Steel City Drones Flight Academy is excited to bring you our review of the DJI Matrice 200 Series V2 systems, which includes 3 different models: M200 V2, M210 V2 and the M210 RTK V2.
DJI’s release of the Matrice 200 Series V2 caught many by surprise. With very little information on its release date or production status, it seemed to almost come out of nowhere.
That being said, we are committed to testing and reviewing all the newest DJI releases and drone-related technology for you, and the new DJI Matrice 200 Series V2 is no exception. So, while we were in Henderson Nevada, training Law Enforcement and Fire department agencies on their new M210 RTK systems, we also spent a significant amount of time with a brand new DJI M210 V2.
In this review, we’ll be focusing on the difference between the M200 Series V1 and M200 Series V2. We’ll also look at the V2’s functionality and new additions.
Here are the list of topics we’ll be covering in this review:
- Ocusync 2.0
- Cendense S
- Data Security – Improvements
- Airframe Construction
- Flight Performance
- Anti-collision Beacons
- Battery Compatibility
- X7 Camera Compatibility and Features
- DJI Pilot – Firmware Update Method
- M210 RTK V2
- Pricing and Protection Plan
- Training & Integration
The new DJI M200 Series V2 has moved away from Lightbridge and replaced it with OcuSync 2.0. One of the biggest features this provides is the 256-bit encryption that gives you better data security. In addition, the OcuSync 2 is going to give you a stronger signal quality across the board, which, in turn, allows for a longer range between the drone and the remote.
CENDENCE S | REMOTE CONTROLLER
It is important to note that the new M200 Series V2 is currently only compatible with DJI’s new remote, the Cendense S, and is no longer compatible with older Cendence remotes, such as the DJI Inspire 2 remote.
Personally, we are not a fan of this limitation. In our experience, having trained multiple public safety agencies on drone integration, there are simply too many buttons and knobs that can accidentally be bumped. Therefore, it has always been our recommendation to clients to use the Inspire 2 remotes, which removed those issues and was more than capable of handling the client’s specific applications for law enforcement and fire departments. This will no longer be an option moving forward and that’s unfortunate..
Don’t get us wrong, we feel the new Cendense S remote is a robust piece of equipment and is well constructed, and having the new OcuSync 2 options are great. However, losing the option to choose a remote that better fits our clients’ needs, is, well, a step backward in our opinion.
There’s a lot of clients out there that have been hesitant to use DJI because they’re afraid the collected drone data is not secure and could get into the wrong hands and/or information being sent back to China.
DJI has heard the concerns and has made some updates to address those concerns. The first thing they change within the OcuSync 2 is adding 256-bit encryption. This is a big Improvement for that will ease many users that are worried about their data being stolen out of the sky.
The second new feature DJI introduced, is ‘Local Data Mode‘ and is also available for older drones, This feature allows you to prevent the drone from connecting to the internet and stop it from transmitting data.
For agencies such as law enforcement, that have sensitive data, the 256-bit encryption is a great improvement for data security while it’s in the air, and ‘Local Data Mode‘ keeps it from transmitting online and going back to China.
The DIJ M200 ad M210 (RTK) V2 frame is very similar to the original M200 and M210. The overall construction of these units are absolutely outstanding! As with the original M200 V1, you don’t see anything thin, flimsy or any cheap-corners being cut. It’s almost an identical frame.
It fits in the original GPC (Go Professional Case) case that we use for the older versions, however, it’s slightly a little tighter fit.
The reason for the tighter fit is the redesign of the front gimbal. The dual gimbal mount has been redesigned to be a little bit more aerodynamic. It slightly angles off to the sides causing it to fit in the case slightly tighter.
Having said that, GPC has told us that the current case for the M200 Series V1 will also be the same case used for M200 Series V2.
We have flown the M210 V2 on numerous occasions at different locations, testing it in a variety of different applications. We can tell you, it definitely flies the same as the original M210 aircraft. There’s was absolutely no difference in how the DJI M210 V2 handled itself in take-off, maneuverability, standard flights, wind condition flights, landing, or how the operator would control the unit. Like the original, it flies very well.
To get more information on flight and test conditions, please view our DJI MATRICE 200 SERIES V1 | Comprehensive Test and Review.
In the past, for clients that need to operate their drones at night, we provided options that would involve customizing the unit to mount a light on top. It did a good job, but, it had no options to mount on the bottom.
