Released on August 25, 2022, the DJI Avata is here. Since its arrival, we’ve had a chance to get to know this system a little bit.
For those of you not aware of the DJI Avata, it is the latest drone that DJI has released and is something completely new from this company. It is a small-style Cinewhoop FPV drone.
It is small in nature with a size of 180×180×80 mm or roughly 7″ x 7″ x 3.15″ and a weight of 410 grams.
Don’t let its size fool you, as we have seen with the DJI Mini 3. DJI has gotten really good at putting greatness into a small package. The DJI Avata is no different and is a powerhouse of a drone.
The DJI Avata is meant to be not only a low-level near-ground flyer but an interior flyer as well. It is unlike anything DJI has put out before.
Also released with the Avata drone was a new sleeker and lighter set of FPV goggles, the Goggles 2. Both of these pieces of gear complement each other exceptionally well.
If you have the V2 Googles, though, you may not want to jump on those new ones just yet, as they will work with the Avata, and seem to offer better range than the new goggles do.
Let’s take a look at some of the things we’ve learned so far about this latest offering from DJI.
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1. SD Card slot placement
One of the very first issues you will notice after removing your new DJI Avata from the packaging is the strange and seemly unthought-out placement of the SD card slot and the USB-C connector. It is located inside one of the air ducts of the motors.
This does make it difficult to install or remove the SD card and may become an issue over time as the cover connector may become weak from repeated use.
A friend of mine even went so far as purchase a set of forceps to assist him in card installation and removal. This works great and makes it easier to get the card in and out. So, adding this to your kit may be something to consider.
In a worst-case scenario, it may be possible for the cover to become dislodged during flight and cause a crash. Now, this has not happened, thankfully.
However, the placement within the duct does raise the possibility of such an occurrence. One that, frankly, could have been avoided altogether by simply placing that slot and connector in an easier-to-access location.
Having a difficult-to-access card slot isn’t the end of the world. We’ve seen some strange places companies have chosen for these SD slots in the past. Of much higher concern is the possibility that the protective cover will fail to hold up over time and use. We can only wait and see.
I have seen that some people have suggested removing the cover altogether. That’s a choice you can make. I would point out that those covers are needed. They protect those areas from dust and debris.
With a drone system such as the Avata, it is expected that you will crash here and there. If it were me, I’d keep the cover. I really don’t want to be picking grass and dirt out of that area after a crash.
2. DJI Goggles 2 vs. FPV Goggles V2
With the release of the DJI Avata, we also had a newly released set of FPV goggles. The new goggles operate on DJI’s new 03 transmission system and are a much more slimmed-down version of the previous V2 Goggles.
The new transmission system provides a whole new clarity in the goggle view. In my humble opinion, the goggle view is just outstanding.
It provides 1080p/100fps transmission quality or 1080p/60fps with latencies of only 30 to 40ms. This is certainly a vast improvement of the V2 Goggles with its 810p/120fps or 810p/60fps with similar latencies in the transmission.
The new form factor of the Goggles 2 is lightweight, weighing only 290 grams, compared to the bulkier V2 goggles weighing in at 420grams.
In the real nitty gritty, though, there isn’t much of a difference between the two sets of goggles from a technological standpoint once you get beyond the Screen Resolution.
The V2 Goggles actually reflect the better system. The chart below shows the comparison between the two goggles. See for yourself.
