Should You Buy The Mavic Air 2? 5 Yes And No Reasons.

should you get the mavic air 2

Since the Mavic Air 2 came out, the social media forums I frequently visit have been asking a common question, which is should you get this new drone?

And so, being an owner of 3 Mavic’s myself, as well as someone who was on the fence about getting the Mavic Air 2 and decided not to, I wanted to share this simple yes and no reasoning guide to help you decide on that. 

Just so you know, here are the 3 Mavics that I own:

I am going to do a further review of the Mavic Air 2 soon, but just so you all understand my positions on this drone, they are:

  • It’s an amazing drone with insanely good specs (flight time, range, reliability, ect…) for it’s current price.
  • It’s camera is good, but not on the same level as the 1 inch sensors in the DJI arsensal such as the Mavic 2 Pro, Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire drones.

should you get the mavic air 2

5 reasons to get the Mavic Air 2 drone:

Let’s start with the most obvious one:

1) If you have an original Mavic Air and want to upgrade, do it.

There’s so many reasons why but the Mavic Air 2 is so much better that the original in every way that you’d be crazy not to. If you can afford it get it, because:

  • It’s way quieter.
  • The camera is better.
  • The flight time is WAY longer.
  • The range potential is ridiculously better (ocysunc baby!)
  • The price of the Mavic Air 2 is identical to the the price the original Air was when it first came out (it’s a great deal!).

Note: You can use DJI’s trade up program to get credits for your original Mavic Air to help pay for the Mavic Air 2.

2) If this is your first drone, get it.

The Mavic Air 2 mixes together what it’s like to own a great drone, plus one that’s pretty good for beginners. If you are looking to seriously get involved in the drone hobby and this is your first pick, I’m applauding you because you’re making a great choice.

3) If you’re a traveler, get this drone.

It’s so small and convenient, you’d be crazy not to. The speed at which you can set up this drone and have it flying is amazing and that convenience (speaking from experience) is it’s own value.

4) If you own drones that are underneath the level of this one, and can afford it, get it.

Here are the drones that are at least a level under this one: The Spark, the Mavic Mini and obviously something like the Tello, and that’s just from the DJI lineup. This doesn’t take into consideration all the other companies out there releasing drones and/or those who already have plenty of models on the market.

I can tell you that the Mavic Air beats about 90% of all the other drones on the market in 2020 so for it’s price, it is a top tier drone, hands down.

5) If you own a Mavic Pro 1 and want to upgrade, do it.

As much as I still love my original Mavic Pro 1, I gotta give the trophy to the Mavic Air 2. I believe the Pro 1 is still better than the original Mavic Air but the second version of it is unquestionably better and is an upgrade I’d recommend going for.

5 Reasons not to get the Mavic Air 2:

1) If you already own a Mavic 2 Pro, don’t bother.

It would be a downgrade. I’ve seen people making the mistake of thinking the Mavic Air 2 is somehow better than the Mavic 2 Pro because of it’s 48 megapixel capabilities. People, it doesn’t matter how many megapixels it has, that 1 inch sensor on the Mavic 2 Pro is what gives it the edge over the Mavic Air 2 and why the Pro is better.

Yes it is true that the Mavic Air 2 does have a slightly better flight time, but aside from that, and a bit more portability, every other benefit goes to the Mavic 2 Pro.

Ultimately, this was the reason I decided not to get this model and stick to my Mavic 2 Pro.

2) If you own or plan on getting an Autel Evo 2. 

In my opinion Autel Evo 2’s drone is going to get to the same level as the Mavic 2 Pro if not better and if you are seeking high quality imagery and video, then Autel’s drone would be a better choice for you than the Mavic Air 2.

3) If you own a Mavic 2 Zoom, there’s no need to get this new drone.

The camera on the Zoom is different, but I’d say it’s as good if not better than the Mavic Air 2’s camera, and aside from that, the other capabilities the Zoom has still makes it superior.

4) If you’re an unskilled drone flier and are likely to crash your drone.

Simply put, if you think you’re likely to crash, get a safer, easier model to fly with such as the Mini or Spark. They are easy to fly.

5) If you’re really tight on money but really want a drone.

Then your best choice is the Mavic Mini. 

