase it?

Completely. No matter what you’re in search of in a drone, the Mavic Professional is a implausible selection. We’ve rounded up the perfect Black Friday drone offers you will get, don’t neglect to undergo them.

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