10 Things I Want to See in The Mavic Pro 2. What do You Want to See?

So with a rumored March release date (or announcement of a release date), all of us drone nerds are anxiously awaiting the Mavic Pro II. As of now, we have unverified “leaks” and basically speculations. I’d like to add my personal thoughts on the matter and tell you 10 things I want to see in this new drone.

I did do a similar post on the Phantom 5 and what I wanted to see there, but with the Mavic series, given it’s portability and that there’s a huge demand for more portable drones these days, I’ll go further and tell you things I wish to see on it! Being that this Mavic Pro was my introduction into the drone world, and that it left me shocked at how awesome it was, I would really love the second generation of it to do the same.

Update: The Mavic Pro 2 is out. 

It has most of the things I wanted, but you can get a full review of it here.

1) Upgrade the camera, and I mean REALLY upgrade it.

No less than a P4P level camera. 20 MP and a shot at 4k @ 60 FPS, especially since the Autel Evo is said to come out with a drone later this year that will likely have that. 

I have found that the Mavic Pro was on par and even better in terms of the camera footage than the regular P4, so I feel the second generation should be on par or better (ideally better) than the Phantom 4 Pro, which as of now is the most elite drone on DJI’s list (by the end of 2018, it will likely not be so anymore).

But in any case, to this day, if there is a drone I prefer to shoot awesome shots with, it’s the P4P, so naturally having that same potential on the MP II will be awesome.

Update: Did this happen? Well the camera is noticeably better than the Mavic Pro 1, but it’s not as good as the P4P sadly (maybe in low light).

2) Give it 5 sensors, please DJI!

The Mavic Air came into the market as the first to have 3 sensors, the P4P has 5, would it really be that tough to put extra sensors on the side? And since we’re on that subject, I said I want the P5 to have a 6th sensor, on top. If they could do this on the Inspire 2, lets make it happen on both the next generation Mavic and next generation Phantom.

Update: It has 6, but they all work only when active track is “active”. Usually it’ll be 4 during regular flights.

3) Can we stop using the DJI Go 4 app?

I can’t say it’s outdated, but man does it have a lot of bugs and any DJI owner who uses this app knows what I’m talking about, it’s just too annoying to work with sometimes. Why not have a separate program like the Yuneec Typhoon H has or the future Autel Evo will have? It’ll save people a huge headache…

Update: Nope, still stuck on this app!

4) Can we possibly make it more portable than the Mavic Air? 

Thus far, the latest “speculation” is that the MP 2 will be even bigger than the first MP and while this is sort of exciting because it likely means there will be a bigger, better camera, I think this would have an adverse affect since the MP was the pioneer of all the portable drone rage back in the day and to reverse that course now may reverse that reputation. I know that realistically it’s almost impossible to have an awesome camera on a small drone, but at the very least, if the Autel Evo can do it, why can’t DJI?

Update: It’s bigger than the regular MP1 and obviously bigger than the Air, so this didn’t happen, but with a regular case I picked up, I didn’t have portability issues with the MP2.

5) Intelligent flight modes have to mimic the MA, the P4P and go further.

There is one VERY good, but missing feature I want to see on the P5 and honestly on all future drones: A backtracking feature which would put the “return to home” feature to shame. 

I have said a lot about this type of thing on this article regarding the Phantom 5, but in my experience flying drones in tough spots, it’s often hard for it to just go up in the air and fly back to you. Sometimes I fly between trees, in canyons and that option may not be possible, so backtracking would allow the drone to fly back the same way it got there, which was the safe route. I mean it’s basically like a situation where you get lost in the woods and the best way to get back home is to backtrack. Why can’t we have this on drones? It would really raise the safety bar higher.

Update: They do!

6) A better gimbal/camera protection.

Honestly, I’m OK with what the MA has, and something like this on the MP 2 will be awesome. No more 2 covers like it was on the regular MP.

Update: I honestly do not like the gimbal protection they use for the MP2. I believe it scratches the gimbal.

7) A 30 minute + flight time. 

25 minutes on the regular MP is awesome, but let’s add some more time! 

Update: Yes the flight time is great!

8) A much longer range. 

Both the Phantom 4 and Mavic series (not the Air) have a 7-8 KM range. The next general needs to surpass that, at least to 10 KM. Also, they need to stop using WiFi and keep using the same connection system as they have on the Phantom and Mavic Pro, that tends to have a stronger, and more reliable connection.

