Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have come a long way, yet drones could not fly in civilian airspace until 2006. Following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, the FAA approved the use of drones in search and rescue. UAV pilots used quadcopters at the time to detect human heat signatures from up to 10,000 feet away.
Since then, drones have transformed how we record video and take photos. As this DJI Air 2S review will show, advanced UAVs now have features such as follow-me, zoom, obstacle avoidance sensors, and return-to-home. Therefore, quadcopters, particularly those equipped with obstacle avoidance sensors, are ideal for recreational use since they allow you to record beautiful footage while avoiding collisions with buildings, people, or trees.
The DJI Air 2S is a multi-purpose drone with four-directional obstacle detection, 4K HD video transmission, a camera CMOS sensor, and the MasterShots feature. Released in spring 2021, arriving just one year after its predecessor, the Mavic Air 2, the Air 2S features a camera with a 1-type sensor—something that was previously exclusive to DJI models costing over $1,500. Its OcuSync 3.0 transmission technology also has the highest maximum control range for most drones at 18.5 km.
Unlike the Mavic Air 2, which prioritized resolution over sensor size with features such as 48MP stills and 8K hyper-lapse modes, the Air 2S focuses on image quality. The Air 2S has a larger camera sensor with a lower resolution of 20MP, which outperforms the Mavic Air 2S. The AIR 2S captures high-quality images and videos with greater detail, less noise, lighter, and more of that lovely background blur. Here are some more features and specifications to help you decide whether this is the right unmanned aerial vehicle for you.
For starters, the DJI Air 2S is one of the smallest quadcopters on the market, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t capable. It has a 4K HD camera, ensuring that photos and videos are always stunning. The camera also includes various shooting modes, such as single shots, burst shooting, Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB), timed, SmartPhoto HDR, HyperLight, HDR Panorama, vertical, wide-angle, 180°, spherical, and RAW JPEG/DNG.
Next, since the fly-more combo comes with three intelligent batteries, you can always bring an extra charge when you want to fly it. This allows you to fly for more extended periods before recharging your batteries. The DJI Air 2S drone also includes a remote control to operate it with your smartphone or tablet. If your phone runs out of battery power while flying, you can use the DJI Smart Controller optimized for outdoor aerial photography.
Then, when we started taking photos and videos, we discovered that the fixed 22mm equivalent lens produced high-quality wide-angle stills and films. With its 3-axis gimbal and CMOS sensor, the Air 2S could also capture up to 4K HD video and 20MP stills. As we flew, the 4-direction obstacle avoidance kept the drone safe through manual flight and various preset settings and maneuvers. We were ecstatic to explore the 18.5 km of maximum control range that the drone provides, giving us more opportunities to shoot beautiful photos and videos.
As we continued to explore, we were cautious of the wind’s speed and strength because we wanted to see if we could go for 31 minutes on a single battery charge. We flew it at a maximum speed of 23 to 34 mph in light winds to get the most out of it. We also avoided all restricted areas and kept our maximum height at 400 feet for safety. The only drawback we found with the DJI Air 2S drone was that footage captured in 4K appeared cropped, and we could only use the MasterShots at a maximum resolution of 1080p. Also, we didn’t need to buy any more ND filters because our Fly-More package came with one.
We have listed and explained the AIR 2S features below to help you decide whether or not this drone is a good buy.
Before purchasing the Air 2S, we wanted a drone that would allow us to capture images and videos for an extended period. As a result, we ensured that the quadcopter’s battery we got had a reliable power supply. We chose the Air 2S because the Mavic 2 Intelligent Flight Battery keeps the drone charged for 31 minutes per battery. However, this is dependent on the speed at which you fly the drone and the strength of the wind.
Despite the drone’s proximity sensor, we continued to fly, avoiding any obstacles or interference because the quadcopter has a flight range of 18.5 kilometers. As we flew over our neighborhood, taking photos and videos, we realized that if we wanted to do something more serious, like film a movie or shoot an ad campaign, the DJI Air 2S would still allow us to do so.
