Drone Talk: Ocusync vs Lightbridge vs WiFi. Which is The Best Connection?

ocusync vs lightbridge vs wifi

Hi guys, so when it comes to DJI drones in particular, you will find their models have one of three different connection modes: Ocusync, lightbridge and/or WiFi. A lot of people do not understand the difference between them.

Which one is best? Which one is the least reliable? Which is preferable vs the other? Well in this post we’re going to compare these 3 against each other.

ocusync vs lightbridge vs wifi

Now let me say I am little above novice level when it comes to understanding connection types like these. I know about the difference between a 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz connection and which is better to use and I have also had enough experience with my drones to see which of the 3 connections is best (and worst), so I will share the info I gathered:

First of all, let me rank the 3 connections from best to worst:

1) Ocusync. I have found that drones with this connection behave best in terms of signal distance and less chances of losing connection. Example: Mavic Pro, Mavic Pro Platinum, Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 have this. In fact there is a pretty strong consensus in the drone world that if they have Ocusync, they will have the best range/connection.

There’s also ocusync 2.0 which comes equipped on the Mavic 2 Pro and is arguably the best connection so far on any consumer level drone model out there.

2) Lightbridge. This is the next best thing and it is no joke. Some of the most elite level drones in DJI’s arsenal have this technology, including the Inspire 2 and Phantom 4 Pro (although the V2.0 has Ocusync on it, which is considered an upgrade). 

3) WiFi. This is the last and technically worst. You will often find the connection here breaks up far often and travels less. In fact, this is the option you have not just on DJI drones but on most models out there, including none DJI ones.

Example: Both the DJI Spark and the Mavic Air use this as well as the Mavic Mini.

Ok, so let’s define each of these drone connections:

Let’s once again start from the strongest connection (ocusync):

What is ocusync?

So basically all these fancy names are really just a form of connection type. With regards to this one, you have one of the longest range potentials between your drone and remote when it uses ocusync. The Mavic Pro for example can hit 7 KM (here is how to increase the drone’s range).

In addition, the signal is STRONGER and more resilient even when there are a lot of obstacles in the way. And in addition to that, the display on your phone produces a higher resolution picture with this on.

What is lightbridge? 

So this is second strongest signal you can have and in fact, when it comes to range potential, if you take a drone such as the Phantom 4 Pro (not the 2.0), which uses lightbridge, it can also travel up to 7 KM. However, the signal is more open to connection interference.

What is WiFi? 

While there’s different types of WiFi connections, in this context, your drone has it’s own WiFi channel which you can connect with via phone or remote. Now if you do it via phone, you are on the lowest frequency and have the lowest range potential as a result. This is why if you use a phone to control your drone, you probably won’t go beyond a 100 feet with it.

Now if you elect to use a remote, that signal widens a lot more and the distance increases substantially. For example, if you use a Spark, with the phone, you’d get about 100-200 feet, whereas with a remote, you can get up to 2KM.

Now even though having a remote increases the quality of the signal and the range, it is far more easier to break up. For example, if you have a lot of trees between you and your drone and are using WiFi, you are likely to get a signal loss or at least a weak signal message.

Now let’s compare the signals against each other:

Obviously, we already know ocusync is the best, but sometimes you’ll get tests with these connections that show different results. Here is how I compare the various drone connections against one another:

Ocusync vs lightbridge.

While both signals are very high tier and can get you 7-8KM if you use the highest level models, ocusync is actually more reliable. I can personally vouch for this as I compared the distance potential between my Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro numerous times.

I stood in a park, in a small open field and flew my drones in the same direction, where between myself and the mode, there were a lot of trees and a lot of obstacles. I was able to get 2 kilometers with my Mavic Pro and about 1-1.5 KM on the Phantom 4 Pro and this happened pretty much every time.

Another example: Just today, I fly over open water with both my Phantom 4 Pro (which has lightbridge), and then my Mavic Pro (which has ocusync). 

