How many times have you been flying a drone and wished that you could switch to all four of its most basic modes at once? This is what’s called Pilot Control Mode, and it’s easy to use, even for those new to drone technology. Press a button and that airbag flips around, and you can switch among the four modes in one step: aerobatic, FlyRight, ShootRight, and Flaunt! Once you’ve made the switch, it’s all over. The Mavic Air comes equipped with four modes: aerobatic, flyright, shootright, and flaunt! All of them let you choose the speed (up to 30 mph) and the altitude (400 to 2,500 feet) of the drone, which is important if you want to maneuver it from one spot to another at the touch of a button.
At its height, the Mavic Air reaches a maximum altitude of 400 feet, but this drop-down screen shows that it can hover at 400 feet with a glide speed of 10 feet per second and an autopilot lock. (If you want to test it out, go ahead and hover the drone at 400 feet and see what happens. You’ll be thrilled with how it glides along at 10 feet per second.) The drone has no propellers and doesn’t require the user to push the button for takeoff and landing, but will only be able to reach 400 feet at that altitude — even though I was able to fly it to 2,500 feet in just a few minutes in aerobatic mode. I do wonder why it’s not able to fly further up in altitude; if it has four modes, it should be able to fly further, not lower.
Unlike other drones, such as the DJI Phantom, that you need to download the DJI Go app from Apple or Google Play, the Mavic Air comes with all of its components right in the box — and the user experience is just as streamlined as possible. Simply hold the button to turn on the camera, and the drone automatically locks onto your face. This is great if you want to fly around in a party setting and have a friend trying to grab a hold of it and squash it, or if you’re drunk and would much rather not spend the night zipping around with your friends on a drunken zipline.
At the end of every flight, the DJI app will send a notifications asking you to record what it calls an Annotated Signature. This is a beautifully formatted file, which can be easily uploaded to YouTube or DJI’s app. You have to take a picture before the fly along the frame and after the video is done — and it only takes 10 minutes to get 100 files ready to send. Not only can this help DJI customers who are new to the photography scene with their drone photography, but you can also use the files to get yourself just the right color combination when you are decorating a table for a party. The app also lets you select that it be a black background, a white background, or even an orange background if you want to be extra helpful to law enforcement agents! Afterward, the images and videos can be downloaded to your computer or uploaded to YouTube.
Drones that come with this kind of documentation are a must-have, and the Mavic Air is no exception. It is one of the most useful drones on the market, and its combination of included features make it a surefire purchase for beginners and experienced drone owners alike. At $919, the Mavic Air is a nice follow up to DJI’s Phantom line, which debuted over $1000.