DJI Air 2S camera drone leaves Mavic Air 2 in the dust with one-inch sensor

Newly unveiled DJI Air 2S is the smallest folding drone to pack this larger sensor

DJI Air 2S drone
(Image credit: DJI)

Update: Check out our DJI Air 2S drone review.

The DJI Air 2S drone has been unveiled, and the rumours are true: it sports the one-inch sensor everyone was hoping for. In fact, it's the smallest folding drone to pack this larger sensor, which means you get all the benefits of incredible image quality (20-megapixel stills and 5.4K video!) without a bulky drone body slowing you down. 

The Air 2S is a major upgrade on its predecessor, the hugely popular mid-range DJI Mavic Air 2 (a 5* drone that sits at number 2 in our best drones guide), with the one-inch sensor putting the camera quality more in line with the high-end, much pricier DJI Mavic 2 Pro. You'll be pleased to hear that price has not been hiked up to match the Pro: the standard bundle has an RRP of GBP £899 / USD $999 / AU$1,699.

The Air 2S also boasts four obstacle sensors to help you avoid collisions while whizzing around in that nifty body, some imaginative new preprogrammed shooting modes, and upgraded safety features. DJI calls it "an all-in-one tool for all your content capturing needs", and it joins the lineup shortly after the DJI FPV, which launched early last month.

DJI Air 2S drone

(Image credit: DJI)

The big news here is that sensor. The Air 2S's 1" CMOS sensor will capture 5.4K video at 30fps or 4K at 60fps and 150Mbps, as well as 20MP stills. By comparison, the Mavic Air 2's half-inch CMOS sensor can manage 4K/60fps at 120Mbps and 12MP stills. 

There's also a new digital zoom that goes right up to 8X, to enable you to get closer to your subjects without moving the drone, and a larger pixel size, which means more visual information can be captured for rich, detailed shots. If you opt for the Fly More bundle (more on that below), you'll get ND filters, too.

For the Air 2S, DJI has bumped up the range of programmed flight modes and image capture modes to help you capture professional-level aerial footage more easily. One exciting addition is MasterShots; this mode plans a flight path for you, then once completed, automatically merges the footage into one slick video with zero fuss. You can choose from various themes and templates, including Proximity, Portrait or Landscape image modes. There's also the likes of FocusTrack, QuickShots, and Hyperlapse modes to help you capture your chosen subject with flair. 

Despite optimistic rumours to the contrary, the new drone isn't compatible with the new DJI FPV Goggles V2, or the handheld Motion Controller that launched with the FPV drone. 

DJI Air 2S drone

(Image credit: DJI)

A range of usability upgrades and tweaked safety features promise a stress-free, intuitive flying experience. On the collision-avoidance front, new four-way directional obstacle sensors on the Air 2S incorporate binocular zooming technology to enable the drone to recognise incoming objects from further distances when moving at faster speeds. Alternatively, you can switch on APAS 4.0 – the most advanced version of DJI's autopilot system – and the drone will seamlessly, and autonomously, maneuver around objects. 

A very respectable 31 minutes' flight per charge – slightly less than the Mavic Air 2, which sets the DJI record at 34 minutes – gives you plenty of time to experiment and explore. Finally, there's the latest 3.0 version of DJI's Ocusync transmission – for reliable, stable transmission up to a maximum range of 12km.

DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: DJI)

"DJI Air 2S is a wish list come to life for everyone who demands more from a drone, showcasing upgrades that truly elevate the system into a highly versatile drone,” says Ferdinand Wolf, creative director at DJI Europe. "From content creators, to drone enthusiasts and travelers, we are confident that a lot of people will be excited about this drone."

DJI Air 2S drone: price and release date

The DJI Air 2S is available to buy now from store.dji.com as well as select retailers. There are a few configurations to choose from:

  • Standard combo – GBP £899 / USD $999 / AU$1,699 / from EUR €999 (dependent on VAT): drone, remote controller, one battery, all essential cables and extra bits
  • Fly More combo – GBP £1,169 / USD $1,299 / AU$2,099 / from EUR €1,299 (dependent on VAT): everything from the standard combo, plus 2 more batteries, ND filters, charging hub and shoulder bag

Note, the Mavic Air 2 is very keenly priced at GBP £769 (RRP) / AU$1,499 for the standard bundle, and will remain available at the same time as the Air 2S, so you can pick the drone that fits your needs and budget.

Ruth Hamilton
Ruth Hamilton

Ruth runs T3's Outdoors editor (think camping, hiking and adventure sports) as well as running the site's Wellness channel (covering sleep, relaxation, yoga and general wellbeing). Due to some unfortunate timing, she joined the T3 team just as COVID-19 'joined' the UK, which means she hasn't managed to get to many industry events IRL yet – although she has enjoyed the resulting boom in popularity for outdoor activities. She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle, and will talk at length about them to anyone who'll listen.