The Phantom 4 Pro only made it out about 700 meters before telling me the signal was lost and I kept changing the connection from 5.8 GHz to 2.4 GHz, but to no avail, 700 was the limit.

Then I flew my Mavic Pro in the same direction, and went to almost 2,000 meters with a clear signal the entire time (no interruption in the connection whatsoever). The only reason I didn’t fly further was because I was worried my battery life would run out before I could fly back. So there you have it, with this connection, I was able to fly almost 3 times as far under the same conditions.

Note: The Phantom 4 Pro has a 2.0 version, which now (thankfully) has the ocusync connection built it. Believe me, it makes a huge difference.

Ocusync vs WiFi:

No question, the former is better, far better. You can go way further, get a clear picture and smoother connection in general when using ocusync. WiFi doesn’t exactly suck, but you would see it’s limits when you compare it to the other.

Lightbridge vs WiFi:

Again, WiFi has pretty much little to nothing on the other signal. 

Also worth noting: DJI Googles.

One of DJI’s recent new releases, the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is well known to now use ocusync technology and this allows it to connect to the DJI Goggles without a wire as well as provide a smoother connection. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve only used the Goggles on my Mavic Pro and I’ve been pretty happy with it.

The future of these signals:

I think it’s safe to say that ocusync is going to be the main signal drones use moving forward, particularly the top ones in the industry. It just makes sense as it’s benefits are clearly above the other options. 

Do note that while these signals do have their different benefits, you don’t really get a “say” in which one you get with the current models out. If you get a Spark or Mavic Air, you’re stuck with WiFi. If you go with a Mavic Pro or Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, well then, you’ve got the best signal to play around with.

But in any case, all DJI drones are so good that you will usually be able to fly them pretty far (well maybe not with the Spark). You should always try to fly within eyesight and if you do that, any of these connections will suffice. Personally I prefer ocusync because I’ve had the best experiences with it and the longest distance flights.

5 Accessories That’ll Keep Your Phantom 4 Drone Safe.

phantom 4 accessories

I don’t know about you but when I spend $1,500+ on a Phantom 4 Pro drone, I want to make sure it’s preserved well.

And to do that, I’ve gotten myself the following accessories I am recommending to you now.

Now I am not recommending anything fancy like ND filters or special propellers such as the ones which came out with the recent Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, but I am recommending things that will keep your model safe and lasting longer, that is the ultimate goal of this article.

I just want to say that if you own a Mavic Pro, you may want to read a separate article I did involving it’s own accessories that I recommend you get here.

By the way, I want to mention that the beauty of these accessories is that no matter which Phantom 4 model you own (regular, advanced, pro, pro+, V2.0), that these accessories are applicable to all of them since the body of the drone in all 5 models is the exact same.

Phantom 4 Accessory 1: Motor protector caps.

phantom 4 accessories

I don’t know why these aren’t pitched more often but I have them and I recommend you get them too. You basically place these caps where you put the propellers on and they protect them from getting dust or other debris inside them.

I have yet to see a single blogger or YouTuber mention them, but I personally find them to be essential for your Phantom’s safety.

Think about all the potential places you could be flying in. Let’s take:

Flying a drone at the beach. How likely is it that there’s wind and there’s sand blowing around, some of which can enter your models’s motors?

Very likely. Having a cap preventing that from happening is a big deal.

What about dust flying around other areas, or pollen, hair and other debris you can barely see or not see at all? It doesn’t take a lot for these things to mess up one motor and potentially cause an accident.

These props will not always protect you (you do have to take them off before you fly obviously), but they will make sure that if your P4 is lying around, doing nothing or at least if you’re traveling with it in the open, that these caps will protect the sensitive, motor areas from getting filled up and that can really make a HUGE difference in your drone’s longevity. Get them here.

Phantom 4 Accessory 2: A dependable USB cable.