Update: Yes the new ocusync 2.0 is on this drone and it’s awesome.

9) Make the body look cooler and be made of material that gives it that “Ferrari” feeling.

I like the body of the Mavic Pro and the Mavic Air seemed a bit too plastic for me, but if they can make the MP 2 be made of good, expensive, sturdy material, it would definitely add to the privledge of owning one.

Update: Its really the same kind of body as the regular MP1.

10) Waterproof!? Am I asking for too much?

Well at least vs the rain. As awesome as drones are today, we all know that taking them out in bad weather is an absolute no no. The biggest issue is that there are exposed area on the propellers and on the body (as well as the battery area). I heard rumors the P5 will be waterproof, but again, this is all just a rumor. Prior to hearing that, I never imagined we could have something like that, but that rumor alone begs the question of if we can do this.

Update: Nope it’s not!

Alright, one more thing! Can we make it SUPER quiet?

The thing that most people dislike about drones are their potential crashing dangers and the noise they make. The last thing I ever want to do is annoy anyone in the area where I’m flying, so a quiet model zooming around, minding it’s own business would really help push people over to appreciating these things. 

And finally, I just want to say these things I’d like to see aren’t out of this world. If there’s anything true about technology and it’s evolution is that it evolves based on previous examples. In this case, we have a lot of examples and frame to work with. We know what a MP can do. We know what a MA can do. We know what we love about the Phantom and what we don’t love, so if we can build on the advantages we want to see off these 3 models and make the MP 2 be the best version of all 3 of these, we’re going to have a new king in the drone world.

Update: YES, the Mavic 2 Pro is SUPER quiet!

Phantom 4 Drones vs Mavic Air. I’ve Got Both. Which One is For You?

I have been making many drone comparisons on this site and today’s will deal with a classic: The Phantom 4 series that goes head to head with DJI’s newest line of portable drones: The Mavic Air.

And before I start, I want to make it clear:

I own BOTH these models (Well the Phantom 4 Pro specifically) and an Onyx Black Mavic Air.

These are my personal opinions based on what I’ve experienced with both models. Usually I compare where one model holds advantages of the other then do the same thing for the opposite one, then conclude with a comparison chart so you understand each and every benefit. This comparison will be no different.

But before I do, here is what I want to say about both these models:

They are the highest rated ones I’ve reviews. Both score 95 out of 100 points, but this rating is actually for different reasons as each model holds it’s own benefits the other does not and vice versa and I’ll being with the advantages the Mavic Air holds over the Phantom 4 series (I will also distinguish WHICH Phantom 4 I’m talking about).

In an ideal world I’d recommend both models to you, but if you are on a tight budget and there can be only be one choice for you, then figure out what you’re going to use your drone for, then see which of these 2 models is best suited for that and let that be your deciding factor.

Update: With new drones coming out like the Mavic 2 Pro, I’ve updated my scores and thus this is what I have for these 2 now:

Mavic Air: 80 out of 100 points.

Phantom 4 Pro: 95 out of 100 points, but that’s the pro and I will be comparing the Air to other P4 models here and not all of them get the same 95 score.

Where the Mavic Air is superior:

1) Portability (no question there!).

This thing literally fits in your palm. A P4 (all the versions of it since the body is identical) obviously does not and you have to consider this when you’re wondering which one to get. 

If you are a type of traveler who enjoys moving around a lot, consider how much extra weight a P4 would add (and it does start to feel after awhile. I know since I hiked with it on my back). 

2) The camera shoots pictures and videos better than 1 of the P4 models.

That would be the regular P4. Both these models shoot @ 4K and up to 30 FPS and both have a 12 MP camera (hard to believe right?).

When I did a comparison of the P4 with the Mavic Pro, I also noted the same thing and when I compared a Mavic Pro to a Mavic Air, I noted that the Mavic Air generally shoots better, so naturally with this logical, it’s safe to assume why I came to this conclusion.

However, if you upgrade to a P4 Advanced and higher (pro, pro+ which is the same model anyway), then the MA no longer has a superior camera (then you’re looking at a 20 MP camera with 4K @ 60 FPS ability). In that case, the advanced and higher P4 is just SO much better and the footage I’ve taken proves that (comparisons coming soon).

3) Some camera abilities exceed the P4.

Overall, the P4 itself has more intelligent flight modes, but there are unique new modes on the MA that make it better (Slow shots, 360 shots for instance) and video shots at 100 mbps are huge here.