The DJI Air 2S battery made flying this drone a worthwhile adventure. The Mavic 2 Intelligent Flight Battery is a high-energy LiPo 3S, the same battery as the Mavic Air 2. The DJI Intelligent Battery Management System charges the Mavic 2 Intelligent Flight Battery, which has a rated capacity of 40.42 Wh or 3500 mAh and a rated voltage of 11.55 volts at a maximum charging power of 38 W. The battery charges in an hour and 40 minutes and has a flight time of up to 31 minutes.
We only charged the Air 2S batteries when their temperatures were between 41- and 104-degrees Fahrenheit because the Mavic 2 intelligent batteries have a built-in temperature sensor when charging. We noticed that the DJI Air 2S’s 3-battery hub only charges one battery at a time, sequentially. The auto-discharge feature was a welcome relief because it allowed us to store our fully charged DJI Air 2S batteries without fear of damage. When the battery is idle, auto-discharge limits battery damage. A discharge reduces the battery to 96% charge on the first day, then to 60% over the next five days if the battery remains idle.
The Air 2S was easy to control with the same remote controlling Mavic Air 2 and Mini 2. However, it lacks external antennae. This presented a challenge when we wanted to attach a smartphone. Aside from the lack of external antennae, the 3-axis gimbal wheel, as well as tilt, roll, and pan controls, made it worthwhile to capture stunning 20MP photos and 4K HD videos.
As we shot videos and images, the sensor mechanism of the DJI Air 2S provided a precision measurement range of 0.38-23.8 m forward, 0.37-23.4 m backward, and 0.34-28.6 m upward. In addition, the drone had a single LED downward auxiliary light for controlling downwards, which helped with takeoff and landing in low-light conditions. A ToF measuring range of 0.1-8 m, a hovering range of 0.5-30 m, and a vision sensor hovering range of 0.5-60 m were also available for controlling downwards.
We covered 18.5 kilometers using OcuSync 3.0 transmission technology and an autopilot system that automatically avoids or flies around obstacles while capturing up to 4K HD footage. However, the drone lacked sensors on both the left and right sides, but it had four-way obstacle avoidance sensors on top.
The DJI Air 2S drone camera is designed to be simple, and it comes with an easy-to-use autopilot controller that makes flying the drone a breeze. With the press of a button on the controller, we captured images and videos. This allowed us to concentrate on getting the perfect shot while our drone’s autopilot technology took care of the navigation. We also enjoyed other camera specifications like the one-inch CMOS sensor camera, which can capture 20-megapixel still images or video in 4K HD. Additionally, the Air 2S camera has an ISO control range of 100-1600 for video and 100-12,800 for still images. It has a 60cm to infinity focus range, a full-frame equivalent focal length of 22mm, and a fixed aperture of f/2.8.
In terms of image quality, the fixed 22mm equivalent lens produced high-quality stills and filmed at wide-angle with ISO settings ranging from 100 to 3200 in automatic mode and 12800 in manual mode. We were able to shoot in RAW and JPEG for still photography. We used the zoom option to get closer to the action despite the fixed lens. However, the shots degraded in quality when we zoomed in more than 2X.
We shot in regular color profiles for videos, but D-Log (10 bit) for professional quality raw footage and HDR in HLG (10 bit) is still possible on this quadcopter. We were disappointed that 4K HD was not possible for rapid-moving footage, so we decided to shoot at 2.4K while driving. When we stopped moving, we captured 4K HD resolution amazing footage at lower frame rates of 24, 25, and 30 fps. Unfortunately, the quality was poor when we tried shooting 4K HD videos at frame rates ranging from 48 to 120 frames per second.
Another feature we liked was the Master Shots mode on the DJ Air 2S. We captured high-quality aerial images and videos of our adventure using three distinct methods. The Follow Me Mode enabled the drone to track our movements, the Orbit Mode to circle around a predetermined point, and the Gesture Mode to follow the actions of our hands. Then, with a single swipe, we filmed a sequence of pictures and edited them using a choice of preset-themed themes, as well as adding audio.
It has a frame that fits in the palm of our hand. We had to first register it before flying it because the Trusted SourceHow to Register Your Drone | Federal Aviation Administration All drones must be registered, except those that weigh 0.55 pounds or less (less than 250 grams) and are flown exclusively under the Exception for Recreational Flyers. www.faa.gov requires any drone weighing more than 250g to be registered.
