Hands on: DJI Mavic 2 Pro review

The most powerful consumer drone you can buy

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

DJI Mavic 2 Pro gives us the sharpest video and photos out of any consumer-level drone thanks to its color-rich 4K HDR-equipped camera. Compared to the original Mavic Pro, the new the 1-inch sensor in this gimbal-stabilized camera amps up the brightness from video and stills without blowing out the picture. But, be warned, the high price blows away the competition, too, and it still can't shoot 4K at 60fps.

For

  • Great foldable drone design
  • 1-inch 4K camera sensor
  • New modes like Hyperlapse

Against

  • Very expensive
  • Can't shoot 4K at 60fps
  • Mavic 2 Zoom is compelling alternative

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the most powerful consumer drone you can buy thanks to its gimbal-stabilized Hasselblad camera with a 1-inch CMOS sensor for stunning aerial 4K video and photos.

It's one of two foldable drones Chinese brand DJI just launched, further cementing it as the king of drones in 2018 and giving us a sequel to the likeable DJI Mavic Pro (which we'll call the Mavic Pro 1 in this hands-on review for convenience).

What's new? It mostly comes down to the camera quality and the smarter modes for capturing video and photos. The picture is brighter on the DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs the DJI Mavic Pro 1 without being blown out. You'll to see a difference side-by-side.

Comparisons matter when it comes to the price, too: it's noticeably more expensive. And even with superior 10-bit HDR video, an adjustable aperture, and a built-in Hyperlapse mode, the alluring power behind the Mavic 2 Pro doesn't guarantee it will sit at the top of our best drones 2018 list. It's not that easy; DJI has DJI to blame.

The new DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is slightly cheaper and features a 2x optical zoom lens – it can shift from 24mm to a 48mm in 4K (for a 2x zoom), and simulate 96mm in Full HD (4x the zoom). It's all done with a gesture on your smartphone that sits inside the controller clamshell. The downside? It uses a smaller 1/2.3-inch CMOS camera sensor.

DJI just made your life more difficult by introducing two compelling drone choices if you're looking to spend considerable cash on a consumer drone. Everyone else with a smaller budget should look no further than the still-excellent DJI Mavic Air, our pick for first-time fliers.

Release date and price

DJI dropped a bombshell on us at its launch event when it announced that the DJI Mavic 2 Pro release date was August 23 – that very day – with orders going out right away. The Mavic 2 Zoom is ready to ship within one business day, too.

The Mavic 2 Pro price is decidedly more expensive than the Mavic Pro 1 worldwide. It costs $1,499 (£1,299, AU$2,299). Compare these prices to the Mavic Pro 1, which was  £899, $999 and AU$1,349 at launch.

Right in between those prices is the Mavic 2 Zoom at a little more tolerable $1,249 (£1,099, AU$1,900), but still considerably expensive. Whichever new drone you get, you're going to expect a lot for your money. 

We'll continue to test the new DJI drones before rendering a judgment in a full DJI Mavic 2 Pro review, but this appears to be the foldable drone to buy if you want the best on a consumer level. While we test it, enjoy these photos of the drone from the launch event.

Design

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Camera

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Controller

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Battery

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What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.