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DJI Air 2S Review

Between the large sensor, 5K video, and user-friendly controls, this high-quality drone is perfect for the prosumer
DJI Air 2S
Credit: Laura Casner
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $1,000 List
Pros:  Large sensor, compact, high-quality footage, responsive controls, long flight time
Cons:  Lacks following capabilities, some propellor intrusion
Manufacturer:   DJI
By Hayley Thomas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 24, 2021
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94
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 6
  • Video Quality - 45% 9.6
  • Flight Performance - 35% 9.7
  • Portability - 10% 8.0
  • Ease of Use - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

With its large sensor, 5K video, and adjustable gimbal responsiveness, the DJI Air 2S provides a smooth ride and high-quality footage. While the device itself is just medium in size, it still handles nicely in less-than-ideal weather conditions, and the stellar battery life offers just over 30-minutes of flight time. Take-off and landing are a breeze, obstacle avoidance is helpful for new flyers, and the controls are easy and intuitive. The controller connects to your tablet or cell phone, offering a clear, lag-free image. Additionally, DJI takes intelligent flight patterns to the next level with MasterShots. While the Air 2S is not an inexpensive aircraft, it is well worth the money and perfect for the prosumer.

Compare to Similar Products

 
DJI Air 2S
This Product
DJI Air 2S
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $1,000 List$800 List$500 List
$449.00 at Amazon
$700 List
$399.95 at Amazon
$100 List
$99.00 at Amazon
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Pros Large sensor, compact, high-quality footage, responsive controls, long flight timeConsistent color and quality, long flight time, intelligent flight featuresPortable, lightweight, budget-friendly, solid battery lifePortable, good videoInexpensive, simple operation, small and light
Cons Lacks following capabilities, some propellor intrusionGimbal overload errors, small sensor is limiting, subpar following capabilities, jittery rideSubpar gimbal stabilization, requires windless conditions, small sensor, low dynamic rangeRelatively short battery life, slowSlightly choppy video, short range
Bottom Line Between the large sensor, 5K video, and user-friendly controls, this high-quality drone is perfect for the prosumerA mostly capable drone that offers consistent color, 4K video, and intelligent flight features but requires regular gimbal calibrationA lightweight and reasonably-priced drone with decent video quality for those who want to capture their travelsA well-rounded device, but fails to carve out a niche for itselfGreat for kids and beginners alike, this is the best entry-level model we have ever tested
Rating Categories DJI Air 2S DJI Mavic Air 2 DJI Mini 2 Parrot Anafi Ryze Tello
Video Quality (45%)
9.6
7.8
7.8
6.2
2.6
Flight Performance (35%)
9.7
8.7
6.2
6.0
5.3
Portability (10%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
10.0
Ease Of Use (10%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Specs DJI Air 2S DJI Mavic Air 2 DJI Mini 2 Parrot Anafi Ryze Tello
Video Resolutions 5.4K, 4k, 2,7k, FHD 4k, 2.7k, FHD 4k, 2.7k, FHD 4K, 1080p 720p
Weight 1.3 lbs 1.3 lbs 0.6 lbs 0.7 lbs 0.2 lbs
Maximum Speed 42.5 mph 42.5 mph 35.8 mph 33 mph 18 mph
Maximum Claimed Flight Time 31 minutes 34 minutes 32 minutes 25 minutes 13 minutes
Diagonal Size (no props) 11.9 in 11.9 in 8.4 in 11.0 in 5.3 in
Video Format MP4, MOV MP4, MOV MP4 MP5 MP4
Maximum Video Bitrate 150 Mbps 120 Mbps 100 Mbps 101 Mbps N/A
Camera Sensor 1" CMOS 1/2" CMOS 1/2.3" CMOS 1/2.4" CMOS N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Air 2S performed extremely well across all our metrics. 5K resolution pairs with a notably stable gimbal and MasterShots to produce truly exceptional results. MasterShots has the capability to recognize what is being shot and plan a flight route accordingly. For the avid user who is ready to take a step into the big leagues, this is the drone we recommend.

Performance Comparison


The Air 2S is a great option for the prosumer thanks to top of the...
The Air 2S is a great option for the prosumer thanks to top of the line features and excellent flying capabilities.
Credit: Laura Casner

Video Quality


During our video quality testing, we paid special attention to image quality, gimbal stabilization, and propellor intrusion. The Air 2S, like many of the DJI models, performs exceptionally well in this department.


One attribute that sets the Air 2S apart from other mid-sized drones is its larger sensor. While the Air 2S is still considered a more compact model, it comes equipped with the same sensor as the larger DJI models. This allows the user to control both the ISO and the shutter speed. Sadly the sensor does not allow for full manual control as the aperture is not adjustable. This can make shooting in bright conditions difficult. You should always shoot two times your speed, so at 24 frames per second, your shutter speed should be 1/48. This lets a lot of light in, so bright conditions require filters to darken your video.



