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Mavic Pro Platinum versus Mavic Air 1

jarnie

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Hello

I had made up my mind and just about to purchase a Mavic Air (1) COMBO when I noticed the same retailer advertising the Mavic Pro Platinum (not a combo) for the SAME PRICE.

I think I know as much as there is to know about the Mavic Air (1) but know little about the Pro Platinum so checked out Youtube videos and did find a couple of comparison videos but thought I would would here with owners of the Pro Platinum.
I realise the Air combo comes with 3 batteries and the Pro Platinum only comes with one battery but someone suggested that the Pro Platinum has a battery 'life' of around 30 minutes and the Air around 20 minutes and so the need to change battery is minimal.
A disadvantage of the Pro what I noticed is that when it detects an obstacle it will not attempt to fly around it but just stop and hover whereas the Air will attempt to fly around the obstacle.
Also the Pro is QUIETER than the AIR (1) which apparently is a noisy drone.
There were other differences I won't go into.
Obviously the Air (1) is an old model (being replaced by the Air 2) but what about the Pro Platinum?

Please note that apart from a cheap toy grade drone with a 5 minute battery life I am relatively new to drones.

Does anyone want to 'weigh in' regarding the differences and make a suggestion?

Please note that I intend to create a thread in the Mavic Pro Platinum forum in case someone reads this there who doesn't ready this forum.

John
 

slup

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It's not hard to find comparisons between the MA1 & MP/MPP ... most of them dated back to 2018 when the MA1 was released though.

Here is just 3 out of the pile ...




So mainly all depends ... as all reviews say ... all roughly boils down to 3 (4) main things.

- Portability
- Transmission range
- Battery life

- And what's most valued by you ...

In my case ...

I bought a used MA1 with only 5h flight time with a lot extras a year ago ... as a first drone. It's always served me extremely well totally without any oddities. As it's equal flight worthy as all other bigger DJI drones & can withstand strong winds, it was forgiving in my early learning days before I was thinking of weather as a risk factor, it gave me enough warning signs to make me open my eyes to the risk but had enough grunt to come back & I wasn't forced to learn the hard way as all Mini first timers. It's a sports car though & fricking agile ... so risk wise, low height flight in Sport mode should be handled with care.

Now a year later, I've still not regretted my choice ... I now know that Occusync is way better then enhanced WiFi as the MA1 have, but that doesn't have any impact on my use. I'm a still photo guy & never try to fly 3-5km to get my usually planned shot ... I position myself close & then launch. The most important when it comes to transmission is for both systems an unobstructed line of sight, get thing's in between the RC & AC & you lose the connection no matter the system. Yeah, I've flown in urban city areas with alot of interfering WiFi networks ... but I would never try to access a city center from 3km distance due to the greater risk, instead launch in the close vicinity to take my shoot & that have always worked. Distance flying can be fun in it self ... but it's not according to the regulations & haven't any practical use in it self. On my MA1 I use the FCC hack & that gives me 1000m in my sub-urban neighborhood, after that I usually lose LOS with some house roofs or trees in between even at maximum height of 120m ... so I doubt that Occusync would manage so much more. In rural areas with LOS the whole time the distance ends up between 2700-4000m, but again no practical use in this.

So with all this said about transmission & distances ... what I come to value most is the outstanding portability for the MA1. Often carry it with me when I'm out hiking in the forrest, never bring the remote. This as nearly all stills/vids I then take will be close to me & it's sufficient to hook up my plain mobile & get 50m height & 100m distance ... or just take a close selfie like shot with use of Smart capture (maneuver the MA1 with my hands).

Pretty fast after I bought the MA1 I purchased a fourth battery ... this made my drone sessions last for 1,5-2h including all fiddling besides being in the air, this have been fully sufficient for me so far.

So when they launched the MA2 recently ... I thought a bit about my next step & why I wanted a next step. I came to the conclusion that I probably will keep my MA1 due to portability reasons even if I upgrade ... & if I go for a second drone it would be for a much, much better low light capability still shot camera. So all in all I'm still pleased with my decision to go with the MA1 & had probably been equal satisfied with a MP/MPP if I would have walked that route (even though I'm always becomes nervous when I'm seeing that dangling & unprotected gimbal :D ) The difference is that I would never have considered keeping a MP/MPP when going for an upgrade, with a MA1 ... it will still serve duty when portability is everything.
 
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jarnie

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What an excellent reply (for me) so thanks for taking the time.
Portability is important to me and the MA1 is nearly half the weight of the MPP.
Battery life sort of important only in as much as if I ever wanted to remain in the air longer than 20 minutes then the MPP would be better but that may never happen.
Transmission distance is not hugely important as I don't anticipate allowing it to go far from me especially with my aging eyes.

What is important is robustness. Can I expect the MA1 not to fail due to manufacturing fault for much longer than the warranty period?
I have the option to extend the warranty at around 13% of the original price of the MA1 PER YEAR (up to 3 extra years) or purchase a special warranty which covers accidental damage at around 9% of the original price per year.
 

slup

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When it comes to robustness I think both your alternatives are equal ...

The plastics are high quality & not flimsy at all. Everything is put together firmly & you can nowhere twist legs or bulge down the fuselage by hand ... the build & materials are very different comparing to the Mini for instance.

