While drones can navigate pretty freely in the air, they’re still a hassle to port around on the ground. DJI’s newest aerial camera, the Mavic Pro, looks to change that. It boasts a foldable design that shrinks the drone down to a device that basically fits into the palm of your hand and slips easily into a backpack or purse.
The Mavic Pro may be far more compact than DJI’s Phantom models, but it doesn’t skimp on features. It features a 4K camera that can record at up to 3o (full HD at 96p) and snap 12-megapixel still images in the DNG or JPEG format. The lens has a 78-degree field of view and you’ll enjoy about 27 minutes of flight time with a top speed of 40 miles per hour in sport mode.
It has all the obstacle avoidance technology of the Phantom 4 but adds a few new features. For instance, it recognizes gesture commands from its pilot. You can put your hands in a Y-like position and the drone will focus on you. Frame your face with your hands and you’ve commanded the Mavic to take a selfie. In addition to object tracking, it offers a new Terrain Follow mode that lets the drone maintain a constant height while a subject moves on a slope.
Alongside a smaller drone comes a smaller remote with a tiny LCD screen to provide flight data and space for your smartphone. Thanks to new OcuSync technology, DJI can send a live video signal from the drone to a remote/smartphone from up to 4.3 miles away in resolutions up to 1080p. DJI will sell a pair of optional viewing goggles (DJI Goggles) to give you a “drone’s eye view” during flight.
This is DJI’s first drone that can also be piloted completely by smartphone for closer-range flying. It supports all the usual automated flying modes, such as return to home, tap to fly and more.
The Mavic will cost $999 with remote or $799 without a remote. It ships in mid-October.