DJI’s new Mavic Air 2 has an upgraded camera and much longer flying time

Two and a half years after introducing the first Mavic Air, DJI is announcing its successor: the Mavic Air 2. It comes with a bigger image sensor, ditches Wi-Fi in favor of DJI’s own OcuSync transmission technology, has up to 34 minutes of flight time, and is packaged with a completely redesigned controller.

The Mavic Air 2 is available for preorder starting today for $799 and will begin shipping May 11th in the US. The Fly More bundle, which, for the first time, includes ND filters (finally) along with a carrying bag, prop guards, charging hub, and three batteries will be available for $988.

DJI also touts this as its smartest and safest drone yet. It comes with preprogrammed scene detection modes for photos that include snow, trees, grass, blue skies, sunsets, and sunrises. All of DJI’s autonomous flying modes are getting a performance update, as well.

The new sensor inside the Mavic Air 2 is a half-inch, “Quad Bayer” sensor. It’s similar to the 48-megapixel sensor that’s been available in smartphones for the past year or two. By default, it captures a 12-megapixel image, but it’s possible to snap shots using the full resolution. The sensor is behind a fixed 28mm (equivalent) f/2.8 lens.

For video, the Air 2 can shoot 4K footage at up to 60fps. It also has HDR capabilities for video (up to 4K 30fps) and HDR panorama photos. The Mavic Air 2 is also capable of exporting 8K time-lapse videos, however not all modes will support 8K at launch and are expected to be available around the end of June.

The Mavic Air 2 is also the first drone to come equipped with AirSense, a technology that detects and warns the drone operator of nearby aircrafts. It will be available in North America first, while other regions will begin shipping units with AirSense this summer due to supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As far as other drone safety features go, the Mavic Air 2 has obstacle sensors on the front and rear to help avoid collisions. And bottom sensors next to auxiliary lights to help with landing in low light. While DJI says that its autonomous flight modes have been upgraded, the company says you should not expect the same kind of self-flying experience that’s possible with the Skydio drone in this model.

In terms of the design, the new Mavic Air 2 is slightly bigger and heavier than the prior generation, but still looks like a smaller sibling to the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. All three drones finally share a similar design language — gray housing — and now look more like part of a lineup.

Lastly, the new, slightly bigger controller doesn’t have visible antennas sticking out on top of the controller. Instead, that area is now used for a spring-loaded phone mount.

We’ll be taking a closer look at the new Mavic Air 2 and testing DJI’s claims in our forthcoming review, so stay tuned.