|Goggles 2||Goggles V2|
|Weight||290 grams||420 grams|
|Dimensions||167×104×81 mm (antennas excluded)|
197×104×105 mm (antennas included)
|184×122×110 mm (antennas excluded)|
202×126×110 mm (antennas included)
|Screen Size (single screen)||0.49-inch||2-inches|
|Resolution (per eye)||1920×1080||1440 x 810|
|Refresh Rate||100 Hz||144 Hz|
|Interpupillary Distance Range||56-72 mm||58-70 mm|
|Diopter Adjustment Range||-8.0 D to +2.0 D||N/A|
|Field of view (FOV)||51°||54°|
|Max Video Transmission Bitrate||50 Mbps||50 Mbps|
|Communication Frequency||2.400-2.4835 GHz|
|Transmission Power (EIRP)||2.4 GHz: < 30 dBm (FCC), < 20 dBm (CE/SRRC/KC)|
5.8 GHz : < 30 dBm (FCC), < 23 dBm (SRRC), < 14 dBm (CE/KC)
FCC: ≤ 28.5 dBm
CE: ≤ 20 dBm
SRRC: ≤ 20 dBm
MIC: ≤ 20 dBm
FCC: ≤ 31.5 dBm
CE: ≤ 14 dBm
SRRC: ≤ 19 dBm
|Wi-Fi Protocol||Wi-Fi 802.11b/a/g/n/ac||N/A|
|Bluetooth Protocol||Bluetooth 5.2||N/A|
|Wi-Fi Wireless Streaming||DLNA Protocol||N/A|
|DJI FPV drone compatibility||In the future||Yes|
|AVATA drone compatibility||Yes||Yes|
|DJI Mavic 3 compatibility||In the future||No|
|MINI 3 Pro compatibility||In the future||No|
|DJI Air Unit compatibility||No||Yes|
|Caddx Vista & RunCam Link compatibility||No||Yes|
|O3 Air Anit compatibility||Yes||?|
|Head tracking||Yes with Avata||No|
|Battery||1800 mAh (18 Wh)||1800 mAh (18 Wh)|
|Working time||Approx. 120 minutes||Approx. 110 minutes|
As you can see, beyond the amazing increase in resolution and the addition of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and wireless streaming, the V2 Goggles have the advantage over the Goggles 2.
Deciding between the two sets can be almost as difficult as pulling that SD card from the DJI Avata.
3. The Goggles 2 fit
When flying with a set of goggles, there are some things that can just interrupt and ruin your flight.
One of those issues is the way the goggles fit to your head. Any light leaking into the viewer will take away from the experience, and could even be the cause of a crash.
With several goggle options available today, the focus is always on the comfort of fit, and having a good fit will limit any light leakage issues.
The Goggles 2 didn’t me fit well.
This is an issue I believe can be remedied by just adding some extra foam in a few places. So, hopefully, someone out there is working on that problem. It’s also something others have pointed out as well, so maybe my head isn’t as deformed as I thought.
Jokes aside, I was surprised by the fit and how bad it was. Especially around the nose area.
What caused this is hard to say. If it was the smaller form factor or the lighter weight, the new Goggles 2 just didn’t seem to fit me as well as the V2s do, and as I said, I believe this issue can easily be solved with thicker foam in certain areas that will make these goggles fit perfectly to nearly every head, even mine.
4. Fogging (No anti-fogging)
One of the biggest issues I personally had with the New DJI Goggles 2 was the fogging in the viewer. It wasn’t horrible, but it was an issue.
On hotter days, I can certainly see where that would exasperate the fogging that I did experience. This issue has been echoed by the community, and it’s hard to say if there is a solution that can be had for this issue. I’m not sure any easy fix will present itself.
A shout out to Ian over at Mads Tech for doing a tear down on the DJI Goggles 2 for us. Doesn’t look like DJI really put any sort of anti-fog into the Goggles 2.
There is a fan hidden away inside the goggles located in the center behind the optics but what effect they have on the viewer is mostly undetermined.
As the fan draws from the front lower vents and seems to direct the air to the vents to the top, there really isn’t any ducting for airflow through the rest of the goggle assembly.
As those top vents are mostly covered by heat sinks, it would appear that any airflow is for keeping the goggles from overheating more so than for any anti-fogging.
The other issue could easily be the small form factor the goggles are in, where there just isn’t enough room for any sort of airflow through the goggles, and cooling was the only thing they could fit there.
As the Mads Tech video showed, it is cramped on the inside.
DJI might very well have an issue here. The Avata drone runs hot, very hot. When it is just sitting with the power on, depending on the ambient temperature, it is possible for the unit to shut down due to overheating.
This is something that not only I experienced, but many other pilots have complained about as well.
When the DJI Avata is in flight, it doesn’t run as hot due to airflow running across the body of the aircraft and going through the limited amount of venting that the drone has.
