DJI’s New Mavic Pro Has All the Smarts of the P4, None of the Bulk

September 27, 2016

By Greg Scoblete

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.

Read: How the Phantom 4 Took the Fear out of Flying

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.