4) Less drift in the wind and calm conditions (It stays still in the air better).

The Mavic Pro also has this advantage against the P4, but the MA is also going in that direction which is wild considering it’s size difference.

5) It’s better for tight shots. 

A small model like this is perfect to send into places where there’s tight spaces as there’s less chances of a crash (still, you need to fly carefully…).

6) Way less expensive. 

$799 for a regular and $999 for a combo pack vs $999 for the regular P4, $1,200 for the advanced, $1,500 for the pro and $1,800 for the Pro+.

7) Faster set up (way faster actually) and it’s quieter.

Consider how often you travel (on planes, by foot). The Mavic Air is really easy to take out, set up and work with. Overall, this model just weights less, causes less issues when traveling with it, is easy to set up and you’ll hardly even notice you have it on you when you’re moving around (that’s huge). With the P4, you need to carry it in a big bag (or carrying case) and that really is going to get really annoying. I suppose this should fall into the portability argument, but there’s one more aspect of this:

Noise levels are slightly lower. But I do admit, the Air is surprisingly loud unless you get quieter props. 

Where the P4 is better:

1) Range. 

Twice as reliable and twice as far. You’ll lose connection less times and go further with ANY of the P4 models.

2) Durability and resilience against wind.

Naturally a bigger model, especially like a P4 means it’ll withstand wind better. 

3) A twice as long flight time.

25-30 minutes depending on which P4 model you get (my Pro gets 30 minutes on paper, but more like 25 minutes in real life, the MA gets about 15 minutes in my experience but has a 21 minute flight time on paper).

4) Better camera (on the advanced and up).

I noticed this above, but it’s a major improvement. I love my MA, but the P4P’s camera is just better (both have amazing footage potential though). Here’s some comparison footage:

phantom 4 pro vs mavic air footage

Now here’s an interesting thing. At least in this ONE picture, it seems like the MA shoots better, BUT I have a suspicion that I set the white balance on the MA to shoot more in a “cool environment”, hence the more blueish colors, I’ll do a correction at a later time, but to the main point…

The above picture makes it seem like the MA is better…until you compare a manual edit of both pictures:

Crazy difference right? Now if you ask me, the P4P is WAY better looking than what the MA produces. Everything just looks sharper and better if you ask me. Here’s another for you:

Again I will have to go back and retest this as I strongly believe that I accidentally left the white balance on custom on the MA and it was set to cool colors, but even if that ends up being corrected, the P4P shoots better, no questions asked.

Now once again, I have to reiterate that VS the REGULAR P4, the MA would win, but when you add in the 20 MP camera of the P4 advanced (next level P4) and then the pro, then there’s no real debate there.

5) Depending on which P4 model you get, there are anywhere from 2 to 5 sensors.

The P4P has 5. A regular P4 and P4 advanced have 2. Now a MA has 3 sensors, so depending on which P4 model you get this advantage can fall over to the MA side. 

6) More flight modes. 

With the exception of the new, unique ones offered on the MA, generally the P4 offers more customization and flying options. 

7) Overall, if you include the advanced P4 and up…

It’s just a higher quality model for filming and flying.

As you can see, it’s 7 pros on each model. So it’s a draw, but for different reasons:

Like I said before, consider each category above I listed and in which case, which model was better, then examine how you would use it and then base your decision on that, but I have a few more filters for you to consider before you make your final choice:

1) If you’re considering the regular P4 model, forget it, buy the Mavic Air, it shoots better, and is more portable. 

2) If you’re considering the P4 Advanced, the only REAL advantage there is the camera and flight time, but for $1,200 you may be better off buying the Mavic Air combo pack (same price).

3) If you’re looking at the P4P (my model), I’d say it’s the better choice as it shoots better. The same goes for the P4P+.

Still have mixed feelings and don’t know which one to get? Let me help you then:

Tell me exactly what you seek in a drone. I’m talking what kind of camera you want (if you care about it at all), what flight capabilities, range, price, budget, and every single little detail you can come up with, mention it in the comments section below and I’ll help you make a good choice.

Know that in this particular case, I don’t think there’s a “wrong choice”. These 2 models are exceptionally good and you would be very happy with either one. As an owner of both, I can attest to this.

And if you already have made a choice, which one did you decide on? Was it the MA? The P4 (which version?) and if neither, was there another model that suited you more?

Autel Evo Review. The Best Portable Drone Yet? Yes & No.

