DJI Mavic – Which One to Choose – Updated!July 3, 2018 12 By Scott Hinkle
DJI has really hit a sweet spot with the Mavic series when it comes to consumer and, dare I say, prosumer drones. If you’ve found yourself looking at the DJI Mavic series or, even if you haven’t considered it until now, this post is to help you decide which one to choose of the three, and rumored soon to be four, options currently available. Hopefully, after reading this post, you feel more informed vs the let’s see what behind door number 2 approach. You can ask in forums and on social media sites but, in the end it’s you that has to make the decision as to which one fits your needs best and having the information to help you make that decision is a good thing.
Until the release of the DJI Mavic series, there really wasn’t a de facto standard to which other drones were compared but, the day the Mavic Pro hit the market, that changed. DJI was able to cram so many features into the Mavic Pro it was, and still is, heralded as major advancement in drone technology. Features that used to be expensive add-ons that required you to wire in new modules and even ones that had never existed in the drone industry made their way in the DJI Mavic product line. Just when the hype started to quiet down, DJI stirred things up again by introducing the Mavic Air, boasting most of the features of the Mavic Pro plus a couple new ones in an even smaller package!
Not every release has been met with amazement however. The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum was a minor upgrade to the Mavic Pro that many saw as more of a money grab attempt than a true advancement. Don’t get me wrong, The Mavic Pro Platinum is a great machine and, had it been available when I bought my Mavic Pro, the one I probably would have gone with. It boasts slightly longer flight time and that it’s substantially quieter but, that’s pretty much it as far as differences between the Mavic Pro and Mavic Pro Platinum.
Rumors have been flying around that the Mavic Pro 2 or II will be released any time now (a rumor that has been circling for quite some time) and it appears that there may be some truth to it as DJI has an event on the books for later this month. I’m hopeful but, as with anything not verified by the company, I’m not holding my breath. DJI is like Apple when it comes to future product announcements…. Toss crumbs, get the rumor mill going, verify nothing and let the rumors and speculation build the momentum.
Update! – The Mavic 2 series has been released. Check out my The DJI Mavic 2 – The New Models Are Finally Here! post for more information.
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The Mavic Air is an amazing drone in a super compact form. It bests the Mavic Pro in some aspects (size, bit rate, etc.) but also misses the mark in others (flight time, no OcuSync, and so on). I can go into more detail here but I already laid it out in a post dedicated to the Mavic Air titled What about the Mavic Air – This is a Site for Everything Mavic isn’t it. Check it out. Don’t forget to look at the comparison infographic below for a side-by-side comparison between the various Mavic series models. The infographic will be updated if/when a new model is released. If it wasn’t for the lack of OcuSync, this one would have ended up in my drone arsenal long ago.
I may be a bit biased here but, the Mavic Pro is my go to drone. I absolutely love mine and would recommend it to anyone in the market for an excellent drone that offers unparalleled (with the exception of the Mavic Air) portability. Again I can go into more detail but I already did in my What is the DJI Mavic Pro – Only One of the Best Drones Ever post. Check it out and let me know what you think. Once you’ve read up on the Mavic Pro come back here and use the comparison infographic below to see how it fares compared to the other offerings in the series.
Mavic Pro Platinum
Now this one I don’t have a dedicated post for and that’s because it’s really just a minor upgrade to the Mavic Pro. If you were to take the specs and lay them out side-by-side (hmm, I might have done that in the infographic below), you’ll see that, with the exception of decibel level and flight time, the majority of the specs are identical. Basically just read my Mavic Pro post provided above and then add a quieter flight experience and slightly longer flight time and you have the Mavic Pro Platinum. Sometimes I find myself browsing the sales pages as I can see a definite benefit to a quieter drone but I just haven’t pulled the trigger.
Rumored Mavic Pro 2
Rumors spread and I help spread them sometimes. They are infectious, contagious and fun to speculate on. We have no verified claims and everything is suspect until the product is actually, if ever, released. Check out my post dedicated to the spread of this rumor titled DJI Mavic Pro 2 Rumors and the one titled Mavic Pro vs Mavic Pro 2 – Buy Now or Wait on whether you should bite the bullet now or hold off. ***Spoiler alert*** If you have no time constraints and having a drone right now isn’t a priority, consider waiting it out. At least until after the DJI event later this month. It should pay off one way or another. Either prices of existing DJI Mavic series drones will go down or the new features will make the Mavic Pro 2 that much more desirable. It’s a win/win scenario in my opinion.
