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.
Flight Time: Avg 25-30 minutes.
Size: Fairly large drone. Not exactly easy to carry around.
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:
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).
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?
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 theMavic Prodid 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 tutorialon 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 theMavic 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.
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.
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.
About a week after it was released, I jumped on the opportunity and ordered myself a Mavic Air. This review covers the experiences I’ve had with since (which is now well over a year).
Stats and info on the Mavic Air:
Name: Mavic Air.
Typical Flight Time: 15-21 minutes.
Size: Fits in your palm. Slightly larger than a Spark and slightly smaller than a Mavic Pro (MP).
Price: $799 for basic controller/drone combo. $999 for combo package which includes extra batteries and other accessories.
Camera quality: 4k @ 30 fps with up to 100 mbps, 12 MP camera.
Rating of product: 80 out of 100 stars.
This drone to me at first seemed like a perfect middle between the Spark and Mavic Pro, but once I got it and truly saw it’s shooting and flying abilities, I believe it’s far better than the Spark and more portable than the Pro.
It’s a fantastic choice if you’re seeking great footage ability, great flight ability from your model and of course, portability.
Update: After flying it around for a long time, I have to say, I updated the score to 80 points. It’s a great drone, but I still believe, there’s 3 drones which top it (right menu shows the list).
The only downside of the Mavic Air I would say is how loud it gets and that the range of it isn’t always great (compared to higher models at least).
Back to the review of the Mavic Air:
Just when you though they were going to announce a Mavic 2…
In comes the Mavic Air, the newest model in the arsenal DJI has, particularly it’s portable ones. I recently got my hands on this new one, making it my 4th drone and here I’d like to share what I liked about it, what I disliked and overall why the score of 80 points out of 100 that I gave it seems appropriate as well as if this is the right drone for you.
Also, I will be doing separate articles on how the Air compares to the Pro and Spark in the future.
So what exactly is so special about the Mavic Air?
Well if you’re an owner of a Spark…
And want a better camera, more battery life and overall a higher quality drone, without losing out on the portability perk…
And if you’re MP owner…
Want to have something smaller with just about the same kind of camera, same kinds of flight capabilities and want a smaller version of it…
And if you’ve never owned one of these models and seek a portable model with a great camera…
Well then this model is your new go to drone. It basically encapsulates MOST of the camera/flight capabilities of a Mavic Pro and nearly all of the portability perks of a Spark and more.
The Mavic Air is basically a HYBRID of the 2…
And as a result (from my tests) superior in many ways to both. But we need to get into specifics…
I always begin my drone reviews with the camera quality. With this model, you’re looking at VERY high quality camera. 12 MP, 4k @ 30 fps is no joke and it is found on the following models:
Phantom 3 SE.
Those are some elite names and the Air is right up there with them when it comes to camera quality. It also shoots at 100 mbps, making it the largest mbps in the portable drone department by far.
I have to admit, I honestly didn’t expect the camera to shoot as well as it did.
Here’s some shots I made on a shore while it was low tide and close to sunset. This photo is shot on auto:
I’ve got to say, I was absolutely amazed at how it captured the shadows and details of the rocks on the shore…
And speaking of rocks, I want to draw your attention to the shoreline on the right hand side of the picture. Because I had to lower the size of the photo, it actually impacted the details a little bit, but make no mistake, when you view this photo from it’s default size, the details in such things as those rocks are simply amazing. One more:
Now I will try to put up a video soon but here is a screenshot of one of the videos I made with this drone while flying in this area:
But when you put it into perspective, how good is the Mavic Air camera? This good:
When you think of the best camera phones on the market today, what do you think of? In my case, 3 come to mind:
The Google Pixel 2, 3 or 4, the iPhone X and the Samsung S8-S10.
In terms of the camera quality, the Pixel model is considered to have the best one on the market right now.
