DJI Air 2S Review
A Drone To Please Them All
Keeping up with current technology is a great way to future-proof your business, as you never know what will be the next big thing. And one of the most popular tech industries in latest years has been drones.
|Dimensions||3.3 by 3.8 by 7.1 inches|
|Integrated Camera||Integrated with Gimbal|
|Media Format||Internal, microSDXC|
|Remote||Dedicated with App|
- Video at up to 5.4K quality
- Robust safety features
- Obstacle detection and avoidance
- Automated camera shots
- 8GB internal storage isn't much
- Remote doesn't include EV control wheel
- App-based editing limited to 1080p output
- HDR HLG workflow for pros only
The best DJI Air 2S deals
Table of Content
The Drone For Every Need
These little flying machines can be fantastic for personal use if you’re going on a trip and want to have amazing footage to show your friends and family, or you can use drones as professional equipment for your business.
And we’re not talking only about photographers/videographers only because with drones, the possibilities are endless in industries like real estate, web commercials, and promotional videos.
If you’re thinking about getting your foot in the door of the drone industry, it is one of the best times to do so, as the market is thriving. The problem is the incredibly vast choice available to the consumer, as there are a lot of different drones for different needs and price ranges.
However, one particular drone fits most people’s needs, and that is the DJI Air 2S. The 2S is a people’s favourite all-around drone, and although the name suggests that it’s only an incremental upgrade to the older Air 2, there is a lot of innovation on this little drone.
The biggest improvements of the 2S are the camera, which captures one of the crispiest and most beautiful photos and videos. The DJI 2S rivals cameras of drones at a much higher price range, and many professionals use the 2S as their main working tool for jaw-dropping footage.
But enough with the fluff. Let’s look at the DJI Air 2S in depth.
It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles you put on a drone, the main appeal of the Air 2S is its camera.
The drone has a 1-inch CMOS sensor with a focal length of 22mm, a fixed f/2.8 aperture, and an 88° field of view. The sensor is large, and a larger sensor means more detailed photos. Keep in mind that this is the first time ever that a drone has a 1-inch sensor with a cost below $1000, and it’s a big deal because machines with a camera similar to the 2S are priced no less than $1500.
Let’s not forget the megapixels, as the Air 2S has enough to spare. With its 20MP sensor, the camera can capture photos in both JPEG and RAW and comes with various photography modes such as burst, AEB, panorama, and SmartPhoto that allow you to capture optimized images in HDR without needing to process them.
Still images appear a bit softer at the edges if we compare them with its competitor Mavic 2 Pro, but the most significant change has to be the high ISO noise handling of the Air 2S. Images shot at ISO 3200 are incredibly clean for a drone, and you’ll think you shot that picture with a professional camera. The noise starts to become noticeable only at around ISO 6400. The noise canceling happens because a real-time temporal denoising technology is applied to pictures when you take them.
As for videos, the Air 2S can reach resolutions of 5.4K at 30 FPS or 4K at up to 60FPS. But there’s a catch here, if you use the 4K 60FPS function, you don’t get to use the full sensor width, and it crops pretty heavily into the frame. So if you’re shooting a video of wide landscapes, you better avoid the 4K 60FPS function and go a bit lower to have the best quality image.
This doesn’t mean that 4k 60FPS landscape shots look bad, they’re still vibrant and crisp. The DJI Air 2 also offers digital zoom when shooting videos that can go up to 6X, depending on your shooting resolution.
For example, shooting in 4K gives you a maximum zoom of 4X because once you get to that point, you will not want to push any further as the image quality lowers significantly. The 2X zoom already is a pretty noticeable downgrade in sharpness, imagine 4X and further.
Another flaw that the videos of the 2S have is a rolling shutter effect. When you’re flying around with your drone pretty quickly, the edges and background of your subject get quite jittery. You’ll notice this, especially when using the popular Quickshot mode that all DJI drones have.
Speaking of Quickshots, it’s an intelligent feature that most DJI drone users know and love. One of the best things you can do with your drone is fly it around and shoot mind-blowing selfies to share with your friends and family, and the Quickshot mode makes it easy. All the complicated flying motions are automatic in this mode. You sit back and let the mini drone do everything for you. Quickshots will make your drone fly automatically in a spiral (HELIX) and will launch it rapidly in the sky (ROCKET) or a circle (CIRCLE.)
Other than Quickshots, you also have another great mode called MasterShots on the 2S. This new mode sounds great on paper and produces an interesting final result. But at the end of the day, it showcases all the QuickShots in a single video.
Regarding video modes, the Air 2S also has an upgraded FocusTrack mode, which includes several programmed modes where you draw a box around the subject, and the drone tracks it. Plus, there’s Spotlight 2.0, where you control the drone’s flight while the camera locks and tracks the subject you selected in the frame.
The DJI 2S also has an internal memory capacity of 8GB, which is an upgrade compared to other DJI models in the same price range or lower, but still not nearly enough if you plan on recording HD or 4K videos.
The DJI Fly app software is always a solid option, and why many love DJI‘s products. With the DJI Fly app, you can fly the drone, capture images/videos, and even edit and share them with the tap of a few buttons. The app’s interface has a simple and intuitive design, making navigation through it a piece of cake even for beginners.
Beginners are also going to find a lot of free guides provided by the DJI software that’ll help even the least tech-savvy pilot fly like a pro in a few minutes.
