Jim Fisher is our lead analyst for cameras, drones, and digital imaging. He studied at RPI and worked on the retail side of the industry at B&H before landing at PCMag. He has a thing for old lenses, boneyards, and waterfowl. When he’s not out with his camera, Jim enjoys watching bad and good television, playing video games (poorly), and reading. You can find him on Instagram @jamespfisher
The Mavic Air is not a foldable Spark. This is a drone with all of the features that make it worthy of the Mavic name. Aside from the main camera, there are two front facing cameras, two rear facing cameras, and two downward facing cameras. All of these cameras are used for obstacle avoidance and advanced vision positioning. Just like the Mavic Pro, you also get dual IMUs, GPS and GLONASS for more accuracy. With all of this data to process, the Mavic Air has many different onboard chips that are designed for specific tasks like video encoding, machine learning, flight control, battery management and more.
A lot of people also asked about the charger and whether or not they would need to buy one, but the drone comes with a USB charger that connects the drone to the remote. One user even commented saying that they were using a phone charger cord, which is a great replacement if the original cord breaks. You will need 6 AA batteries for the remote itself, so make sure you stock up!
The Armor 90 comes in two different models. There’s a DSM receiver version and a version with no receiver, so you can use whatever transmitter and receiver you want. I use the FrSky Taranis, so I would use my own receiver and it would plug right in. Again, since this is a true racer you will need to buy batteries and FPV goggles if you want to do FPV.
The EVO has obstacle avoidance sensors on the front and in the back. In the font, you get two obstacle avoidance cameras (same as the Mavic). On the back, you’ll find not cameras, but a IR sensor for obstacle avoidance. IR sensors or good for close obstacle detection, but they don’t work for seeing obstacles that are more complex or far away. The Mavic Air and Mavic 2 use cameras on the rear, so they will naturally do better at avoiding obstacles at higher speeds. In any case, if you need obstacle avoidance on your drone, the EVO has it.
First of all, there’s no obstacle avoidance like you would see on DJI’s new drones, so if you lose connection with the drone, it won’t intelligently come back while avoiding obstacles. The other big drawback is that it’s a big drone that uses a lot of power, so the flight time is only about 16 minutes, and it goes down even more if you put a heavy camera on in like the X5R.
A true legend among cheap fast drones, AKASO offers an amazing drone without the hefty price tag. It even comes with a foldable quadcopter design. This helps you keep your drone protected while in transit and makes it easy to take it with you anywhere. This drone comes with the one key return feature that allows you to call your drone back with the press of 1 button. It also comes with a 720P HD camera. This allows you to record high-quality video or take clear photos from the air. It also has a powerful air pressure altitude hold function that allows you to keep your drone hovering at a certain height, a great feature in cheap drones. This can be useful for beginners learning how to fly drones or for just taking a picture of yourself from the air. It also has 6-axis gyro flying control that offers strong stability. You can get it to do many different tricks by changing the directions- up/down, left/right, and even 360-degree rolls.