Are you wondering if the new Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced is the right drone for your commercial applications? Then you have come to the right place, we have all the information you’ll need to make the
Here’s what we’ll be covering in this review:
- What’s The Same
- Thermal Camera
- RGB Camera
- RTK – Capabilities and Limitations
- Remote Controller
- Stock Case
- Training And Integration
THE MAVIC 2 ADVANCED HAS ARRIVED
In January of 2021, DJI announced there would be a new addition to the Mavic 2 Enterprise series called The Advanced! That set off a flurry of buzz and anticipation. We, at Steel City Drones, received countless inquiries about its capabilities, release date, and pricing.
Initially, no one had a physical version and DJI was slightly vague on the exact release date. However, we were able to obtain crucial information from DJI in regards to its specs that allowed us to release an early video Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced Verses Matrice 300 RTK. That video was designed to address some of the initial rumors and speculations that were going around pertaining to the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced.
Fast forward to now and we were able to obtain an early demo version before its official public release. If you follow our blog or our Youtube account, then you know our goal here, as with all new DJI Enterprise releases, is to put it to the test for a thorough review! The Mavic 2 Advanced will be no exception.
Our Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced demo went through a litmus of flying tests, camera and video testing, as well as some side-by-side comparisons to put it all into perspective. The Article is everything you’ll want to know before you decide if it’s the right aircraft for your needs.
With that said, let’s get started!
We received a ton of requests to have a side-by-side performance comparison to the Parrot ANAFI USA, Mavic 2 (older editions), and especially the Matrice 300 RTK.
As stated previously, we already released a video where we look at a thorough itemized list of comparisons between the M300 and the Advanced. [Watch here: Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced Verses Matrice 300 RTK]. Nevertheless, we did some comparisons with other units in our camera review portion so that you’re able to visually see the difference. You’ll also read some additional comparisons to the Matrice 300 to clarify some capability questions as it pertains to different applications.
The Purpose of the Comparison
It needs to be clearly understood that comparing the DJI Matrice 300 to the DJI Mavic 2 Advanced is like comparing a high-end luxury car with all the bells and whistles to a mid-ranged reliable car with fewer bells and whistles. Both can be great vehicles, but it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison and neither is the price tag!
Again, the purpose of the comparison is NOT to show which one has more bells and whistles, but rather, it’s to assess its capability within certain applications.
We understand that choosing the right UAV solution for your application is based on which aircraft are designed to deliver what you need. Therefore, to make an educated decision you’ll need to see some comparisons and understand how it applies to your application.
WHAT HAS STAYED THE SAME?
The Mavic 2 Advanced is DJI’s newest installment to the Mavic Enterprise Series. With that said, before we dive into all the new options the Advanced has to offer, we wanted to quickly point out what has stayed the same from previous Mavic 2 Enterprise releases.
- Not Water Resistant: The Mavic 2 Advanced is not water-resistant and should not be flown in the rain or snow
- OcuSync 2.0: The Advanced has Ocusync 2.0. This provides 256-bit encryption to give you better data security. In addition, OcuSync 2 is going to give you a stronger signal quality across the board, which, in turn, allows for a longer range.
- Flight Time: As with the previous Mavic 2 aircraft, the Advanced gets approximately 22 to 24 minutes of flight time.
- Smart Controller: It is compatible with a smart controller or a regular remote, but, as with previous versions, it comes with a smart controller.
- Accessories: It has the same three Enterprise accessories as before, including the Loudspeaker, the Spotlight, and the Beacon.
- Pilot App: It’s designed to run the same pilot app that most people are used to using
- Obstacle Avoidance: The Advanced has the same obstacle avoidance system built-in. This covers all directions of the aircraft from top to bottom, front to back, and side to side.
While having a water-resistant body would have been a fantastic update, we are glad to see many of the great editions to the Mavic Enterprise Series we’re retained in the Advanced.
With that said, let’s dive into the Test and Review
DRONE TRAINING AND INTEGRATION
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The biggest addition by far is the new thermal camera. This is a great addition in our opinion. Let take a look
It’s the same quality and resolution as the Matrice 300 at 640×512 @30Hz resolution making it a huge bump-up from the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual.
It is also radiometric, which allows the user to find different temperature spots on the monitor with a simple tap on the finger.
The Mavic 2 Advanced thermal camera also offers zoom capability at 2x, 4x, and 8x zoom.