The M200 Series V2 now come with 2 Anti-Collision Beacons built into the units, one mounted on the top and one mounted the bottom of the aircraft. This might be our favorite upgrade on the new series.
When we were flying this in the middle of the day, we were blown away by how bright it was and by how well it worked. It is, without doubt, a superior upgrade compared to previous units. It’s not even necessarily just for night flights, as you can use this during the day to assist in maintaining your line-of-sight with the drone while in flight.
We should also note that DJI made it extremely easy to activate or deactivate the beacons with a simple on-off button in the top corner of the app. You simply turn the light on and turn the light off. There is no buried menu searching to operate the beacons.
Lastly, when had to customize the older drones to house a beacon, it also meant we had to use the extra power port in the back of the unit to power it. Now, that power port can be left available for something else.
Overall the Anti-collision Beacons are a great added feature that we really liked on the DJI M200 Series V2 compared to the original DJI M200 Series, which had none.
The new Matrice 200 Series V2 can only support the TB55 battery. Whereas, in comparison to the original Matrice 200 Series V1 units, you had the option to use TB55 or TB50 batteries.
Once DJI released the specs publicly, this change to the battery requirements become a very polarizing topic among drone owners and operators alike.
So, is this a good or bad change?
When you’re flying an M200 or M210 RTK aircraft and operating 2 sensors, you want that extra battery time. If you’re really loading it down with TB50 batteries it’s going to be anywhere from 15 to 18 minutes and no one likes that limitation. The TB55 extends that time, giving you a significantly more amount of productive flight time. More flight time is always great, having said that, it comes at a price.
The TB55 batteries are over double the amount in cost compared to the TB50 batteries. That can get extremely pricey, and if you’re looking to buy an additional four or five pairs of batteries, the price alone might just be a deal-breaker, as to whether or not, you can afford it.
Another major drawback is the inability to easily travel with the TB55 batteries. Currently, TSA regulations prohibit traveling with more than x2 TB55 batteries as carry-on luggage. Whereas, the TB50, you are allowed to travel with an endless amount (*they are rated right under the 100 Watt/hr level). So, unless you’re traveling with a big crew, you’re most likely going to have to package them up and send them out in advance.
The battery compatibility change that DJI made will most likely prove to be an issue for many people starting up their drone business, whereas, some specific agencies, will probably not be as impacted by this change. Either way, like it or hate, there’s currently no way around these issues and it’s just something we are going to have to get used to for now.
The new Matrice 200 V2 and the M210 V2 aircraft are now compatible with the X7 Camera.
There are mainly two types of drone operators that really benefit the X7 camera.
1) One Drone Preference: Photographers, for example, typically like to have one drone to do all their commercial and inspection drone aerial photography work. Having the ability to put an X7 camera on their M200/210 drone and use it for photography allows them to keep it all on one unit.
2) Hi-Res/Mappers: Those that use their drones for high-resolution applications such as crime scene mappers, also prefer using the X7 because it allows them to capture imaging at a much higher resolution.
The X7 camera allows you to move up in size from a micro 4/3 sensor up to a super 35 sensor. This gives you a 20% increase in pixels and, with the sensor being bigger, those pixels are a lot larger. This helps with low light captures when you’re flying in the night or your flying very early in the morning. Simply put, it has a bigger sensor allowing for better pixels, more resolution, and better low-light capture.
The X7 camera also has the ability to use interchangeable lenses.
You have to use the DJI X7 lenses which currently come in 4 lenses options: 16mm, 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm.
It’s important to note that when you’re comparing them to a full-frame camera sensor, the crop factor (or the multiplication factor) is 1.5. For example, the 50mm becomes more like 75mm, which is not quite as long as the 45mm that became a 90mm on a micro 4/3 like the X5S.
Regardless, if you want a higher resolution lenses option for your M200 or M210, the new DJI Matrice 200 Series V2 is compatible with the X7 camera as a nice option.
DJI PILOT: FIRMWARE METHOD
Over the years there have been lots of different ways that we’ve done our DJI firmware updates that honestly could be a nightmare, or at very least a very tedious process.
It used to be that we would have to put them on MicroSD cards and listen for tones to stop beeping or change patterns. Then they released the DJI Assistance and DJI Assistant 2. This was an improvement, in that, we could now plug the equipment directly into a computer to update and install the firmware. While it was helpful, it was still a very all-encompassing task because there is firmware on the aircraft, firmware on the camera(s), the firmware on the batteries, the firmware on the remote, on the Crystal Sky, on the apps, and so on.
