Review: DJI Mavic Pro Drone – First Impressions
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As you’re no doubt aware, we’re travelling full-time and discovering some extraordinary places. It has occurred to us several times that drone footage would be a perfect compliment to many of our articles.
So we made a deal with a drone supplier and bought the Mavic Pro Fly More Combo.
And what did we get?
What’s In The Package?
Well the Mavic Pro Fly More Combo includes:
- DJI Mavic Pro drone,
- 2 spare batteries (for a total of 3),
- Remote controller,
- Battery charging hub with 240V charger socket,
- A charging socket suitable for a cigarette lighter plug,
- 4 spare propellers, and
- A bag to carry it all.
The supplier also included a set of 4 lens filters, a shade cover for the remote controller, a 16GB mini SD card and a holder for a tablet.
With the drone delivered and in our hands, our next step was learning to fly this beast.
The First Flight – Scary!
With the remote controller (RC) set up and ready to go, we turned on the Mavic Pro so the RC could connect to it. Once connected, there was no turning back. It was time to fly!
One really important point. The Mavic Pro has two gimbal covers. By the way, the gimbal is the mechanism that controls the drone’s camera.
When not in use, always fit the gimbal covers. They retain the gimbal firmly and protect it from any damage.
Just make sure you remove the gimbal covers before turning the drone on. I confess I forgot once, it’s so easy to do.
Now Peta is the gamer. She used to be a demon on the X-Box. Myself, I’m all thumbs. We decided that using the RC is very similar to using a game controller. So Peta was the designated pilot.
She tapped the Take-Off icon and the drone lifted off and hovered. Let the fun begin!
After a few nervous moments, Peta had the drone flying around in no time. The RC (or more correctly, your smartphone connected to the RC) shows what the drone is seeing in real time, regardless of whether you’re recording or not. This means you can immediately see what you’re doing, right or wrong.
So it was time to get some footage. Peta’s first attempt is below.
Here’s our random collections of thoughts, in no particular order.
Learning To Steer
The drone was very easy to fly. The trickiest part is when it’s flying towards you, as left and right are effectively back-to-front. This of course become easier as time goes on.
Any changes in direction are quite jerky. We changed a few settings after spending some time Googling and YouTubing information. For example we slowed down the rate of turn and rate of braking, which made the movements smoother.
It will take some time to make the movements smooth and fluid. Peta is learning a few tricks like maintaining a set course while videoing for example.
This is all a matter of practice.
Returning To Home
One standout feature is the “return to home” function, especially when you’re starting out. If the drone disappears over a hill and you have no idea where it’s gone, you can simply command it to return home.
While we didn’t get too adventurous on the first few flights, we were happy with how far we could fly and still maintain control without losing the drone.
As yet we can’t comment on obstacle avoidance, as we’re still steering well clear of any potential obstacles!
The range of movement is excellent. You can rotate the Mavic Pro on its own axis, fly it sideways, fly in wide sweeping arcs and everything in between.
Understanding Active Tracking
We played with the active tracking by locking onto our truck. Once the truck disappeared behind a tree, the drone lost its lock. No surprises there, but good to know.
Blocking The Glare
I said earlier the package included 4 lens filters. We experimented with these and found they behaved as expected. On bright sunny days, a lens filter prevents the video from being washed out. At the other end of the scale, in low light conditions you’re of course better off without a filter.
Battery life of the drone is short. Without 3 batteries, you’d be waiting a long time between flights. Having said this, each battery gives you plenty of time to grab some great footage, to explore and discover “what’s over the next hill”. It’s just a matter of swapping over the drone batteries when it comes home.
We’ve had a couple of instances of the drone being unable to land back in its Home position. This seems to be during low light conditions or when shade appears over the home position. In this situation, it’s simply a matter of forcing it to land in a safe spot.
Watch Out For The Wind
And finally, if you fly the drone up into windy conditions, a high wind velocity warning appears on the RC. In these conditions, it’s probably best to bring the drone down to a more protected position.
We were pure novices. We’d never touched a drone before, let alone flown one.
Basic functions like take-off, return to home, videos and images are really easy to learn and master on the DJI Mavic Pro. We’re very happy so far. We still have plenty to learn and have just scratched the surface of this drone’s capabilities.
In summary, it’s easy to use, has excellent resolution and most importantly, allows us to get fantastic aerial footage of some truly spectacular places.
If you’re thinking of buying a drone, Camera House have a large range of DJI drones and accessories, plus other brands including Parrot and GoPro.
NOTE: The DJI Mavic Pro drone package was supplied to us at a discount, for us to use and review. (That said, our reviews are always honest and authentic – we tell it how it is).