This chart should help you to identify the categories that matter to you and compare the current offerings to see what fits your needs most. A space has been left in anticipation of a new member to the Mavic family and will be updated once announced. by Scott Hinkle
Of course, the definitive source for tech specs on the Mavic series is from DJI directly. Here’s their comparison page where you can select various DJI drones and compare them side-by-side. Check it out and let me know how I fared in the comparison arena by commenting below. In case you’re still on the fence and wondering about the Mavic or Mavic Pro 2, here’s an article from DroneDJ regarding the latest rumor floating around the net: Breaking News: DJI Mavic 2 photo leaked online
Update! – The Mavic 2 series is now out! Check out my The DJI Mavic 2 – The New Models Are Finally Here! post for more information.
Now That We Know All About the Models Available, Where Should We Buy?
Check out my 3 posts reviewing my trusted sources when it comes to buying drones and drone accessories:
Dynnex Drones – A Good Place to Buy Your Next Drone? – This is where I bought my Mavic Pro and the service is out of this world. Check out this post for links and a discount code to save a little money on your order.
DJI Drone – Should You Buy Directly from DJI? – You know it’s a safe bet when you order from the manufacturer.
Amazon.com – Is This the Place to Buy Your Next Drone? – This is a great option if you’re looking for non-standard packages or additional accessories all in one purchase experience.
Well, there you have it… The current DJI Mavic series lineup and rumors on what could be a new DJI Mavic family member. If you need a drone now, use the infographic above to help you select which one to choose. If you’re on the fence as to whether you should get one or wait, check out my Mavic Pro vs Mavic Pro 2 – Buy now or Wait post. Hopefully you gleaned some useful information from this post and I ask that you comment below to let me know, anything really. From saying you liked the post, hated it, found incorrect information, found the infographic intriguing, want to let me know what I missed or anything else, just comment below. I read each one and will respond.
For a person who knows very little about the drone world, your post was super helpful to me to get a glimpse of what sort of options are out there.
The idea of drone photography sounds super fun, too! Thank you for the awesome idea, now I just have to sell it to the husband. 😉
It’s usually the husband that has to sell it to the wife! You probably won’t have too much difficulty there. I’m glad you found my post helpful. If you do end up getting a DJI Mavic series drone don’t forget to check out my New to the Mavic? – What You Should Do First post.
Let me know what your husband says either way.
I’m learning a lot about drones from your posts, they’re very informative which is awesome for a novice like me. My husband got a tiny little drone (if you can call it a drone) for Christmas last year from one of his students and he loved that thing. He still doesn’t know how to fly it but he loves it. I’m hoping to buy him a real drone this Christmas so this post was really helpful in seeing which one I should get.
I’m glad you found this post helpful. The little ones are great for just short bursts of fun. I say short because they usually have around a 7 minute flight time. Another nice thing of the micro-drones is they’re really setup for stunts, like flips and such, and even flying indoors. Don’t get me wrong, you can fly a Mavic indoors but, as with any drone, you really need to be careful when doing so.
Let me know what you end up getting. I’d love to see what you settled on.
So many different drones are being produced every single month and I realized I had to get my hands on one but I didn’t know what to choose. With that being said, once I did have the commitment to look into it I realized the amount of brands and features were also overwhelming and reading this article sort of put me at ease to so clearly know what I should be looking for. I’m one to research and just go all out especially if it’s my first time buying so I’m really considering the Mavic Pro. The only reason I didn’t pick the platinum was because of the minor difference (not to mention $ savings) as you mentioned.
You’re absolutely right, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to drones. Just like with anything new and exciting, many companies will come to the table to get a piece of the action. That said, DJI has really set itself apart as being the gold-standard for consumer drones and I don’t think you can go wrong with choosing one of their models.
