DJI's latest range of drones include the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic 2 Zoom. These offer 30+ minutes of flight time, collision detection and some great lens technology to ensure the video and photos you take from the skies are amazing. After spending a couple of weeks with the Mavic 2 Zoom, it's a seriously impressive bit of kit and now it's time to detail why.
Bold, colourful, delightfully confident
The Mavic is DJI's more portable, foldable line and the Mavic 2 Zoom does indeed fold up to be ultra-portable. The foldable design is actually a little strange when you first set it up. 2 arms rotate down, while the other 2 rotate out to the sides. Once expanded, you install the props. After doing this a few times, it still feels a little strange, but this design does help keep the form factor small for travelling between locations.
The Mavic 2 Zoom weighs just 297 grams so with the size and weight, you'll have no problem throwing this in a bag wherever you go, which means you'll have more chances to capture the amazing world we live in. While the Phantom 4 series is more popular in terms of unit sales, it can't compete with the Mavic, in terms of portability and the great news is that smaller form factor doesn't mean a drop in quality, or capability.
When it comes to the controller, it also features a compact design, but that expands and transforms to hold your phone, running the DJI app. While this looks a little strange, it's actually a pretty genius design that accommodates almost all phones in the 5-6" range.
When it comes to colour, the design is fairly subtle, with a matte grey, it'd pass a bit of military spec equipment. I actually like it a lot, we don't need our drones to have crazy colours. The only downside of it being grey, rather than white like the Phantom, is the ability to spot it at a distance is a little more challenging.
How well does it clean?
When considering the performance of the Mavic 2 Zoom, there's a number of fronts we need to look at. Firstly there's the basic operation of the drone, that is the speed and agility of the drone, and the length of flight it can manage.
There's also it's ability to leverage it's on-board technology to assist the pilot in manoeuvring. There's also the the question of camera performance, one of the biggest selling points for the Mavic 2 Zoom.
DJI continue their multiple flight modes with the Mavic 2 Zoom, offering beginners a slower, safer speed while getting comfortable with flying. Once you've got a few hours under your belt and you have the controls down, you can switch into Sports mode and unleash the beast. In sports mode, the drone is capable of moving at a ridiculous 72km/hour. This is seriously impressive and makes following vehicles more practical than with slower drones.
One of my favourite attributes of this drone is the battery life. I've flown a number of drones before and generally 10-15 minutes is where you'll get to before needing to land. It actually felt weird flying for 25-30 minutes, but the reality is, it's incredibly freeing for filming. Some events you're capturing from the sky play out over a longer period of time, so having to land more frequently, means you may miss some of the action. This extra battery life per battery charge also means you may get away with a single battery where multiple are needed on a Phantom.
You want options?
Flying the drone manually is definitely an option and lots of fun. If you're task oriented, then you'll want to get right down to business and it's by leveraging the technology like ActiveTrack 2.0, you'll get the best shots in no time. I found this was a massive upgrade over the original tracking available on the Phantom 4, as evidenced by the clip below where it tracked my movements as I walked out of frame, the camera and drone tracked me perfectly.
DJI's heads-up goggles are also compatible with the Mavic 2, which wireless streams the vision from the camera, directly to the headset using a technology called OcuSync. Unfortunately with Australia's drone laws, the pilot can't wear these, only a friend (or film director).
Given Australia's drone laws prohibit flying at night, I wasn't really able to test one of the Mavic 2's new features, an LED light built right into the underside of the drone. This would help spot your landing, or if you're searching for something on the ground.
Enough with the features, it's time to see the drone in action, check out the footage below to see what it's capable of. In short, it's incredibly maneuverable, the zoom works incredibly well and the smart collision avoidance will save you from destroying your valuable investment.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The Mavic 2 range doesn't come cheap and with the Mavic 2 Zoom offering the longest flight times of a consumer drone, you should expect to pay up.
All things said an done the video quality available on the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is fantastic. Yes the concept of a drone with a camera that can zoom in will inevitably scare the privacy hypochondriacs, I'd just take a second to remind people that binoculars exist and with the right motivation, zoom lenses from a fixed position on the ground could also be used poorly.
For those that are looking for a drone that's fast, like really fast, has probably the best battery life of any consumer drone (around 30 minutes) and shoots in 4K, it's hard to go past the Mavic 2 Zoom. The most difficult part of the equation is the cost, at almost $2K, it's not in everyone's budget, but for those enthusiasts who can develop a business model around selling the stunning footage they create, they'll have it paid off in no time.