The newly-released DJI Avata is a little bundle of delight. It is the second time DJI is trying to introduce a ready-to-fly FPV drone in the market, and based on the appreciation it’s gotten since it was released, people are loving it.
However, this time, DJI leaned more towards building a Cinewhoop, an FPV drone that can also shoot high-quality videos.
But Cinewhoop drones have been around for a while, and even the DJI Avata’s design uses the traditional Cinehoop design. But does it replace them?
In more basic terms, DJI Avata vs. Cinewhoop, which one is more suitable for you?
Choosing between these two drones depends on your level of expertise. As a beginner, using a Cinewhoop will have a very steep learning curve which can be very frustrating.
But the DJI Avata makes it easier to enter the world of FPV since you will not need to configure or customize anything. But as a professional, the DJI Avata will be pretty limiting.
Please keep reading to learn more about Cinewhoop drones and whether you should get the RTF Avata or the building kit drones.
DJI Avata vs. Cinewhoop – Overview
As already mentioned, a Cinewhoop is an FPV drone designed to record high-quality shots.
This allows them to strike a balance between an FPV drone that has only one camera that’s mainly used for piloting the drone, and a camera drone that you will mainly use to record high-quality footage, but you will have to rely on your smartphone, the screen on a smart controller, or spotting it manually to pilot it.
Most Cinewhoop drones in the market today are not built ready to fly. Instead, you will have to look for the main parts, such as the frames, the ESCs, transmission systems, goggles, controllers, etc.
You will also need to have some knowledge in building or customizing drones to use Cinewhoop drones effectively.
Examples of Cinewhoop drones include:
- Pavo25 Whoop Quadcopter
- iFlight ProTeck35
- GepRC Cinelog 25
The DJI Avata
The DJI Avata removes all the guesswork involved in building a drone since it is fully assembled and comes with various accessories such as controllers, goggles, antennas, and everything needed to fly.
DJI Avata vs. Cinewhoop – Detailed Analysis
Let’s see how these types of drones compare to each other.
Ease of Use
If you are a beginner, have little to no experience in assembling and configuring drones, and are looking for a drone that you can purchase and fly right out of the box, then you should go with the Avata.
For instance, you need to know the type of battery you need, the type of transmission, the various compatibilities of the components, etc. With the DJI Avata, DJ has done all of that for you.
If you are a professional, though, and have some idea on how to assemble drones, the various components necessary, and how they work, then the DJI Avata will be too easy for you.
If you crash your drone, and you will crash a lot when learning to fly, Cinewhoops give you more room for fixing. You can easily replace one part, and the drone will be up and running in no time.
But with the DJI Avata, you can’t really replace one part. You will have to disassemble or even replace the whole drone since it’s challenging to find the individual parts being sold independently.
Besides, if you attempted to fix this drone on your own, you may end up causing more damage or even void your warranty. DJI does offer repair services and warranties, but they take longer and may derail your work.
But if you want more flexibility and to eliminate the waiting period, Cinewhoop drones are a better option.
The DJI Avata comes with a Motion Controller, which takes controlling your drone to the next level. All you need to do is move your arm in the direction you need the drone to turn. This controller also has an accelerator, brake, and RTH buttons.
However, you can’t unlock the manual mode when using the Motion Controller. To access manual mode, you will need to buy the normal DJI FPV controller separately.
While the Motion Controller and DJI FPV controller are great to use, they are limited when it comes to configuring and customizing them.
If you’ve never used another type of controller, you may not know the difference, but it’s there. The DJI’s sticks are sometimes stiff, and DJI doesn’t offer much room for customization.
But with the other Cinewhoop drones, you can use a wide range of controllers as long as they are compatible with your system.
Besides choosing the controller, you also get more room for customizing the sticks’ responsiveness, stiffness, and many other aspects until they feel comfortable for you.
Drones use LiPo batteries because they can discharge a lot of power at a time and have considerable capacity without being too heavy. However, LiPo batteries are delicate and a fire hazard.
A slight dent, exposure to moisture, or overcharging are some of the things that can turn these batteries into explosives. And extinguishing the fire from these batteries can be quite challenging.
