If Yoda saw today’s DJI Mavic Pro announcement, he would proclaim “Begun, the Drone Wars have.” Last week, GoPro got the world talking about the new KARMA, a drone that CEO Nick Woodman said was more “experience system” than a drone, with it’s removable gimbal and backpack size. Today, as rumored, DJI answered it with the retractable Mavic Pro, a personal drone that has all the functions you’ve come to expect from a DJI Phantom, only much smaller.
“The DJI Mavic Pro is a small yet powerful drone that turns the sky into your creative canvas easily andwithout worry, helping you make every moment an aerial moment. Its compact size hides a high degree of complexity thatmakes it one of DJI’s most sophisticated flying cameras ever. 24 high-performance computing cores, an all-new transmission system with a 4.3mi (7km) range, 5 vision sensors, and a 4K camera stabilized by a 3-axis mechanical gimbal,are at your command with just a push of your thumb or a tap of your finger.” – DJI.com
DJI has estimated that over 560,000,000 photos and videos have been shot with a DJI drone in 2015, a more than 200% increase over just a year ago. The argument being that the only more popular camera for capturing the moment is your smartphone. That may or may not be true, but there’s no denying that the DJI Phantom design has changed how we see the world and DJI is poised to change it again with Mavic Pro, a personal drone that you can take anywhere.
“DJI has spent a decade making it easier for anyone to fly, and by rethinking everything about how a drone looks, we have created an entirely new type of aerial platform for anyone to explore their creativity. Mavic Pro is a technological triumph filled with features that once again show how DJI leads the industry.” – Frank Wang, DJI’s CEO and founder
Mavic Pro can fit in the palm of your hand or your pocket fully retracted, so you can keep it in your bag, backpack, or even in your back pocket. That makes it half the sized of the Phantom 4, and roughly 1/3 of the footprint as a sheet of paper. But when you open up the Mavic, you can be flying in seconds, and can do just about everything the Phantom 4 can. They haven’t cut back on any of the hallmark features that makes DJI the Apple of the drone world.
“Up to a year ago, those images could only be captured by large professional devices. But with Mavic Pro we have completely redesigned our drone technology so you can capture the moment wherever you go, and keep it in your bag.”
The Mavic Pro features a forward mounted 4K camera that can record in ultra high definition at 30 frames per second, full1080p HD at 96fps. It can also shoot 12 MP stills with support for Adobe DNG Raw. Mounted inside a water proof sphere with its gimbal package the camera has a 78 degree field of view, down from 94.
Mavic has the same downward facing dual sensors that keep track of its ground speed and can screams at up to 40 mph, only 5 mph slower than the Phantom 4. But even with that kind of speed, it can still stay aloft for up to 27 minutes on a single charge. It’s new GPS design also enables it to connect to up to 20 satellites so MAVIC always knows where it’s at, and that will reduce the threat of flyaways.
Other features include:
- 4K video at 30 fps, 1080p at 96 fps
- Live streaming in 1080p at up to 4.3 miles away (nearly 25% farther than Phantom 4), with support for YouTube Live, Periscope, and Facebook live.
- Active Follow me mode which keeps anything you designate within frame while it moves
- Trace follow mode
- Circle me mode
- Profile mode
- Spotlight mode – stays pointed on a subject as it flies around
- Sports mode for racing your drones
- improved collision avoidance system
- gesture control: wave your hands to get the drone’s attention you can take an Aerial selfie
- tap to fly mode for flight and return home
- Records GPS and short video of its home point to match for precision autonomous landing capability
- Terrain following system to set altitude and protect it from sloping terrain
- DJI Care
- Support for DJI Software Development Kit
It’s also very quiet. Gone are the really loud rotors that declare to the world that you’re flying your drone.
The new Mavic Pro controller is about the size of your game console controller, with dual antennas and joysticks. What you do is slide your mobile device into it and it will interact with the controller to provide you with telemetry details like height, speed, distance, and orientation, as well as give you a live view in 720p of what the camera sees.
DJI also has a series of accessories including the new first person view headset called DJI Goggles. The DJI Goggles provide virtual reality in 1080p with 185 degree field of view. It connects wirelessly to the Mavic Pro at up to 7 km away, and you can hook up two DJI Goggles to the Mavic Pro at the same time. Other accessories include backpack, extra batteries and propellers, a charging hub which charges multiple batteries, as well as your smartphone. DJI has also expanded DJI Care warranty coverage.
Cost of DJI Mavic Pro will be $999 and is available for preorder starting today, shipping October 15th. This could be a challenge as it comes up against GoPro’s KARMA’s $799 price point. But you can buy it for $749 without the remote and it’s then $50 cheaper and has the 4K camera package included. You can then control it with the DJI Go app [iTunes affiliate link] or through gesture control, but your flight will be a shorter distance. Or you can spend $1299 and get all the accessories as well, save one, the DJI Goggles. No word on how much they cost or when available.
What it really comes down to is what you want … a removable gimbal for getting other shots with your existing GoPro, or a more advanced 4K aerial platform that can do everything that the Phantom 4 does. Both should give you a great shot.