I use this one (I also use it for my Mavic Pro) instead of the white, default one which comes with my P4 (even though it’s pretty good).

I find this cable is not only reliable in connection, but it also helps maintain a strong connection between the phone, the remote and drone.

I have personally had LESS issues with connection interference when having these cable set up. It’s very cheap and yet very useful. Get it here (make sure to select the right phone extension or you can get the wrong one, like I did).

Phantom 4 accessory 3: Get a car charger for your P4.

I would say this is more beneficial for people who travel with their drone a lot, but car chargers can really be critical when you forget to charge your battery or are in an area, where a beautiful shot presents itself, but your battery lacks the power to fuel the drone. And/or in between trips in a car when when you’re headed to the next flying destination, but don’t have anywhere to stop and charge the battery. In that case, a handy car charger to fuel it up is exactly what you need.

I never leave on trips with my drones without them. Here is the one for the P4. And it also includes a charger for the remote too, for a very low price.

Phantom 4 Accessory 4: A good backpack, aka carrying case.

I love the foam box you get your P4 in, but as good as it is, it’s not always comfortable to carry around. As a hiker, I need both of my hands to be free so I can have the right balance, and this default foam box just won’t do. 

While there are numerous backpacks out there for the Phantom model, the one I have is this one and not only does it comfortably fit my P4, it also fits extra batteries, more, smaller models like my Mavic, Spark, Air, ect… and I can carry a lot of extras there too, like a landing pad and more. It is also comfortable to put on and I’ve never gone hiking with my P4 without it. Get it here.

Phantom 4 accessory 5: Propeller guards (For tight space flights).

The Phantom 4 is large, and it’s often difficult to fly in tighter spaces as a result. Though I would not recommend you try it unless you’re a good pilot, even if you do, get propeller guards. There’s just some shots people, like me for example love to take like for example, tight canyons or flying in between rock walls, mountains and so on.

The propeller guard may not be comfortable to put on but having it there when you decide to take the drone for a flight in the tight space makes you a lot less nervous when you’re flying it. Take it from someone who has done this with his Mavic Pro, and without the propeller guards. The drift was bad (because of a bad connection) and several times I nearly crashed it. And that was with a small one, imagine how much more dangerous and likely that is to happen with a Phantom!

Now this accessory isn’t exactly mandatory, but as drone fliers know, a potentially good shot can always present itself, anywhere and just having this extra insurance around for a small price can save your big price drone from crashing. I’d rather have the propeller guards on and have those hit the rock walls than the propellers themselves. One wrong touch and it’s all over. These give you more than just once chance to mess up (not that you should!). Get them here.

So there they are, the 5 accessories I recommend you get. I am happy with them and they are more for insurance than than anything else (it already films more than well enough in my opinion so I don’t think about the ND filters or other things like that).

How to Fly a Drone Indoors. 5 Essential Safety Tips.

how to fly a drone indoors

Flying a drone indoors can be very risky for a multitude of reasons, but it can be necessary at times:

  • You may be doing real estate work.
  • You may just be testing some stuff indoors without risking to do it outside.
  • You may be in a no fly zone and technically, being indoors should be possible.
  • Ect…

But flying drones indoors, especially larger ones presents dangers:

There’s 4 main ones you need to consider:

1) There’s a lot of tight spaces and without proper control, you can end up crashing it. The bigger the model, the less space it has to fly, and thus the more riskier it is.

2) If the drone itself is not really high end, then you risk it even more. For example, by just pushing a little on any throttle, it can go crazy and hover around wildly, making it more likely to hit walls, ceilings, and so on.

3) If the drone is high end however and it has obstacle sensors turned on, this can make it go nuts because it’ll send obstacles everywhere. This can lead to it bouncing away from one obstacle it senses and crashing into another, perhaps on an end where there is no obstacle avoidance.

4) The pilot of the model just isn’t experienced enough to do it. There’s too many beginner drone pilots out there who think they can just turn the drone on, fly it freely without any consequence. Try doing that indoors and you just multiply the possibilities of a crash.