Well that should help you decide on the Mavic Air 2!

If it didn’t, I’d love to hear your questions about this drone and the more details you can give me on your circumstance, the easier it’ll be for me to suggest whether you should get this new model or not.

Again, this is a great drone, and of course if you have a limitless budget to buy this model and are a drone collector, it’s a great addition, but since most people don’t have that luxury, these 5 different yes and no reasons should help them decide if this is the right choice for them.

Autel Evo 2 Initial Review. Is it Finally a Mavic Killer?

autel evo 2 review

Well folks, the drone world in 2020 is going to get pretty exciting with a number of new models coming out, none of which (at this time at least) are from DJI and I like that.

Among the lineup of new drones that were officially announced at CES, the one which personally interested me and pretty much most of the drone world was the Autel Evo 2.

autel evo 2 review

There were “leaked” specs prior to the official announcement, but it wasn’t until CES took place, that we found out the leaks were true, and they basically told the following story about the Autel Evo 2:

  • That it would have a 40 minute flight time.
  • That it would have an insane range of 16 KM.
  • That it’s camera would be able to film at up to 8K footage and that it would be incredibly sharp.
  • That it would have no geo fencing (like the original Autel Evo).
  • That it would have 6 sides of obstacle detection.
  • That it would be able to take 48 megapixel photos.
  • And that it would also be able to follow people at a level close if not as good as Skydio 2.

Now all of these specs tell a pretty important story and that is that this new model, at least on paper does destroy the Mavic 2 Pro (and obviously Zoom). 

But here’s why at least for now, the Autel Evo 2 is not a Mavic killer…

Based on what I saw from initial reviews out there from people who HAD already be given this model to review and released their reviews on the day of CES, I have to say, thus far, the Mavic kill story is still a bit farfetched and I’ll explain why that is in a moment and I will show video comparison proof of what I saw that makes me say this…

But let me make something clear:

I was one of the many people anxiously awaiting the announcement of this model since the leaks came out. Since I own 5 DJI drones (a Mavic 2 Pro being one of them) and have considered numerous times on buying the original Autel Evo, I had elected to wait until the second version was released and when I heard the same specs I listed above, I was almost entirely sold. I was ready to buy this drone model on day 1.

But this is where I turn back to the reviewers who were given this drone before it’s official release and showed me their comparison videos, some of which compared the footage of the Autel Evo 2 to the Mavic 2 Pro. And well, I wasn’t impressed.

In fact, I though the Mavic 2 Pro footage was far better, and considering how it’s camera is close but not as good as the Phantom 4 Pro’s, which in my opinion is at this point in time the best drone camera out of any I’ve seen, that says something about the superiority DJI still holds in this market.

Now let me actually show you the video that made me believe this (Autel Evo 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro):

Now let’s get some things straight…

This is where Autel Evo 2 absolutely wins against the Mavic 2 Pro:

  • It can definitely fly further.
  • It can definitely stay in the air longer.
  • You will be able to change the 3 different cameras this drone has available for it (it’s easier to switch them than with DJI’s model).
  • Not that it needs to be said, but I’ll say it: This model already beats the original Mavic Pro, Mavic Air, the Mini, and more. So you can think of this is a victory for Autel in the “Mavic killer department”.

But compared to the Mavic 2 Pro, there are thus far only 2 obvious advantages you can spot right away, but as for the camera being better? 8K or not, I did not see it being better than the footage in the Mavic 2 Pro.

In fact, I saw the opposite, both for the video AND photo comparison:

The Mavic shows far more details, contrast and structure. You can tell me what you think below regarding this comparison.

Here’s the silver lining though: There’s 3 versions of the Autel Evo. 

You have the regular Autel Evo 2 model, which is the one you saw in the video above being tested against the Mavic 2 Pro.

You have the Autel Evo Pro which has not yet been released, so there’s no footage to compare yet, but this is the one I am most hopeful for. This is the model whose camera has a 1 inch sensor and likely the one which will give the Mavic 2 Pro’s camera a run for it’s money at least.

Then you have the third camera which is basically the same as Mavic 2 Enterprise’s version of things. But I don’t know enough about that one to make any comparisons. 

