Huge DJI Avata leaks still don't answer my biggest question about the drone

A leaked image of the DJI Avata drone
(Image credit: @DealsDrone)

Thanks to a flurry of new leaks, the incoming DJI Avata drone has now been almost completely unmasked. Yet aside from a few small details, my one big question remains unanswered – who exactly is DJI's mini FPV drone going to be for?

The Avata is, it's now pretty clear, a small 'cinewhoop' version of its current DJI FPV drone. A leaked image of the Avata's box from @DealsDrone shows it'll promise an "immersive flight experience", thanks to its new DJI Goggles 2 headset, plus "4K stabilized video", a "palm-sized and agile" build, compatibility with a "motion controller" and "HD low-latency transmission".

Granted, that does all sound like a lot of fun. But as a leaked video shared by @OsitaLV shows, the Avata will still have all the usual restrictions on FPV (first person view) drones – and many of these are similar to the ones that have put the brakes on VR headsets going really mainstream.

As the video above shows, because the pilot is wearing a headset, they can't keep the drone in line-of-sight outdoors – which means they must legally always have a 'spotter' alongside them when flying. That's a pretty big downer for solo travelers, for starters. 

Also, as we noted in our DJI FPV review, you also need to take a great amount of care when flying FPV drones, as the obstacle-avoidance sensors tend to only alert you to dangers, rather than automatically stopping the drone, like DJI's Mavic series.

While it isn't yet clear what obstacle avoidance skills the Avata will have, it is expected to be an indoor-friendly drone. This explains its 'cinewhoop' design, which includes guards around its 3-inch propellors. And to be fair, this indoor-friendliness could help make the Avata more approachable than the DJI FPV.

This is because in many regions, including the US and UK, drone laws only cover outdoor flights, because indoor ones don't affect other aircraft. This would mean that, in indoor settings, pilots would only need to follow the health and safety regulations of the building. 

But the fundamental question remains – how many people need an indoor FPV drone, or a small outdoor one that's likely less powerful than DJI's current FPV drone? I'm yet to be convinced the audience is a big one, despite the leaks.

Unexpected flying object

DJI clearly knows its audience, so we're looking forward to seeing it answer these questions when the DJI Avata inevitably launches very soon.

The company's broader aim appears to be bringing professional cinematography tools to a wider audience – and in this sense, the DJI Avata could be its attempt to help all kinds of filmmakers shoot the kinds of spectacular FPV drone videos (like Tesla's Giga Factory tour) that have gone viral in recent years.

The problem, and the one I'm still unsure the DJI Avata will be able to solve, is that those kinds of videos demand some high-level flying skills that take years to develop. The Avata seems likely to be hailed as an FPV drone for beginners, but what's made DJI's other drones so good for novices is their automated flying modes – something that makes far less sense on an FPV drone.

The recent Snap Pixy attempted to solve some of these issues with automated modes like Hyperspeed or Jump Cut, plus subject-tracking skills. But that pocket drone also forgot to include a half-decent camera or battery, and so far the DJI Avata leaks suggest it's aiming more at FPV enthusiasts than those who want a point-and-shoot FPV camera.

With Avata's leaked box suggesting it'll come with a Goggles 2 headset and a motion controller, it's unlikely to come cheap – even if it should dip under the DJI FPV's launch price of $1,299 / £1,249 / AU$2,099. And the apparent inclusion of DJI Airsense tech (an alert system that tells pilots when other aircraft are flying nearby) suggests the Avata will be at least as much of an outdoor drone as an indoor one. Its expected 500g weight also means that, unlike the DJI Mini 3 Pro, it would need to be registered in most regions.

Still, given the number of leaks we've seen in recent days, this fundamental Avata mystery should be solved sometime this month. Whether or not it makes the FPV drone a flying camera that's ripe for a mainstream audience is another matter.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.