A few manufacturers are making great drones on the market today, but there is only one that is absolutely dominating the market – DJI. Their newest models have been regarded as some of the best we’ve ever seen! In terms of taking flight, they are far ahead of their competition – thanks to their camera quality and portability. On top of all this, their most recent offering in the consumer class for a long time has been called the Mavic Pro- which folds up so small it can fit in your pocket.
As someone who has flown my share of drones, I can say that DJI makes one of the best ones out there. Their newest release, the Mavic Pro, is sleek, compact, and lightweight – but don’t let its size fool you! It packs a punch! Here’s what we love most about this little guy.
In conclusion, the DJI Mavic Pro 2 is still a superb machine. It flies with great agility and has many features to offer. The newer Mavic 2 drones have higher-quality cameras and more security measures. Though at half the cost of the newer models now, the Mavic Pro is still worth considering; yet for top-of-the-line photography and high-definition video, you’ll want to stick with either an original or updated model of the Mavic 2 drone series.
More important, Mavic Pro availability is beginning to dwindle. You can still find it for purchase if you look hard enough or buy from a vendor that specializes in drone parts and accessories, but otherwise, DJI has effectively stopped production on this model. It’s still well supported through software emulation though.[/aa_editors_tip]
DJI Mavic Pro one year review (2017)
If you’re looking for the juiciest of details about the Mavic Pro drone, then you are already reading the right article. But if you want to know what our first-year experiences were like with this device, head on over to our Mavic Pro 1 Year Review. Or perhaps we should call it Our First Year Impressions?
DJI announced the new Mavic Pro Platinum
Our opinion about the Mavic Pro remains unchanged since its initial release, although it now comes in a shiny new platinum color. It also has improved software and newer internals, along with newly released propellers that increase flight time and reduce noise pollution. We’ll update this article again once we’ve had a chance to test out these two new additions – so for now feel free to use them on your current version of the Mavic Pro!
Platinum Propellers on the original Mavic Pro
We were able to fly the Mavic Pro again with its newly redesigned propellers. It was quite easy to tell right away that there was a difference in performance between the new and old propellers. Join us while we take this opportunity to discuss what it means when propeller designs change and stay tuned for more information about these new prop designs!
Update: This has been an incredible experience so far! These tips have proven to be a great investment. If you were wondering – the gold-tipped propellers really do reduce engine RPM by around 500 once the Mavic Pro drone is in hover mode. Not only does this provide less strain on the motors but also less wear and tear for future flights. Plus, these props make less noise than the original ones too – even though it was hard to tell due to my recordings sounding muffled anyways because of how I recorded them. But nonetheless, we would still recommend replacing your original set with these platinum-tip props.
Original review from November 2016:
From the moment you unbox your brand new Mavic Pro, there’s something about it that just makes you wonder where DJI managed to hide all its bells and whistles. Compared to other quadcopters of its caliber, this little beauty is tiny – able to fit in the palm of your hand. But don’t let its size fool you; it can withstand some serious winds! And thanks to its protective arms and legs (which also double as propellers), it can fly right through rain without a problem.
Small in size, yes, but this is still a high-quality drone. The company has put so much thought into making it easy to use with features you would never expect such as quick release propellers and an ergonomic controller. You won’t need any tools because they’ve already made it easier than ever before!
Available in only one color, this slate grey drone arrives folded and requires a few quick adjustments to prepare for first use. Open up the two front arms that are tucked away in the sides of the device, then unfold the two rear arms which were hidden under it.
The landing gear resides underneath the front arms and towards the back of the body. Clearances are tight everywhere, but especially around the main source of propulsion, so keep this in mind when choosing your destination for takeoff or placement for landing.
The front of the drone contains a 3-axis gimbal with a 12MP, 4K camera. It also has an optional plastic dome which makes sure everything stays dry and safe from harm; however, it can be removed if you find it distorting your image too much. Nearby are two sensors that help identify obstacles for protection against damage to your drone as well as preventing collisions between this drone and any other objects in its path.
As best we can tell, the Mavic Pro is a tiny supercomputer packed into an aircraft. Combined with downward-facing sensors at its front which are then complemented by the set of sensors at its back, this drone has intelligence and autonomy in mind. It also carries features such as self-landing capabilities when needed, or even locational precision which aids in object avoidance – features that make it one of the most impressive drones available today!