In early 2018, Autel announced that they would be releasing the Evo later this year (it’s already out at the time of this post).

Soon after, DJI announced their own new drone, the Mavic Air and while provide other articles comparing those 2 as well as the Evo to others, let’s focus entirely on it here.

Overall, there has been and still a lot of hype behind this model, because the hope at least from drone enthusiasts is that there’s finally another company out there that’s going to give DJI a run for it’s money, thus improving the quality of future drones, lowering the prices and overall making this entire industry more exciting to get into. Is that the case now that it’s out? Let’s find out:

I’m going to give you the specs (which you probably already know), and I’m going to explain if it’s as good as it was hyped up to be now that it’s out.

Stats and info on product:

Name: Autel Evo.

Company: Autel.

Flight time: Advertised, 30, but more like 20-25 minutes.

Range potential: 7 KM, but it’s closer to about half that in most circumstances.

Size: About the same as the Mavic Pro. Fits in your hand.

Price: $999.

Camera quality: 12 MP, shoots in 4K at up to 60 FPS, at 100 mpbs. And it has a 3 axis gimbal.

Sensors? Yes, 3: Front, back and bottom.

Rating: 85 out of 100 points. When the Evo came out, I gave it an 80 out of 100 due to many of it’s promises not meeting expectations. However, firmware updates corrected MOST of them and now this drone is one of the BEST in filming and flying for such an awesome price, highly recommended.

So overall, I DO recommend this model and here is the link to see other reviews for it. I will also say that I give 5 reasons you should get it below (if you’re considering it or not).

Let’s discuss the 3 truly great things about the Evo:

1) The camera. The first standout feature.

This is the first drone in 2018, at least in the portable market which has such a high quality camera. While the other drones in this department are good in that regard too, the Evo takes it to the next level (4K @ 60 FPS).

DJI owners who have owned a Phantom 4 Pro may understand what I’m about to say but it’s similar in specs to a Phantom 4 Pro camera (comparison), on a portable drone, that’s really what you’re getting with the Evo camera and it’s awesome.

Without a doubt, as of July 6th, 2018, the Evo’s camera is at the top of the portable drone market. 

Update: Now there’s another contender, the Mavic Pro 2 and it films differently than the Autel Evo, get the comparison here.

2) It is very quiet. 

Likely as quiet as the Mavic Pro with the quiet propellers. 

3) The controller is awesome.

It displays pretty much everything you need to know about the flight going on the actual controller and the attachment for the phone is easily installed and comfortable to view. It is WAY better than the Mavic/Spark controllers.

Where the Evo did not live up to the hype (updated as fixes did come in):

Unfortunately as I was looking for more reasons to recommend the Evo, I found myself having to go from initially 5 reasons to recommend it to 3 because the unfortunate tale is that many of the specs that it boasted simply do not have the same real life applications. 

For example:

1) The flight time was supposed to be 30 minutes. 

It is typically not. Now I get it, flight conditions play a huge role, and as an owner of various drones, I completely agree, but even when hovering, I’ve seen videos where the Evo could barely get up to 25 minutes of flight time.

Now I am not complaining about a 20+ minute flight time. That is plenty in my book, but when you advertise 30 minutes but get about 30% LESS of that in real life, that’s not good.

As of today, it’s still around 20-25 and in open areas with little wind, you may be able to get the higher end of 20 minutes. I still believe (and have seen) that a regular Mavic Pro gets about the same if not a little more flight time.

2) The range was supposed to hit 7 kilometers. 

Update: Firmware updates have improved this and in open areas, this drone CAN deliver on 7 KM ranges and possibly even more (how to do range tests).

I don’t see how this is likely. The range tests I saw didn’t get to that amount in open fields and I think it is in part due to the connection type the Evo uses which is a form of WiFi. It is basically similar to the type the Mavic Air uses and basically it can get pretty flaky if there’s enough obstacles between your controller and drone.

Now you may think this connection issue will happen to any model, but that’s not true. Having used the Mavic’s ocusync connection, I was able to get 2 kilometers easily while standing on grass and having a bunch of trees and obstacles between us. Yet that connection penetrated all those obstacles and still got through and I don’t even want to mention how far that thing can get in an open field.

Basically the point is that, like the flight time, you are unlikely to get the same range on the Evo as advertised, which is unfortunate. Now if you prefer to fly in sight or perhaps within 500-1,000 meters, you should have no issues with this and will likely enjoy a good, strong connection.

