One of the biggest problems with drones is how difficult it is to carry around with you. DJI‘s Phantom drones, for example, require huge purpose built suitcases to carry them around safely. Well, with the recent trend towards more portable drones, it’s now DJI’s turn to show us what they’ve got up their sleeves.
And it’s a doozy. Meet the Mavic Pro — a drone that’s half the size and weight of the Phantom without compromising on its advanced features.
The Mavic Pro does this by being foldable. Not only do all four arms fold in on each other, but the propellers can be folded too, giving the drone a sleek folded body that measures 83x83x198mm (HxWxL) and weighs just 743g. This makes the drone almost pocketable which means that you can bring it practically everywhere with you.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the Mavic Pro also doesn’t skimp on the high-end features that makes DJI’s flagship drone so popular. That means the Mavic Pro also comes obstacle avoidance, subject tracking, autonomous landing and stability indoors without GPS, thanks to two front and bottom facing sensors. These four sensors also work as part of the seven components to ensure your drone is as safe as possible.
In the camera department, the Mavic Pro gets the same 4K 12-megapixel camera as the one on the Phantom 4. This means that the Mavic Pro is capable of shooting 4K video at 30fps and 1080p video at 96fps with 12-megapixel stills. The camera is also attached to three-axis gimbal for optical image stabilisation during flight.
Speaking of flight, DJI says that their new drone can stay in the air for up to 27 minutes per charge of its
2970 mAh 3,830 mAh battery. It will also be capable of reaching speeds of up to 65km/h in speed mode. In fact, you can also pair this up with the new DJI Goggles for an first-person view of flying your drone, sort of like how drone racers fly.
But that’s not all. The Mavic Pro is also capable of streaming 1080p video live from up to 7km away. This is capable thanks to DJI’s OcuSync system that is a new member of the Lightbridge family and utilises a more effective digital compression and channel transmission technology to stream footage. It’s also able to stream 1080p video directly to services like YouTube, Periscope and Facebook — a step up from the Phantom 4’s 720p stream.
With the new portable drone, DJI has also introduced a new portable controller that looks kind of like an old school video game controller with a screen in the middle and two antennas. You can fly the drone using just the remote, but you can also clip your smartphone to the end of it to get a view of the camera and more advanced flight options.
Besides that, in their effort to be more beginner friendly, DJI will also be letting consumers fly the drone with just their smartphone. This is something the company has always strayed away from with their drones because they prefer the more robust connection of the remote, but thanks to the Mavic Pro’s advanced computer vision, they’re now letting their customers do this too. It’s even got a Tripod Mode to help with flying indoors, limiting the drone’s speed to 3.6km/h and dulling the sensitivity of the remote’s control stick.
What’s more, DJI’s Mavic Pro also has the ability to recognise gestures like raising your arms, waving at it and making various shapes to get the drone to automatically do various things like take a photo or follow you or start recording video. All of this is pretty nifty especially if you’re running a one man show.
Pair that with stuff like subject recognition, subject tracking and Terrain Follow Mode that lets you set a fixed height for the drone to hover when it follows you, and you’ve got one incredibly full-featured drone that can easily fit in your backpack. We’re not entirely sure how the Mavic Pro stacks up against GoPro’s idea of a portable drone, but one thing’s for sure: the Karma has some serious competition on its hands.
According to TheVerge, the new DJI Mavic Pro will retail for USD999 (around RM4,130) for the entire set with a controller — just a touch cheaper than if you pick up the GoPro Karma with a camera. Alternatively, you can just pick up the drone itself without the controller for USD749 (around RM3,100).