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Review: DJI Mavic Air

Whether you're just a hobbyist, or a pro who just needs a little bit of drone footage here and there, the Mavic Air could be a great drone to start with.

Shooting with the Mavic Air

Shooting with the drone was as I expected. It was easy to control and pretty easy to stay on straight lines when I wanted to or to arc around a subject while maintaining it in the frame, as you can see in the video. It simply takes some practice, but overall, it did exactly what I told it to do and followed the controls well.

While DJI touts promises a very long distance that you can control this drone from the controller, I found that at a certain distance around 1,000 feet, I started to have either image degradation or warnings that the controller signal was weak. Fortunately, thanks to DJI's built-in safety features, if the Mavic Air loses the connection, it will try to fly home or at least back into range.

This Mavic also has obstacle avoidance, which I found at times was not quite up to snuff. While I was tracking subjects, it managed to almost run into a tree, power lines, and a power pole all before I was able to catch it and stop it before any damage was done.

The Mavic Air's price point is right between the Spark ($359) and its bigger brothers, the Mavic Pro 2 ($1,499). You can get a basic Mavic Air package for about $800 (Figure 5, below).

Figure 5. Mavic line price points

Having used several different DJI drones now, I will have to say that this is a great middle-of-the-road product, and this would be the starter drone I would recommend for anyone.

The Spark had too many reliability and connectivity issues for me to recommend, and the Pro is a good bit more expensive than the Air. So whether you're just a hobbyist, or a pro who just needs a little bit of drone footage here and there, the Mavic Air could be a great one to start with.

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