The DJI Mavic Pro is a special drone to us. It was launched in the fall of 2016, which is around the time we started covering drones at large on our sites. We often give this compact, folding drone credit for changing the landscape of the consumer drone market, and we stand by that claim today, just as we still fly this machine for fun now and then.
At launch, there were no other drones on the market that offered the same camera features and quality in such a portable design. At the official announcement, the Mavic Pro was unveiled in a water bottle pouch. I often carry this drone in the large cargo pockets of my shorts.
Since then, many competitors have emulated the design and features, and DJI has introduced an update in the Mavic 2 drones. The question is, is the Mavic Pro still worth it for 2020?
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Mavic Pro Overview
Measuring about 9 inches long, the Mavic Pro is about the same wide when unfolded, but gets as narrow as 3.5 inches when folded. The propellers fold as well, and tuck in nicely to create a compact profile for transport.
Portability is a huge selling feature for the Mavic Pro, but how the machine handles in the air is part of the appeal. It is not fair to say that flight is easy, many drone manufacturers struggle with the finer points of the best flight features. DJI proved with the Mavic Pro that they nailed it.
Granted, the Phantom line of drones offered stable flight, including an impressively stationary hover, the Mavic Pro shrunk it down. Better yet, the Mavic Pro shipped at a lower price tag than the typical Phantom drone, putting pro drone flight into more people’s hands.
Some hard specs, the Mavic Pro has enough battery to stay airborne for almost half an hour, and can hit a little over 40 mph while it’s up there. The camera was one of the smallest on the market to offer 4K video capture. That’s a 12MP, 1/2.3-inch sensor. A common sensor size in many drones now.
Solid camera specs and capture capabilities are enhanced by a fully stabilized 3-axis gimbal. You can manually control much of the camera angle, and some is handled automatically to keep the image flat while the drone tilts. The gimbal tilts, turns and spins from straight down to a little way up, half of a right angle to the sides and rotates a full 90 degrees to capture portrait images along with landscape photos.
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OcuSync changed the game. DJI had been using LightBridge on larger drones, and many manufacturers were using Wi-Fi and standard RC connectivity to connect drone to remote control. OcuSync enables drone to remote connectivity of over 5 miles range. Not just for navigation controls, but also to live stream HD video over a mile, 720p video up to that 5 miles.
The Mavic Pro is still a prominent part of our drone collection. It’s the go-to for testing, comparisons and training, if nothing else. DJI long ago started selling drones with better cameras, but few major advances have been made in terms of flight. I suppose that’s what we’re here to discuss today.
Related reading: DJI Mavic Pro and the DJI Goggles
Is it worth it?
This is a really, really hard question to answer. Our instinct is simple, the Mavic Pro is totally still worth purchasing, but what do you want out of a drone?
If your goal is to put a superb camera into the air, we can recommend many drones with better cameras. If you want a machine that is extremely portable, we can think of a few that are smaller and lighter but offer similar flight capabilities. It’s really quite hard to recommend the Mavic Pro over the newer DJI drones, as all of the newer machines have an advantage or two, including better cameras, longer flight times, greater connectivity range, on-board storage, more obstacle avoidance sensors, and more. Again, the Mavic Pro is a great drone, but the newer drones are better.
DJI Mavic Mini and DJI Mini 2
DJI has made this decision even harder. Released in November 2019, the DJI Mavic Mini offers a very similar flight experience, similar camera capabilities, and a reduced price tag. If your goal is to carry a capable little camera drone wherever you go, and to capture some simple aerial imagery on a nice day, it’s hard not to recommend the Mavic Mini for half the price of the Mavic Pro.
Even better, the DJI Mini 2 launched in November 2020, it’s mostly the same airframe as the Mavic Mini, but is faster, stronger, has a much better camera, greater battery life, and uses OcuSync 2.0, which nearly triples the effective connectivity range over the Mavic Mini. best of all, the price is only a tad more than the Mavic Mini.
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What it boils down to, the DJI Mavic Pro is not the best drone on the market. That said, it remains an absolute favorite for many pilots.
With the Mavic Pro you get stable flight, superb connectivity well beyond visual line of sight, a strong drone for smaller payloads and a perfectly adequate 4K camera. You also gain access to hundreds of accessories for this very well supported drone.
DJI Mavic Air 2
There it is, the nail in the coffin for recommending the DJI Mavic Pro. The newer DJI Mavic Air 2 is superior in almost every way, and costs the same or less than the Mavic Pro.
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Well done, DJI, we like the new machine. It captures everything we loved about the original Mavic Pro.
We say the Mavic Pro is still worth it, when the price is right.
Considering that the DJI Mavic Air 2 comes in at $799, the right price for the DJI Mavic Pro is now around $500. I would be happy with the Fly More combo for about $650.
We want to know what you think, is the DJI Mavic Pro still worth buying today?