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Initial impressions: Costco US$1299 MPP+goggles

What type of recreational flying matters most to you?

  • FPV "flight seeing", simulated flying experience, above trees and structures

    Votes: 5 35.7%
  • Sports uses, e.g. active tracking while biking, racing, around trees and obstacles

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Video creation, montages, dronies

    Votes: 9 64.3%

  • Total voters
    14

KeithLa

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#1
First timer here, picked up Costco's spring 2018 Mavic Platinum Pro (MPP) with DJI Goggles US$1299 bundle last week at my local store, and subsequently read/watched reviews to decide whether 1) it's a good deal, and 2) would I prefer the smaller/smarter/cheaper Mavic Air (MA), as suggested by many of the latest reviews.

TLDR: Costco bundle is a good deal for several reasons. Anyone most interested in FPV "flight-seeing" should choose MPP. Choose MA for the coolest dronies, sports videos (e.g. mtn biking), long hiking/backpacking, or drone racing.

Below is my newbie Mavic buyer thought process -- again, only three days in -- I thought I'd share now, in case it's useful to other newbies making this evaluation.

On question #1, Costco deal: Yes, Costco's bundle is a solid deal, even vs. DJI's Fly More Combo, esp. if you're willing to try decently reviewed third-party accessories on Amazon, at substantially lower costs than DJI accessories.

Quick math: DJI's MPP Fly More & Goggles combo is currently $1,698, vs. my $1423 Costco total with WA state sales tax. On Amazon, that $275 savings can purchase two addtl third-party MP batteries ($118), car charger ($17), charging hub ($20), and low-noise propellers ($15), and still have nearly $90+ to spend towards insurance and accessories. Not to mention, Costco bundle includes the DJI Sling Bag ($79) large enough for drone + RC + goggles, and propeller guard ($15).

Also importantly, Costco's 90-day return is valuable to having enough hands-on time to decide on MPP vs. MA, and whether DJI Goggles are worth owning. By comparison, I believe DJI online return is only 7 days, and Fry's Electronics won't return any open box drone.

Question #2 -- MPP vs. MA -- has been a much harder question to answer based just on written and YouTube reviews, since it really requires hands-on and goggles-on with both products to compare capabilities, and contemplating what type of flying matters most to you. So far, none of the comparison reviews I've seen have been adequately in-depth (or even accurate, frankly). It took several hours yesterday comparing MPP flight modes and goggles experience alongside a friend and his Mavic Air to get a clear understanding of the real user experience differences, vs. spec on papers.

---------------
1) FPV Experience: DJI Goggles are *much* more interesting with MPP/MP, for some key reasons that aren't super clear in the reviews I've seen.

First and foremost, you can steer MP with head movement in DJI's "Fixed Wing Mode" (airplane experience simulation), and look around with full directional camera control (Head Tracking Gimbal) and aircraft rotation (Head Tracking Flight). In comparison, MA head tracking is limited to up/down gimbal only, no left/right, and no Fixed Wing Mode. So the MA goggles experience is essentially bigger screen video, vs. simulated flying experience on MP/MPP.

Another important MA limitation: There's no simultaneous smartphone video feed, so you can't safely pilot while someone else enjoys the FPV goggle view.

I believe but would need to confirm that MPP/MP's wireless Ocusync connection delivers higher resolution video streams (1080P?) to DJI Goggles, vs. MA's wired USB connection (720P?).

Thus, if FPV flight-seeing with friends and family is your most desired flying experience, as it is for me (I think), you'll want an MPP, assuming you enjoy the DJI Goggles experience at all (fyi, they do pose focus challenges for 40+ year old eyes, addressable with reading glasses or pop-in lenses)

For further reasons mentioned below, MA seems more optimized for sports uses, like active tracking (e.g. mountain biking) and drone racing.

---------------
2) Noise: Based on reviews alone, I was uncertain whether noise mattered to me, esp. given the small difference in absolute decibels. But in person, the MPP is definitely easier on the ears, not just in loudness but also pitch. The oft-cited "swarm of angry bees" description is spot on for MA, esp. loud at selfie height, and still weed-whacker distracting at typical video and 100-200ft flight-seeing heights. In comparison, MPP is loud but tolerable even at selfie height, more of a loud buzz/whirr than whine/screech, a lot less noticeable 100ft directly overhead, barely noticeable at horizontal distance.