We ran some tests to show you a few comparisons to other aircraft that offer thermal camera zoom.
Setup: We placed our volunteer in a field next to woods by a local park. We had the subject start on the outside of the woods, then proceed into the woods, and then come back out. We repeat this test for each flight, flying at the same altitude, and at the closest angles possible. Here are the results:
Thermal Zoom Comparisons:
Mavic 2 Advanced vs Mavic 2 Dual, Parrot Anifia USA, and the Matrice 300.
This thermal camera does not have the capability of isotherms.
Do you need isotherms?
Isotherms are a way that we can assign colors and color-palettes to a certain defined temperature range.
For example, let’s say we’re looking for a person and needed a very narrow band of temperature (ex: 85-95 degrees). Isotherms enable us to assign a specific color palette to that temperature range, and, in turn, it will create anything within that range to stand out like a sore thumb. This makes identifying and locating, based on temperature (i.e. missing or hiding person) far more effective and efficient than not having Isotherms.
To answer the question – Do you need Isotherms depends on your needs. We can bring our pictures/videos into aftermarket software that would allow us the ability to analyze the data. On the other hand, if you plan on using it for search and rescue and need highly efficient real-time data then this might be something you’ll need to closely consider.
M2EA Thermal Camera Specs
- Sensor: Uncooled VOx Microbolometer
- Focal Length: Approx. 9mm | 35 mm format equivalent: Approx. 38mm
- Sensor Resolution: 640×512 @30Hz
- Accuracy of Thermal Temperature: Measurement: ±2℃ or ±2%, whichever is greater.
- Digital Zoom: 16 ×
- Pixel Pitch: 12 μm
- Spectral Band: 8-14 μm
- Photo Format: R-JPEG
- Video Format: MP4
In addition to the Thermal camera, the Mavic 2 Advanced comes equipped with an RGB 48-megapixel camera that uses a half-inch CMOS sensor. It is very similar to what you’ll find on a Mavic Air 2.
This camera advertises as a 32x zoom, which has a lot of people excited. It’s important to note, however, that this camera only has a lossless zoom up to 4x times. After we exceed 4x zoom it becomes digital zoom only. A lot of people assume that since it is a 48-megapixel camera that the pixelation normally caused with digital zoom will be minimized.
As with the Thermal Camera, we wanted to get some comparisons on the RGB Camera to look at what it can truly deliver and see how it holds up to other units..
Setup: We took our aircraft to a cell tower and ran some flight inspection tests.
Here are our results
Photos from Controller Monitor to Computer Monitor
The first thing you need to know is that when you’re taking zoomed-in photos the framing will actually be at 1x.
In other words, let’s say you’re zoomed in at 8x zoom and you take a picture. When you upload the photo from the card onto your computer you’re going to notice that the actual framing is at 1X.
A Photo Example we provided:
The assumed workflow is that you’ll upload the photo into an editing program such as Photoshop and you’ll zoom in as needed
This is in contrast to the Matrice 300 where a photo that is taken at 8x Zoom will also be saved at 8x Zoom.
RBG Quality Results:
A lot of people are wanting to know if the quality of the RGB Camera will be sufficient for their application.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, right? So we provided some test shots for you to see.
Setup: At the Cell tower we took several shots at different distances 100ft, 50ft, and 35ft. At each distance we applied a variety of Zoom levels, 1x, 4x, 8x, 16x, and 32x.
For the sake of saving space in this article, we’ll show you the results of our closest distance (35ft) using 4x, 8x, 16x, and 32x zoom. If you would like, you can view all of the variations on our video review: [Video Review]
Note: 35ft was the safest and closest we would approach a tower. Anything closer, we feel is an unsafe distance.
Here are the results.
As you can see, while the 46-megapixel camera does minimize the pixelization, there is still a lot of distortion.
You’ll notice in our video review that the further we zoom in, the drone’s movement becomes extremely apparent. Let me make clear that the camera itself stabilizes very well, but due to wind, the drone itself can move as much as a couple of feet on the Z-axis, and even on the X and Y-axis.
This is where the RTK integration on the Mavic 2 Advanced could definitely help stabilize the aircraft. We’ll be looking at the RTK next (below), but it’s worth noting here since we were unable to have the RTK activated for this series of testing.
