You want a great, safe, easy to use drone that has a high-quality camera and folds up to the size of the water bottle, making it highly portable. It sounds like you’re in the market for a Mavic.
But which should you get? The DJI Mavic Pro? Or the Mavic Pro Platinum? And is it worth upgrading to the bundle version?
The Mavic Pro Platinum is a new and improved iteration of the DJI Mavic Pro. It claims to offer a 60% reduction in the noise generated vs. the original DJI Mavic Pro, plus a flight time increase from 27 to 30 minutes (thanks to the new propellers) using the same battery.
But you’re also going to pay more for it. While DJI is not currently selling Mavic Pros on their site (only Mavic Pro Platinums, or Mavic 2 drones if you’re ready to spring about $1,500 for the newest version), you can find them through retailers like Amazon.
DJI Mavic Pro vs. Mavic Pro Platinum: the biggest differences
Here are some of the most important specs on each of the two drones:
|DJI Mavic Pro||Mavic Pro Platinum|
|Cost (non-bundle version)||$790||$999|
|Flight time||27 minutes||30 minutes|
|Max Total Travel Distance (One Full Battery, No Wind)||8 mi||9.3 miles|
|Sensor||1/2.3” (CMOS), Effective pixels:12.35 M (Total pixels:12.71M)||1/2.3” (CMOS), Effective pixels:12.35 M (Total pixels:12.71M)|
|Weight||1.62 lbs||1.62 lbs|
|Diagonal Size (Propellers Excluded)||335 mm||335 mm|
|Video Transmission||7 km video transmission||7 km video transmission|
What do you notice about this comparison table? The size and shape of the drone is the same. The camera is the same.
The biggest difference is the Platinum can fly slightly longer and across a larger distance. That’s all due to a new FOC sinusoidal driver ESCs and 8331 propellers. And OcuSync HD image transmission technology allows the Mavic Pro Platinum to fly longer distances (up to 7 km, FCC compliant, free of interference).
But the camera, the controls, the RC transmitter and sense and avoid functions are all otherwise the same.
The Mavic Pro Platinum is somewhat quieter
The other reason to spring for the Mavic Pro Platinum vs. the Mavic Pro is its much quieter flight. It offers a 60% noise power reduction — that’s up to 4dB.
DJI conducted their own test, flying both the Pro and the Pro Platinum within 1 meter in an outdoor area, and they have the results to prove it:
The Mavic Pro’s decibel level within 1 Meter was 74.4, while the Mavic Pro Platinum’s was 69.2.
But how much of a difference is that? According to the Center for Hearing and Communication, a vacuum cleaner emits decibels between 60 and 85. A dishwasher ranges from 55-70. A power lawn mower ranges from 65-95. 70 is equivalent with “freeway traffic.”
So the cheaper version of the Mavic Pro is going to be a bit louder than a dishwasher or freeway traffic, while the upgraded version is more in dishwasher range. Both are in the same range those as vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers, which is still pretty loud.
Is it worth upgrading to the Mavic Pro Platinum for $300 more?
In most cases, no.
Batteries: I would rather save your money for more batteries, rather than get a few minutes of extra flight time.
Noise: Four decibels is noticeable when flying a drone, but face it: the drone is still going to make noise. People are still going to know it’s there, regardless.
If you are filming an environment where every decibel counts (say, a wedding or even, yes, the Air Force) then it is absolutely worth paying $300 extra so guests can have a more pleasant, less distracting experience. But if you’re a hobbyist flying in the park for fun, or you’re flying drones in an environment where noise doesn’t really matter (say, flying over a farm field for an agricultural inspection), then, unless you have money to burn, it’s probably not worth the extra $300.
Color: There is one reason to spring $300 for a very unimportant, irrelevant difference. Color! It should make no difference, but it does. If you want people to know you have the spiffiest of new toys, then hey, the Platinum may be worth it. It’s definitely shinier, and you can only get the Platinum color if you pay for the upgrade.
Should you upgrade to the Mavic Pro bundle?
DJI typically offers the drones on their own with one controller and battery, and that’s it. But they also often offer bundled upgrades to their drones, sometimes referred to as the “Fly More Combo,” which offer accessories you need such as batteries, cases and memory cards, typically just for a couple hundred dollars more.
In most cases, the bundle version is always worth it. I like these just for the spare batteries alone. It’s nearly impossible to have a great drone day with one battery. You don’t want the pressure to try to ration your flying just to save battery while you’re out on a hike. Spare batteries in your bag are a must-have in most cases, and I typically travel with 2-3 batteries at a time.
The Mavic Pro batteries typically cost $89 each if you buy them on their own. With the bundle, which is about $200 more, you get two spare batteries. The bundle also throws in tons of other goodies like a bag and extra propellers. I view it as “I would have bought the batteries anyway, so buying purchasing the bundle, I’m getting these extra add-ins for free.”
So the tl;dr: I think the most value from your money comes from buying the Mavic Pro Fly More Combo. In a ranking of the Mavic Pro vs. Mavic Pro Platinum, I say to save your cash and go for the former. You’ll get a great quality drone, plus useful accessories, at the best price value. Happy flying!