Now there were some issues with the horizon being tilted on first generation models, but those were handed to people for testing, so the updates Autel releases should do more than fix this issue and other hardware/software ones, so I didn’t think that warranted an official con (but in case anyone though I forgot or neglected to mention it).

And as an update on that, YES the horizon “tilt” has been fixed.

Let’s address if this drone is a Mavic killer.

People love to hype new models or put in some clickbait titles but when you look at the Evo, in terms of the camera, yes it is better, but frankly, it is the only real feature in which this model is superior to the other portable drones on the market.

When you analyze the this model against the existing competition, particularly the Mavic Air and Mavic Pro, the only area where it really wins out in is again, the camera. While I’ll do a separate comparison with the Mavic Air and another with the Mavic Pro, in case you are wondering about my preliminary thoughts, I believe:

That the Evo has a lot more benefits over the Mavic Air. It shoots better, flies better and lasts longer.

However, against the Mavic Pro, the only area where it wins is when you compare the cameras. Overall, I’d still put the Mavic Pro as a whole to be better than the Evo. It has a more reliable connection, longer range, flies just as long if not longer still and the camera quality, while lower on paper, still is hard to see big differences unless you’re a professional video/photographer. 

Update: With all the fixes, the Autel Evo matches and exceeds the original Mavic Pro.

I still don’t think that it’s a “Killer”, but with both being $999, if you have that kind of money to spend, just get the Evo, you may get a little less in minutes of flight time, but with a way better camera and other cool perks, it’s a much better buy than the original Mavic Pro (and I own one, so I’m saying this honestly).

5 reasons you should get an Autel Evo:

1) It’s camera is insanely good, and I’m still shocked by how good it is.

I don’t own an Evo, but I do own a Phantom 4 Pro and Mavic 2 Pro and I would argue that the camera on the Evo is either close to or on par with these other 2 models and their cameras. 

I’ve seen so many comparison videos between these 3 models and Autel always holds it’s on. If you don’t know anything about post production stuff and just need a camera that’ll work very well for you on auto, this model is amazing for you.

It’s camera is 100% better than the original Mavic Pro and Mavic Air. I would even say at times it’s sharper than the Mavic 2 Pro unless it’s manually edited. 

And I have even considered getting it despite having 2 “superior models”.

Like I said, I have the Mp2 and Phantom 4 Pro, yet there have been times I’ve almost considered getting the Autel Evo. I do consider the MP2 camera to be slightly better. And you save $500 at least when you compare it to the other 2 models.

What I will say is that if a 1 inch sensor Autel Evo 2 ever comes out, I WILL get it.

2) It’s lack of geo fencing can be a mixed bag, but I like it.

If you’re a responsible flier, this is certainly a huge plus and I’m all for responsible flying, but as an owner of 5 DJI models, I will say all the updates, all the geo fencing red tape can get annoying. I fly according to the rules, but they do get more and more constricting overtime, which makes the lack of that red tape on this model liberating. 

3) The “no need for a phone” connection is huge.

Just controlling this drone with the remote that has a built in screen is a major plus that no drone model I own has. It’s the future of good drone models in my opinion.

4) The price for the quality is worth it.

I do believe as an overall drone model, this could be slightly better (more flight time, better range), but for the $999 price, I think it’s a great deal. Get the Autel Evo here.

5) Great support from the drone company.

Autel may not be the #1 drone company in the world (yet), but when it comes to drone support, it’s tough to argue if there’s any company that’s better. I keep hearing over and over how awesome this company’s support is, especially compared to DJI and it’s another reason why in the future, this company’s future drones are on my list of drones to buy!

Autel Evo Preview. How Will it Stack up Against The Mavic Models (The Air, Pro And Mavic 2)?

It wasn’t until the Mavic Air was officially released that I first heard about the Autel Evo being one of the new drones being released in 2018 and based on rumors and naturally speculation, it was assumed that the Evo may very well put a dent in the sales of the Mavic series, because of it’s amazing specs. 

But being that DJI has been king for quite awhile in the drone realm, I highly doubt that this new model will do anything else but make them up their game and that is a win for the consumer. I personally cannot wait to see how DJI’s Mavic drones stack up against this new Autel drone and what the future will bring in terms of drone technology and improvements in quality! 

But let’s unpack this whole thing into sub topics:

-First, I want to talk about the specs behind the Autel Evo.