I totally agree with you, the DJI Mavic Pro is awesome. It’s actually the drone I have and I use it every day. It’s fun to fly and takes great photos and videos. I should let you know that the DJI Mavic Pro is not on the End Of Life list for DJI. This doesn’t mean it’s no longer a good drone but it could mean that firmware updates and any bug fixes/patches may not trickle down to this model going forward. Check out my DJI Announced the End of Life for Several Products post for more information.
I was going to upgrade to the Mavic 2 Pro (as I have this “gotta have the latest and greatest” affliction) but decided to hold off when I started hearing about video quality issues. Check out my The DJI Mavic 2 Pro – Is There a Sensor Issue Affecting Image Quality? post for more on that subject. The bird is still a great one and the image quality is good, just not what it could/should be so I’m holding off for a fix or to see what the next Phantom model offers.
The Mavic Pro is still available for purchase and it’s a great option. Let me know when you end up getting when you do make a selection.
My son and I have been looking for a drone and I have been doing a lot of research. Is there a drone on your list that would be a good entry-level one? I would love to be able to control the drone with my smartphone, but I don’t know if that is possible. We live in the desert and I think this would be really fun to have. I know drones have come a long way and there are different entry points, so I would be interested in something that is pretty easy to learn how to fly, but that we won’t “outgrow” too quickly. Thanks for your in-depth review, I look forward to hearing back from you.
Thanks for reaching out! I’d highly consider the Mavic Air or the Mavic Pro.
The Air really is a great bird and offers, what many think, a better image quality than the Pro model. What has me, personally, on the side of the Mavic Pro is the OcuSync technology. I truly believe it offers a better connection and farther range. Between the 2 it’s really up in the air (no pun intended). You can’t go wrong either way.
Compare those 2 and see which features matter most to you. Both offer excellent intelligent flight modes, GPS, obstacle avoidance sensors, etc.
When you do make a decision, please let me know what you chose and what you think of it when you fly it.
Thank you so much for your in-depth review, Scott.
I’m new to flying drones, and I have a few questions regarding the DJI Mavic series. I’m seriously considering the Mavic Air, but I’m wondering whether the drone will be eligible for DJI Care Refresh if I order it from Japan. (I live in Saudi Arabia).Do you recommend apps such as Precision Flight or Drone Harmony to create cinematic videos?
Thank you in advance.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. You can’t go wrong with the air. Many argue it offers better image quality than the Pro model.
If you order it from a DJI authorized reseller (or DJI directly) you will be eligible for DJI Care Refresh. I recommend you purchase it at the same time you do the drone as it’s just easier.
Here are some things to note about DJI Care Refresh (copied from DJI’s site):
1) DJI Care Refresh and the corresponding product must be purchased from the same country or region. DJI Care Refresh only supports aircraft purchased from official or authorized channels, and its benefits are only eligible in the region where it was purchased.
2) You can purchase the DJI Care Refresh even after your drone has been activated over 48 hours but there are steps to prove it’s still in complete working order at the time of purchase and that you’re not just ordering it because you need to have your drone repaired already. You can see the how-to information here but it will require you to have a DJI account setup.
As for apps, I recommend Autopilot or Litchi for pre-programmed flight. You can also use their smart tracking options or some of DJI Intelligent Flight Mode options in the DJI Go 4 app. For a list of apps that I recommend in general check this out: DJI Mavic Pro Apps – My Top Picks.
Thanks for sharing a comprehensive article on DJI Mavic. This article is so great that I can’t wait to dig deep and to learn more about DJI Mavic. As I see it that this particular product which is DJI Mavic Pro has a tiny camera and battery life is a bit lower than it is desirable.
Makimg decision on what DJI model to get seems so effortless because how this article informed me well enough.
I’m glad you found it informative. Yes, drones in general have a short battery life, the really tiny ones may have 3 to 7 minutes between charges. The Mavic series increases that dramatically but, I do agree, we always want more.
They are making strides in battery technology and I’ve even seen a prototype hydrogen fueled drone (videos, not in person).
As for the cameras, 12 megapixels isn’t a bad number. I’ve printed images up to 5′ tall and 8′ wide from images that resolution. That said the Phantom 4 and the Mavic 2 Pro boast 20 megapixel resolution.