And the beauty is that you, the consumer will be able to buy these cameras and switch them to the same Autel Evo 2 body as you like without having to ship it to the dealer like you would with DJI.

If these 5 things are true with Autel Evo 2 (Pro), then it will be a Mavic killer:

1) If it’s 1 inch sensor camera is truly as good if not better than the Mavic 2 Pro’s camera (this is pending).

2) If it’s overall performance is better than the Mavic 2 Pro (this is so far the case, so we can add 1 point).

3) If it’s sensors perform as well as the MP2 if not better (this still has to be tested).

4) If it doesn’t have so many bugs when it comes out (this happened with the first generation model and it’s still pending).

5) If it’s autonomous flight modes like tracking are better and more intelligent than the MP2 and on the level of Skydio 2 (still this is pending).

If all of these 5 things will be prevalent with the Pro model, then I will officially call it a Mavic killer and I will definitely buy it. So far, because there are uncertainties, and I believe the regular Autel Evo 2 is not as good at the Mavic 2 Pro, I can’t make this claim.

But I am still hopeful because I own only DJI models for now and for the longest time have wanted to make sure that the 6th model in my collection is a none DJI product. 

Whatever happens, you’ll probably be hearing the following a lot from other drone enthusiasts and that is with this influx of new drone models into the market, DJI will be pushed to stay at the top, and this means we’ll likely be getting some seriously awesome models from them (A possible Mavic 3).  

What’s The Best Phantom 4 Drone – Original, Advanced, Pro or V2.0?

phantom 4 models

There are currently 5 different versions of the Phantom 4 drone model. Each one has it’s own specs, perks and reasons to get it. 

This article is going to give you a full breakdown of each existing Phantom 4 model, what their pros are and help you decide which one to buy. As of 2018, MANY of these models are actually discontinued by DJI, but you can still get them in popular stores like Wal Mart and Best Buy.

The thing to note is that:

All of these models have the exact same frame, are the same exact size and have the same type of controller (except the final version which has a custom one).

Where they differ is when you start to compare their camera, their flight capabilities, sensors and so on… 

We’ll begin from ranking the “lowest” tier drone and work our way up to the most high end one.

A) Phantom 4: 80 out of 100 stars. 

phantom 4 regular specs

Despite being the original and technically the least high end model out of the rest, it is a great drone. It has a 12+ MP camera, flies for well over 20 minutes and has incredible range. It only has 2 sensors though (which at the time was actually quite a high end perk). 

Now I want to point out that despite saying “lowest tier”, it’s only when you frame it in comparison to the same models in it’s class. This is by NO means a BAD or even GOOD drone, it’s a GREAT drone and it is highly recommended if your budget cannot go beyond into the other ones…

Honestly, if $1,000 is your budget, I’d get the Autel Evo instead of the P4 since it’s more portable and has a better camera. And I also have to say that the original Mavic Pro also shoots better than the regular P4 as well, but I recommend Autel because I think it’s better than the Mavic Pro.

Price: $1,000.

B) Phantom 4 Advanced: 90 out of 100 stars. 

phantom 4 advanced specs

The advanced Phantom (there is a P4 plus version too) has a longer flight time than the regular one, a MUCH better camera camera (20 MP) and a bigger ISO range, meaning it can adjust more easily to light changes and produce a better quality image/video. 

With an extra 10 points that reflects the higher quality, flight time and other specs, the advanced model is indeed more advanced the regular one before it. 

Price: $1,300.

C) Phantom 4 Pro: 95 out of 100 stars.

phantom 4 pro specs

I personally own one of these and I would say it matches the advanced in every way EXCEPT when you take into consideration how many sensors it has. The advanced has 2, the pro has 5, other than that, the specs in every other area are completely identical. Other than that, it’s the same 20 MP camera and same flight capabilities. 

A lot of people debate between this model and the advanced. Again, the only difference is that you have more sensors with this one. Does that make an extra $200 this will cost worth it? Well I say yes because most fliers are either beginners or intermediate and having extra sensors provides more security for your flight, that’s one of the reasons I got this one and not the advanced. Otherwise, you’re looking at the exact same thing in terms of quality imaging and video.

Price: $1,500.

