DJI Mavic Pro review: GoPro Karma recall leaves DJI rival out on its own
DJI must be cock-a-hoop following news that GoPro is recalling all Karma Drone units already sold. The Karma had put DJI’s very own folding drone — the DJI Mavic Pro — firmly in the shade, and I for one couldn’t wait to lay my hands on one.
Well, it looks like I had a lucky escape. It turns out that, in a limited number of cases, the Karma simply lost power and fell out of the sky, triggering corporate panic and, subsequently, that global recall. It is perhaps ironic that I never felt worried the Mavic Pro would do this when I had the opportunity to test one out recently.
In fact, the Mavic Pro is hands down the most responsive, stable and powerful drone I’ve ever flown. Perhaps it isn’t as fun to fly as the fixed-wing Parrot Disco, but it’s enjoyable in its own way. And almost all the satisfaction derives from its reliability. The fact that you don’t have to worry about it careering into the side of a building under its own steam, or dropping out of the sky onto some unsuspecting dog-walker’s head. The fact that you can simply focus on flying it rather than keeping it in the sky.
DJI Mavic Pro review: Design
You might be surprised to discover, then, exactly how small the Mavic Pro actually is. When I first received the drone, it turned up in one of those standard-issue Fedex flat boxes, and I was somewhat taken aback to discover what was squeezed inside.
With its rotor arms folded against its matte-grey fuselage, and the blades tucked neatly away like some robotic bird of prey sheltering against the storm, the Mavic Pro is incredibly compact. You can pick it up in one hand and stow it in a small rucksack. Then, when it comes time to fly, simply unfurl the legs, remove the transparent cowl and support protecting the camera and fragile three-axis gimbal.[gallery:17]
Assuming you remembered to charge both the controller and drone, you’re now good to go.
The control pad is even neater than the drone itself. This can be used to control the Mavic Pro on its own via twin analogue sticks, but you’ll probably want to dock your smartphone for better ease of use and a bird’s eye view through the drone’s 4K nose camera. To do this, simply unfold a pair of legs from the controller’s underside, slot your smartphone between them and plug it in.
The whole system is beautifully elegant, and demonstrates such delightful attention to detail that it’s hard to think of a better way of doing it. Bravo DJI – I salute you.[gallery:1]