The DJI Mavic Air is the latest drone to hit the streets and if you read the forums or Facebook groups, the reactions are very mixed. There are people that think it is just an improved Spark or a crippled Mavic Pro, the reality is a little of both...and quite a bit more. The Mavic Air is so much better than the Spark in every single category, it really isn't fair to compare the two. The big online debate is between the Mavic Pro and the Mavic Air. Let's take a look at some of the key features between the two in order for you to make an informed choice.
In this first category is where the Mavic Pro has a serious advantage. By using Ocusync, the Mavic Pro has longer range, less interference, and a better quality video feed. This doesn't mean the Enhanced WiFi on the Mavic Air is bad, but the system on the Mavic Pro is just better. Why didn't they use Ocusync on the Mavic Air, simply put, size, weight, and cost.
The Mavic Air features all of the same Quickshot modes from the Mavic Pro along with news ones such as Boomerang and Asteroid. We doubt these will be deciding factors when purchasing, but they are pretty cool features. The improved ActiveTrack is a major improvement, being able to recognize up to 16 subjects and switch between them with a simple tap is a huge improvement from the Mavic Pro.
APAS is DJI's newest incarnation of their obstacle avoidance system. In the past, the aircraft would just stop if it saw an obstacle, but with APAS on the Mavic Air, it will sense and avoid obstacles and continue to fly.
The gimbal is a complete redesign from the Mavic Pro and shares more qualities with the Spark in terms of how it is constructed. The new design sits back more into the frame, protecting it substanstially better and it holds horizon better than any previous DJI gimbal. For still photography, the improved image processing system has better color science and performs better at higher ISO ranges.
For video shooters, the camera on the Mavic Air bests the Mavic Pro with a bit rate of 100mbits vs the Pro's 60mbit, providing a much cleaner image with less compression artifacts.
The Mavic Air starts at $799 vs the Mavic Pro at $999. If you need flight range or longer flight times, the Mavic Pro is clearly a better choice. If you don't need the range and flight time, and want a better camera system, than the Mavic Air is a better choice. One system is not always better than the other, it comes down to your specific needs and requirements.