The new DJI Avata lets me dive and soar like a beginner drone I’ve used before

DJI Avata is special. I knew it when I first flew.

I pressed the three power buttons, put the drone on the table, put on the goggles, and grabbed the pistol-shaped wand. Double tap and long press the cherry red button to send the bird into the air. Then, with a pinch of my forefinger and a move of my wrist, I became a bird, a plane, and Superman took off into the sky and swooped down to the earth below, Swipe across a meadow so close I can almost taste itthe corners are so smooth and level, it feels like a pro car drifting around corners.

I can’t wait to go again. And I don’t have to – there’s plenty of battery left.

The DJI Avata kit comes with FPV goggles and motion controllers.

Today, DJI announced the Avata, its first cinemawhoop-style drone. It’s not like any flying camera DJI has made before. Instead of folding arms like the Mavic or Mini, it comes factory-fitted with full propeller guards, four fixed rotors that push straight down, and integrated feet with little to no height to keep those propellers from failing. Replacing the 3-axis gimbal and collision avoidance sensors, let it fly and shoot in almost any direction, expect you to fly this drone forward like a plane and you’ll see in first person where it’s passing through its 1/1.7 inch, 4K / 60fps or up to 2.7K / 120fps camera. The only sensors you get are a pair of downward facing cameras and IR sensors, which do an excellent job of maintaining a constant altitude while zooming above the ground.

But if it’s a cinewhoop, it’s not your ordinary cinewhoop either. You get 18 minutes of battery life, multiple times what you see on the kind of acrobatic drone you usually fly at a bowling alley. And it’s not particularly light or particularly small: it’s about the size of the Mini 2 with its arms outstretched, but it weighs almost twice as much at 410 grams, which means you’ll probably need to register and tag your drone, and it’ll crash It’s a bigger hit. On the plus side, it doesn’t have any exposed propellers or arms that break easily like the original DJI FPV.

The 48-megapixel f/2.8 fixed-focus camera has a 155-degree field of view. You can use Distortion Correction to shoot in Normal, Wide or Ultra Wide FOV.

down sensor. You get two extra propellers and a hex key to remove them.

The big difference, though, is that Avata is no Primarily designed to pair with traditional joystick-based controllers, let you fly the drone sideways or backwards or do flips and rolls. DJI will not sell you a kit with one, nor can it be sent to us in time for testing. When we tried the one that came with the $1,299 DJI FPV — DJI does advertise its ability to push the Avata into fully manual acrobatics mode capable of flying at 60 miles per hour (27 meters per second) — we couldn’t get it to keep Reliable pairing.

DJI Avata Pricing

thing price
thing price
DJI Avatar $629
DJI Avata Pro-View Combo (DJI Goggles 2, Motion Controller) $1,388
DJI Avata Fly Smart Combo (DJI FPV Goggles V2, Motion Controller) $1,168
DJI Avata Fly More Kit (2 spare batteries, 3 battery charging hub) $279
DJI motion controller (included in bundle) $199
DJI FPV Remote 2 (not included in any set) $199
DJI Avata Intelligent Flight Battery (1 additional battery) $129
DJI Avata Battery Charging Center $59
DJI Avata Propellers (full set of four) $9
DJI Avata Top Frame $19
DJI Avata Propeller Guard $29
DJI Avata ND Filter Set (ND8/16/32) $79

It’s also a bit expensive. Today, DJI sells the Avata in three different configurations: $629 for the drone itself, $1,168 for a pair of FPV goggles and motion controllers, and $1,388 for that controller and the new DJI Goggles 2. The last has a 1080p micro OLED screen that streams footage from a drone at up to 100 fps, with as little as 30ms latency on DJI’s wireless transmission system, which I use.

Proprietary cables run down to the power pack.

Diopter may let you enter your prescription.

Goggles can independently record to SD.

No, you cannot use that Type-C port to power the goggles.

I briefly owned DJI’s original goggles and the original Mavic Pro in 2017, and the damn technology has come a long way. Back then, I really needed to drive the Mavic slowly and carefully because the picture wasn’t as sharp and responsive at 1080p30 or 720p60, and the bulky PlayStation VR-sized headset kept pressing against my nose. The new Goggles 2 aren’t perfect — I saw some distortion around the edges, and the 51-degree field of view still means you’re looking at a virtual TV screen rather than being fully immersed in something like VR. But they feel super comfortable, relatively crisp, small and light, very easy to adjust the diopter to adjust your vision, and unfortunately even the built-in fan has prevented me from fogging the goggles so far.

However, my colleague Vjeran Pavic (which you may know from our drone reviews and many great photography and video footage) isn’t quite sure about the new goggles. Here I let him talk:

This sounds like a very specific question to me, but it’s worth pointing out: I’m nearsighted in the right eye and farsighted in the left. On top of that, I have a very slight, almost negligible amount of astigmatism. I noticed that my left eye was struggling to adjust to the screen. I had issues with whitening, out of focus and very blurry corners. I even shrunk the display bezel to 70% (I set the DJI Goggles 2 to 90%), but despite the new micro OLED panel, interpupillary distance (56-72mm) and diopter adjustment (+2 to -8), my Still trying to see it clearly.

But there are other improvements to the headset. The headband is smaller and feels more sturdy. The DJI FPV Goggles V2 now has two foldable built-in antennas; no more need to screw in four separate ones. The clunky joystick is now a touch panel, which feels very responsive and easy to use. The lens also has a small plastic snap-on cover, which I really appreciate. You don’t want to expose those to the sun for too long.

Plus, it’s a whoop that hovers in place very reliably.

When I use these goggles in combination with the bundled motion controllers, it allows me to do things I usually wouldn’t do the first time I tried a drone – like flying into the canopy to watch birds or under a volleyball net . It helps you see a real-time reticle inside the goggles showing where the motion controllers are pointing – when you release the trigger, the drone brakes automatically and smoothly.

The Avata comes with one battery; as usual, it costs $129 extra, and a Fly More kit with two is $279. If you break it, the propeller guard is $29 and the upper frame is $19.

So, forgive me if this particular hands-on article doesn’t detail camera quality, wireless range, survivability, or whether it’s going to be limited in speed. (Usually half the speed of larger DJI FPVs.)

Or… in fact, DJI has some of the most annoying USB-C ports I’ve ever used. The controller refuses to charge via the C-to-C cable, DJI doesn’t provide a C-to-A cable or a single charger in the box, the FPV goggles use a proprietary cable, the drone has its port buried under the propeller – I can continue.

Bottom line: The DJI Avata makes me feel like I’m flying, and we can save the rest for future viewing.

Fly Avatar.

Sean Hollister/The Verge Photography

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