DJI’s compact drone for novice flyers just got better with the launch of the Air 2S. The follow-up to the Mavic Air 2, which we praised last year for its advanced features and ease-of-use, the DJI Air 2S drops the Mavic name but adds a bigger image sensor and improved obstacle avoidance while maintaining the same compact design.
The DJI Air 2S ($999) boasts a 1-inch image sensor (the previous model used a ½-inch image sensor) that’s capable of capturing 20-megapixel still images or 5.4K video at 30fps or 4K at 60fps and 150Mbps. Pixel size on the larger sensor is 2.4 μm, which should help it shoot crisper aerial photos and video.
The DJI Air 2S has four-way directional obstacle detection sensors that warn the pilot when things such as trees, poles, and signs are getting close. Meanwhile, upgraded front, rear, bottom and top obstacle sensors use binocular zooming tech to recognize incoming objects from further away at faster speeds. When the Air 2S’ Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 4.0 is turned on, the drone will autonomously avoid these objects so the pilot can concentrate on shooting photos or video.
Other helpful flying features include O3 (DJI’s third iteration of OcuSync), which lets you maintain control over the drone at a maximum distance of nearly 7.5 miles, even in areas where there are a high number of competing signals. Maximum flight time on a fully charged battery is 31 minutes, which is slightly down from the previous model.
The Air 2S includes standard DJI safety features such as an improved Return-To-Home (RTH) feature, which can bring a drone back to its launch point if it loses contact with the controller or reaches a critically low battery level, and the GEO 2.0 geofencing system that advise drone pilots of sensitive locations and help them automatically keep away from high-risk areas such as airports.
The Air 2S adds DJI’s new MasterShots feature, which uses automatic flight path planning to set the drone’s course while recording video. When the drone flight is finished, the DJI Air 2S automatically merges the footage under one theme to create a unique video.
The DJI Air 2S’ upgraded FocusTrack mode includes a suite of programmed modes like Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 4.0 and Point of Interest 3.0 that mimic the focus, control and movement of a professional video operator. Along with standard photo options such as Timed Photo, AEB and Panoramas, DJI Air 2S’s SmartPhoto mode shoots 20MP photos “using advanced scene analysis and deep learning” to automatically choose the best of three options, including HDR, Hyperlight and Scene Recognition. HDR modes merge several images together to create a vibrant scene; Hyperlight is designed for low-light conditions; and Scene Recognition can identify several common settings and apply camera adjustments to “capture photos that pop.”
As usual with DJI’s drones, the Air 2S feature the company’s tried-and-true three-axis mechanical gimbal to compensate for camera shake for sharper photos and smoother video. 8GB of internal storage have been added to the Air 2S to store content. Users can choose to shoot in H264 or H265, depending on their preferences for image detail and storage capacity. You can also choose from three video color profiles, Normal (8 bit), D-Log (10 bit) or HLG (10 bit). Yes, you read that right, the DJI Air 2S now features 10-bit color, which should improve image quality significantly.
We haven’t had a chance to try out the DJI Air 2S yet but hope to soon so we can test out all these new features oursevles. And, as usual, there are a ton of features packed into the DJI Air 2S’ small – folded: 180×97×77 mm (L×W×H) unfolded: 183×253×77 mm – body. If you want to learn more about what this compact drone can do, visit the DJI Air 2S product page. We’ve also embedded a video below where you can see it in action.
The DJI Air 2S drone is on sale now. The standard DJI Air 2S combo package retails for $999 and includes the drone, remote controller, one battery and all the cables and parts needed. The Fly More Combo retails for $1299 includes everything from the standard combo with the addition of two batteries for a total of three, ND filters, a charging hub and a shoulder bag.