I own the Samsung S8+ and I’ve compared it to the iPhone X camera and I have to say, Samsung’s seems better to me. Now what I did was, I compared the same shot I took my Samsung S8+ with the Mavic Air footage. In fact, I took 2 comparison shots:
The first is the Samsung S8+ camera vs the MA camera (on auto):
As an auto shot, I dare say the MA has more sharpness and detail. Not to say the Samsung “sucks”. I actually love the camera on it, but on this drone, the footage you take is superior. PLUS if you manually edit the shot (on the drone), this is how it would change:
If there was any doubt the first picture was close, this should put an end to that debate. The MA shoots WAY better than one of the best smartphone cameras on the market (and it’s still considered to be a great camera).
Auto focus. Yes!
The Mavic Pro had this annoying thing, it wouldn’t focus on a shot unless you touched the phone screen to make the camera do it. On the Mavic Air, this is no longer an issue as auto focus is turned on all the time.
Therefore, you won’t get blurry shots because you forgot to touch the screen to focus, just the fine details, every time.
Despite looking like a 2 axis gimbal, like on the Spark, this one actually has 3, giving it more mobility and options, a huge improvement from the Spark before it.
Sensors. There’s 3 of them. It’s the first portable model of it’s kind to do it.
This is first portable drone that I know of in existence that has sensors on the front, bottom and BACK of the model. The portable options you had before didn’t have anything on the back, just on the front and bottom, so this is a huge plus. Flying backwards is something many pilots do and having this extra safety feature is awesome.
Before this drone, only the Phantom 4 Pro had this feature. Additionally, these sensors allow the drone to more intelligently fly around obstacles when following you.
4 KM range, has several intelligent flight modes such as controlling it with your palm (like with the Spark), accurate return to home option and a bunch of follow me features which let it fly around an obstacle, vs stalling next to it.
The Mavic Air has incredible, Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Pro level intelligence.
Officially, it’s at 21 minutes, but these numbers always “vary” based on circumstances. Usually the more average and real number is about 5 minutes under, so basically above 15 minutes, but under 21 minutes (unless you can get perfect weather conditions to get to 21).
It has legs that unfold near the tip of the wings.
I’d say this bonus more so adds aesthetic benefits, but it is nice to have as when you fold it up, the drone has more portability and when you unfold it, it has less chances of touching down on it’s belly.
Also: ALWAYS unfold them because if you start the drone and the camera starts moving, it’ll touch the ground if the legs aren’t unfolded.
HUGE: An internal USB drive with 8 GB of storage.
This is the only drone that I know off that has such a thing. With other models, if you ever forget to bring an SD card, you’re out of luck. With the Air model, should such a scenario happen, you can rely on 8 GB worth of internal storage to save you.
And I’ll tell you what, this came in VERY handy the first time I flew this drone:
The shots I took above, I originally used an SD card to do it, but when I got home and tried to have a look, it turned out the same SD card was corrupt and I couldn’t view the files. While I was upset, I decided to check the internal storage of the drone by connecting it to the USB port on my laptop and low and behold, the images/videos were there!
While most people who review the Mavic Air attribute this perk when you forget an SD card, I’ll add from my own personal experience it comes in handy if the SD card is messed up as it was in my situation.
Over 40 MPH (41). That’s ridiculously fast and to be honest.
I couldn’t believe how such a tiny, light drone could fly like this. The smoothness of the flight very much reminds me of the Spark, which also is very smooth, but that’s mainly because of it’s size. The Mavic Air is bigger (slightly) and is even faster and still maintains that control the Spark has. This is a huge bonus for people who seek a fun, easy flight.
Good, actually great wind resistance.
I honestly can’t believe how all of DJI’s portable models, including this one withstand wind, but somehow they do, and it just doesn’t seem logical. They can really hold their own in high winds, we’re talking up to 20-30 mph…
Good, easy controls.
DJI excels at ease of flying. The Air model continues on this path. If you’re a beginner flyer, you will enjoy this model. The controller is easy to use.
I’m going to say it: It’s even more portable than the Spark and I say that because the wings are foldable and when it’s in that folded state, it’s even smaller than the Spark. Plus the case the Mavic Air comes with is extremely portable and easy to carry.
We have a new king of portable drones, ladies and gentlemen.
Great looking drone!
The design of this model is superb. It looks better than any other DJI model I’ve seen so far.
Price is actually not bad.