Cable routing & protection of electronics inside also equal good. Of course nothing can be guaranteed when it comes to the electronic function over time ... hardware malfunction exists on all man made thing's so also for all DJI drone models. But it's rare that HW malfunction is the reason for crashes ... nearly all incidents are pilot errors either coming from ignorance, taking to big risks, use it on the borderline to what it was intended to & handle the drone not as the delicate photographic tool it is instead drop it in water, dry it out & fly again ... or clip grass & branches with the props & trying to save some pennies & keep the damaged props on.

If it's anything that sticks out ... according to help threads here on the forum, I think I could mention the gimbal ... the gimbal design on the MA1 is a bit more robust than what's used on the MP/MPP/M2P & M2Z, it's easy to find a lot of threads here discussing various problems in that area.

And to connect to your other thread where both @lannes & @old man mavic points out the superiority of the Occusync ... I mainly agree with them & want to stress out that the very easy FCC hack is a must for the MA1 if you want to fly in sub-urban areas with a lot of WiFi interference.

it's a VERY simple trick done outside GPS coverage, fooling the MA1 thinking it's in USA for instance & then switches to a high signal output mode called FCC, this hack doesn't need any rebuilds of anything, only a free GPS spoof app from the Google Play store installed in one occation on a Android device. Once done the MA1 can be flown as usual but every time you start up & gets GPS lock the GO4 app will inform you that you are in a CE country and asking if you want to change signal mode ... you then push cancel in below shown dialog, that push is the only thing you need to do.

1592740076959.png

Perhaps also the frequency choice is more important when using a Enhanced WiFi system. On the MA1 you can go with 2,4GHz (penetrates better, reaches longer but have more competition & more prone for interference) ... or 5,8GHz ( mainly revert what I wrote about 2,4). Always use 5,8 in my neighborhood & in more urban areas, & 2,4 in rural environments & where distance is more important. I've never had a constant glitchy live feed ... it's only when I come closer to the furthest distance that it will start to happen. And have during the year with my MA1 come to fully trust the failsafe RTH ... so if I lose the connection, the AC will backtrack & shortly there after start the return flight, & usually by then I have the connection back again & can abort RTH and continue manually.

It all reverts down to your intended use ... portability vs. urban or long distance flights.

Here below you can see how & how much choppiness the live view show in the only 2 distance test I've done (both in rural areas with 100% LOS) ... the first shorter with 2,4GHz & the second longer with an addition of a cheap Yagi-Uda extender ... both flights in FCC mode.


 

jarnie

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Thanks heaps slup,

Once again a very interesting, descriptive great reply.

Your reference to FCC and the hack to fool the drone into thinking it is in a different country (WLAN setting).

Regarding my question about robustness. I used a wrong word there and meant who good are the electronics and are there instances where they fail after the warranty expires (you know the old story of manufacturers building products to last not much longer than the warranty). Here I am thinking of the joysticks particularly which are both electrical and mechanical and get a lot of wear by the user. One retailer I know of 'sells' insurance to extend the warranty period at a rate of about 13% of the cost of the drone PER YEAR ($A150 per year) up to an extra 3 years and will repair, replace or refund the initial cost if there is a mechanical/electrical failure. Quite a lot and so not sure if it is worth considering especially if DJI products are usually worry free.

Lastly do you have an opinion on those parabolic "range boosters". I watched one video which appeared to prove that they work but the extra range they gave wasn't a lot.

Also I just found out about DJI CARE REFRESH which for a fee will repair/replace the drone damaged due to pilot error and they say that no matter how careful you are you will have accidents - not too sure about that with obstacle avoidance.
 
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slup

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I've never seen or heard of that the electronics in DJI products have a clear pattern of failures just after the warranty expires ... of course it can happen but seriously doubt it's happened "by design"

When it comes to the RC, which have the same design solution for both your drone alternatives ... it could be said that they suffer a bit more than the drones. Usually it's the left stick that starts to generate ghost rudder inputs (left/right movement of the left stick) when you command ascend or descend (forward/backward movement of the left stick). Usually not a reason for a crash instead only irritating. Most of the times a stick calibration remedy this but if it doesn't solve the problem it's more difficult ... but can be solved by your self by cleaning internal stick components with alcohol. Have done this myself with success ... followed this YT clip.


Have two kinds of cheap range boosters but don't use them so much ... bought them mainly due to curiosity. First bought the parabolic ones, which improve but not so much & consistent that it's worth the hassle ... then 2 pairs of Yagi-Uda extenders (one pair for each 2,4 & 5,8GHz). The Yagis is way more effective, they make a big difference, with those on I usually aren't limited by the transmission range anymore if I go distant ... it's the battery life instead, just look at the 4000m run in the second clip I attached earlier 😁.

My Yagi-Uda extenders, those on the RC for 5,8 the others for 2,4.

1592814959133.png

I didn't opt for DJI Care ... this mostly depending on that I bought mine to half the store price. Instead I have put time into following the crash treads here at the forum learning what could go wrong, & learnt reading the logs to gain even more knowledge about how the DJI drones work & react.
 

jarnie

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Thanks again.
Wow I hope I never get that problem or that it it usually happens only after many hours usage as the procedure is quite involved. I think I would rather purchase a new RC, that is if they can be purchased.
I was also thinking of circuit board failures and motor failures but it seems they are good.
Not sure if the DJI RC uses potentiometers on its joysticks but I have heard of 'noisy potentiometers' which cause those problems but thought that only happened to non wire wound potentiometers.
Also I did see a video using Yagi-Uda extenders and I see listings on Ebay for them at around $36 a pair so not much more than they list the parabolic ones.
Thanks for you insight into warranty extenders and damage insurance.