Buying a Drone? Get the DJI Mavic Pro

The decision is pretty simple, really. The UAV is tiny, has a powerful camera and obstacle-avoidance features, and is easy to fly.

The Mavic Pro captures sharp imagery from above. (Nick Kelley)

Here’s some simplified buying advice for those in search of a consumer drone: if you want to shoot high-quality footage but don’t want to invest in an expensive, Hollywood-worthy model, get the new DJI Mavic Pro. It costs a semireasonable $1,000, folds down small enough to fit in your coat pocket, produces crisp 4K video, takes 12-megapixel RAW stills, and is super easy to fly.

DJI built the Mavic Pro to address the demand for portability with pro-like specs. Its packable design allows the rotors and prop arms to fold back into the body, leaving you with a clean, hoagie-size brick.

In the air, the Mavic Pro has a range of more than four miles—significantly longer than any drone in this class—and new technology to avoid obstacles. Using a collection of built-in cameras and ultrasonic radar-like sensors, the Mavic creates what amounts to a 3D rendering of its environment, allowing it to stop in front of or move around any obstacles it encounters.


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The Mavic Pro is capable of capturing footage from four miles away and can be folded into a compact pocket-sized drone. (Nick Kelley)

DJI drones have always been good at hovering and holding position, and the Mavic is no exception. The drone uses an obstacle-avoidance system and satellite communication to stay in the same place, indoors or out. This makes it much easier to lock the frame for a mountain biker to rip through or capture a super-sharp landscape shot.

New features also include a tracking mode that will keep your subject in the frame for follow shots (there’s no need for the subject to have a transmitter or GPS bracelet, like other drones) and something called Gesture Mode, which triggers the camera to take a picture when you wave at it from the ground. You can set a flight path with a simple tap on the app’s map. Just tell the drone where to go, and it will fly itself to that location, leaving you to focus on the camera controls.

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