Either way, I will share personal tips on how you can fly safety indoors with your drone in this post since I’ve been lucky to pull it off successfully so far! I’ve personally flown several of mine in my small, studio apartment and the reasons were the following:

-I just needed to expend the battery because it was raining outside and I had no choice (A discharge is important for battery health. Here’s why).

-I wanted to test a mode on the model. It was either the camera, a setting, a flight function, ect…

-I was doing dry cleaning with my DJI Spark (this is honestly true lol). And let me tell you, it works great! 

Whatever your reason/s is, I will give you some really good safety tips, let’s begin:

how to fly a drone indoors

1) Always fly the drone slowly, especially if you’re a beginner. And this applies to ALL situations.

This will allow you to adjust to the situation indoors and change the direction of the model so it doesn’t crash. The faster it goes, and in a tighter space, the harder it’ll be for it to stop should the need arise (and it absolutely will!).

Feel out the controls and see how much you need to press on the accelerator before it goes too fast. For more advanced models like DJI, you can put on the “tripod mode” and that will make it slow enough to move around safely and you won’t have to worry about putting too much pressure on the joystick that accelerates the model.

2) Follow it around, stay close to it, don’t rely on the screen & be ready to catch it.

Many models have controllers which you attach your phone to so you can see what the drone camera sees, but often times, especially in tight (indoor) spaces, it’s hard to gauge where an obstacle/wall is so staying close to it will allow you to make sure the model isn’t getting anywhere near a wall or ceiling or anything that could cause it to crash. Keep it close to your eyesight.

In the worse case scenario, either land it and/or if you can’t, catch it (safely of course).

3) If you have an advanced model, use the atti mode feature, but be careful.

DJI models have this mode and it’s a feature where you turn off all obstacles and basically fly in manual. While many will say it’s very dangerous (and I agree), one of the few circumstances in which it’s better to fly with it on is actually indoors. 

As I said above, crashes can actually happen when you have the obstacle sensors on as they can push away from one obstacle, and immediately hit another. Atti mode reduces this risk.

But make no mistake, atti mode is NO joke to fly with.

Stay close to the model (as with the tip above) and be ready to catch it because it will NOT stay in one spot if you just leave it there, it will absolutely drift and crash into something, so you need to be vigilant when atti mode is on. VERY vigilant in fact. More info on atti mode.

4) Get propeller guards.

Many models these days come with them and if not, you can bet you can find them online. I keep these things around for the most serious situations, where even I am not confident in my skill to fly the drone well enough through a path. When you put on propeller guards, you at least eliminate one way that the model can crash (on the sides), so if bumps into a wall, it’s OK, it’ll still be up in the air.

The tighter the space you’re planning on going through, the more likely it is you’ll need propelled guards. They are pretty cheap for even the most expensive models out there so it’s worth the investment. Here’s an example of what they look like on my Mavic Pro.

5) Make sure you don’t take off or go anywhere near metal areas. 

This can mess up the compass and cause the model to stop functioning properly in the air and this may cause it to move around and/or try to land where it took off and that can be a HUGE problem. I had this issue when I first took off indoors, and that’s when atti mode turned on and the drone nearly crashed into me (slowly). This is one of the reasons why staying close to it, but being ready to catch it in case of unplanned scenarios like this is important. Do note you don’t want to get cut by the blades either, so again, practice catching the model so you get used to what it feels like.

And there you have it! 5 really important safety tips for flying indoors. 

These 5 will at least eliminate most of the potential issues, but you still have to know that the danger is there and you need to be careful. Frankly, if you can avoid doing this, I wouldn’t even risk it to be honest.

If you’ve flown indoors and have extra tips to share on this, let me know!

Here are other situations/safety situations regarding drones to consider: 

Flying in warm and hot environments. I’ll explain ways to protect your drone from overheating.