Although the camera on the Air 2S does not allow for completely manual control, it does a great job getting high-quality video when in full auto mode. It balances exposure quite well and shoots up to 5K resolution, so there is no shortage of pixels, producing overall stellar video.

Even though the Air 2S is a compact drone, the sensor provides a...
Even though the Air 2S is a compact drone, the sensor provides a decent amount of adjustability and control.
Credit: Laura Casner

The gimbal on the Air 2S is significantly more stable than other medium body options in our test suite, and thus, it has no problem creating a smooth video. Additionally, the propeller intrusion is minimal, though we did notice a little intrusion during autonomous flight. You can circumvent this by turning off obstacle avoidance and ordering the drone to prioritize composition. However, you have to ensure that your flight pattern is free of obstacles if you choose this setting, as your drone is now more vulnerable to collision.

The Air 2S gimbal offers smooth video and the propellors mostly stay...
The Air 2S gimbal offers smooth video and the propellors mostly stay out of the way.
Credit: Laura Casner

Flight Performance


We pay special attention to intelligent flight options, ride, take-off, landing, and battery life during our flight performance testing. The Air 2S performed excellently in almost all of these tests as well.


Of the intelligent flight options, the Air 2S offers stellar orbit/point of interest flight, waypoint flight, and return to home but struggles with following moving targets. Unfortunately, the lack of following capabilities this drone offers puts the flight in the hands of the pilot. More experienced pilots do not have trouble following moving cars, animals, and skiers, but newbies may struggle with a moving subject.

Not only can you land the drone in your hand, but you can take off...
Not only can you land the drone in your hand, but you can take off from your hand too.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Air 2S also comes with MasterShots, which allows for preprogrammed flight patterns, like circle, helix, and boomerang, to be shot consecutively. This fun feature renders a very professional-looking video, even if you are a complete novice. Just keep in mind: you must be shooting in an area with no obstacles in any direction when stacking flight patterns like this; otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for a crash. This can feel somewhat limiting depending on the area you are flying in, and it may make more sense to instead use whatever exact quick shots you need in the moment, and that are appropriate to the environment.



The Air 2S offers a consistently smooth ride. Even when flying fast, turning, yawing, and other micro-movements are effortless. The aircraft stops quickly at high speeds as well. Gimbal responsiveness can be adjusted to ensure smooth panning, and like many of the DJI models, battery life is stellar, coming in hot with a 31-minute flight time. Last but certainly not least, taking off and landing the Air 2S is an absolute pleasure. You can choose between catching your drone or landing it on a mostly-flat surface, but either way, beginning and ending your flight will be stress-free.



Portability


While there is nothing wrong with carrying around heavy-duty gear, portable devices can offer a little more versatility. Smaller is not always better, though, so we take into consideration the weight, diagonal size, whether or not the aircraft comes with a case, and how easily it packs up.


The Air 2S is a very capable aircraft for its size. While it does not come with a carry bag or box, you can purchase one separately. The propellors fold in nicely and neatly, and since it only measures 7.2 inches diagonally, is it still plenty small enough to put in a purse or backpack. This drone weighs 1.31 pounds, so it is reasonably light, even for a multi-day backpacking trip.

Even with the battery, the Air 2S won't weigh you down.
Even with the battery, the Air 2S won't weigh you down.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


Ease of use can be a rather broad term. In this case, we assessed how easy each aircraft was to set up out of the box, the intuitiveness of the control interface, and the overall learning curve for getting fully up to speed on operating the device. We also considered video quality on the interface and ease of video downlink.


There is virtually no setup or assembly required for this model, aside from downloading the DJI app and connecting the aircraft to your smartphone. The remote control design is intuitive and easily attaches to your phone or tablet. The image appears on your screen with a maximum of 1080 pixels and without any lag. Overall the Air 2S is very user-friendly with intuitive controls and a quick learning curve.

This drone-controller set is very easy to use.
This drone-controller set is very easy to use.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


We consider the Air 2S to offer an outstanding value, but it is still an investment. However, for the right user, the price tag is fair for what you receive. This drone performed stunningly across all our metric testing and is still less expensive than some of the more advanced options in our test suite. It offers impressive video quality and some really cool flight features, striking a great balance for the user who is ready to step things up a notch.

Conclusion


The DJI Air 2S is compact but packs a punch. It shoots 5K video, and the large sensor allows for a bit of adjustability in ISO and shutter speed. The long-lasting battery, easy-to-use interface, and intelligent flight patterns allow anyone to create engaging videos. While the price is a commitment, we find this aircraft to be the perfect option for the prosumer.

Flying is simple and easy with the 2S.
Flying is simple and easy with the 2S.
Credit: Laura Casner

Hayley Thomas

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