When DJI released the Mavic Air, in January 2018, it was a legitimate game changer. By introducing many of the prosumer elements found in some of its larger drones into a smaller form factor, DJI opened up a new world of possibilities for aerial photographers and cinematographers. Now, more than two years later, we have the direct sequel to that legendary flyer, the aptly named Mavic Air 2.
Newish and Improved
One of the things you should know about the Mavic Air 2 is that it isn't as revolutionary as its predecessor—it doesn't need to be. In many ways, the original Mavic Air was all about changing what we thought was possible with camera drones: where you could fly, how you could travel, what you could shoot. The Mavic Air 2 doesn't add to that list, nor does it reinvent. It simply does all those new things better.
How does it achieve this? Well, for starters, the Mavic Air 2 shoots higher-quality video and image stills. It also has a more sophisticated vision system with better tracking features and obstacle avoidance. It can fly longer, transfer higher-resolution video further, and is every bit as portable. In short, the Mavic Air 2 appears to be the superior drone—and that's coming from someone who still considers the original Mavic Air one of the best drones on the market and one of the most important flyers ever made.
Arguably, the Mavic Air 2's most notable upgrade is its improved camera system. The new setup includes a 1/2" sensor that allows the Mavic Air 2 to shoot 48MP stills (compared to 12MP from both the Mavic Air and Mavic Pro Platinum) and 4K video at 60 fps. Apart from the inherent capabilities and advantages of shooting 4K60, this is an important upgrade because it makes the Mavic Air 2 only the second DJI drone to offer 4K60 recording (the other being the larger and costlier Phantom 4 Pro V2.0).
On top of its enhanced imaging capabilities, the Mavic Air 2 also includes the OcuSync 2.0 video transmission system, which more than doubles the Mavic Air 2's transmission distance from 4 all the way up to 10km, and increases the maximum video transmission to Full HD. Though it was very good in the original, the Mavic Air 2's obstacle avoidance should be even better, thanks to its upgraded APAS 3.0 system, which, according to DJI, is its most sophisticated obstacle-avoidance software to date.
Perhaps best of all, the Mavic Air 2 comes with the latest versions of DJI's most advanced tracking features and shooting modes. FocusTrack is DJI's name for the Mavic Air 2's suite of tracking modes. It includes the latest versions of ActiveTrack 3.0, Point of Interest 3.0, and Spotlight 2.0. Together, these three tracking modes should allow pilots to tackle just about any occasion or shot. In terms of shooting modes, the Mavic Air 2 offers more features and possibilities than any other DJI drone, which includes a full HDR suite and one of our favorite new capture modes, Hyperlapse (click here and scroll down to check out Hyperlapse in action).
Even More Air
As significant an upgrade as the new camera and vision system is, the Mavic Air 2's dramatic jump in battery life is arguably just as impressive. Somehow, DJI managed to up the Mavic Air 2's flight time all the way up to 34 minutes. Not only is that a huge gain over the original Mavic Air's 21-minute flight time, but it puts the Mavic Air 2 right at the top of DJI's product line in term of battery performance.
Up Your Game
Thanks to an all-around spec boost and long list of advanced flying features and modes, the Mavic Air 2 might just be the next great mid-sized drone. To see whether it lived up to all that potential, check out our hands-on review below. And, if you have any questions or comments about the Mavic Air 2, be sure to let us know.