Not only does the Mavic Pro have its own internal cooling fan to keep the computing electronics at optimal temperature, but so too does the remote control! These are no toys; this is a powerful tool made for professionals.
Underneath each of the four propellers are three small red led lights, and one larger white light near the back. The backlight changes color when it’s time for your drone to take off or land, telling you what needs to happen next- if it’s green then all is well.
The Mavic Pro drone stands out for being one of the easiest-to-use quadcopters today. With its lightweight frame and quick setup, it can be ready to fly in no time at all even if you’re carrying it around in your bag or pocket. Plus, with its intuitive remote control and a smartphone app that pairs easily together, flying has never been so simple!
Beyond the simple set-up, flying this drone is child’s play. Maybe not literally though – kids are usually too young for this one – so let’s just put it another way: The Mavic Pro is incredibly intuitive and easy to fly. Pointing it in the direction you want it to go takes practically no effort at all; the rest of what you need to do consists mainly of telling it where you want to go if you don’t feel like letting autonomous flight take over completely.
[alert]Please do not expect this drone to actually fly itself, I highly suggest testing a cheaper quadcopter before purchasing a high-end one. This guide will go over everything you need to know about drones, but the gist of it is that if crashing becomes inevitable, please choose an affordable model; otherwise, you may be risking too much money.[/alert]
Within seconds, you will have set up the drone. The only thing left to do then attaches the controller – which shouldn’t take long at all – and turn on the transmitter. Once this is done, it’s time for a flight! There are a few more steps involved if you’re connecting your phone to monitor video footage, but these aren’t too complicated either.
There are dedicated buttons on the remote for taking either a photo or starting/stopping recording video. Photos come in at an impressive 12MP and with a 2X zoom to accompany full manual camera controls. For automatic shooting, just tap your smartphone screen (or hit up the left rear button) to select from three different auto modes–focus and exposure point selections are all made for you automatically; just take the picture when you’re ready.
The right top spinning wheel adjusts exposure levels quickly to help you capture your target. The top left spinning wheel moves the camera up or down so you can find the perfect angle for your shot.
Video recording controls are a little more complicated than they initially seem, considering they only offer one on screen touch button for selecting the focus. It took me awhile to figure out how to change the video capture mode; it turns out I had to switch between 1080P, 2.7K and 4K at different framerate settings for my liking. As an added plus, slow motion is a great option too – although personally I preferred the smoothness of 2.7k HD recordings which were easiest to watch.
Update: I have changed my opinion on video resolution. Now all of my shots are at 4K. It takes up some more space when editing and doing color grading, but its worth it. Shooting in this resolute means future-proofing is guaranteed.]
I want to mention that the Mavic Pro can fly itself, which is a big advantage over many other drones. One of the most important features for ensuring an easy flight is its stability- if you accidentally lose control of the remote and let go, the Mavic Pro will hover right there without moving at all. DJI claimed it would stay within 10cm vertically and 30cm horizontally but mine usually hovers around 5cm or even less – though they’re still quite good distances!
Before you fly
In light of the recent legal situation regarding registering your drone with the FAA, DJI has enacted their own registration requirements. From here on, new owners of most DJI Drones will be required to register with the company to activate their flying machine before first flight. This can be annoying, and to many a huge invasion of anonymity; but if you are already signed in and registered for this kind of information – then it’s just another notification from them.
If you are flying for pay, or any other form of compensation, there are certain requirements that need to be met. This includes obtaining a Part 107 license; which is relatively easy to obtain – but may require additional time and effort depending on the individual taking care of their legal obligations. Check out our drone pilot training material if you’re interested in learning about these requirements and getting your commercial license!
First up, the DJI Mavic Pro can take off and land all by itself. Well, not entirely by its own volition – you will have to tap the take-off and landing buttons on the DJI GO mobile app – but that’s about as much input required from your end. Even if you decide to take off or land manually, the aeronautical smarts of this drone ensure a smooth landing every time; with very little worry about getting stuck in trees along the way too.
Next on the list is hovering, an aspect we talked about before. It’s the default function of this drone – so there are no worries about it not being able to maintain its position in air. Early adopters know how badly drones tend to do at maintaining their flight. With drones like these, releasing control often means certain crashing down into ground; but with the Mavic Pro, all you need to do is just wait patiently until you’re ready again or it runs out of battery power and can’t keep up anymore.