D) P4P +. 95 out of 100 stars too.

phantom 4 pro plus specs

The 4th version of these models is the one that comes with the custom controller. This model is the Phantom 4 Pro mixed in with a controller that has a special tablet built into it. This controller is far more bright and easier to set up vs connecting your phone/tablet.

However, I do rate it the same as the model above it because this special tablet does take up a lot of battery life. Also from what I know, this controller cannot fold like the others, meaning it’s harder to pack it and it does take up more space. 

Price: $1,800. 

5) Phantom 4 Pro V2.0. 95 out of 100 stars.

This is the only one out of the 5 which is still in production by DJI, but when the Phantom 5 comes out, it’s safe to assume this one will also be discontinued. 

Anyway, the 2.0 model is literally the exact same thing as the P4P, but with quieter propellers, a 1 minute extra of flight time and a better, more stable connection between the remote and the drone. Learn more here.

One good way to classify these drones and pick the right one for you:

Starting from the first one, each drone following it has more and more perks but understand that after the 1st one (the regular Phantom), you will get the exact same quality of filming, ISO, flight time and speed:

That being a 20 MP camera that shoots in 4K and up to 60 mbps, which is crazy, compared to the 12.4 which is a nearly 2x “downgrade”. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a 12 MP camera. My Mavic has this and I love the imagery, but for an extra few hundred, you WILL get a far higher quality camera and you WILL notice the difference, believe me. 

That’s why despite the 1st model on this list being GREAT, it’s still a class lower than the next 3 following it which is why if you’re going to make a choice, I would at the very least consider the advanced or higher, the only difference then would be extra sensors and a customized remote, absent that, the rest is identical. 

Also to note is that the battery on EACH model fits in the others, BUT the regular (first) Phantom battery has a shorter flight time, whereas the next 3 models have the same, longer flight time. 

But of course, depending on the budget you have, you may consider some of the higher end models a bit too much. If that is the case, I would honestly consider saving the money needed and at the very least, getting an advanced version, especially if you really want to get that better camera.

The comparison chart of all models, simplified:

I didn’t put in the 2.0 model because it’s literally the same as the P4P, with the extra perks of connection and quiet propellers (which can be purchased separately and fit ANY P4 model by the way).

Do any of these models make for a better flight experience?

Well that depends on your skill as a pilot. Like I said before, they all have the same frame and controls so it’s not like you’d have a different experience piloting each model. If you’re into speed, the advanced and above models do fly faster, whether it be in regular or sport mode. 

If you’re a good pilot and don’t like flying in risky areas, you would have more “insurance” from a P4P and the plus one after it.

I personally like the insurance of having the sensors on 5 sides and in my experience they work quite well (The Mavic 2 Pro has 6). Certain flights I have require that I turn off one or more of them, otherwise the drone will refuse to fly through it and I won’t be able to get my video/image, but I do consider myself a pretty careful flier in general. Still, having the sensors just in case is a big deal to me personally.

This is after all a very expensive drone to get so if you do play it safe or see yourself as a risky flier, I would consider the P4P or higher. 

Otherwise, know that all of these models are a GREAT choice. The Phantom series is one of the best in all of the drone industry. 

The Danger of Flying Drones in Hot Weather Explained

dangers of flying drones in hot weather

Lots of people ask questions about flying drones in cold weather, but for some reason, when it comes to hot weather, this doesn’t get a lot of questions.

It’s actually just as likely that issues can happen as when it gets cold and you need to understand the dangers of flying you drone in hot conditions and ways to prevent potential issues from happening.

So first, let’s talk about the dangers and then ways to make sure they don’t happen:

dangers of flying drones in hot weather

These are the most common dangers you’ll experience:

1) The first danger posed is to the batteries themselves. 

Overheating is a REAL issue that can happen. On their own, batteries warm up normally when they are used, but when you add warm weather or are flying in areas where the sun is shining right on the model, it will absolutely raise the temperature of them, causing them to drain faster or worse, malfunction. 

Even in cold weather, batteries are affected too.

2) The second danger is to the model itself.

There isn’t much technology out there that can withstand extreme weather, be it warm or cold and drones are certainly not on that list. Keeping them exposed to the sun or in places like a car while in the middle of a warm summer day can really pose some huge risks.