No doubt, I'll feel much less self-conscious flying MPP around neighbors, hikers, boaters, beach goers, etc.

--------------
3) Gesture Control: Flying a close-in MA with only hand gestures is "Jedi mind trick" fun MP/MPP can't do. Impressive to demo, but I can't think of any new use scenarios it creates vs. using the DJI mobile app to position selfies. And on all models, you still need the app to initiate the more useful QuickCapture modes like Dronie, Rocket, Helix, etc.

--------------
4) Obstacle Avoidance: MA has clear tech advantage with rear sensors and intelligence to fly over obstacles, vs. just stop in front of them. If you're low altitude flying or auto-tracking in forested trails or around structures, you'll want the MA (just note, various video review crashes demonstrate it's not infallible). But if your flying interest is more flight-seeing above trees and buildings, I don't see MA's extra obstacle avoidance as of big value, except infrequent space constrained landing and QuickCapture situations.

--------------
5) Size/portability: As a frequent traveler, I've agonized on this factor the most. No doubt, MA packs up smaller and lighter than MP. But, that's mostly in a relative sense -- on absolute comparison, folded MPP is still impressively compact, and its' extra weight is more an issue when packing multiple spare batteries. So I'd say MA's smaller size/weight is optimal for long hikes or biking with other gear in tow, but no substantive advantage for easy hiking, driving, or packing a suitcase to your drone flying destinations. That said, like choosing your smartphone or laptop, this is a highly subjective, personal preference.
--------------

All of above notwithstanding, after more hands/goggle-on flight time, esp. after getting proficient with FPV Fixed Wing Mode. I may feel differently about these pros/cons within a few weeks, or after packing the MPP on a trip. I'll update this thread along the way with any new thoughts.

I'd especially love to hear what others FPV experiences with the goggles.
 
Last edited:

Merestone

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#2
After flying a couple commercial missions for 2D mapping and producing video for the client, I wish I had the goggles during the video effort. Framing film shots on a smart phone or iPad is difficult in bright sunlight. The goggles eliminate that difficulty.
Plus, you can always use the DJI goggles for X-Box or PS4 immersive gaming, or watching movies if you like. (HDMI link)
I think the goggles are a good purchase that offer many uses beyond UAV use.
And the goggles work well with my 55 year old eyes. :)

The Costco bundle is OK. If you shop AMAZON close enough, you can almost put together the same bundle for the same cost.
 
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KeithLa

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#3
Hi Merestone, thanks for commenting, glad to hear you like the DJI Goggles. I need to get my focus issues addressed (with some pop-in lenses, hopefully) and get some real FPV Fixed Wing flying time in before I'm certain they're for me, but so far I'd say they definitely enhance the experience, esp. with head tracking.

I'm with you re: cost, and I'd say there really aren't discounts to be had anywhere on new Mavic aircraft and goggles (vs. new and refurb), generally. The real advantage of the Costco bundle is "no risk instant gratification" due to the 90 return policy, which I think is totally unique. Costco members ready to buy a MPP + goggles shouldn't worry that the DJI Fly More Combo is a much better deal -- so go get some value from that Costco membership fee. :)
 
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twood20

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#4
Thanks for the write up. I posted about the deal before I came across your post. The deal at Costco is now $1199.99 and I've been agonizing over MPP vs MA. You made a lot of good points that are relevant to me. One thing that you made me consider though is the fact that I own a P4 that I could use for "flying high" and use the MA for fun stuff while hiking and doing other sports activities. Although with the minimal flight time of the MA I'd need a slew of batteries which could void the small, portable, and easy to mobilize factor. I'm definitely leaning hard towards getting the Costco deal and trying it out first hand. Again thanks for the write up.
 
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KeithLa

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#5
@twood20 THANK YOU for that heads up about the $100 reduction, that temporary "manufacturer savings" is also available at the Costco where I purchased, so they said they'll give me the price adjustment at the customer service desk, before 6/17 (corrected date) expiration. Woo hoo!