I cannot say that Tripod Mode is for beginners. Actually, if you are looking to slow things down, and keep yourself as steady as possible, Tripod Mode is the answer. Made specifically for creating the most stable video capture possible; with reduced flight sensitivity you can learn how to fly without compromising anything else because this mode will do all of that for you!
The last and most significant benefit of the DJI Mavic Pro Drone is the return-to-home (RTH) capability. This feature allows you to set a precise location from which your drone will automatically fly back to if it ever becomes lost or disconnected for any reason. Dual GPS modules coupled with precision sensors ensure that once activated, RTH sends you back precisely to where you started – down to within inches after flying home at high speed through challenging terrain conditions!
In addition to these features, the DJI also included a variety of other flight modes in their new Mavic Pro. They even added some exciting ways to fly it around!
First of all, the Mavic Pro can fly at up to 40 mph ground speed, while vertical travel is at 16.4 ft/s. Roughly translated this means it takes only 11 minutes to reach an altitude of 400 feet above sea level in countries where flight ceilings are restricted because of safety regulations!
The camera is the key to a handful of creative and automated flight modes, starting with a feature called Trace. With this option you can choose between three follow-me modes – leading you from in front, following behind or circling around for that perfect shot.
The first mode is called Profile – think of your favorite old video games, the 2D side scrollers – that’s what this option does. The Mavic Pro knows when it has reached one side of you and moves accordingly to take footage of you destroying blocks from its new position. You will need to watch where you go though; collision sensors are only on the front part of this drone so if you crash into something from behind then I am sorry but there isn’t much anyone can do for you now.
The last mode is called Spotlight and this is the most fun you’ll have with your object-focused videography. You don’t need to stay within a set distance of an object because it’ll continue to follow from wherever you are. No matter what direction the toy moves, no matter how far away from it you are -the camera will always be pointed at the thing being filmed.
Another helpful addition to this drone is called gesture control. This allows you to let your friends fly the Mavic Pro without giving up the remote- they can just wave their hand in front of the camera and it will start recording! They’ll also be able to take photos, track movements, and even more just by gesturing with their hand.
Related reading: 10 reasons to choose the DJI Mavic Pro
TapFly is an innovative new function of the Mavic Pro which provides for hands-free autonomous navigation. You can specify a location, and the drone will fly there on its own so you can focus all your attention on capturing photos or video footage.
Ignoring these complicated flight modes, I should mention that the Mavic Pro is very easy to control for take-off and landing. When taking off, it’ll lift you up about four feet and hover at eye level if you want it to. When landing, it’ll bring you down just three feet before halting; after which point you can either manually land by holding down the joystick button or use its automated flying features to slowly descend without touching anything else other than the ground.
The updates made to the latest DJI GO 4 app have improved the value of my Mavic Pro by a large margin, providing me with an even faster speed and dual pilot control. For starters, one controller has full control of the craft while the other logins as a co-pilot to take control alongside it. This is perfect for anyone interested in taking on a workload without having all of their fingers in every pie. Furthermore, with crafts such as the Inspire 2 that have dual pilots, there is no need for one to fly and another to focus only on photography; rather you can use both controllers as monitors so no one gets left out!
Update: The new Fixed-wing mode allows you to fly your drone like an aircraft. When looking down at the camera, it really feels like you’re flying a traditional plane – which is pretty cool! You can tilt left and right while the craft flies in order to mimic the movements of a flight simulator without knowing what kind of drone you’re actually piloting. It’s perfect if you always wanted to see yourself fly an airplane but don’t want the hassle of owning one or even taking lessons!
DJI has come out with goggles that offer a live feed from the DJI Mavic Pro to simulate being a pilot. At this year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, we got some time trying them on ourselves and they’re amazing! For example, these goggles allow you to fly autonomously or manually through obstacle avoidance controls – these are just some of the many new features.
Extra features such as ActiveTrack make the drone go up to 33.5mph, yet its original top speed is unaltered. The new fixed-wing flight mode is pretty cool too; it’s a cruise-control type feature that locks the camera gimbal in place and lets you fly without having to worry about turning it yourself – all you need to do is choose which way to go!
Recently, DJI has updated the user’s experience with new features. These updates include spherical photo modes, 360-degree images, and more; they’ve also included Quickshots to the Mavic Pro – these are self-piloting flight modes that capture various selfie-focused videos for you.