A 3-axis gimbal stabilizes the camera with a controllable tilt range of -90° – 24°, although the pan axis is unfortunately not controllable. A 3-axis gimbal means that any movement of shakiness is counteracted – resulting in smooth and sharp images and videos. It’s pretty common for drones to have gimbals but what you should look for is 3-axis gimbals, as most lower-range drones have only 2-axis ones.
Design and Controller
Speaking of design, the DJI Air 2S is one of the company’s best projects. The dimensions of the 2S are 183x253x77mm (unfolded) and 180x97x80mm (folded).
By making it possible to fold the drone into a palm-sized tool, it easily fits in your backpack, and you can virtually take it anywhere with ease. Like its predecessors, the Air 2S top arms fold outward, while the bottom ones pivot down and out to fold the drone in a quadcopter shape.
As you would expect from DJI, the Air 2S also has a sturdy controller. It’s a large and chunky controller but also extremely practical. It’s easier to grip than its predecessors, and the phone holder is much sturdier and less likely to mess with the buttons up the sides. Plus, if you have a larger smartphone, it will be easier to fit it in.
Another great addition to the controller is that there are no longer “rabbit ear” antennas that must be flipped up and facing the correct way. The new dual-purpose antennas and smartphone holder are lightyears ahead of the older controllers.
The Air 2S isn’t the lightest drone at 595g, but considering the amazing camera it equips, it’s not even that heavy.
Flight and Stability
Flying with the DJI Air 2S is extremely easy and safe, thanks to the flight features for which the Mavic series have become famous.
So don’t worry whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast in the drone industry or just a beginner as the flight modes, automated video modes, collision avoidance, and manual flight control provide as little or as much assistance as you want.
In terms of stability and safety, the 2S provides front, rear, bottom, and top obstacle sensors that use binocular zooming technology to recognize objects from further away when traveling at higher speeds. To top that, you also have an option called Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 4.0 that stops the drone or makes it fly automatically under or over obstacles when detected.
One more safety feature the 2S has is AirSense. This feature uses ADS-B aviation technology to get signals from nearby planes and helicopters and displays their location on the map. Then there’s also the GEO 2.0 geofencing system, which helps you keep the drone away from dangerous locations, such as airports.
All in all, the DJI Air 2S is incredibly safe to fly, and you’d have to try hard to crash or damage it mid-flight.
The official max range of the DJI Air 2S is amazing. Officially, without obstacles in the way and no wind, the Air 2S can fly up to 12km from you. You probably won’t need to fly your drone so far away from you, but it’s still a useful feature to have.
Flight speed is not bad, as you can reach 68kph (42.5 mph) in Sport mode and can endure winds of up to 38 kph (23 mph.) The Air 2S is quick.
The maximum flight time of the Air 2S is 31 minutes, which is impressive if you factor in how small its batteries are and how potent the camera is. But you can easily upgrade the battery life with the Fly More Combo. This Combo gives you additional batteries so you can fly your drone for more than 31 minutes.
DJI Air 2S Fly More Combo
The batteries in the 2S are pretty lackluster, and if you plan on using the drone for long periods, we suggest the Fly More Combo upgrade.
Extra batteries are always a good idea, and the Fly More Combo provides you with more than just a few extra batteries. You’ll get a charging hub to charge all three batteries simultaneously, plus a little case with four neutral-density filters. These filters attach to the front of the camera and offer various features to reduce harsh light and highlights.
Of course, the Combo does not come cheap, at a cost of almost $300, you need to figure out whether you actually need it or not. But if you fly your drone around for longer periods, it’s likely a great upgrade.
The DJI Air 2S goes for $999 on Amazon at the moment of writing this article, which, considering all its features, is a bargain. The camera equipped on the 2S is alone worth it as you usually find such high-quality cameras on drones of $1500 and above.
One of the best alternatives to the DJI Air 2S is its predecessor, the DJI Mavic Air 2.
If you’re looking to save a bit of money but still want great camera quality, the Mavic Air 2 may be a great alternative. The Mavic and the 2S look very close aesthetically, but there’s a huge disparity in the cameras of these two drones.
The sensor on the Mavic is a 1/2 -inch CMOS as opposed to the 1-inch sensor on the 2S. A smaller sensor is a big deal. In fact, the Mavic can only shoot videos at up to 4K 60FPS. The image quality of the 2S is better and more detailed overall. The Air 2S is significantly better with night shots, and landscape shots are much crisper and vividly coloured.
Besides the camera, obstacle avoidance is superior on the 2S, with four-directional sensing on the 2S and just three-dimensional sensing on the Mavic. Also, the 2s features the newest APAS 4.0, allowing the drone to dodge any obstacle autonomously. The Mavic, unfortunately, lacks these features and has the older generation with the APAS 3.0. The DJI Air 2S also offers multiple intelligent features for creators that the Mavic lacks. One of them is MasterShots, the direct evolution of Quickshots.
As for range and maximum speed, we’re looking at approximately the same numbers for both drones, but there’s a catch. The 2S has a much better transmission system with the O3 feature. O3 and better antennas double the omnidirectional final reception, which is critical when flying a drone to keep it safe.
So, in the end, it boils down to price, as it’s the only real advantage that the Mavic has over the 2S. The Air 2S beats the Mavic in almost every category, but if you have a budget under $999, the Mavic may be the better option for you.
As you can see from the review, the overall final thoughts are positive. From the price of the drone to the build quality to the amazing cameras, the Air 2S is an incredible drone for both professionals and beginners.
The DJI Air 2S is arguably one of the better drones currently out, especially if you factor in the price-to-impressive specs ratio.