Looking over the aircraft, it is easy to see that this will just be an issue. There’s no means of correcting it due to the aircraft’s design and size. Its interior components are well protected.
But as a by-product of the protection, it prevents airflow from getting to those areas that will increase in temperature.
A solution for this issue is to simply carry a small fan and use it on the aircraft while it is sitting and powered on. We met with good success with this method and were able to keep the aircraft from shutting down as we learned the new system.
If you’re out in the heat and have to have the Avata powered on but not in flight, it’s a workaround for the overheating issue many have noticed since it was released.
6. Lack of a controller
Although not a deal breaker, it’s surprising that the Avata doesn’t come with a controller. DJI knew they would need an actual controller for the Avata. So, they made the FPV Controller 2 the controller.
No, the Avata does not come with a controller, as a matter of fact. The FPV Controller 2 needs to be purchased separately if you want one.
There is not one DJI Avata package that includes the FPV Controller 2. The only thing that is included with the Avata is the motion controller, and that is dependent on which bundle you purchase.
It’s sort of like DJI flipped us all the bird on this one. They knew it would be needed but went with maximum profit over customer satisfaction. So, although not a deal breaker, it does leave a bad taste behind.
The motion controller is all right, and it does do what it claims to do. This is an improvement over its previous version, which just wasn’t that good.
You can fly the Avata with the motion controller. Flying in manual flight, though, is not a good option. In order to fly the Avata as it should be flown, you will need the FPV Controller 2 to get the fullest out of your Avata.
Although this shouldn’t have been put on the consumer, DJI has got us all over the barrel on this one, and you’re just better off ponying up for the Controller 2, that is, if you can find one.
Nearly all the stores and DJI themselves have these on backorder, and the ones in the secondary marketplace have just shot up in price to an unfair level.
7. Touch screen
The new DJI Goggles 2, for all the wonderfulness they provide in the advanced resolution and transmission quality, are not perfect, as we’ve seen already. One of the biggest changes was to switch out the buttons for menu control to a touch screen.
I would love to be able to say it’s an upgrade I enjoyed; sadly, it was not. It was difficult to use, and most of the time, I did not get the menu I was looking for as it would advance one menu page too far or click the wrong button, etc.
It just seemed easier with the buttons. Now I am fully aware that with use, it will become easier to locate menu items and switch around through the pages. Hopefully, after some use, the touch screen will become more useable and less difficult.
For now, though, I found that system to be somewhat clunky and not all that user-friendly.
This one isn’t really about the DJI Avata or the DJI Goggles 2, not really. It is, however, an issue that many have brought up and as such, should be mentioned here as an issue.
The way it is currently, the DJI Avata and the Goggles 2 are only compatible with one another. The same can be said for the Motion Controller. But can you fly DJI Avata without Goggles?
The FPV Controller 2 is, of course, the only actual stick controller that will work with the DJI Avata. This isn’t shocking, as that is how most of DJI’s products come out. DJI is not a company known for making new equipment backward compatible. They’re just not.
No Mavic batteries can be used across platforms. No, there is a new battery for each one. It wasn’t until the introduction of the smart controller that a controller would work on multiple platforms, and this was a pretty recent thing, mind you.
Will we see some cross-compatibility? Sure we will. The DJI Fly app has already spilled the beans on that. They have promised that the DJI Mavic 3 and Mini 2 and FPV will be made compatible with the new goggles at some point.
There are rumors running about that there may be, and I stress MAY BE, something in the works for the new Goggles 2 to be able to work with the Airsense 02 modules. That seems like a big maybe, and I would take it with grains of salt.
It would seem to be much more profitable to just release the Air Sense 03 units and make us all buy those. Reasoning indicates that these new goggles will never work with anything short of the 03-transmission system. I will be more than happy to be wrong, though.
This is an issue I can’t speak to as I didn’t have this occur, or maybe I did in the menus a little bit. It is an issue that many others have expressed, and therefore requires mentioning.
The optics themselves are good. The issue some have had is a Vignetting in the viewer, something they just are not able to adjust away. This effect is a blurring of the edges on the sides and somewhat on the top and bottom.
