This alone is worth upgrading from the previous version, but the updates don’t end there. The Advanced Pilotage Assistance System (APAS) now uses a wider field of view to detect obstacles. This means you can do more automated theft and worry less about your surroundings. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but still find it hard to trust automation in tough situations.
The Air 2S also inherits DJI’s O3 flight system (formerly known as OcuSync) from the recent FPV drone. Haven’t had time to review this one yet, but I’ve driven it enough to say that the range claim of around 12 km (7 miles) is accurate – that also applies here. As for battery life, the company claims 31 minutes of flight time. My tests were tight: 30 minutes was my maximum, and I was flying in windy conditions.
The Air 2S doesn’t have the side-by-side sensors of the more expensive Mavic 2 Pro, but its collision avoidance is still a huge step up from previous drones of this size and price. As usual, Sport mode disables all obstacle detection; Use at your own risk.
These are all welcome upgrades, but my favorite part of the Air 2S is what DJI calls MasterShots. Open the MasterShots menu on the companion app, select an object and it will automatically calculate flight paths for different types of shots.
Send your drone on the road and it will record everything. The app will then combine it all into one piece of footage. It’s an extremely easy way to get a ton of B-roll (extra content from whatever you’re filming) without having to do much on your end.
But it doesn’t always work well. For example, I tried using MasterShots on my car, which was in front of my house. The app had no problem detecting it and plotting a course, but it couldn’t actually follow the path as there was a large tree in the way of some of its planned shots. My solution was to go a little higher and get what I could with MasterShots, then do a careful flight by hand to fill what else I needed.
Fortunately, MasterShots is not a take it or leave it behind feature. All videos shot in this mode are available separately from the final cut produced by the app. This means that if you don’t like the edited results, you can always take the RAW images and edit them yourself in the software of your choice.
The Air 2S is available today for $ 999, and that includes the drone, a remote, and a battery. There’s also the Fly More combo for $ 1,299, which gives you two extra batteries, neutral density filters (useful on a clear day), a charging hub, and a shoulder bag.