Outside of the Mavic Mini, 2019 was a drought when it came to new consumer drones. 2020 promised new hardware, and as we draw closer to the end of the first quarter of 2020, we are getting the first hints DJI in the form of what should be the replacement of the DJI Mavic Air.
Yeah, I hear drone enthusiasts everywhere screaming ‘finally.’ I get the frustration, but 2019 and even the start of 2020 have not been without severe headwinds. 2019 was the trade war between the United States and China, while 2020 has seen the commenting period on the NPRM from the FAA come and go, and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Both of the 2020 headwinds are still there, so I’d urge more than a bit of patience when it comes to a potential launch date. It’ll happen, but don’t be shocked if delays hit over the impact of the pandemic.
No company will launch products if multiple markets are suddenly in turmoil over unchecked infection rates. Please refer to the CDC or your public health department for guidance on how to protect yourself against the coronavirus.
DJI Mavic Rumors
It doesn’t take a massive speculative leap to know the Mavic Air would be first. Compare all the current generation DJI drones under the Mavic umbrella. One stands out. The Mavic Air looks nothing like its brethren, and we speculated last year the company would move to streamline its branding and overall design.
And here we are today with multiple image leaks of what people are dubbing the DJI Mavic Air 2. Or, the DJI Mavic. I like the idea of DJI moving to a more simplistic naming scheme. The Mavic Mini as the beginner camera drone. The DJI Mavic (Mavic 2 Air) as the in-between camera drone that’s ultra-portable but can also shoot 4K video. Save the Pro for the best of everything.
You can definitely tell the company loves the Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom design. It makes sense as both drones have shown they are well built.
On the gimbal front, the original Air has a three-axis gimbal. The leaked pictures clearly show the same.
Rumor sites that are hedging their bets on if it will shoot in 4K or not should put aside any notion it won’t. The drone will replace the current Mavic Air, which shoots in 4K.
DJI will not downgrade sensor technology. I’d expect a jump in bitrate too. The Air maxed out at 100Mbps. Will DJI push this towards 150 or 200Mbps? It would mean better video quality with few artifacts.
Unless DJI has backtracked on its own plan, the Mavic (Mavic Air 2) will have ADS-B enabled. The company promised any new drone manufactured after January 1, 2020, would have the technology.
On the safety front, the leaked images show a variety of cameras placed around the drone’s body, which will improve object avoidance. DJI undoubtedly has seen the Skydio 2 and wants to be in a position to counter. Does that mean OccuSynce 2.0? That’s a big unknown.
If the leaked images are legitimate, it will also come with a new controller. I’ll reserve judgment because, at first glance, it’s not a looker. However, one image doesn’t tell the entire story.
Flight range will undoubtedly increase along with battery life. It should join the rest of the Mavic family and breach the 30-minute mark.
Price. It’s hard to see a Mavic Air 2 priced north of $1000. It may come extremely close, but anything past a thousand dollars and consumers are better off stepping up to the prosumer drones like the Mavic 2 (or 3 when it launches in 2020).
Release Date. Rumors have it as late April, but I’d pump the breaks, and lean heavily towards wait and see. The coronavirus pandemic will dictate a lot of release schedules this year, so let’s hope for the best, but also be prepared for unexpected delays.
That wraps the Mavic Air replacement rumors from DJI. While the industry as a whole is facing headwinds from the virus pandemic and regulatory concerns, here’s hoping 2020 is the return of the consumer drone market.
**Currently there are no FCC filings for a potential Mavic Air replacement**