Flying in cold weather. There are also risks, but I’ll explain what safety precautions to take.

Wet environments. Obviously, you should never fly if it’s raining, unless your drone is waterproof, which there are models for nowadays, BUT for MOST models, if it gets wet, there are ways to recover the drone (in some cases, not all).

Phantom 4 Advanced Plus. Should You Buy it?

phantom 4 advanced plus review

An better version of the original Phantom 4 Advanced has come out and I’ll explain all you need to know about it.

Stats and info on Phantom 4 Advanced Plus:

Name: Phantom 4 Advanced Plus.phantom 4 advanced plus review

Company: DJI.

Flight Time: Avg 25-30 minutes.

Size: Fairly large drone. Not exactly easy to carry around.

Price: $1,600-$1,800.

Camera quality: 4k @ 60 FPS. 20 MP camera.

Rating of product: 90 out of 100 points. Very high level drone. It’s quite literally the second best in the DJI lineup when it comes to the Phantom series.

The Phantom 4 Advanced Plus explained (what’s so special about it):

While we’re awaiting announcements of a Mavic Pro 2 and Phantom 5, DJI has been releasing modified versions of their best selling drones and the most recent is this one. 

Here’s a quick recap of what the P4 Advanced has:

  • 2 safety sensors. 
  • A very high end camera that shoots at 20 MP and 4K @ 60 FPS. 
  • It has a very good range at 7-8 KM. 
  • It has a very long flight time, at 25-30 minutes per battery.

So what exactly is the PLUS version of all this? Well it’s simple:

In addition to all those perks, you just get a special display on the remote that comes with your model. That is all that this model has that makes it “different”.

Just like the only difference between the P4P and the P4P+ was the screen, the same thing is happening with this P4 model. 

Sounds like a great drone. Is it worth getting? The yes reasons:

At this time, the regular model, without the screen is $1,200 so you’re on a tight budget, but can afford this particular and want a great drone to boot, this is still a GREAT investment.

If you’ve always wanted that special screen that was once only available on the P4P, you can now get it on the other P4 model.

Overall, this is an extremely high level drone. The only real difference between it and the next level one, which is the P4P is that the P4P has more sensors, otherwise, the other stats are exactly the same.

Reasons not to get this drone:

In spite of having such an awesome score, there’s some good arguments to be made to not get this model:

-We’re on the precipitous of getting a Mavic Pro 2 and potentially a Phantom 5. You can bet that the Mavic Pro 2’s camera is going to be just as good if not better than the P4 advanced, it’s going to likely have MORE sensors and overall be a better consumer model and as of now, it is speculated that it’ll be around $1,200, the same price it would cost you to get a regular P4 Advanced at this time.

-Adding on to that, the P5 is also a model very likely to come out this year and that is SURE to be an even better model than the current DJI lineup + the Mavic Pro 2. 

-With the anticipation of these 2 new drones coming out this year, it’s likely the price for the P4 Advanced will drop once these new models are announced so if you’re looking to save some money, hold off on buying this model yet.

-And one final reason I can think of to NOT get this model is that the remote display you get with it seems good (and it is), but it can be a nuisance to carry around. As an owner of the P4P, I elected to NOT get the P4P+ because I felt if something happened to my screen such as a crack, I would have to have the entire remote replaced. I stick to just using my phone with the remote and I’m perfectly fine with this. As long as you have a decent phone attached to the remote, you will find it’s comfortable enough. And with that in mind, it’s not worth getting the P4 advanced plus and you should just get the regular one without the remote.

What I really think is going on with DJI and these new releases:

There are a few scenarios that pop into my mind as to why DJI chose to keep releasing the same models to the market, but with more accessories:

Let’s examine what’s going on:

We’ve been waiting for the Mavic Pro 2 and P5 for quite awhile, but what we’ve gotten so far are the following models:

  • We have a Mavic Pro Platinum.
  • We have a Mavic Air
  • We have a P4P obsidian.
  • And now we have the P4 Advanced. 