Now, on the new M200 Series V2, DJI has integrated the DJI Pilot app for an easy update feature. By simply pressing a button in the DJI Pilot app and it will update your entire system. This is a great upgrade.
It seems that DJI is listening closely to the needs of Public Safety clients, that don’t fly drones for a living. If you fly drones for a living, while the process was still tedious, you would still understand the process because that is your job. Whereas, if you’re in public safety, like law enforcement or a fire department, flying drones is not your everyday job and, therefore, trying to figure out software updates and how to keep up with it all, would become extremely daunting and overwhelming. DJI really tried to address those issues by making it more user-friendly on the DJI Pilot app. Whatever their reasoning, we are thankful DJI has removed this painful process from the equation.
You can watch a quick tutorial: DJI M200 Series v2 Firmware Update Methods
M210 RTK V2
It needs to be noted, at the time of this article, there are some unknowns with the M210 RTK v2, as DJI has not officially made all the information available to the public.
We will continue to monitor DJI updates and as information becomes available will will update this section.
Here’s what we do know about the new M210 RTK v2.
Ground Station / Mobile Station
DJI has designed an all-new D-RTK 2 ground station system for the M210 RTK v2. Users now gain increased data accuracy with “centimeter-level precision positioning data using the D-RTK 2 Mobile Station“. This unit also supports all major global satellite navigation systems and provides real-time differential corrections.
It is important to note that the D-RTK 2 ground station is not compatible with the Phantom 4 RTK D-RTK 2 ground station.
You can view a short tutorial on: D-RTK Setup
The design of the M210 RTK V2 antennas is said to be upgraded. As to what those specific upgrades entail, they have not stated specifications at this time, but, it has been stated to be along the same lines of the new Phantom 4 Pro RTK. Typically when DJI releases new upgrades, they tend to apply those same upgrades on a couple models, and it is assumed that, in this case, this will be no exception.
Ntrip integration is not yet available on the new M210 RTK V2 system, but, it is our understanding that DJI plans to implement it in the very near future. It is our hope that it will be done by the time it is released to the public.
If you’re new to Ntrip (Networked Transport of RTCM via Internet Protoco), Ntrip is a way to use cellular service to be your error correction Network for your RTK system.
There are, of course, other ways to achieve this with ground-control points and post-processing but Ntrip makes it very easy to connect to a local cellular error correction network and stream those corrections right to your camera so that you get exact positioning on your GPS system. Plus, it doesn’t take a lot of setup as you do not have to set survey monuments, or ground control points.
This technology is currently integrated on the DJI Phantom 4 RTK and we can tell you that it makes the process much easier. Be sure to check back as we’ll be posting our ‘test and review’ on the DJI Phantom 4 RTK very soon.
There is a price increase between the original M200 Series V1 and the new M200 Series V2.
DJI Enterprise Shield – Protection Plan
The biggest factor causing the price increase is Enterprise Shield.
Enterprise Shield is basically the ‘DJI Care Refresh‘ version for the Enterprise Line of products. It’s a One-year protection/replacement program for your drone.
DJI wants to ensure, throughout your first year, you have coverage. Therefore, if anything goes wrong with your drone in the first year, be it, a fault of your own, someone else, or a malfunction, DJI will replace your aircraft up to two times.
This means, if you, or someone else, crashes it, knocks it off a truck, drops it, or the unit has any type of failure within the first year, you can have your aircraft replaced twice. There is, however, a small fee associated with the replacement.
That’s a really significant development for those that wanted to get that protection plan on the original M200 Series aircraft, as it was very expensive. So DJI brought the protection-plan pricing down and then rolled that into the purchase price of the aircraft.
Top Mount Plate Option
The original M210 and M210 RTK, came with a top mount plate on the unit, however, most people never used it. In our opinion, I think the only application you would want to use that top-mount plate would be applications such as bridge inspections and jobs along that same vein, where you definitely do not want any part of the Boom in there. In our experience, it’s a low amount of clients that would find it useful.
Instead of keeping it on the unit and charging the customer for it, DJI has made the top mount plate optional, allowing them to remove that additional cost from the purchase price.
DRONE TRAINING AND INTEGRATION
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