I'm happy my post was relevant to you. Now two weeks in, with 4 hrs / 33 flights since my purchase, I'll add that I'm thoroughly convinced MPP is right for me, vs. Mavic Air. Its low noise/low pitch is as nice as I hoped, very non-intrusive around peaceful park goers and my neighbors (I'd even say barely noticeable).

Also as I'd hoped, Ocusync enabling others to wear DJI Goggles while I pilot from the DJI Go 4 app has been a lot of fun, something I'll be doing lots more of with interested friends and family, I'm sure.

I'm actually enjoying DJI Goggles more and more as I get comfortable flying. They're a little daunting extra complexity to deal with during the initial steep learning curve as a new drone pilot. But they absolutely give me the sensation of being up in the sky, even to the point of being viscerally exhilarating.

Let us know what you do!
 
Last edited:

KeithLa

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#6
Also re: battery life, nearly all of my flights have been intentionally short, but I can mention my longest so far is 19m18s, starting 97% ending 23%. I actually would have felt comfortable going several min longer, since on this day I was flying very close range in a large open field. But as a general rule, I'll aim to land with >25% battery, esp. since I've read that's healthiest for LiPo batteries.

I'm not sure what Mavic Air owners report for their longest (safe) flight durations, curious to know.
 
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twood20

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#7
Also re: battery life, nearly all of my flights have been intentionally short, but I can mention my longest so far is 19m18s, starting 97% ending 23%. I actually would have felt comfortable going several min longer, since on this day I was flying very close range in a large open field. But as a general rule, I'll aim to land with >25% battery, esp. since I've read that's healthiest for LiPo batteries.

I'm not sure what Mavic Air owners report for their longest (safe) flight durations, curious to know.
The 19-25 minutes of flight time is acceptable to me. I've been seeing and hearing real world times for MA is around 12-15 minutes...not good enough for me.
 
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KeithLa

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#8
Had a fun time this evening handing DJI Goggles around to six friends with Head Tracking Flight mode (full 360 horiz and vertical FPV), while I monitored and controlled altitude on DJI Go 4 screen.

Again, that's a goggles scenario not available with MA, due to its lack of OcuSync direct link.
 
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GavieboyDji

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#9
First timer here, picked up Costco's spring 2018 Mavic Platinum Pro (MPP) with DJI Goggles US$1299 bundle last week at my local store, and subsequently read/watched reviews to decide whether 1) it's a good deal, and 2) would I prefer the smaller/smarter/cheaper Mavic Air (MA), as suggested by many of the latest reviews.

TLDR: Costco bundle is a good deal for several reasons. Anyone most interested in FPV "flight-seeing" should choose MPP. Choose MA for the coolest dronies, sports videos (e.g. mtn biking), long hiking/backpacking, or drone racing.

Below is my newbie Mavic buyer thought process -- again, only three days in -- I thought I'd share now, in case it's useful to other newbies making this evaluation.

On question #1, Costco deal: Yes, Costco's bundle is a solid deal, even vs. DJI's Fly More Combo, esp. if you're willing to try decently reviewed third-party accessories on Amazon, at substantially lower costs than DJI accessories.

Quick math: DJI's MPP Fly More & Goggles combo is currently $1,698, vs. my $1423 Costco total with WA state sales tax. On Amazon, that $275 savings can purchase two addtl third-party MP batteries ($118), car charger ($17), charging hub ($20), and low-noise propellers ($15), and still have nearly $90+ to spend towards DJI Care Refresh ($129). Not to mention, Costco bundle includes the DJI Sling Bag ($79) large enough for drone + RC + goggles, and propeller guard ($15).

Also importantly, Costco's 90-day return is valuable to having enough hands-on time to decide on MPP vs. MA, and whether DJI Goggles are worth owning. By comparison, I believe DJI online return is only 7 days, and Fry's Electronics won't return any open box drone.

