DJI Mavic Air 2 review – Hard to Beat

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is an affordable drone for aerial photography enthusiasts. Not only does it offer great flight time but also a high-quality camera that features 4k video recording and 12MP stills.

Familiarity and reliability are made greater when paired with longer flight ranges and the incorporation of OcuSync. This new system competes well in medium-duty aerial tasks; however, we feel it falls short in more rigorous applications. This is our DJI Mavic Air 2 Review.

Image Product Details   Price
DJI Mavic Air 2 DJI Mavic Air 2 Great battery life
Large camera
AirSense transponder
Check Price

To write this review, we flew the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone from 9AM-10PM for seven days straight. We tried out every single one of its flight features and all its camera modes. When new features became available with software updates, we updated this review to include those changes.

DJI Mavic Air 2 overview

DJI Mavic Air 2

One of the most noticeable things about the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone is how similar it looks to its predecessors. Being different from other models wasn’t what was wrong with the original Mavic Air, but being familiar has always been an advantage for previous models such as the Mavic Pro and Inspire series which came before it.

Despite the similarities, we’re saddened to report that the Mavic Air 2 has all unique parts. You cannot swap propellers, batteries or remote controls with the other Mavic models. The Mavic Pro and Mavic 2 series share propellers; however, this is the only way you can use a prop from one model drone on another model drone – nothing else will work across any of these drones!

Though small in size, the Mavic Air 2 is still a high quality drone at an affordable price. Compared to its predecessor and its pricier counterparts, it is of average size and cost. This product was designed for consumers who want something high quality but do not want to break their budget – like me!

We are very excited for one of the most notable upgrades made to the Mavic line, a new camera! Make no mistake, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro still has an impeccable camera in just about every way, but the Mavic Air 2 is essentially some sort of next-generation non-professional camera. And we’re really stoked about it.

If you’ve been paying attention to the smartphone industry over the last few years, you may have noticed a new type of technology emerging. Not the huge megapixel count on camera sensors – that’d be great for drone photography, but this is more modest – it’s what we call the 48MP 1/2-inch sensor typically capable of producing 12 MP images through pixel binning. This type of sensor can shoot 4K video at 60 fps and capture good quality photos with excellent HDR capability too.

In this section we’ll break down the camera from start to finish. To keep things simple, we’ll sum everything up – The image quality from the Mavic Air 2 is beyond our expectations. It seems like DJI must have readied a page right out of Google’s book when it comes to designing such an enticing camera experience (even if it doesn’t take pictures). With this one point alone, well done!

Update, April 2021: The DJI Air 2S is on the market now. With a far superior camera than its predecessor, and even greater flight range – this drone has become one of the best choices for most people. However, it also comes at a higher cost which makes buying the Mavic Air 2 an even more attractive option.

Is the DJI Mavic Air 2 any good?

We are hesitant to take anyone at their word when it comes to drones because so many of them are terrible, but DJI has proved itself many times over with the Mavic Air 2. Yes, this drone is good.

The Mavic Air 2 balances both form and function. The initial Mavic Air was a perfect drone for those who wanted to take it anywhere without sacrificing quality – but the Mavic Air 2 requires no trade-off when it comes to the camera or flight abilities, even though it’s smaller and lighter.

When the drone flies quickly, it accelerates so fast that you’ll need to be careful about how hard you push on the sticks or else the Mavic Air 2 will take off in a different direction at full speed before you’ve even looked up from your controller.

It is best to use Tripod mode when you’re still learning how to fly, or if you want to grab some slow motion shots from the sky. You’ll be able to gently control the sticks for slower and smoother movements in Standard Mode; this would be much harder in Sport Mode, though it can still be done.

The connection to the remote is strong and the reaction time between pushing a button and performing an action on the drone is negligible. You may experience some lag if you look hard enough, but it’s so brief that one might not notice.

Video feedback from the drone is also solid. We flew it in the same place we’ve flown every other consumer drone we’ve touched in the past two years. The Mavic Air 2 produced the highest video quality we saw from them all.

Connectivity was excellent because of two aspects; specifically, the use of Ocusync 2.0 which increased range up to 10km and the newly redesigned controller that is much bigger than before – but also much more comfortable to handle.

The new remote may seem too large at first glance due to its resemblance with both the original controller for Mavic Airs and DJI Smart Controllers from 2019 onwards, but this was done deliberately so there would be ample room inside for a built-in screen – whether it be an LCD or just a simplistic one like those found in previous models of drones by DJI. On the contrary, the Mavic Air 2 has some downsides which aren’t worth overlooking.

Firstly, its lack of obstacle avoidance is a downside when compared to other drones on the market. And while it’s an understandable feature considering its price point, admitting such means that we cannot call it a premium drone – simply because it isn’t one. It’s certainly one of the best consumer-grade drones out there; but by no means does it reach premium status.