It is literally in between the price range of a Spark and Pro. At $799, it’s not bad at all! And for that, you get a lot more than I expected:
1 battery with the whole thing.
Extra set of propellers.
Extra pair of controls to put on the remote controller.
It’s able to shoot better panoramas and a 360 degree shot.
Added to the awesome camera is the ability to shoot more diverse shots with over 30 pictures used to create a panoramic view. The 360 degree shot is also something new not seen before on DJI models. It basically shows the image as a sphere as though you’re looking at it from space.
Slow motion video option available.
Palm usage available here too and it’s next level.
There is no “palm landing”, but you can LIFT it with your palm, land it with your palm and have it follow you while avoiding obstacles.
The case is awesome.
It’s like carrying a holder for glasses, but it fits this model perfectly (and protects it well). The case comes in both the regular and combo packs so feel safe knowing it’ll come either way. I can carry it in one hand easily.
The wings are foldable, but the propellers aren’t. The option is to fold the wings so the propellers stay close to the drone and that will keep them away from hitting something when you walk around with it.
It honestly makes it very portable to carry as I said before, and as long as you keep it in it’s case.
I would have liked to see the body made with the same material are the Mavic Pro.
It seems like the Mavic Pro has an awesome body and feel to that, but it’s a material that’s actually plastic, yet not the typical kind of plastic, but something sturdier and it feels far more dense. The Mavic Air does not have this sadly, even though it still feels great to hold in your hand and the body of the drone is smooth. I guess I’m just too used to my Mavic Pro still…
Other than this, I can honestly not think of any other cons. Even the ones I pointed to here are quite literally nothing to worry about. It’s just my subjective perspective of it. In any case, I really think DJI has made another awesome model worth having.
Why does it have to be so loud?
In my opinion the noise the propellers make are too much, especially when you consider how bigger drones like the Mavic 1 and 2 are WAY quieter. If this model was quiet, I would have scored it even higher.
My Score of the Mavic Air:
80 out of 100 stars.
An instant, elite level drone worth getting, especially if you don’t own any existing portable models. It encapsulates the perks of 2 existing, awesome models in existence.
Is it worth buying the Mavic Air?
If you’ve never owned a Spark or MP, you are not going to go wrong with getting the Mavic Air, that I am absolutely certain of. It’s camera is nearly identical to it and the portability is that of a Spark. If you seek great filming potential and portability, the Mavic Air is your go to choice of a drone.
You will have a lot of fun carrying this thing around and using it. You will get great shots from it and awesome memories in the process
-But what if you do own a MP? Well I’d say unless you can afford it, you may want to stick with your existing Mavic Pro, at least until the second generation of it comes out.
-And if you own a Spark? Definitely upgrade. I like the Spark, I truly do and will continue to fly it, but it just can’t film of fly as well as the other drones in the DJI arsenal and the Mavic Air is quite superior to it.
-And if you have had neither but couldn’t decide on either one, then the Mavic Air is a must. Like I said, it’s a hybrid of the two and basically a best case choice as you’ll feel fulfilled with having the perks of both the previous models in this one.
Normally I suggest first time drone buyers get combo packages because they have extra batteries and a bunch of other accessories you normally won’t get with a regular package.
With the Mavic Air, this appears to have changed as the regular package already holds so much (see above for a list of what it comes with). In my case, I already own several models in addition to this one, so having extra batteries to discharge is more of a problem for me, so I decided to go with the regular package.
If you’re a new drone owner (aka this is your first one), get a combo package, if you’re not and already have multiple models like I do an have to take time to discharge all the batteries, you may want to consider the regular package like me.
Update: Mavic Mini has been released. Is it the new portable king?
In many ways the new Mavic Mini is very close and even better in some ways than the Mavic Air, but I still think the MA has a superior camera and reliability. But if your wallet cannot invest an extra few $100, the Mini is what I would buy.
The Phantom 4 drone is one of the few elite models that comes with it’s own “foam case”, which quite frankly is awesome. But if you’re going to travel with it, a backpack would be better.
While the default foam case has tight protection of the model and carries the necessities (controller, propellers, and a few other things), carrying this around in your hands or even at the handle can get annoying if you’re traveling, hiking or climbing anywhere and quite frankly, you need an actual backpack for this stuff and there happens to be quite a few options out there.