Let’s not forget things like the trunk or a car, a garage or something similar. These places are saunas for drones…

Ok, so these 2 dangers are the most common/obvious. But what can you do? 

So there’s actually a lot of things that can be done to prevent these 2 scenarios from happening and most of it comes down to proper planning and intelligently flying around when these dangers aren’t likely to happen.

So here’s 10 safety tips:

1) Don’t keep your drone in places where it’s likely to overheat, whether it’s on or off.

Don’t keep it in car trunks when it’s hot out, don’t keep it in garages that aren’t ventilated or kept at a particularly cool temperature. Don’t keep it places where it gets warm is the main message here…

Batteries tend to not just overheat, but they can actually expand and cause damage to the drone if they are kept in hot areas for too long. You DON’T want this to happen. If this scenario takes place, you are risking the life of BOTH the battery and drone at the same time. Just DON’T make it more likely to happen by being irresponsible and leaving it in places where this can happen…

2) Try not to fly when the day is at it’s hottest or the sun is shining right on the drone.

Your drone would basically be a bulls eye for heat problems to take place if you did. Now for people who often fly, this kind of convenience isn’t always available, but if you have to do this, don’t do it for a long period of time. Try to fly around for a few minutes, take the shots you want as quickly as possible and return home.

3) Fly when it’s early out or getting close to sunset.

These periods generally are a lot cooler than during the mid part of the day when it’s guaranteed to be hot. Flying earlier or later in this case means a 10 or even 20 degree temperature change and believe me, that has a VASTLY positive effect on your drone’s health, including it’s battery.

4) Fly in the shade if you can.

300 fans may look at this as a pun, but hey I had to say it. Flying in the shade means flying in cooler temperatures, so try to do that if you can. 

5) Monitor your drone’s temperature if that option is available.

DJI models for example have this awesome capability where you can monitor what temperature your drone is at in real time. If it bypasses say 40 degrees celsius for example, it’s time to come back and let it cool down.

6) When you decide to come back and switch batteries, let the drone cool down.

If it’s hot out and it comes back, you better believe it’s going to be hot too. Let it cool down for 15-20 minutes before using the next battery to fly with. This applies to both the model AND the battery. By the way, you also need to know that batteries have their own care tips to consider. Here they are.

7) If you choose to recharge a battery after it’s flown in warm temperatures, let it cool down too.

NEVER instantly recharge a battery right after it’s been used. Let it cool down for the same 15-20 minutes before plugging it in.

8) Don’t try to cool down the battery or drone by placing it in a freezer or aiming an AC right on it.

Rapid changes in temperature can cause damage to the model if you do this, let it cool down in warm/cool environments naturally before using it again.

9) If you’re traveling and it’s too hot to leave your model in the car, take it with you.

This may be a hassle, but it beats having a broken model to worry about. I’ve had to do this on hikes where I parked my car right out in the sun and had to decided on whether or not to take my model with me. Leaving it inside the car meant leaving it in hot temperatures and potentially having it stolen. And leaving it in the trunk just raised the odds that it would overheat anyway, so the safest bet was to take it with me. 

In these cases, if you have large models like a Phantom, use this kind of backpack, it’ll make it more comfortable to carry. Small models like the Mavic Pro have these convenient cases you can use.

10) When flying in areas like the beach, consider the above 9 things and more.

The beach is another layer of things to consider when it comes to safety (water among other dangers). Not only are the main dangers present, but you’re also looking at issues like sand and interrupting people’s private time. Since hot weather and beaches go together, it’s often the case that people fly in those areas so if you’re one of the many doing this, here’s extra tips specifically for the beach to consider.

And I also say this because I have a trip coming up when flying in hot weather and on the beach is going to happen pretty often and I’m taking 4 drones with me, so this is why I came up with this list. I hope it’s going to help you maintain your model’s health!

5 Mavic Air Accessories You Can’t Fly Without!

mavic air accessories

For every single drone I own, I always do an article where I specify must have items you should get if you own the same model. Now it’s the Mavic Air’s turn and today I want to specify 5 that are very important for it’s safety, things that will improve the quality if your flights and more. 

mavic air accessories

 

Now despite saying that you “can’t fly without them”, the truth is you can, but the Mavic Air, despite being great for filming does come with it’s own list of cons and these accessories help make up for them.