Stay tuned for a full DJI Mavic Pro camera review, coming soon! In the meantime, here are some samples of the raw vs color graded video capture from the drone. Captured at 2.7K and compressed to 1080P.
|FOLDED||H83mm x W83mm x L198mm|
|DIAGONAL SIZE (EXCLUDING PROPELLERS)||335 mm|
|WEIGHT (INCLUDING BATTERY AND PROPELLERS)||1.62 lbs (734 g) (exclude gimbal cover)|
1.64 lbs (743 g) (include gimbal cover)
|MAX ASCENT SPEED||16.4 ft/s (5 m/s) in Sport mode|
|MAX DESCENT SPEED||9.8 ft/s (3 m/s)|
|MAX SPEED||40 mph (65 kph) in Sport mode without wind|
|MAX SERVICE CEILING ABOVE SEA LEVEL||16404 feet (5000 m)|
|MAX FLIGHT TIME||27 minutes (0 wind at a consistent 15.5 mph (25 kph))|
|MAX HOVERING TIME||24 minutes (0 wind)|
|OVERALL FLIGHT TIME||21 minutes ( In normal flight, 15% remaining battery level )|
|MAX FLIGHT DISTANCE||8 mi (13 km, 0 wind)|
|GPS MODE||GPS / GLONASS|
+/- 0.1 m (when Vision Positioning is active) or +/-0.5 m
+/- 0.3 m (when Vision Positioning is active) or +/-1.5 m
Announced in February 2017, DJI has added a few attachments for its Mavic Pro drone. We ordered ours right away when they became available. The sleeve and sunshade arrived in March; ND filters arrived here last month (April). I ordered propeller guards and chargers separately; the rest came with Fly More bundle. The sleeve is durable; it protects the drone from dings/scratches while traveling as well as getting dirty while stored at home.
After living with my solar panel accessory for over three months now, I still have nothing but good things to say about it! It’s durable, folds up nicely, and fits inside the provided carry bag. My only concern is how long-term use might affect its connection to the drone camera in terms of interference or wear and tear…but so far, everything has been great! There hasn’t been too much sunshine these past few weeks though, meaning I haven’t flown my drone outside much or had the chance to install ND filters.
Stay tuned for an update here, the next time the Portland area is both sunny and not experiencing hurricane-force winds (I only mean it figuratively now), I will take to the sky. Update: I took to the skies today and captured some footage of my flying routine.
Science of Flight series
Aspiring scientists or anyone else who has an interest in the physics behind drone flight will find this article to be quite helpful. We might not be professionals at all, but we’ll do our best to explain how drones work- how they fly and what it takes to perform successfully while flying one. For those who would like more information on the subject, please refer back to our other Science of Flight posts for even more knowledge!
Final thoughts on the DJI Mavic Pro
As soon as we took it out of the box, we were struck by how amazing this little drone was. It has a lot of smarts and camera abilities for such a small package – much like most drones that fit those specifications. But when put to the test, it does not compare to these other drones on the market because its performance soars above what most drones can offer at its price point.
While the fastest and most durable drone is currently available on the market, there are a few downsides to keep in mind. For FPV racers, there are other models available for cheaper prices with just as much speed and stability. Hobbyists can find comparable features for a cheaper price too, so consumers may want to look elsewhere before deciding on a purchase. But overall, this drone is the best of its kind – one that can easily provide you with breathtaking aerial footage even when it’s out of sight.
Recently, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro was released, packing superior flight options, particularly obstacle avoidance and a much more powerful camera; however, it still had some of its flaws. Those looking for an ultra-portable drone should find that the lackluster features of the bigger and more expensive drones are worth sacrificing in favor of the Mavic Pro.
The Mavic Pro had an initial price of $999; with the drone, controller, and one battery coming at a set price. If you opted for the Fly More Combo package then it would cost $1299 – that being because it would include two more batteries, some extra propellers, and a few different ways to charge them all up again. As of this July 2019 update, they are now available at just $819 or if you want to go big then get the Fly More Combo at just $929.
This drone is our best investment in high-quality aerial photography. Certainly, there are other models of camera drones out there – like the DJI Inspire 2 – but none offer the same all-around convenience as the Mavic Pro, or include its pack of handy features and flight capabilities at such a cost-effective price point.