-Next I want to discuss how it will likely stack up against DJI’s newest portable drone: The Mavic Air (which I own by the way).

-After that, I want to tackle if it’ll beat the Mavic Pro (another model I own which I’ll refer to as the MP).

-And finally, the topic which interests me most out of all these is how it will stack up against the upcoming Mavic Pro 2! 

Let’s focus briefly on the Autel Evo (AE), it’s specs in particular:

Being that it’s not out yet, we only have previews of it from other sources, but so far, the previews hint at this being a top competitor in the drone market, particularly the portable drone market:

12 MP camera, 4k @ up to 60 fps, 7-8 km in distance, 3 sensors, a 30 minute flight time, portability and intelligent flight modes and a starting price of $999.

Based on these specs alone, this drone is sure to quickly outmatch the existing models in the DJI arsenal, particularly the Mavic Air and Pro, but not by a lot…

Does the Mavic Air (MA) have a chance against the AE?

As someone who has flown it and owns it, I will say yes and I say this because I also own a Phantom 4 Pro, whose specs in certain areas mimic the AE, so I have a basic preview of what we will be able to see in terms flight time and camera quality, although the Phantom is still a superior drone to all the ones we’re talking about here today…

But anyway, back to the topic, let’s quickly analyze the stats of the Air:

12 MP camera, 4k @ up to 30 fps, 4 km range, also 3 sensors, a 20 minute flight time (more like 15+), it’s extremely portable as well and also has intelligent flight modes. 

Here’s where I can safely say the MA will win:

  • Portability. 
  • Price ($799).

In the following departments, the AE will win:

  • Camera quality.
  • Flight time.
  • Distance.

But even in the areas where it will win, it won’t do so by a long shot. You’ll still be able to capture incredible footage on both models and if you’re tighter on money, want a great flying/filming experience, you’ll still get it from the Air, that I can absolutely promise you as it shoots incredibly well, and that’s coming from a guy who values HIGH quality stuff in the drones he buys.

I’ll say this too: DJI made a smart move releasing this baby before the AE as I believe they know it won’t be as good as it, but releasing it now guarantees them a lot of sales beforehand. Plus when it comes out, they’ll be able to analyze it’s specs/technology and abilities and be able to make their own, superior drones.

Ok, now let’s find out how the Autel Evo will compare to the Mavic Pro (MP):

I love my MP and it was my first official drone. Yet I have no problem saving up some money on the AE if it indeed is going to be another great one in the portable drone list…

Let’s look at the specs:

12 MP camera, also a 4k camera that shoots at up to 30 fps, 7-8 KM range, a 25 minute flight time, many intelligent flight modes (13 I believe), portability, sturdiness and the price is currently the same as the Autel Evo ($999).

Given what we know so far, I think it’s safe to say the AE will in most cases slightly beat the MP on just about every single front. I also believe DJI, upon the release of the Mavic 2 will drop the price of both the MA and MP down $100 each, it’ll make sense to keep the sales coming. 

I will say this: If you intend on buying a MP or Air today, even with the release of the Autel Evo and Mavic 2, I wouldn’t stop you. Both these existing models are crazy good at just about everything: Flying, filming, safety and more and I will absolutely keep recommending them because they are amazing models.

But I will also suggest that you wait until the AE comes out because if you were going to be a MP, it’ll cost you the same price to buy the Autel Evo, but you’ll get a better model overall. 

So either way you go, you won’t be wrong, because all these drones rock.

And finally the Mavic 2 (M2)!

So at this point, there are rumors that it will be released in March 2018, but I highly doubt that, more likely they’ll announce it and start offering pre-orders. From a marketing standpoint it makes more sense to let Autel release their drone first and then release a better alternative.

But…

What if DJI is worried that the Autel Evo will be better than the M2? Then it would make sense for them to release it earlier to let the sales pour in. It certainly seems to look that way with the MA.

What’s your opinion on this matter guys? I’m honestly ecstatic to see what happens this year in the drone world! If I can afford it, I’ll get myself both these models.

There are no specs released for the M2 yet, but it absolutely HAS to have at least all the same specs as the Autel Evo, if not more if it is going to stand a chance against it. At the very least:

  • A 12 MP or HIGHER camera.
  • At least 3 sensors.
  • At least a 30 minute flight time.
  • At least a 7-8 KM range.
  • At least a 4k camera that shoots 60 fps.
  • It has to be as portable if not more.

