DJI Avata Review.  The drone that ignites the desire to fly

DJI Avata Review. The drone that ignites the desire to fly

DJI today announced a new drone, the DJI Avata. We are facing the evolution of the DJI FPV launched last year, and we are also facing the funniest drone ever created by DJI.

We have said it several times, drone buyers are divided into two categories: those who buy the drone to take photos and videos, where the flight component takes a back seat, and those who buy it instead. because they want to have the modern version of the radio controlled plane. Drones like the DJI Mavic 3 or the Mini are exceptional, but they are flying cameras, the satisfaction transmitted to the pilot is linked only to the quality of the photos taken.

Avata was created to fill this void: in addition to photos and videos it also transmits to the pilot the desire and the pleasure of darting in the sky, putting his skills to the test. Avata has a price of “only” 579 euros but there is a trick: the low cost version is the one designed for those who already have a DJI FPV and therefore already have the viewer (old version) and the motion control remote control.

The drone alone costs 579 euros

The ready-to-fly version is called DJI Avata Pro-View Combo and it is available for 1439 € and includes DJI Avata, DJI Goggles 2 and DJI Motion Controller: to this should be added the classic Fly More Kit available for € 249 which includes two Intelligent Flight Batteries and a DJI Avata Battery Charging Station. The price of this fantastic toy for adults is likely to become prohibitive, and if you add the guarantee we are almost 2000 euros.

The content of the DJI Avata Pro-View Combo version

A problem, because anyone who tries to fly with the DJI Avata, the first two words they will say when they take off the viewer will be “I want it”: the flight system that virtually projects the pilot inside the drone, leading him to a guide in subjective, makes Avata’s guide really immediate, and it only takes a few minutes to understand that the learning curve is almost non-existent, on the third flight you feel like a professional pilot.

The DJI Avata video test

18 minutes of autonomy, but that’s enough

The heavy battery of the Avata, combined with the para-propellers useful for internal flight and to protect the drone from occasional small bumps while keeping it in flight, bring the weight of Avata to more than 400 grams. Avata is not a super light drone, and the weight over 250 grams without CE certification at the moment (it could arrive as it happened with the Mavic 3) put it in a sort of limbo.

Weight is obviously an obstacle to autonomy, with Avata reaching around 18 minutes. It is not a problem, on the contrary: Avata’s continuous flight, there are no breaks, gives the impression of having remained in flight longer than what happened with other drones with greater autonomy on paper, but with a longer flight. broken.

The drone is equipped with 20 GB of internal memory to be able to record even without a card, but it still has the card slot both in the viewer and on the drone itself, together with the Type C in a somewhat uncomfortable position, near a propeller. .

There are no side, top or front sensors: the only precautions are the two cameras with lower IR sensor that facilitate driving indoors, when there is no GPS signal, and help the drone to remain stationary.

Even the absence of sensors is not a big problem: the type of FPV driving makes them almost completely useless, and the only accident that can happen is a curve made by taking the wrong measurements or a risky slalom.

During our test flights we had some accidents, for example trying to pass at maximum speed in a space of about 40 cm, but the drone has always come out unscathed, with some scars on the outside, however replaceable. DJI, precisely because the accident is part of the flight experience, has also set up a turtle mode that automatically overturns the drone with a blow of the propellers if it falls backwards, on the side of the batteries.

Very comfortable viewer even for those who wear glasses

The new version of the DJI viewer for FPV drones that the company produced for Avata is light and really well made. Those who wear glasses will have no problems: there is both the dioptric adjustment and the intrapupillary adjustment.

The only note is related to the entrance from the sides of a little spurious light, but it obviously depends on the shape of the face. The viewer is not just a display, it is also the control system that integrates the antennas for O3, the DJI communication protocol based on Wi-Fi and capable of a transmission distance of about 10 km.

What amazed us is the stability of the connection even in the presence of thick walls: the video of the test, taken inside the MediaWorld of Milano Certosa, was done in a single flight without any problem between the ground floor and the second floor. The only note is a slight delay in the latency of the signal between one floor and another, latency that in standard conditions is almost non-existent, while with walls in the middle it has a few more milliseconds to calculate. You get used to it, and you learn to slightly anticipate the movement.

The two internal OLED displays return an incredibly sharp and detailed image, with all the information you need during the flight. There is also a practical side touch-pad for settings, the use of which however requires a small tutorial to learn the basic gestures.

The controls use a “Wii” style remote with a gyroscope: it is held in one hand and uses the movements of the wrist to impart direction. On the remote control there is a quick stop button to be pressed in an emergency, which blocks the flight.

Difficult to convey in words the feeling you get when driving Avata with the Motion Controller and the viewer, but it is something totally new, an immersed experience totally different from the one you can try using the classic controller. Controller that is still expected: Avata can be connected to the DJI FPV Remote Controller 2 which is a classic remote control already on sale on the DJI website.

On the video and photo side there is, mounted on the front gimbal, the classic 48 megapixel camera that DJI has already used on other drones. The sensor is a 1 / 1.7-inch CMOS with an ultra wide-angle f / 2.8 lens, with a viewing angle of up to 155 °. Taking advantage of the wide field of view you can record up to 4K / 60fps or up to 2.7K and 100fps, all with RockSteady stabilization.

Taking advantage of the stabilization that also blocks the horizon line, the picture narrows, a crop is inevitably made.

DJI is working to integrate the GyroFlow worflow into Avata, an opensource stabilization software very famous among drone enthusiasts: after the launch, a feature should be available that allows you to export the gyro data to be fed, together with the file, to Gyroflow to further improve digital stabilization. Furthermore, thanks to the lens profile, it will be possible to correct the barrel deformation of the super wide.

A unique drone. Too bad for the limitations and the price

DJI Avata truly makes rediscover the joy of flying. Wearing the headset, and enjoying the flight from Avata’s perspective is something priceless. The flight system also breaks down any kind of psychological obstacle that can exist when driving a drone: if a traditional drone requires attention, Avata has a very fast learning curve and in a few flights you will be able to do real stunts without ever having the feeling of having come close to doing something dangerous.

The movies that can be made with Avata, all in a single take, are impossible today to make with another drone, not even for a professional: thanks to the viewer and the remote control with gyroscope you can move at very high speed in really narrow spaces. The problem is still the price: Avata is a very expensive toy, and between Fly More Combo and Care Refresh, the drone insurance, you can even spend 2000 euros for the complete product.

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