I can easily see where this would be a problem while using the menus and how it could be distracting while flying. The issue would seem to be the closeness of the eye to the viewing portal, with some expressing that pulling the goggles away just a bit was a fix for the issue.
Once again, I am not speaking from personal knowledge of this issue. The accounts of this issue do, however, come from trusted sources, and due to the way the human eye works, I can see how this issue could arise.
Number ten isn’t really an issue with the drone per se. It is, however, something that can easily lead to disappointment with any new drone purchase.
When it comes to FPV drones, they likely fall into three to six categories.
There’s the Tiny Whoop, the Cinewhoop, Racing, Toothpick, Long-range, and the most difficult FPV quads of all the X-Class.
Honestly, though, we can break it down to only three categories:
- Tiny Whoop
- Freestyle/Racing Quads
Just as with GPS/Camera drones, each one type is used for different purposes.
- Tiny Whoops are fun, small and usually inexpensive, great for learning on and having fun gaining flight experience.
What they don’t do is take quality usable video and are too small to handle a secondary camera.
- Cinewhoops are similar in the fact that they usually will have ducted blade covers, they are larger and designed to be able to fly indoors and are large and powerful enough to carry an action camera or other secondary camera for usable quality video footage.
- The Freestyle Racing quads are what you are most likely familiar with. These are the fast, nimble larger drones you will see the most in the FPV community and are sorted by size 3″, 5″, and such.
These quads are for going fast and barrel rolling and trippy spins, and well, it goes on for quite a while, and you get the idea.
The DJI Avata is marketed as a Cinewhoop, and it is very much like every Cinewhoop I’ve seen.
Small form factor, ducted blades, made for a low near-ground flight, fast but not too much so. Able to penetrate well through structures, so indoor flight is pretty decent.
DJI was not only able to copy the Cinewhoop’s form but with all of the usual DJI safety and flight abilities inside of it.
It is unlike any Cinewhoop out there, and the upgraded camera really does not require a secondary camera, although the Avata does handle the weight of one well.
If you’re looking to fly high or at good distances, well, then going with the DJI FPV or a Racing/Freestyle quad may be a better option.
For what the DJI Avata is, it does it very well.
Overall, I was very impressed with the DJI Avata. As stated above, for a Cinewhoop quad to offer so much, is just dang impressive.
Also, as shown above, there are some areas where the mark seems to have been missed. That SD card slot location is just baffling, baffling, I tell you. Much like the lack of any real controller.
The overheating is concerning. Something to keep an eye on going forward for sure. A small battery-operated fan such as the one we were using works wonders but means you’ll be carrying even more stuff around, so give and take, you know?
Compatibility, we’ve gotten used to that. With luck, DJI will put in the work to make it compatible with the 02 Air Units. They’d sell a lot more of those goggles if they did, but I find it to be so unlikely that I’ll just wait for the 03 Air Units to come out.
If we get lucky there, it will indeed be the same camera as what is on the Avata. Of course, that’s another “we’ll see.”
As to the new goggles, out of the package, it has the bigger issues by far. The fit wasn’t great for me! Down the line, though, with a variation in the mask foam, I think it could be a good fit.
The anti-fogging issue is one that I’m not sure there is a solution for. We’ll have to see if upping the fan speed or whatnot helps there.
The new touch screen is just abysmal. I’ll take any blame due – that may have been due to the user. I just found it to be difficult to use and just way too sensitive, with some menus even locking up and nothing short of powering off and on changing it.
So, a few firmware updates to come, I’m sure.
The optics were good. I didn’t have the vignette issue occur for me, but I have seen it with others, and it would leave me upset as well if that was the view I was presented with.
As far as compatibly goes, we’ve seen this time and time again in Droneland, so not too surprising there, albeit disappointing.
As for misconceptions, it’s easy enough to fall into that trap. Just be aware that every drone has its purpose, and for what this drone was designed for, it does it exceptionally well.
Although it could do the work other drones can do, it’s always best to use the best drone for the task. Not all drones do the same things.
Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!