Are you a fan of putting a camera into the sky? The new DJI Air 2S might just be the best drone on the market for you. Equipped with a 1-inch camera sensor, this 20MP shooter also packs new capabilities in a familiar DJI Mavic drone package.
OcuSync 3.0, APAS 4.0, Master Shots, and more make the Air 2S one of the best Mavic drones on the market.
DJI Air 2S overview
The DJI Air 2S is the latest quadcopter in the Mavic Air series. Don’t let the shorter names fool you, the Mavic series is not dead, and the latest Air is another example of the smaller series packing a better camera than the larger, more expensive Mavic drones out there. The primary feature of the Air 2S is a 1-inch camera sensor, which was previously only found on the Mavic 2 Pro and Phantom series of drones.
5.4K video capture from a 1-inch camera, sign us up!
The Air 2S has a focus on aerial imagery. Quantifying the image improvements over the Mavic Air 2, the camera in the older drone rocked 0.8μm sized pixels, the Air 2S has a whopping 2.4μm pixels. The newer drone also shoots 5.4K video.
As is expected from a DJI drone, image stabilization is top-notch. Between the 3-axis mechanical gimbal and some digital stabilization, your normal flights on fair weather days should prove silky smooth.
The Air 2S introduces O3 (Ocusync 3.0,) which offers up to 12KM of range. That’s almost 7.5 miles.
The remote control for the Air 2S is nearly identical to the remote for the older Mavic Air 2, and the overall flight experience is fairly similar to most of the other Mavic drones.
Related reading: The best drones you can buy in 2021
DJI Air 2S features & performance
The DJI Air 2S smoothly cruises along at about 33MPH in Normal mode. Slide into Sport mode to get up over 40MPH. Just do so in an open space as Sport mode turns off obstacle avoidance.
Out of the box, the rates on the Air 2S are pretty comfortable. The drone does not feel like it’s too fast or twitchy to control safely, and acceleration is smooth. For our tastes, we think the default tilt rate on the camera gimbal is a little slow. Perhaps that’s because the last drone we flew was the DJI FPV, which has high rates for everything. That’s a thrilling drone to fly.
The DJI Air 2S offers forward, downward, backward, and upward facing obstacle avoidance.
Flight features include familiar Quickshot tools, plus some updated AI tools. Point of Interest has been updated to version 3.0, Active track is also at version 3.0, and Spotlight is now at version 2.0. DJI borrowed some camera modes from the Osmo line — MasterShots has Proximity, Portrait, and Landscape modes for you to play with.
All in all, the Air 2S feels smoother and safer than the Mavic Air 2, smaller and more agile than the Mavic 2 series drones, and shoots far better images than the Mini series.
DJI Air 2S camera
The DJI Air 2S is not the first drone to rock a 20MP camera with a 1-inch sensor, but it is now the smallest and least expensive drone that we know of to do so. We are excited about future drones — and future DJI Pocket devices — that might use this size of sensor as well, particularly as we look over the images and video captured from the Air 2S.
Backing up the 1-inch sensor is the ability to record up to 5.4K video at 30fps, 4K video at 60fps, and a fantastic video data rate of 150Mbps. At maximum resolution, you can get a 3x zoom. At 4K it’s a 4x zoom, 6x at 2.7K and 1080P 60fps, and 8X zoom when shooting 1080P at 30fps.
Check out our DJI Air 2S page for more info, plus sample photos and videos.
What drones should I look at if the Air 2S isn’t quite right for me?
The Mavic 2 Pro is the only other Mavic with a 1-inch, 20MP camera. It’s a larger and safer drone, but more expensive. The Mavic Air 2 is still a top contender for drones under $1,000, with the best flight time of almost any retail drone, but has fewer features than the Air 2S. The DJI FPV is just plain fun to fly but is not your typical camera drone. The DJI Mini 2 is where you should set your sights if you only have $500 to spend. The Mini 2 is an easy-to-fly drone that captures decent 4K video from the sky, but let’s just say that the Air 2S is worth the extra price, if you can afford it.
Should I buy the DJI Air 2S?
There are still better cameras in the sky for higher price tags, and less expensive drones if camera performance is not as important to you, but DJI’s latest is, once again, one of their best offerings in the consumer class. For the average pilot, the fun flight features of the Air 2S are better than other Mavic drones out there, but their iterative update pales in comparison to the jump in camera. That new camera is exciting to see on a drone.
Bottom line, the DJI Air 2S should prove to be the very best camera drone under $1,400 on the market. Considering the Air 2S starts at $999, we hope the point is getting across: worth it!
DJI Air 2S for $999
- Remote control
- One battery
- One pair of additional propellers
- All cables to connect
DJI Air 2S Fly More Combo for $1,299
- Remote control
- Three batteries
- Charging hub
- Additional propellers
- All cables to connect
- ND filters
- Shoulder bag