If it doesn’t have this, I’m afraid it’s going to lose out…

Of course though, no matter what, DJI fans, including myself will still buy their drones no matter what, but it would obviously benefit DJI to have the M2 beat out all the other existing models and the Autel Evo to maintain it’s superiority in the drone world.

Update: Mavic Pro 2 is out!

How does it fare against the Evo? Find out there.

What about the Phantom series? How will it play into all of this?

As an owner of the Phantom 4 Pro (P4P). I will say that aside from portability, it will win out against the Autel Evo in just about every single regard. That drone is currently the prince of all existing models, with the Inspire being the king, but honestly, you’ll get that professional level filming from the Phantom 4 advanced and pro anyway…

What’s the future look like for Autel?

It has already been announced that the Evo model will not be the last one they release and this first model that’s coming out will test the drone waters so to say and future drones will only improve upon the previous one/s, so it’s going to be pretty bright for them and consumers moving forward.

Update: Autel Evo came out (my review), and while it started off with a bunch of bugs and so on, it turned out to be quite an awesome model and highly recommended, even against the MP2 and P4P.

Mavic Air vs DJI Spark. There’s Only One Obvious Choice…

Let me just say this: Everything you wanted to see improved on the Spark is basically done on the Mavic Air (MA). So its the obvious choice if you can afford it.

You may as well just called it the Spark 2. And the comparison below will show you that.

mavic air vs spark

DJI is known to release multiple drones a year, but 2017 was a bit weird in that department. There were no new models, except the Spark being released and a buffed up version of the MP (the platinum version).

Other than that, expectations to see a Mavic 2 and a Phantom 5 were met with disappointment. While the Mavic 2 is out, the Phantom 5 has nothing but rumors surrounding if it’ll ever come out.

However, not long into 2018, DJI appears to be back on track in terms of making/releasing new models and the first is the Mavic Air (MA), a basic middle between the Spark and Pro and I’ve read numerous comments from people who are upset that they got the smaller model because the new MA model is a clear superior to it and only slightly more expensive.

I can somewhat relate as I own one, but come on guys, DJI’s reputation is all about releasing new models quite often, don’t be surprised by this.  

But is this new model really that much better? Let’s have a look at these 2 models and examine if those who purchased a Spark or are still thinking of buying it are making the right choice:

The price. The winner is the Spark (but only on the surface).

Spark = $399. Combo package: $599

Mavic Air = $799. Combo package: $999

The price dropped down to $399 (without the remote) and the current base price for the MA model is $799. Obviously a big difference. So if money is the BIG factor for you and you’re tight on it, you know what to get. After all, it is two times less expensive, although I will say this:

Get the controller for it, it’ll make flying it a lot easier but if you go that route, the price will rise to $599 and if that’s the case, you may as well just invest in the Air. 

The overall quality. No question here, the MA takes it by a large margin.

Though I’ll detail the specs under this, the summary is this. The MA has…

  • A WAY better camera. See photos I took with the Mavic Air.
  • A longer flight time.
  • Longer range.
  • More sensors. 
  • The box is easier to carry it around with, ironically.
  • There’s more flight/safety features for the Air. 
  • Palm/hand control flights? Air has it too, with the exception of the palm landing. Everything else is the same on the Air, just better. Get it here.

But now I’ll get to the details:

The camera: MA wins, by a lot.

While I do not mind the camera on the smaller model, the unfortunate fact is that it pales in comparison to the Mavic Air. 

Spark: 1080p at 30 fps. 12 MP camera.

MA: 4k @ 30 fps or 2.7k @ 60 fps. Also a 12 MP camera.

In addition to that, the quality of pictures is very noticeable and far more professional looking on the MA, without question.

As for videos, it’s exceptionally better. In addition to having a better camera, you also get 360 camera shooting and a better panoramic picture taking ability. 

You’re basically comparing drones that are levels apart on the camera quality and the Air is the higher one. I haven’t done a side by side comparison between the MA and Spark with the camera, BUT I have tested the Spark against the Mavic Pro and the Pro wins by a lot. See more.

Flight time comparison. Winner is MA again.

Forget the official stats (Spark = 16 min and Air = 21 min), the more likely number you’ll get is 10 minutes and 15-17 min. But in general, the MA will stay up twice as long.

I own 3 batteries for my Spark and I’ll tell you, you need at least 2 if you’re going to use it. Consider the added battery as an extra charge on the price and then see if you’re ready to invest in a MA.