One criticism of this drone is that it has brand new parts and accessories. While it’s great to be able to use the old bags and cables from previous models, we were hoping for more cross-overs with the propellers or even batteries between Mavics. As far as we can tell, they’re exactly the same size as the props which came with the Mavic Pro Platinum, so they’re likely low profile ones too.

With its compact size, the Mavic Air 2 does not require as much propeller rotation power; however, the many DJI consumers who own more than one drone will find themselves wasting money buying yet another set of propellers for each new drone.

Mavic Air 2 specifications

The DJI Mavic Air 2 pleasantly surprised us all with its 1/2-inch camera sensor and 4K video capability. It also has multi-direction obstacle avoidance sensors which are a welcomed addition to the drone. The Mavic Air 2 resembles more of the line it was originally introduced with than its own previous model did – coming closer to what we call the Mavic drone line today.

Size (folded):7.1 x 3.8 x 3.3 inches
Size (unfolded):9.96 x 7.2 x 3 inches
Weight:570 grams (1.25 pounds)
Max video resolution:4K/60 fps
Photo sensor:1/2 inch, 12MP
Flight time:34 minutes
FAA registration:Required

How safe is the DJI Mavic Air 2?

The first thing many people do when they pick up a drone for the first time is fear crashing it. All drones come with risks, but what sets the Mavic Air 2 apart from other models is its capacity to mitigate them.

Multi-direction obstacle avoidance is a plus for the Mavic Air 2. Warnings will be given and the drone will stop automatically if there are obstacles in your forward, backward, or downward flight path. You’ll have to go to the next version of Mavic line of drones for full 360 degree coverage.

One of the many features introduced with the Mavic Air 2 is called Airsense. As simple as it sounds, air sense is just an ADS-B receiver at first glance.

DJI states that the MAVIC AIR 2 does not broadcast its own position to other aircraft. You can still receive notifications of manned aircrafts around you and vice versa, but there is no two-way communication between these two devices.

We see an occasional plane fly overhead, with maybe 5-10 aircraft per day that come over. On this day we were testing the DJI Mavic Air 2 when we spotted one of these planes heading towards us from the horizon.

Before I could even hear the airplane, my app alerted me to its presence. Once the incoming plane became audible, it automatically enlarged the map at the bottom right of my screen so that we could see where it was headed and what direction it would take when it flew overhead.

This was a two-dimensional depiction, so I had no information about the plane’s altitude. However, as the tiny airplane icon passed within one thousand feet of the drone on horizontal trajectory, it became apparent that it would soon enter my sensor perimeter from an aerial perspective.

Being that I was flying low beneath the rooftops of the neighboring buildings, there really wasn’t much chance for collision. If I had flown higher up in the sky, my AirSense would have given me enough time to make a descent or change course if it came down to it.

Important Note: Airsense is not available for sale in all countries. It has only been confirmed to work within the United States so far, but unfortunately it does not seem to be available in Europe at this time.

DJI Mavic Air 2 camera samples

After reading the tab on DJI’s website, I learned that they are the world leaders in camera drone technology. They have amazing professional rigs of which even their competition has none of – but for consumers looking to purchase a drone such as this one, there is no other option than theirs.

The new 1/2-inch sensor size is quite different than what we are used to seeing. Most drones before this had a 1/2.3-inch sensor, or went all out with a full 1-inch one. You would be able to spot the difference between these old sensors right away if you saw them both side by side, and there really is no denying that an improvement of just 0.07 inches can make such a big impact.

The pixel count of this camera is much higher than your average camara. At 48 million pixels, it can capture some of the most clear shots out there. But don’t worry, because they will still let you take pictures at 12 million pixels!

Various shooting modes are also available, such as panoramas, hyperclasses, and multiples shots bursts. And don’t forget to take advantage of the DJI Quicksort flight features!

DJI Mavic Air 2 video sample

The larger sensor has been designed to shoot up to 4K video at speeds of 60 frames per second, but if you enable HDR capture, the fps drop down to 30.

When it comes to cameras, we applaud DJI for their Gimbals. The Mavic Air 2 takes really smooth footage and has great articulation range. We are uncertain if the camera captures any digital stabilization when capturing footage; however, there seem to be enough pixels on the sensor that allow software to do some optical correction.

Our first images with the Mavic Air 2 were pretty darn impressive. It doesn’t come close to comparing to our DSLR camera, or even to what we captured with the Inspire 2, but it’s definitely on par with the Phantom 4 Pro.

How much is the DJI Mavic Air 2?

This article will give you all the information you need about the exciting new DJI Mavic Air 2. The first shipments began arriving to consumers on May 11th, 2020.

