DJI Air 2S Review
Pros: Large sensor, compact, high-quality footage, responsive controls
Cons: Lacks following capabilities, some propellor intrusion
Compare to Similar Products
DJI Air 2S
$899.00 at Amazon
|$800 List||$500 List|
$425.99 at Amazon
$499.00 at Amazon
$99.00 at Amazon
|Pros||Large sensor, compact, high-quality footage, responsive controls||Consistent color and quality, decent flight time, intelligent flight features||Portable, lightweight, budget-friendly, solid battery life||Portable, decent video||Inexpensive, simple operation, small and light|
|Cons||Lacks following capabilities, some propellor intrusion||Gimbal overload errors, small sensor is limiting, subpar following capabilities, jittery ride||Subpar gimbal stabilization, requires windless conditions, small sensor, low dynamic range||Relatively short battery life, slow||Slightly choppy video, short range|
|Bottom Line||The large sensor, 5K video, user-friendly controls, and fantastic flight performance make this a high-quality, do-it-all drone||A mostly capable drone that offers consistent color, 4K video, and intelligent flight features but requires regular gimbal calibration||A lightweight and reasonably-priced drone with decent video quality for those who want to capture their travels||A well-rounded device, but fails to carve out a niche for itself||Great for kids and beginners alike, this is the best entry-level model we have ever tested|
|Rating Categories||DJI Air 2S||DJI Mavic Air 2||DJI Mini 2||Parrot Anafi||Ryze Tello|
|Video Quality (45%)|
|Flight Performance (35%)|
|Ease of Use (10%)|
|Specs||DJI Air 2S||DJI Mavic Air 2||DJI Mini 2||Parrot Anafi||Ryze Tello|
|Video Resolutions||5.4K, 4K, 2,7K, FHD||4K, 2.7K, FHD||4K, 2.7K, FHD||4K, 1080p||720p|
|Weight||1.31 lbs||1.25 lbs||0.55 lbs||0.71 lbs||0.18 lbs|
|Maximum Speed||42.5 mph||42.5 mph||35.8 mph||33 mph||18 mph|
|Maximum Claimed Flight Time||31 minutes||34 minutes||32 minutes||25 minutes||13 minutes|
|Diagonal Size (no props)||11.9 in||11.9 in||8.4 in||11 in||5.3 in|
|Video Format||MP4, MOV||MP4, MOV||MP4||MP5||MP4|
|Maximum Video Bitrate||150 Mbps||120 Mbps||100 Mbps||101 Mbps||n/a|
|Camera Sensor||1" CMOS||1/2" CMOS||1/2.3" CMOS||1/2.4" CMOS||n/a|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Air 2S performed extremely well across all our metrics. 5K resolution pairs with a notably stable gimbal and MasterShots to produce truly exceptional results. MasterShots has the capability to recognize what is being shot and plan a flight route accordingly. For the budget-conscious avid user who is ready to step up their game, this is the drone we recommend.
During our video quality testing, we paid special attention to image quality, gimbal stabilization, and propellor intrusion. The Air 2S, like many of the DJI models, performs exceptionally well in this department.
One attribute that sets the Air 2S apart from other mid-sized drones is its larger sensor. While the Air 2S is still considered a more compact model, it comes equipped with the same sensor as the larger DJI models. This allows the user to control both the ISO and the shutter speed. Sadly the sensor does not allow for full manual control as the aperture is not adjustable. This can make shooting in bright conditions difficult. You should always shoot two times your speed, so at 24 frames per second, your shutter speed should be 1/48. This lets a lot of light in, so bright conditions require filters to darken your video.
Although the camera on the Air 2S does not allow for complete manual control, it does a great job getting high-quality video when in full auto mode. It balances exposure quite well and shoots up to 5K resolution, so there is no shortage of pixels, producing overall stellar video.
The gimbal on the Air 2S is significantly more stable than other medium body options in our test suite, and thus, it has no problem creating a smooth video. Additionally, the propeller intrusion is minimal, though we did notice a little intrusion during autonomous flight. You can circumvent this by turning off obstacle avoidance and ordering the drone to prioritize composition. However, you have to ensure that your flight pattern is free of obstacles if you choose this setting, as your drone is now more vulnerable to collision.
We pay special attention to intelligent flight options, ride, take-off, landing, and battery life during our flight performance testing. The Air 2S performed excellently in almost all of these tests as well.
Of the intelligent flight options, the Air 2S offers stellar orbit/point of interest flight, waypoint flight, and return to home but struggles with following moving targets. Unfortunately, the lack of following capabilities this drone offers puts the flight in the hands of the pilot. More experienced pilots do not have trouble following moving cars, animals, and skiers, but newbies may struggle with a moving subject.
The Air 2S also comes with MasterShots, which allows for preprogrammed flight patterns, like circle, helix, and boomerang, to be shot consecutively. This fun feature renders a very professional-looking video, even if you are a complete novice. Just keep in mind: you must be shooting in an area with no obstacles in any direction when stacking flight patterns like this; otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for a crash. This can feel somewhat limiting depending on the area you are flying in, and it may make more sense to instead use whatever exact quick shots you need in the moment, and that are appropriate to the environment.
The Air 2S offers a consistently smooth ride. Even when flying fast, turning, yawing, and other micro-movements are effortless. The aircraft stops quickly at high speeds as well. Gimbal responsiveness can be adjusted to ensure smooth panning, and the battery life is pretty good at 31-minutes of flight time. Last but certainly not least, taking off and landing the Air 2S is an absolute pleasure. You can choose between catching your drone or landing it on a mostly-flat surface, but either way, beginning and ending your flight will be stress-free.
While there is nothing wrong with carrying around heavy-duty gear, portable devices can offer a little more versatility. Smaller is not always better, though, so we take into consideration the weight, diagonal size, whether or not the aircraft comes with a case, and how easily it packs up.
The Air 2S is a very capable aircraft for its size. While it does not come with a carry bag or box, you can purchase one separately. The propellors fold in nicely and neatly, and since it only measures 7.2 inches diagonally, is it still plenty small enough to put in a purse or backpack. This drone weighs 1.31 pounds, so it is reasonably light, even for a multi-day backpacking trip.
Ease of Use
Ease of use can be a rather broad term. In this case, we assessed how easy each aircraft was to set up out of the box, the intuitiveness of the control interface, and the overall learning curve for getting fully up to speed on operating the device. We also considered video quality on the interface and ease of video downlink.
There is virtually no setup or assembly required for this model, aside from downloading the DJI app and connecting the aircraft to your smartphone. The remote control design is intuitive and easily attaches to your phone or tablet. The image appears on your screen with a maximum of 1080 pixels and without any lag. Overall the Air 2S is very user-friendly with intuitive controls and a quick learning curve.
We consider the Air 2S to offer an outstanding value, but it is still an investment. However, for the right user, the price tag is fair for what you receive. This drone performed stunningly across all our metric testing and is still less expensive than some of the more advanced options in our test suite. It offers impressive video quality and some really cool flight features, striking a great balance for the user who is ready to step things up a notch.
The DJI Air 2S is compact but packs a punch. It shoots 5K video, and the large sensor allows for a bit of adjustability in ISO and shutter speed. The long-lasting battery, easy-to-use interface, and intelligent flight patterns allow anyone to create engaging videos. While the price is a commitment, we find this aircraft to be the perfect option for the advanced, general user.
— Hayley Thomas
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