1) Car charger, specifically for the Mavic Air batteries.

One thing I’ll never understand is why the Mavic Air, which came out after the Spark doesn’t have the same ability to charge via USB. It’s honestly a step down in that regard, but never the less, here we are with this limited function. So if you travel a lot and don’t have a place to charge your batteries, get a car charger for it. Here is a good one.

2) Range boosters.

I’ve recommended these for the Mavic Pro, the Spark and now I also recommend them for the Mavic Air. Like I said in my article with the accessories I recommend for the Spark, the same range boosters there also fit the controller of this model too. 

Now let’s talk for a second about the range. While it is listed at 4KM, and while that’s awesome for such a small model, it will likely never get there unless you have range boosters and/or your surroundings perfectly suite a long range flight.

Add to it the fact that the Mavic Air also connects via WiFi (Lightbridge & ocusync are better) and you’ve got a lot of potential range issues. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the range is bad, but the fact that it’s WiFi really limits it’s abilities, although I have to say, I’ve been impressed with how far I’ve flown with it.

Never the less, get range boosters because there’s more wrong things that can happen when you fly with this thing such as transmission issues than the possibility of flying far with it. The range boosters may very well help you reach the 4KM range.

3) Beginners/risky fliers, get yourself propeller guards! 

This drone is too valuable to crash! Invest in cheap propeller guards! The good news is that this drone has safety sensors on 3 sides (front, back and bottom), but the sides are exposed and these things will cover that up fairly well. 

Now I’ve written many times about how you shouldn’t always use propeller guards such as in open areas, but in tight ones, keep them handy. I’ve had my share of risky flights and I wouldn’t recommend going through that stress or worse. 

4) The red “ankle wire”.

Since I purchased this wire, I’ve never used the default ones which came with my drones and that’s because this wire creates a much more dependable connection between the transmission and your drone’s camera, meaning it’ll lose connection/image a lot less.

Take for example, the Mavic Pro. It came with a loose, black wire which you attached to the side. I liked it and was careful with it, but I did have numerous situations where my connection was flaky or just lost. Ever since I got the anker wire, this has NOT happened. As it worked for that drone, so too will it work for this one. 

Think of this as another way to maintain a stronger more reliable connection with your Mavic Air, in addition to those range boosters.

5) Have at least 1 extra battery.

If this is your only drone, then you’re going to eventually get tired of running out of battery juice quickly. Have at least 1 battery ready to go. When it lands, take off the one that’s inside, let it cool down (this is important for the battery health!), then replace it with the new one, and charge the original while it’s in flight. That way you can have one consistent flight after another going on.

Do note, I did say you should let the used up battery cool down and I wasn’t kidding. If you’re not already aware of how important it is, read this post about taking care of drone batteries. This will really help you keep the battery lasting longer and keeping the drone safe as well. Read that article! 

And these are my top 5 accessories you should ideally have handy when flying with the Mavic Air. I’ve had this drone for several months now and I love it, but I also understand how there’s situations where it needs one or more of these accessories to maintain that quality of flight.

Loose connections, short flight time, image transmission issues and no where to charge it up are all very common things you can run into when using this model and you’re going to have a more fun time when you invest a little money in these things.

And on the subject of that, let’s talk about the accessory prices:

  • The range boosters are about $10-$20. 
  • The car charger is about $15.
  • The wire is about $5.
  • The propeller guards are about $20.
  • And finally the extra battery is about $50.

Aside from the battery, the rest are quite inexpensive, but they really help protect what is essentially an $700 drone. I always advise if you don’t already own this model, to get a combo pack so you can have way more accessories, one of which is 2 extra batteries, a carrying case and way more.

You will save a lot of money and in regards to the accessories, the only thing left would be the range boosters and wire, something that would cost under $30 together. As for the propeller guards and batteries, the combo pack includes them, so a majority of the higher costs are covered in this fly more combo. 

But if you already got yourself the basic drone package, you can always buy the other accessories individually. That’s my list, thanks for reading!