Yet no word yet on the Mavic Pro 2 or P5 as of yet. It feels like DJI may be scrambling to boost the sales of these models as much as possible before they drop the announcement on the new models but it can also be the fact that they used to release new models every year and this is the first time that they are holding off on that so to keep the pace of “new releases” going, they are just spicing up existing models until they get the new ones up.

So what should you do? Get this drone or not?

I have listed a bunch of reasons for getting this model and a bunch of reasons not to. Here’s what I think:

  • If you have a tight budget, but can afford the $1,200.
  • If you need a GREAT drone.
  • And you aren’t really interested in waiting for the new ones…

Then get this model. It’s a SUPERB drone that you will be very happy with. I honestly don’t even think the display screen is worth the extra cost, just get the regular one without it and save a few $100.

But if you’re the type who is anxiously awaiting the new models, and prefers portability, hold off on this model entirely and just wait it out.

It is absolutely certain that it’ll be better than the existing P4 models and if you’re chasing that next best thing in drone quality, the new models will absolutely have it and those new models may be smaller.

I hope I was able to help you make a decision on this drone. Let me know what you personally think about all of this (the plus version of the P4 advanced, what you think about the new models coming out soon and how it affects your buyer mindset and more).

Mavic Air vs Mavic Pro. Which Drone is Better?

mavic air vs mavic pro

I really didn’t want to do a comparison that put my #1 favorite drone (the Mavic Pro) to the test, but when the Mavic Air came out, and I got it, inevitably it had to come to this.

Let’s compare the Mavic Air and Mavic Pro. Which is better?

mavic air vs mavic pro

So here is my background with both models:

I am the type of person who has massive loyalty to a product once I really like it and the Mavic Pro (MP) captured my heart in that regard.

It was my first REAL experience with high quality drone flying and in some cases, it’s one of those unforgettable feelings you get as a kid when you get something that totally shocks you in a good way. That’s what the Mavic Pro did for me. It also paved the way for my hobby into droning to grow.

But less than a year after this event took place, DJI released their new drone, the Mavic Air (MA), which I bought almost immediately and expected NOT to overtake the Mavic Pro. I mean how could it?

It’s smaller, the battery life is shorter, as is the range, and how could the camera be better? 

Yet, I was shocked at what I discovered…

So let me begin by telling you where the Mavic Air is better than the Mavic Pro:

1) First the camera.

The picture and video taking ability of the MA initially felt better to me. Although both drones have the same specs (12 MP and shoot at 4k @ 30 fps), the MA has 2 particular areas where it’s better in this regard:

Area 1: The mpbs on the MA is 100 and the mbps on the MP is 60 which isn’t bad, but when you’re flying at fast speeds, this can make a huge difference, especially if you’re filming an area with a lot of detail. 

Area 2: The shots are just better, period. I hate to say it. I love my MP and still use it, but if you’re a fanatic at taking great shots, the MA is your drone, hands down. 

Here I took 2 exact photos on AUTO mode from both drones. You be the judge:

Despite having similar specs, there is a CLEAR distinction happening here. The MA has MORE color and more sharpness (look at the rocks). Now of course if both these images look great to you, then you can move ahead on this comparison, but I’d ask you to pause to read this because I have more comparison pics you need to see…

One experiment I ran after the above picture is taking the same shot on both drones, but MANUALLY. It is a well known fact (and you will see why) that if you know how to edit the picture and video settings on both drones, that it will look WAY better than the auto. Here’s the tutorial on how I manually set my drone’s camera/video settings.

I give you the MANUAL version of both photos from both drones:

Now in the following case, BOTH pictures look LEVELS better than their auto version, yet I would still argue the MA has a better shot taking ability than the MP. My personal opinion is that the MA’s looks better. What do you think?