The DJI Air 2S, with its compact size, is a dream come true for everyone who enjoys taking aerial photos and videos. It offers a wide range of capabilities that make it simple to fly and capture all content. But like any other drone, this one comes with its own set of dangers. We took a few steps to guarantee that we followed all safety and precautions when operating this drone. The first thing we did was learn about the rules and regulations governing drone use in our area. These differ by state or country, but they will tell you what you can and cannot do with the DJ Air 2S. For example, some states like Texas require you to be at least 16 years old to fly a drone. Also, quadcopters are prohibited in national parks and other protected areas unless specifically authorized by the government agency in charge.
Next, when flying the DJ Air 2S quadcopter outside, we carefully monitored the battery level and never flew anywhere near an airport or airfield. If you come across one while flying this drone outside, land it as far away from any people or buildings as possible. This is because of the possibility of other aircraft in flight, and flying a drone could disrupt their flight path. If you’re unsure where you can fly, look out for restricted zones online like Google Maps. Moreover, we never flew a DJ Air 2S drone near emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire engines, or police cars because they may respond to people in need of assistance. We did not want to infringe on anyone’s privacy. Also, we avoided flying within five miles of any federal facility.
We also took care not to fly too close to people or animals. We kept our quadcopter visible and avoided flying over anything that could be injured if the drone crashed into it. Also, we avoid flying our drones near private areas such as houses or apartments because this is an invasion of privacy, which is punishable by law in some states or countries. Furthermore, AirSense ADS-B receivers could identify and alert us of nearby helicopters and planes. Finally, we were always mindful of our surroundings. We made certain nothing, such as a tree branch, came into contact with the rotors, as this could damage them.
Since the Air 2S is one of DJI’s most recent models, you can expect it to last long due to its lightweight carbon fiber build. Carbon fiber will withstand the elements and continue to function for an extended period. Furthermore, the carbon fiber makes it easy to transport when you want to fly it. We had three-speed options while flying the Air 2S drone: N-mode, S-mode, and C mode. The S-mode provided higher speeds and greater agility, making it easier to fly indoors or outdoors without fear of colliding with trees or buildings due to excessive wind resistance.
Moreover, we liked the two GPS receivers, which might have allowed us to fly at altitudes of up to 16000 feet above sea level without losing control. However, the actual flight height we achieved with this quadcopter was 400 feet, which is the FAA’s Trusted SourceRecreational Drone Tips | US Forest Service Do not fly over congressionally designated wilderness areas or primitive areas as many people seek these places for the opportunities for solitude and quiet that they provide. www.fs.usda.gov for all drones. The flight lasted a maximum of 31 minutes on one battery. If we flew it in under 31 minutes, we didn’t have to worry about the battery power. We discovered that if the battery dropped below 15% or if we waited over 10 seconds before taking action, the drone would return to the Home Point. It also has an automatic landing feature to land safely when the battery gets too low. We were cautious when flying, considering the drone comes with a one-year warranty that does not cover the propellers. We wished DJI would cover propellers in their one-year warranty, at the very least, if they were damaged due to mechanical failure and proof could be provided.
The first thing we did was make sure that the propellers were not loose or unstable. We also ensured they didn’t protrude too far from the drone’s body and were all securely attached to their motors. We checked for cracks and made sure nothing was bent or distorted. Before putting the propellers in the drone’s hard case, we put them in a protective bag. We did this to protect the propellers and ensure they lasted as long as possible, as the drone’s one-year warranty does not cover the propellers. Then we gently placed the quadcopter in its bag. We made certain that the drone’s bag was secure and couldn’t be rattled as we drove away.
The DJI Air 2S costs $999 and includes only the drone, remote control, and one battery. However, if you want more value for money, the Fly-More combo at $1249 is the ideal option because it includes three intelligent flight batteries and a hard case shoulder bag that is waterproof, among others, as shown below.
The DJI Air 2S fly-more combo has the following features:
The DJI Air 2S is an excellent drone for beginners and experts. It’s simple to learn to fly, and it’s a lot of fun to use while shooting some incredible footage with its unique features. Overall, if you are looking for a quadcopter that can record fantastic footage, this DJI Air 2S review will show you why this drone will not disappoint.