The DJI Mavic Pro - Portable & Powerful: Review & Beginner Guide


After banging my head whether to go for the DJI Spark or Mavic Pro, I decided to go with Mavic Pro fly more combo in the end. The deciding factor for me was Battery life (27 minutes vs 15 minutes for spark) and 4K/30fps video.

In the box

The Mavic Pro fly more comes with a few more bells and whistles than the original package. Here is a breakdown of items accessories as I got part of the combo:

Mavic Pro flymore combo image

  • DJI Mavic Pro (includes a battery, remote, 16GB Sandisk Extreme microSD card, standard charger, lightning cable, microUSB cable, USB-C cable, 1 extra set of propellers)
  • 2 extra batteries
  • 2 sets of extra propellers
  • DJI Mavic Pro battery charging hub
  • Mavic Pro car charger
  • Mavic Pro battery to Powerbank adapter
  • DJI Mavic Pro Shoulder bag (holds all accessories and drone nicely)

Setup and first flight

It was almost effortless to get the drone in the air. There were no hiccups, but it took some time to get up and running. As I had to charge the batteries, install the DJI Go 4 app, update and install new firmware for the drone. Below are some of the important things to take care of:

  1. Charge the batteries fully (both the drone and controllers) before first flight.
  2. Install DJI Go 4 app and install all updates, remember to update the firmware of extra batteries as well. Also remove gimbal clamp during update.
  3. Attach the propellers and you're ready to go!

Although the Mavic Pro is ready to fly and to be used without further setup, I recommend doing some basic failsafe and flight settings from the DJI Go 4 app before taking off.


The DJI Go 4 App

The DJI Go 4 app for both iOS and Android is used to setup several aspects of in-flight, failsafe and camera settings of the drone. It provides telemetry and live video feed of the drone during flight. The app also has a built in editor that can be used to compose, edit and upload drone footage to various social media with minimal effort.

Dji Go4 App

More details of the App will be discussed in a separate article, some of the important settings of the DJI Go 4 App are:

Beginner Mode:

It sets a limited max altitude, distance and speed so that beginners can learn to fly safely and easily. If you're new to drones, it is highly recommended to keep this on until your become confident and familiar with the controls.

Compass Calibration:

The drones compass must be calibrated every time you fly in a new area, or if it has been a while since your last flight. Choose Calibrate from drone status menu and follow the onscreen instructions, rotate the Mavic Pro counter-clockwise horizontally & vertically until successfully calibrated.

Flight modes:

P-Mode: Positioning mode keeps all sensors on including GPS, Compass,Vision positioning, etc. This is the safest mode to fly.

ATTI Mode: Altitude hold mode is used when the drone cannot acquire a good GPS signal. This mode can be used indoors and is not recommended for outdoors as many failsafe features such as return-to-home will not work in this mode.

Sports mode: All sensors are disabled, speed and responsiveness is highly increased in this mode. This mode is for experienced pilots and is meant to be used for racing.

Home Point:

Home point is the location where the drone will return to during automatic returns. It can be set to controller or the drones location. It is important to accurately record and set home point during each flight.

The default home point for the drone is the take off point. This can be over ridden and set to another location in flight using the DJI Go 4 App or the controller button to set new home point.

Important:

  • To enable precision and accurate landing, always take of vertically and ascend to more then 10m before flying off.
  • REMEMBER to set accurate home points for each flight.

Return to Home (R-T-H) Altitude:

This the altitude that the drone will maintain during Return-to-Home whether it's commanded by you, due to low battery or loss of controller signal. It is recommend to set this to a suitable altitude before each flight to prevent the drone from running in to obstacles during return. Set this higher than any obstacles in the area you're flying. I usually keep mine at 50m, but depending on the area, I sometimes change it to as high as 100m.

Loss of RC Signal:

This setting tells the drone what to do during loss of remote controller signal. The drone might lose signal either due to distance, obstacles or shutdown of controller. You can set the drone to hover in place, land or return to home. I'd recommend to set this option to return to home, and be sure to set accurate home points before each flight!

Maximum Altitude:

This is how high the aircraft is allowed to go from take off point. In U.S it must be 120m (default), set this as per the regulation of your country. The maximum allowed altitude is 500m.

Sensors:

The Mavic Pro has tons of sensors built-in to help it detect obstacles and to position itself. I'd recommend to keep all sensors on at all times, but be wary that vision positioning and obstacle avoidance does not work in low light conditions.

Vision Positioning System: These are located at the bottom of Mavic Pro and help with positioning as well as precision landing.

Forward Obstacle detection sensors: These are sensors located in-front of the Mavic Pro and helps it to avoid obstacles. They have 60 degree detection angle and does not work if you're flying too fast.

Intelligent Flight modes:

These modes are smart flight modes that allow object tracking, following or tapping on screen to fly to a location.

Conclusion:

DJI Mavic Pro is compact, portable and powerful. It has an arsenal of features and it works great. After the first few flights, it was almost no different than carrying and operating a DSLR. You can take it with you, be in the air in just a matter of seconds. It captures [email protected] FPS and stays in the air pretty much as advertised even during windy situations. The DJI Go 4 App editor is a bonus to quickly edit and share videos with family and social media, although I prefer to do my editing on computer.