Here’s another picture comparison (with the same results):

In this case, the auto on the MA is better, but you can argue that the MA manual shot (below) looks worse than the MP manual (where it says 3 shutter after auto, ignore that, it just means manual). So I would say if you can edit the camera settings, the Pro would win.

However, in just about every experiment I ran, the MA surpassed in my personal opinion the MP in just about every regard when it comes to pictures and video. Although the MP shoots FANTASTIC footage, you only start to see it’s limitations when you compare it to something like the Phantom 4 Pro, which indeed has a better camera, but at this stage, I will add the MA to that list…

So even if you know NOTHING about how to edit footage on drones, you can be calm in knowing that the Mavic Air will shoot better in just about every regard than the MP. Sometimes the image will be distinctly better and sometimes it’ll be slightly better, but it will win just about every time…

Now how about the video? That’s also an interesting comparison:

Although the test I was doing was on a cloudy day, one thing I’ve noticed consistently from both the photo and video comparisons (including from others who have done similar comparisons on YouTube), the Mavic Air consistently shows MORE color.

In the above case, there is more color to the trees, the grass, the water and just about everything. Add to this whole comparison what I said earlier about the MA shooting with up to 100 MPBS and you’ll get a smoother footage should the flight go faster. 

2) No more touch to focus nonsense.

Guys you have no idea how happy I am this finally happened. The MP (and I’ve complained about this) has this super annoying feature where you consistently have to touch the screen on your phone to focus the image. It is something that is better for professionals but at the time I was using this, I still was a beginner.

After all the time I’d forgotten to manually focus the shot, I ended up having too many to count, blurry pictures pop up post looking up the footage I took only to discover I had forgotten to just touch the screen. It’s not something that’s easy to fix considering how often I travel to hard to reach destinations. If this screw up happens, I am quite literally screwed, so having this NOT be a problem would be awesome.

And on the Mavic Air, it just so happens, there is no manual, touch to focus, it auto focuses all the time so you don’t even need to worry about this. A MAJOR improvement. There is no debate here, the MA is a clear winner for me in this regard.

3) 3 sensors vs 2 on the MP.

Extra sensors mean more safety and DJI has proven to develop drone models that are good at spotting obstacles quite well (I’ve had a few close calls). You really do need these. But they also added another feature to this:

4) The intelligence on the MA is better at avoiding and flying around/over obstacles.

The MP will only stop (which isn’t bad), but if the drone is following you or trying to come back to you via the return to home feature, having extra intelligence in your drone to sense an obstacle and go around/over it, to continue to fly back to you is HUGE and the MA does have this. The MP does not.

My experience has been that this typically is not a situation you’ll encounter often and I always set my return to home way higher than any obstacle in the area of my flight, but you never know when this may happen and come in handy.

5) New photo taking abilities: Boomerang and sphere (360).

I’m personally not into taking these sorts of shots, but maybe I’ll come around to it later. There seems to be a new trend in taking pictures and videos with 360 type shots and the MA is in my understand the first drone to do this. 

6) It takes panorama pictures automatically.

With the MP you would have to move the drone into the correct spots to make the whole thing come together. The MA does it on it’s own. 

7) The MA is a lot more portable obviously.

Funny, before the Spark came out, the MP was considered to be the most portable drone on the market. Then the Spark overtook it and when I compared the MA to the Spark, I argued that the MA is even more portable than it because when it folds up, it actually ends up being smaller than the Spark and it’s carrying case is extremely cool.

The overall set up of this drone is a lot faster than with the MP so there’s more convenience besides the size portability perk.

8) It’s slightly faster than the MP. 

Slightly by a few mph that is. I believe the speed it reaches (with no whether conditions interrupting the flight) is 41 mph while the MP is 35-40 mph (both on sports mode), but I’ll tell you what, both these drones are amazingly fast.

Controlling them both on sports mode is tough and not something I’d recommend you do unless you’re in an open field, but it’s quite a sight to see the MA fly around so quickly. It is just SO much more powerful than it looks and I am still coming to grips with that.

