DJI Mavic Air 2: release date, news and features

rqtXGbmNST78bMebtznLP6 - DJI Mavic Air 2: release date, news and features

If you thought the global pandemic had grounded consumer drones, you’re in for a treat – the new DJI Mavic Air 2 is preparing for lift-off and could turn out to be DJI’s most popular drone yet, if the leaks are correct.A mid-range successor to the popular DJI Mavic Air from 2018, it’s shaping up to be an affordable 4K drone with all of the beginner-friendly flying smarts we’ve come to expect from DJI, plus a few bonuses.An official DJI launch event has been scheduled for April 27 at 9.30pm EDT / 2.30am BST / 11.30am AEST. And while we don’t know for certain if the event is definitely for the Mavic Air 2, recent leaks suggest it’s highly likely to be announced there.The event invite below doesn’t give many details away, but fortunately a series of leaked specs and images have built a pretty clear picture of what we can expect. 
Not familiar with DJI’s drone lineup? The Mavic Air is the company’s mid-range model and is designed for both complete beginners and enthusiasts who want a small, travel-friendly drone. The current model shoots 4K video and folds down into compact, 430g bundle that easily fits into a backpack.From the leaks so far, it appears that DJI has moved slightly away from this design for the Mavic Air 2, with the new model looking more like the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Still, it is likely to be smaller than that model and fold down into a very portable form factor.This means it will again sit in between the smaller DJI Mavic Mini and the pricier Mavic 2 Pro, which is currently the top pick in our best drones roundup. Will it stay there when the DJI Mavic Air 2 arrives? The rumors so far suggest the new model could well be the best drone for most people – here’s everything we know about it so far…
The best drone 2020: DJI, Parrot and more for beginners and pros

DJI Mavic Air 2: release date and price
Given the major recent leak of DJI Mavic Air 2 images, it looks almost certain that the drone will be announced at DJI’s event on April 27.There is naturally some uncertainty about availability due to the knock-on effects of the global pandemic – even if the Mavic Air 2 is announced on April 27, it’s yet clear if it’ll be immediately available to buy or instead open to pre-orders. We’ll have to wait till the event to find out for sure.What we do know, if the latest leak from DroneDJ turns out to be correct, is that the DJI Mavic Air 2 will cost $799. That’s the price that the original Mavic Air launched for back in January 2018. So far, only US pricing has been leaked, but the Mavic Air was available for £769 / AU$1,299 when it first arrived, so its successor seems likely to follow suit.This would put it almost exactly halfway between the two other current drones in DJI’s lineup. The smaller, beginner-friendly DJI Mavic Mini costs $399 / £369 / AU$599, while the DJI Mavic 2 Pro hasn’t moved a great deal from its original $1,599 / £1,349 / $2,499 price tag. This would make the new DJI Mavic the new mid-range option in its lineup, and this is backed up by the leaks so far… 
The possible DJI Mavic Air 2 (left) vs the DJI Mavic 2 Pro (right)
DJI Mavic Air 2: design
We now appear to have several leaked press images of the DJI Mavic Air 2, which were picked up by DroneDJ. These build on a couple of previous photo leaks and give us a good idea of what we can expect.The earliest leaked photos of the Mavic Air 2 came from Kanzhaji in March, which appeared to show a new drone that closely resembles the Mavic 2 series, only with a smaller form factor.Then photo leaks from Brazilian site DroneFriendly and Brazilian YouTuber Dronemodelismo (below) helped back this up. Like its predecessor, these showed a folding drone, whose four arms can neatly fold away to help it it squeeze into a backpack. What the latest leak reveals is the Mavic Air 2’s expected size. In particular, the handheld shot (below) reveals that while the new drone looks a lot like the Mavic 2 series, it’s also significantly smaller. Perhaps not as small as the original Mavic Air, but certainly more portable and travel-friendly that the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom.
Contrary to earlier rumors, the recent leaked DJI Mavic Air 2 images suggest it will have the same obstacle avoidance sensors as its predecessor. This includes one on the front, back and underneath the drone, but it appears to lack the 360-degree vision seen on the Mavic 2 series.That’s a slight shame, but is understandable given the expected price difference between the two drones. Not that the Mavic Air 2 will be difficult to fly without those sensors – its busy underside appears to include DJI’s dual vision system, infrared sensors and auxiliary LEDs to help the drone avoid obstacles and find its landing spot. DJI’s software and Return-to-Home smarts are also very reliable, and we’re expecting it to add Airsense to further improve its flying safety (more on that below). 

