The DJI Avata is something special. I know it was my first time flying.

I press the three power buttons, place the drone on the table, pull the glasses over my eyes, and reach for the gun-shaped stick. Double tap and long press the cherry red button makes the bird fly. And then, with a squeeze of an index finger and a flick of a wrist, I am a bird, a plane, Superman taking off into the sky, swooping down to the earth below, sliding across the meadow so close I can almost feel itTurns so smooth and even that it feels like a professional car drifting around corners.

I can’t wait to go again. And I don’t have to — there’s still a lot of battery left.

The DJI Avata kit comes with FPV goggles and a motion controller.

Today, DJI announced the Avata, its first cinewhoop-style drone. It’s not like the flying cameras that DJI made before. Instead of folding arms like the Mavic or Mini, it’s equipped from the factory with full propeller guards, four fixed rotors that push straight down, and integrated legs that aren’t barely high enough to keep the propeller out of trouble. Instead of gimbal sensors and three-axis collision avoidance to allow it to fly and record almost any direction, the expectation is that you’ll fly this drone forward like a plane, and you’ll have a first-person view of where it’s going via the 1/1.7 camera. inches, 4K/60fps or up to 2.7K/120fps. The only sensors you get are a pair of downward-facing cameras and an infrared sensor, which does a great job of maintaining a constant altitude while zooming right above the ground.

But if it’s a cinewhoop, it’s not your average cinewhoop either. You get 18 minutes of battery life, several times what you’d normally see from the type of acrobatic drone you own maybe fly through the bowling alley. And it’s neither too light nor small: roughly the size of a Mini 2 with its arms extended but it weighs almost twice as much at 410 grams, which means You may need to register and label your drone, and it will hit harder in a crash. On the plus side, it doesn’t have propellers or arms that are open to breaking like the original DJI FPV.

The 48-megapixel f/2.8 fixed focus camera has a 155-degree field of view. You can film with a “normal”, “wide”, or “ultrawide” FOV using distortion correction.

The sensor is facing down. You get two extra propellers and a hex wrench to remove them.

The biggest difference, however, is that Avata is no primarily intended to be paired with traditional joystick-based controllers that allow you to fly the drone sideways or backwards or perform flips and rolls. DJI will not sell you a kit with one and cannot ship one in time for testing. When we tried the one that came with the $1,299 DJI FPV — which DJI advertises as capable of propelling the Avata into full manual acrobatic mode capable of flying 60 miles per hour (27 meters per second) — we couldn’t get it to stay paired reliably.

DJI Unlock Price

Goods Price
Goods Price
DJI Open $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 extra batteries, 3 battery charging hub) $279
DJI Motion Controller (included in combo) $199
DJI FPV Remote Controller 2 (not included in any combo) $199
DJI Avata Intelligent Flight Battery (1 extra battery) $129
DJI Avata Charging Center $59
DJI Avata propellers (full set of four) $9
DJI Open Top Frame $19
Propeller Guard DJI Avata $29
DJI Avata ND Filter Set (ND8/16/32) $79

It’s also a little expensive. Today, DJI is selling the Avata in three different configurations: $629 for the drone itself, $1,168 with a pair of FPV goggles and motion controllers, and $1,388 with that controller and DJI Goggles 2. The latter features a micro 1080p OLED display that streams footage from the drone at up to 100fps. , with latency as little as 30 milliseconds over DJI’s wireless transmission system, and that’s what I use.

The proprietary cable comes down to the power pack.

Diopters may let you call your prescription.

Glasses can record independently to SD.

No, you can’t use that Type-C port to power the glasses.

I briefly owned original DJI glasses and the original Mavic Pro back in 2017, and the technology is very advanced. Back then, I really needed to fly the Mavic slowly and carefully, because 1080p30 or 720p60 images weren’t very clear and responsive, and the PlayStation VR’s oversized headset kept pressing my nose. The new Goggles 2 aren’t perfect—I noticed some distortion at the edges, and the 51-degree field of view still means you’re looking at a virtual TV screen rather than completely immersed in something akin to VR. But they’re super comfortable, relatively crisp, small and light, have very easy diopters to adjust things to for your eyesight, and even an unfortunately audible built-in fan that’s kept me from blurring the glasses so far.

My colleague Vjeran Pavic, who might you know? from our drone reviews and lots of great photography and videography, not so sure about the new glasses. Here, I’ll let him talk for a bit:

This may sound like a very specific problem to me, but it’s worth pointing out: I am someone who suffers from nearsightedness in my right eye and nearsightedness in my left eye. In addition, I have very minor astigmatism, almost negligible. I noticed that my left eye was struggling to adjust to the screen. I’m having trouble with blooming whites, out-of-focus centers, and very blurry corners. I even shrunk the display limit to 70 percent (for context I’ve set my DJI Goggles 2 to 90 percent), but despite the new micro OLED panel, pupillary distance (56–72mm) and diopter adjustment (+2 to -8), I’m still struggling to see it clearly.

But there are other improvements to the headset. The head strap is smaller and feels sturdier. The DJI FPV Goggles V2 now has two built-in foldable antennas; no more need to install four separate ones. The complex joysticks have now been replaced with touch panels, which feel very responsive and easy to learn. And there’s also a small plastic snap-on cover for the lens, which I really appreciate. You don’t want to leave them out in the sun for too long.

Also, it’s one of those screams that quite reliably floats on the spot.

When I combined the goggles with the bundled motion controller, it allowed me to do things I would normally never do on my first try with a drone — like flying into the tree canopy to see birds or under a volleyball net. This helps you see the real-time reticle inside your glasses that shows you where the motion controller is headed — and that the drone automatically and smoothly brakes when you release the trigger.

The Avata is equipped with a single battery; extra is $129 as usual, and the Fly More kit with two is $279. The propeller guard is $29 if you damage it, and the top frame is $19.

So forgive me if this live post doesn’t go into detail about camera quality, or wireless coverage, or survivability, or whether the speed will be limiting. (Generally half the speed of DJI’s larger FPVs.)

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

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

Flying an Avata.

Photography by Sean Hollister / The Verge

By Blanca

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