However, one in particular that I’ve been using for several months has been the Manfrotto MB BP D1, a backpack designed specifically for ALLPhantom 4 models(and I think all the Phantom 3 models fit there too). Here is what it looks like:
Quite honestly, this backpack “over delivers” in my opinion because it’s really made for the more professional film/photo takers as it has an absurd amount of space for more than JUST the drone.
Here’s just some of the things this thing can fit (besides the model):
Extra propellers (LOTS of them).
There’s specific space for at least 3 extra batteries to fit (plus the one inside the model, so that makes 4). You can also occupy the other remaining space with even more batteries if you wish it.
You can fit other small models like a Mavic and Spark in there too, although I prefer another specific case for those, like this one.
You can also put a laptop in there, there’s a specific space available for it.
Other areas can fit cameras, other miscellaneous camera equipment, wires, and even food.
Overall, there are 2 spaces on the sides, one space for laptops on the front, an opening at the top for miscellaneous equipment and the back which holds the model and it’s controller and batteries.
Besides space availability, here’s pros I’ve experienced from using it:
Most importantly, this thing keeps the drone model steady as you move around and I would know, I’ve literally hiked with this thing on my back and opened it up several times throughout a single hike to take the model out, fly it, put it back and move to my next destination.
I’ve also taken it with me on at least one major road trip where I basically had it in the passenger seat waiting to be used. If I hit the brakes or some turn causes the backpack to fall, I’m not worried at all, it’ll keep the model protected well enough.
Now there is a “rain guard bag” that comes with this that you can take out and put over the backpack itself in case the situation calls for it, something I found to be VERY useful as on one of my hikes, I had to walk through a lot of rain, hoping to get a chance to fly the model, but never being able to, but while this was going on, I was being poured on, worried my drone would get wet, yet the bag kept it very well protected!
Besides the bag handles you put around your shoulders, there is also a seat belt like handle you can strap across your waist so it doesn’t bounce around if you’re on a motorcycle, bicycle or jumping around somewhere.
Another cool thing about it is that it has a flat bottom so when you put it down, it will stand vertically on it’s own. This is good for situations where you need to put the bag on dirty ground and it will ensure only the bottom part of it gets dirty/wet.
Fits well into overhead storage on planes. Are you familiar with the rules of taking a Phantom on a plane?Here they are.
Are there cons to this product? Well that’s subjective…
1) I don’t think there’s a need to have this thing if you don’t plan on traveling in situations where a backpack is even needed in the first place. In that scenario, you can just stick to the regular foam case.
2) It’s not cheap. At $140+ (I got it for $160), you’re investing in a major product. Although there is a lot of protection and space, keep the price in mind.
3) As I said before, this product “over delivers” for me personally and that’s because I just don’t utilize it to it’s fullest. In fact, when I carry it around, I only occupy the space for the drone itself, the controller, the propellers, some necessary wires and a landing pad which I stick into the area which is meant for the laptop.
I am not a professional film maker or photographer, so for now, at least, I don’t have a need to use up all the available space, but it is comforting to know that as I learn more about the industry, should I add new equipment to my video/photo taking collection, this backpack still has plenty of left over space to fill…
Will this product suite your flying needs?
I would look at the pros and cons I listed on it and decide if the way you use your Phantom drone requires this product or not.
If you’re a professional photographer and video maker, and travel outdoors or in areas where carrying a foam case isn’t exactly suitable, get this.
If you’re looking for excellent protection for your Phantom, including the rain, and travel a lot (outside especially), this is also a good product.
If you plan on riding a bicycle, motorcycle, snowmobile or anything that involves being in motion and traveling outside, this product will also suite you.
Despite not using it as fully as it was intended, I am happy with the Manfrotto MB BP D1 model. At the time I got it, I was in the initial stages of “overprotective drone syndrome” as I call it and wanted to get the best possible product when traveling withmy Phantom 4(Pro). I certainly have it with this, and I am sure it will make other people who have similar experiences of plan on having similar experiences very happy and assured that their expensive drone is protected.