The latest leaked Mavic Air 2 images also give us a good look at its camera module. This camera will be held steady by a three-axis gimbal and, as the text above the lens shows, will have a new 1/2-inch CMOS sensor, which will be larger than its predecessor’s 1/2.3-inch chip. That should help it retain image quality when the light begins to fade.One other big change on the Mavic Air 2 appears to be its controller, which appeared in earlier leaks and will have a very different design – for both good and bad… 

DJI Mavic Air 2: controller
The apparently leaked DJI photos also appear to reveal a new controller design, which is significantly different from the Mavic Air’s.It’s a lot bigger, for a start, and it looks like you’ll mount your phone on the top of the controller, rather than below it. This makes a lot of sense to us, though the bulkier form factor might prove a little divisive, given one of the charms of the Mavic Air is how neatly the whole setup folds away.

Rather than a single switch in the middle for Sport mode, there now seems to be a three-way toggle for Normal, Sport and Tripod modes. The latter is a useful intelligent flight mode, which limits your drone’s speed and helps you get smoother set piece shots. Sport mode, meanwhile, effectively turns DJI drones into a racing drone, allowing you to hit faster top speeds (42.5mph, in the Mavic Air’s case) and keep up with fast-moving objects. Otherwise, the controller has the usual ‘return-to-home’ button, function button and battery status lights. From the photo, it also appears to have the handy screw-in joysticks, which means you can unscrew them when you’re not flying so the controller slips into backpacks much more easily.Perhaps the biggest news from the Mavic Air 2’s recently leaked manual is that it will have Ocusync 2.0, which will bring a significantly improved range of up to 8km. That’s quite a leap from the Mavic Air’s range of only 2km and is a big deal in terms of not only its range, but also the stability of its signal. It hasn’t been seen on a mid-range drone before, so it’d be great to see this included. 

DJI Mavic Air 2: specs and features
A big leak from Brazilian website Dronemodelismo recently revealed the Mavic Air 2’s user manual, which gives us a good idea of its specs.As expected, the Mavic Air 2 will again have a three-axis gimbal, which will hold a camera capable of shooting 4K video and 48MP photos (likely stitched together from a 12MP sensor).There will also be some updated Intelligent Flight modes, including ActiveTrack 3.0, which should make it even easier for the camera to automatically track objects as you’re flying.It also looks likely that the Mavic Air 2 will a 1/2-inch CMOS sensor, which is slightly larger than its predecessor’s 1/2.3-in chip, but won’t quite have the light-gathering powers of the Mavic 2 Pro’s one-inch sensor. Still, it will apparently be able to shoot 4K at up to 60fps.Another big improvement will be battery life – according to the leaked manual, the Mavic Air 2 will have a flight time of 34 minutes, which is impressive and longer than we expected from its 3,500mAh battery. That’s a 13-minute boost over the original Mavic Air.One other thing we can be sure of is that the Mavic Air 2 will have a new safety system called AirSense.DJI said last year that all new drones it releases from 2020 (that weigh over 250g) will include AirSense tech, which receives ADS-B signals from nearby airplanes and helicopters and warns you if they’re on a collision course with your drone.

Early verdict
If there was still any doubt about the DJI Mavic Air 2 launching soon, then the recent leaks of its official photos and user manual has removed that – it’s now clear that the mid-range drone is coming very soon, most likely on April 27.Of course, there are still big questions about the Mavic Air 2, with its on-sale date being the main one. But we now know a lot more about it, including the fact it’ll likely have far superior range to the original Mavic Air and a significantly better battery life.Those who were fans of the latter’s compact form might be disappointed by the Mavic Air 2’s apparently much larger dimensions, but it’s shaping up to be a fine choice for non-professionals who want a capable, travel-friendly drone. We’ll bring you all of the official news as soon as we get it.
The best drone 2020: DJI, Parrot and more for beginners and pros