9) Handles slightly better than the MP.

I still say the Spark is the easiest of the DJI drones to fly and this is simply because it’s the smallest and slowest, thus having it turn while flying at it’s normal speed is easy. With the MA, because it’s so fast, you may have issues having it turn immediately, so let it come to a stop in the air or slow it down to make it turn faster.

But even with the MP, the same thing applies. Because it’s so large (yeah I can’t believe I’m saying that, look at what the drone world has become…) and flies so fast, having it turn at a high speed is tough. The MA will handle easier though because it’s smaller.

10) Palm control from a distance.

The MP doesn’t have this (the Spark does). So if you want to look cool and show off to people how you can control a drone with your palm, this is a good option.

12) Price is WAY better.

It’s nearly $200 less than the MP (basic) and about $300 less if you compare the combo packages. 

Now let’s move into the advantages of the Mavic Pro (there’s a few):

1) Range is WAY further. 

mavic air vs mavic pro range

The MP has a max range of 7-8 KM and although I’ve reached about 5 KM in my tests, you have to understand that in most areas, there will always be some sort of interference and the connection is simply stronger with this drone so you can fly further with it. Here is how I judge drone range.

The MA is Wi Fi connected to the remote you get with it and the max range is 4 KM, nearly twice as short, but it’s something you may start even before you reach that distance as connection issues may start to happen way earlier. Ensure if you’re flying in areas with a lot of potential connection interruptions to not fly the drone far away, maybe 500 feet. 

To some this is more than enough, to me, I need at least 1-2 KM in range and in that regard (range), the MP is my choice.

2) Better battery life. 

5-10 min better that is. In many instances, this can make a huge difference. Maybe if you’re flying and see something cool, those extra minutes will allow you to take the time to film it well enough.

3) It’s sturdier. 

I find the material the MP is made out of to be more dense and protective vs the MA. I’ve also seen experiments where this drone has survived some interesting accidents (water, crashes, ect…). 

4) More intelligent flight modes. 

There are 13 or 14. I’ve honestly never used all of them, but if you’re the type who loves to test out the abilities of a drone, then you’ll be able to do more with this one in that regard.

5) It’s camera after much deliberation is a bit better.

I went back n forth on this, but decided the MP’s camera is a little bit better.

6) It is quieter.

Especially with the low noise props I got for it.

12 advantages on the MA vs 6 on the MP. That’s my conclusion, but here’s the chart:

Even in this head to head comparison, despite the advantages the MA has over the MP, they are not that major.

There are indeed advantages and I pointed them out and you will get a better photo and video out of the MA, but the MP is absolutely NOT far behind. 

Update: I changed the ratings…

Many updates, experiences and flights made me rethink a lot of the comparisons I originally made and so I changed up the scores:

  • Mavic Pro: 85 out of 100 points.
  • Mavic Air: 80 out of 100 points.

I give the slight edge to the MP because of it’s better reliability overall.

Do you agree with how I rated both drones?

Let me know below but as for these 2, well done DJI, well done.

I look forward to seeing what you do with the Mavic Pro 2

Now you may still be wondering which of these models is better for you. Here’s my position:

  • If you like portability. 
  • If you value a good photo/video taking ability.
  • If you are tighter on money.

Then go for the Mavic Air.

  • If you like good/great photo & video taking abilities.
  • If you like a drone that is reliable with range and flight time.

Then go with the Mavic Pro.

If you already own the Mavic Pro but are considering buying the Mavic Air, I would say do it if you can afford it, but do note that Mavic Pro 2 is around the corner so if you’re tight on money, save it for that one (Update: it is out!).

Either way, as I’ve said before, you will NOT go wrong with either the MA or the MP. Both are absolutely, incredible machines and with a score of 90 and over on both these models, you are already in the ELITE level of drone quality.

Which drone do you choose? Let me know below!