In an expected move, DJI has announced the release of two package deals for its new drone model – the standard pack with everything needed to fly, as well as a Fly More Combo that comes complete with additional spare parts.

Should I buy the DJI Mavic Air 2?

When considering the many different things you need to take into account before buying a drone, remember that the DJI Mavic Air 2 is a sound investment, though it may not be exactly what some people are looking for in terms of budget.

Did you know that the Mavic Air 2 has the same Sony camera sensor as its more expensive rival, Autel Robotics Evo II? The Mavic Air 2 may be cheaper than the Evo II in terms of pricing, but it does not lack in quality!

As for buyers of the original Mavic Air, the Mavic Pro, Spark or anything in between – the new Mavic Air 2 will always be a better drone. In terms of those who prefer to use Zoom on their Mavic 2 but don’t need it too often – they’ll still find themselves upgrading to the new Mavic Air because it provides many improvements over its predecessor.

DJI has been doing a solid job expanding their lineup this year, particularly with the Mavic Air 2. If it’s extreme portability and affordability you’re looking for then grab the Mavic Mini, but if you can’t afford to spend too much on your first drone then go for the Mavic 2 Pro which offers a superb camera at an affordable price. Lastly there is the new addition of the Mavic Air 2 which falls in between these two drones due to its moderate cost at just $800!

Frequently Asked Questions

But really, is the DJI Mavic Air 2 a good drone?

As with most things in life, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is absolutely amazing or terrible depending on what you need out of it and what you are comparing it to. It’ll never keep up with an image quality of something like the Inspire 2 with Zenmuse X7 camera; however this little drone will capture better images from the sky than almost every other affordable drone on the market in 2020. In addition, it’ll fly further and for longer when compared to them too!

Is the Mavic Air 2 camera 48MP or 12MP?

The camera sensor in the Mavic Air 2 is 48MP, and while it captures great looking photographs at 12MP, capturing at the higher resolution of 48MP produces impressive results. Pixel-binning refers to when multiple pixels on a camera sensor are combined together to create an image from these individual photosites. This happens because there isn’t enough time for each photo site on the sensor to capture an amount of light – so combining them all together creates one large photo.
Pixel binning allows for a more accurate color representation than would otherwise be possible. Combining colors across multiple channels provides an averaging effect that reduces noise and increases accuracy when determining colors. Software does most of the work by making educated guesses about how colors should appear but with teams like Google and DJI investing, there is no telling how this technology will evolve.

10KM range is huge, I can fly to my grandma’s house!

Respectful of your passion and enthusiasm, please remember the line-of-sight laws enforced in your country. In the US we have a very specific law which says unobstructed line-of sight – but what it really means is that you need to be able to see your drone with your own eyes at all times while using it.
In some of my favorite flight spots in Portland, I have a clear view for over 60 miles straight up. Mountains and volcanoes can be seen as long as they’re below 2,000 feet – which leaves little limitation on what I can see while being in the sky! One day I’ll fly through countries that allow Beyond Visual Line of Sight flying – until then though, I hope that we can all stay within visual range while flying our drone.

What is ADS-B?

ADS-B is easy to understand. It’s a platform which aircraft use for transmitting their current position and other nearby traffic, or being aware of the presence of other pilots. This infrastructure has been in place since before there were drones, but they decided against adding them because they wanted to avoid crashing the system or overwhelming pilots with too many new dots on the screen.
However, it is an open system that you can receive data from if you have the right gear. If you have a new DJI drone, you have the right gear. ADS-B on your Mavic Air 2 gives way to simple alerts showing exactly when there are manned aircraft nearby – all of which are available at various sites outside of this specific instance.

Should I buy the DJI Mavic Air 2, or wait for the Mavic 3?

Our initial impulse is to ask whether the Mavic Air 2 will sufficiently meet your flight needs- assuming you have approximately $1,500 to spend and are willing to wait for DJI’s next generation Mavics when they may eventually release them.
The Mavic Air 2 is an excellent drone; however, it won’t be able to do some of the things that a Mavic 3 can. For example, the newer model will likely have a better camera than its predecessor- even if only slightly so. This said, both drones are probably equipped with identical sensors – though there might be slight variations in quality between them as well.
Update: The new Mavic 3 has been released, it is priced higher than the previous models but it includes a much better camera for professional photographers. Hobbyists may want to reconsider whether they want to invest in this model or one of the other cheaper alternatives; however people who are looking for something higher quality should go for this option.

Does the DJI Mavic Air 2 have Remote ID?

As of April 2021, there is no conclusive answer about what the new FANR requirement will look like or how it will affect drone pilots. All DJI drones have some sort of built-in telemetry which could meet these requirements, but since it has not been ratified by the FAA, we don’t know for sure if this satisfies these new regulations. We’ll keep you updated on any news we hear from them.

Leave a Comment