Question #2 -- MPP vs. MA -- has been a much harder question to answer based just on written and YouTube reviews, since it really requires hands-on and goggles-on with both products to compare capabilities, and contemplating what type of flying matters most to you. So far, none of the comparison reviews I've seen have been adequately in-depth (or even accurate, frankly). It took several hours yesterday comparing MPP flight modes and goggles experience alongside a friend and his Mavic Air to get a clear understanding of the real user experience differences, vs. spec on papers.

---------------
1) FPV Experience: DJI Goggles are *much* more interesting with MPP/MP, for some key reasons that aren't super clear in the reviews I've seen.

First and foremost, you can steer MP with head movement in DJI's "Fixed Wing Mode" (airplane experience simulation), and look around with full directional camera control (Head Tracking Gimbal) and aircraft rotation (Head Tracking Flight). In comparison, MA head tracking is limited to up/down gimbal only, no left/right, and no Fixed Wing Mode. So the MA goggles experience is essentially bigger screen video, vs. simulated flying experience on MP/MPP.

Another important MA limitation: There's no simultaneous smartphone video feed, so you can't safely pilot while someone else enjoys the FPV goggle view.

I believe but would need to confirm that MPP/MP's wireless Ocusync connection delivers higher resolution video streams (1080P?) to DJI Goggles, vs. MA's wired USB connection (720P?).

Thus, if FPV flight-seeing with friends and family is your most desired flying experience, as it is for me (I think), you'll want an MPP, assuming you enjoy the DJI Goggles experience at all (fyi, they do pose focus challenges for 40+ year old eyes, addressable with reading glasses or pop-in lenses)

For further reasons mentioned below, MA seems more optimized for sports uses, like active tracking (e.g. mountain biking) and drone racing.

---------------
2) Noise: Based on reviews alone, I was uncertain whether noise mattered to me, esp. given the small difference in absolute decibels. But in person, the MPP is definitely easier on the ears, not just in loudness but also pitch. The oft-cited "swarm of angry bees" description is spot on for MA, esp. loud at selfie height, and still weed-whacker distracting at typical video and 100-200ft flight-seeing heights. In comparison, MPP is loud but tolerable even at selfie height, more of a loud buzz/whirr than whine/screech, a lot less noticeable 100ft directly overhead, barely noticeable at horizontal distance.

No doubt, I'll feel much less self-conscious flying MPP around neighbors, hikers, boaters, beach goers, etc.

--------------
3) Gesture Control: Flying a close-in MA with only hand gestures is "Jedi mind trick" fun MP/MPP can't do. Impressive to demo, but I can't think of any new use scenarios it creates vs. using the DJI mobile app to position selfies. And on all models, you still need the app to initiate the more useful QuickCapture modes like Dronie, Rocket, Helix, etc.

--------------
4) Obstacle Avoidance: MA has clear tech advantage with rear sensors and intelligence to fly over obstacles, vs. just stop in front of them. If you're low altitude flying or auto-tracking in forested trails or around structures, you'll want the MA (just note, various video review crashes demonstrate it's not infallible). But if your flying interest is more flight-seeing above trees and buildings, I don't see MA's extra obstacle avoidance as of big value, except infrequent space constrained landing and QuickCapture situations.

--------------
5) Size/portability: As a frequent traveler, I've agonized on this factor the most. No doubt, MA packs up smaller and lighter than MP. But, that's mostly in a relative sense -- on absolute comparison, folded MPP is still impressively compact, and its' extra weight is more an issue when packing multiple spare batteries. So I'd say MA's smaller size/weight is optimal for long hikes or biking with other gear in tow, but no substantive advantage for easy hiking, driving, or packing a suitcase to your drone flying destinations. That said, like choosing your smartphone or laptop, this is a highly subjective, personal preference.
--------------

All of above notwithstanding, after more hands/goggle-on flight time, esp. after getting proficient with FPV Fixed Wing Mode. I may feel differently about these pros/cons within a few weeks, or after packing the MPP on a trip. I'll update this thread along the way with any new thoughts.

I'd especially love to hear what others FPV experiences with the goggles.
You forgot to say about transmission ocusync. When you've been flying with the mpp ocusync and then go back to using standard spark and air WiFi you'll never want to go back. The connection on the pro to the controller is what persuaded me to go with the pro.
 