And if you choose to deal with Cinewhoops, you will increase the chances of this happening since it’s up to you to manage the charging, discharging, and protecting them from damage.
With the DJI Avata, you don’t have to worry about all this since it has an intelligent battery.
That means that these batteries will prevent overcharging and automatically discharge to the required voltage during storage to prevent damage. These batteries will stay in good working order with little input from the owner.
DJI built the best camera system you can find on a Cinewhoop drone. It can shoot 4K in 50 to 60fps, 2.7k in 50 to 120fps, and 1080p in 50 to 120 fps.
This drone’s camera also has RockSteady and HorizonSteady image stabilization, which helps produce smooth footage even at high speeds.
But how does that compare to traditional Cinewhoops?
While most cameras fitted on Cinewhoops may not be as good as the one on the Avata, most Cinewhoop drones will allow you to attach a second camera, such as a GoPro.
A camera like the GoPro Hero 10 can shoot in 5.3K at 60 fps, 4k at 120fps, and take 23 MP still images.
The Hero 10 also features HyperSmooth 4.0 image stabilization, and you can also run the footage in Gyroflow or RealSteady software to stabilize it further.
I find the footage you get from the GoPro to be better than what you will get from DJI Avata’s camera. You also have a more comprehensive range of settings on the GoPro than on the Avata.
While you can add a second camera on the Avata, the customization options on a traditional Cinewhoop still make it a better option. Besides, the extra weight alters the Avata’s balancing and stability mechanisms.
While GeoFencing helps keep protected areas safe from people spying with drones, it can be quite a pain.
Your DJI Avata may fail to take off in these zones, and even when you have the authorization, DJI may not respond immediately, delaying you for a few minutes or even hours.
If you don’t want to deal with GeoFencing, traditional Cinewhoops can save you all this trouble.
But that doesn’t mean you should go flying in restricted areas. Just make sure you get the authorization manually from the relevant authorities.
The DJI Avata comes with the latest OcuSync 3.0+, which offers better transmission and a range of up to 6 Miles in FCC and 1.2 Miles in CE regions in optimal conditions.
But when you actually fly the drone, don’t expect it to fly the advertised range.
But with Cinewhoops, you get to choose the transmission system, which, in some cases, may have better ranges than what the DJI Avata offers.
All types of drones need frequent firmware updates to keep them running in the best way possible. But there’s a way that DJI drones ‘force’ the updates.
You may update the drone when at home, and when you get to the field and need to fly, you get another firmware update prompt. Not forgetting there are situations where the new firmware causes issues that didn’t exist in the previous firmware.
Traditional Cinewhoop drones will need firmware updates, too, but they are not mandatory. You get to choose when to update and what to update.
To get the DJI Avata as a complete package, you will spend at least $1,700. This includes the drone, Motion Controller, and DJI Goggles 2 or V2, which costs $1,168 or $1,388 depending on the goggles you choose.
As I mentioned, you will need to purchase the standard controller separately, which costs about $300.
It will often cost less if you choose to purchase and customize a traditional Cinewhoop. For instance, the Pavo25 Whoop Quadcopter costs $300, while a GoPro Hero 10 costs $499 without the subscription and $399 with the subscription.
A controller like the Taranis X9D costs at least $250, and you can get FPV goggles for less than $300.
So, with at least $1,300, you can get started with a Cinewhoop. Besides, you can always find individual parts at a lower price on eBay.
Whether you prefer the Avata or a Cinewhoop all depends on how experienced you are in flying FPV.
If you are a beginner, you will find everything you need in the DJI FPV.
But it would be great if you familiarized yourself with building your own “rig,” like with traditional Cinewhoop.
That way, you have more control, more customization options, and a chance to produce better quality work for clients or your social media channels.
Besides, many of them are now Bind-And-Fly, making it much easier to build one. And if you already own one of the Cinewhoop drones, then the DJI Avata is not really an upgrade since it barely offers anything you won’t find in a traditional Cinewhoop.
What it offers is the simplicity of an RTF, which would come in handy when you’re in a rush and your “rig” is acting up.