Anyone who’s seen a high-end first-person view (FPV) drone take-off has probably felt a mixture of fear and excitement. Drones such as the DJI FPV are powerful, large, noisy, pricy, and notoriously difficult to fly well. Until now, there hasn’t been an FPV drone that can capture breathtaking footage, provide the immersive rush associated with FPV flying, and be confidence-inspiring enough for beginners. But the DJI Avata looks set to bridge the gap between dinky indoor drones and 90 mph behemoths.
Every feature of the Avata’s package is designed to make it easier to use than any other FPV drone, starting with the Motion Controller and Goggles 2 that are included in the sale. The new controller enables you to move forward by squeezing the trigger and turn corners by swiveling your wrist. The controller works with the DJI’s new Goggles 2, which show you exactly where you’re pointing the drone via a white circle indicator. So flying it should be as simple as point-and-go. The Goggles 2 are lighter than the previous iteration, equipped with micro-OLED screens, and a head tracking function that allows you to see what’s around the drone by moving your head.
If you want to create cinematic content using an FPV drone, you usually need to mount a separate camera to get the best results. But the Avata’s 1/1.7-inch sensor captures 4K video at 60 frames per second, and that’s enough for most people. It has a 155-degree super-wide field of view, which helps make up for the fact it uses a single-axis rather than a three-axis gimbal. The HorizonSteady and RockSteady electronic image stabilization (EIS) features are intended to create smooth footage of moving objects, even for pilots that are relatively new to flying.
FPV drones aren’t cheap, and being overzealous while flying could leave a dent in your drone and bank balance. Thankfully, DJI has built the Avata with beginners in mind. It has a durable frame and propeller guards, so if you bump into something, you should be able to readjust and continue flying. There’s also an emergency brake on the motion controller, which stops the drone as quickly as possible. You can activate Turtle Mode if you flip this model on its back, which automatically flips it the right way up. It weighs just 0.9 pounds, making it about half the weight of DJI’s other FPV offering. Its lightweight and compact design mean it’s great for filmmakers who travel light, but also makes it difficult to control in bad weather.
DJI states that this model has a flight time of up to 18 minutes, but in the real world, you’ll probably get around eight to 10 minutes, which is still good for an FPV drone. The Avata’s 31 mph top speed is considerably less than most other noteworthy FPV models but is more than enough for new pilots learning the ropes. In the right hands, it’ll easily record some insta-worthy footage of your motorcycle or car. Unfortunately, this model doesn’t have a tracking feature, so if you need a drone to follow you while you ride or drive, pick up the DJI Air 2S, Mavic 3, or Mini 3 Pro.
Let us know if the Avata will convert you to FPV flying or if you’re tempted to add it to your collection as a lightweight option.