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KeithLa

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#10
@GavieboyDji, is it a range reliability advantage you're referring to?

I didn't get into that because I don't have hands on experience on that comparison, though anecdotally, my friend mentioned experiencing signal issues with his MA, and I don't think he's been attempting particularly long distance flights.

But for sure, OcuSync is what enables those FPV goggle advantages I described.
 

twood20

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#12
Had a fun time this evening handing DJI Goggles around to six friends with Head Tracking Flight mode (full 360 horiz and vertical FPV), while I monitored and controlled altitude on DJI Go 4 screen.

Again, that's a goggles scenario not available with MA, due to its lack of OcuSync direct link.
Allowing friends to experience the aerial perspective with the goggles isn't something I had initially considered but is now definitely an added fun factor that makes the MPP more appealing. Have you used the goggles for anything like gaming or watching video from a streaming device like an Apple TV(anyone know if this is possible)?
 

KeithLa

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#13
FWIW, here's my own custom accessories bundle, purchased separately from Amazon, total cost $226 including sales tax. After my $100 price adjustment from Costco's promotion (available til 6/17), my total gear cost is US$1,549.

That's $150 savings vs. $1,698 for DJI's MPP+Goggles Fly More combo, and I wound up with more and better accessories, incl. DJI sling bag (fits goggles + MPP + batteries), prop guards, landing pad, 64GB microSD (U3 speed class), sunshade, and four filter set.

Note, these are third party batteries, a $60 savings for two vs. DJI brand.
 

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Mossiback

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#14
Just be wary that the goggles can give you "tunnel vision" where you are only seeing what the camera sees, not the rest of the airspace. Its great you are having fun. I am still amazed after a year of flying.
 

twood20

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#15
FWIW, here's my own custom accessories bundle, purchased separately from Amazon, total cost $226 including sales tax. After my $100 price adjustment from Costco's promotion (available til 6/17), my total gear cost is US$1,549.

That's $150 savings vs. $1,698 for DJI's MPP+Goggles Fly More combo, and I wound up with more and better accessories, incl. DJI sling bag (fits goggles + MPP + batteries), prop guards, landing pad, 64GB microSD (U3 speed class), sunshade, and four filter set.

Note, these are third party batteries, a $60 savings for two vs. DJI brand.
That info is valuable. Was that part of a bundle on Amazon or you found each item separately? Looks like it's from the same manufacturer. I will definitely need accessories.
 

twood20

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#16
Just be wary that the goggles can give you "tunnel vision" where you are only seeing what the camera sees, not the rest of the airspace. Its great you are having fun. I am still amazed after a year of flying.
I think I'll primarily use my goggles for friends and to watch movies or streaming videos. I'm sure I'll sport the goggles myself from time to time in wide open spaces.
 

KeithLa

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#17
That info is valuable. Was that part of a bundle on Amazon or you found each item separately? Looks like it's from the same manufacturer. I will definitely need accessories.
No not a bundle, I read reviews and ordered each separately. Can't vouch for quality just yet, but that charging hub seems to work fine so far. The batteries click into the MPP securely and activate in DJI Go app, and I've made a couple short flights with one.
 
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twood20

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#18
No not a bundle, I read reviews and ordered each separately. Can't vouch for quality just yet, but that charging hub seems to work fine so far. The batteries click into the MPP securely and activate in DJI Go app, and I've made a couple short flights with one.
Keep us posted man. If it's good stuff I'll follow your lead.
 
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#19
@KeithLa Great post!
Helped untangle the MPP vs MA vs MP2(?) confusion - 90 day return policy FTW! With a Costco close by, its nice to be unboxing tonight as opposed to another weekend speculating about a possible MP2 release date.
 

KeithLa

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#20
@KeithLa Great post!
Helped untangle the MPP vs MA vs MP2(?) confusion - 90 day return policy FTW! With a Costco close by, its nice to be unboxing tonight as opposed to another weekend speculating about a possible MP2 release date.
@benz0 I'm glad my post was relevant for you -- though I had to go search "FTW" for this context, because I've only known it's *other* abbreviation! :-O