I’d say 1 MA battery ($80 if you buy it separate) = 2 Spark batteries (About $100 total) so there is a cost benefit to owning an MA. 

Range: MA wins again…

4 km range vs 2 km, basically a two times difference. But just like with the flight time, that number is always based on perfect, ideal circumstances which rarely happen if you know anything about flying drones.

More than likely you’ll get about half that range in MOST cases and in good cases, about a 75% of that range potential and that means in any of these likely circumstances, the Air will always be able to fly further. The ability to do this means you can record more better shots from different areas, while standing in one and if you want to add this extra perk, flying longer means you have more fun.

Sensors: MA gets an extra push…

And mainly because it has sensors on the back. Now don’t get me wrong, the sensors on the other one are no joke and I recently saw that when it almost crashed into a tree I couldn’t see on my phone screen because of the reflection of the sun on it, but when it comes down to it, the Air has all of that and more with a backwards sensor, making 3 in total.

That means…

When it comes to safety, you already know who wins…

Extra, more advanced sensors means the MA is, at least on paper a safer drone to fly with.

The carrying box. Wow, who would have thought the MA is better again? Have a look:

Both boxes which come with each drone ONLY fit the actual drone, but the Spark’s box is almost twice as large as the Mavic Air’s. The MA box looks like a sturdy eyeglass case and you can literally fit it into your pocket. The same cannot be said about the other box…

Obviously this convenience is huge if you’re going to travel and extra space while hiking, driving or traveling never hurt anyone. So that leads into…

Portability. It’s pretty much even.

The Spark, while being the smaller model is actually a minuscule measurement here because both of them are so small and fit in your palm that it doesn’t matter what the size is. I mean have another look, it’s not that big of a difference:

Both models are hugely portable (see what I did there?), but it’s when you add the above box for carrying purposes that you see that the MA is just more convenient.

Palm control? MA is a slight favorite. 

It did take the idea of the palm controls from the other, smaller model, so give credit where it’s due and there’s one important feature it has that the MA doesn’t: Palm landing. The MA does not have it, but it does have palm landing and lift off, as well as making it follow your hand around. 

The overall look: MA looks more professional in my opinion.

I think the other, smaller model will always have that reputation for being a beginner drone and/or one for kids and don’t get me wrong, as one who has it, I love it, but when you compare it to the look of the MA, there’s a clear distinction as to which one is better looking.

Speed: MA wins.

On normal and sports mode, the MA is way faster and has more control. The other one has a tendency to be tougher to control (if you’re viewing the image transmission, and in sports mode) as it’s camera will bounce around everywhere. It’s still very fun to fly, but that camera bouncing around really messes with my head.

Connection strength is better with the MA:

The connection reliability of a drone is HUGE for safety and with the MA, I am less worried that something will go wrong. The Spark has given me issues on more than one occasion including this recent one. I just believe that the MA is a safer drone.

Ease of flying: Both win.

Both are great and easy to fly with, although understand that these things can fly VERY quickly, especially in sports mode, meaning if you’re in an area with many obstacles, don’t risk it, be in an open field or keep it above any potential obstacles.

These things go from 0-30 and even 40+ mph quite quickly. But I’ll tell you this much, in beginner mode as well as regular, I’ve never had an easier time flying. There’s so much smoothness and control and pretty much anyone can get it right the first time they fly.

Charging convenience: Spark wins.

You can charge it via a USB cable on the actual drone, from and port and even in your car. With the MA, you cannot do this and are basically relying on the old school way of charging which is with it’s specific charging port it comes with. If you wish to charge it in a car, you’ll need to get a specific charger for that too, it adds an extra expense.

The overall comparison on chart:

Update: I downgraded the score of BOTH these drones, but the MA is still rated pretty high. Here are the new updated score:

Spark: 50 out of 100 points.

Mavic Air: 80 out of 100 and I recommend it above the other. Get it here.

Is there an argument to be made to purchase the cheaper model?

Sure, it’s still a very good drone, but it’s not great. MA really starts that “great” labeling in my opinion and is truly superior to the Spark in every way except the price.

Had I known the MA would be released, I honestly would not have gotten the Spark (I think many feel that way), but I have become a collector of drones, so I guess it would have ended up being all the same anyway…

So if you don’t currently own a Spark and are considering the other one, definitely get it if you can dish out a few more $100, the price difference will be felt at how much better quality of a drone you’ll get and you’ll be very happy with it.