Satisfying Our Drone Envy with the DJI Mavic Pro
We have always wanted to have a high-end professional drone of our own. However, our collective flying skills are so horrible that we were afraid to shell out the necessary cash for a state-of-the-art drone just to crash it and lose our money.
But when we went to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, our jaws dropped at the sight of the DJI Mavic Pro. We had to have one, and that was all there was to it. So we dropped the $1,000 — and it was a great decision.
When we unpacked our drone upon its arrival, we marveled at its form factor. The entire drone is compact and portable, folding up into a small package about the size of a Subway sandwich. (You can buy a small pouch to carry it.) It is also very easy to fly. We will admit to studying the user’s guide in detail for fear that we would crash our new toy, but actually, piloting the Mavic Pro is very intuitive and easy to learn.
HOW IT’S DONE
All you have to do is unfold the remote and attach your smartphone to it, make the connection between the remote controller and the drone, and then start up the DJI GO 4 app on your smartphone. Pushing the “home” button on the smartphone screen allows you to instruct the Mavic Pro where “home” is. Magically, the Mavic Pro then knows the exact location for its return. You then press another button telling the drone to take off. Once you confirm that you’re sure, you slide the control on your phone's screen to make the drone lift off. It will hover about 5 feet off the ground, awaiting your commands from the remote control and smartphone. Then things get really interesting.
We took the Mavic Pro out to Bill’s farm and flew it to follow the path of the Big Hickory Creek behind the farmhouse. The image from the Mavic Pro’s 4K, 20-megapixel camera was stunning on the smartphone.
We flew the drone so far along Big Hickory Creek that we could no longer see it. We could only watch the camera image on the smartphone to determine its location. After we had flown the drone about a mile away from us, we lost our nerve and used the controls to turn it around and bring it back. It supposedly has a 4-mile range, can reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour, and can fly for about 30 minutes on a single battery charge — but we weren’t ready to test its limits.