Additional Notes on the RGB Camera:
Video Zoom Limitations:
It’s important to note that this RGB camera will only go up to 4x Zoom capability in video-record mode. In other words, to access any zoom beyond 4x you’ll have to use the photo mode.
Photo Control Limitations:
If you’re someone that likes total control over your pictures in terms of setting the exposure and aperture, you’ll want to know that the Mavic 2 Advanced does not have that capability. It’s at a fixed f/2.8 and the exposure is only automatic.
SUMMARY: Is the RGB Camera good enough?
If you need high-resolution photos for prints, or you need to zoom in on a connector to read a label, or you’re trying to check the level of corrosion on a fastener — Depending upon how far you’re away, you may or may not get the level of details you need. As such, we simply would not recommend this aircraft for that type of inspection (i.e. Cell Tower/Similar Type).
With that said, the Mavic 2 Advanced RBG camera would really shine when used for inspection applications such as rooftops (or similar types) that allow the drone to safely be 15ft-10ft away from the object.
All-in-all it’s a great RBG camera for the price-point of the Mavic 2 Advanced. It is definitely an improvement over the current Mavic 2 Zoom which is limited to 6X and it can produce really good results when used for the right type of application.
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Another new edition the Advanced brings is its RTK integration, which has also created a lot of confusion and misinformation. So we’re going to clear it up here.
If you’re not familiar with RTK, it is defined as: Real-time kinematic positioning (RTK) is a satellite navigation technique used to enhance the precision of position data derived from satellite-based positioning systems (global navigation satellite systems, GNSS) (*Wikipedia)
We have loads of videos pertaining to what RTK is, what it does, and why it’s important that you can find it on our YouTube Channel. For this article, we’ll be strictly focusing on RTK in relation to the Mavic 2 Advanced.
It is very important to note that the Advanced RTK only has one antenna. As such, it does not function at the same level as the Matrice 300 or the previous Matrice 200 series, which has x2 RTK pucks. Why is that important? Well, it means that the RTK module on the Advanced cannot calculate the azimuth of the aircraft.
This limits the capability for RTK in many applications that need precision RTK capability. For example, if you’re around a lot of electromagnetic fields synch as high tension power lines or excessive metal, this single antenna is not going to work as efficiently compared to having a 2-puck system.
If your applications involve flying next to high-voltage power lines, for example, we would suggest you use an aircraft that has a 2-puck antenna configuration, like the Matrice 300.
With that said, this RTK can definitely be used to reduce movement from wind and improve overall positioning as discussed above under the RBG Camera Stability.
RTK & NTrip:
It’s very important to note that this aircraft’s RTK is not compatible with a base station like you’ll find with the Matrice series and the Phantom 4. With the Advanced you will need to rely on a Network Connection to use the RTK function. Specifically, the Advanced RTK is only compatible with NTrip.
NTrip is basically a base-station somewhere within your state that broadcasts real-time data out on a network connection. To access it you will need to find a hotspot on your phone (or Wi-Fi or something comparable), get a wireless connection to your smart controller, and then you can connect to NTrip.
One of the big misconceptions about the NTrip is that people think it is a free service. In reality, it depends on the state you live in.
In some states like Florida, for example, you can get free NTrip service by going to the state’s Department of Transportation, setting up a free account, and that’s it, you’ll have access. In other states such as Pennsylvania, for example, you have to get a paid subscription that could run you as much as $50/day or $400/month. That could get very costly if you need to use it regularly.
If you’re unsure if your state offers a free service or not, please contact us. We can tell you what states have free service and what states don’t.
Mapping, Waypoints, and Surveying:
We get a lot of inquiries pertaining to the Advanced RTK’s capability in terms of mapping and waypoint application. We can say that Yes, this aircraft does mapping and Yes, it does waypoints. You can even preprogram flights through the Pilot app for mission flights.
It cannot, however, produce survey-grade accuracy. Survey-grade accuracy is when we need to have very tight tolerances within a 10th of a foot or tighter.
So while the Mavic 2 Advanced sensor is not designed to produce that level of accuracy, it is, however, as I stated, able to do Mapping. That allows us to set up rows for search and rescue and do obliques.
With all that said, the RTK is capable of doing quite a bit, but there are also limitations to its capabilities and applications that you need to consider.
As mentioned above the Advanced comes with a standard Mavic 2 smart controller. This is nice because you will not have to pay additional costs to get a smart controller upgrade as with some aircraft on the market.
We have had some inquiries as to whether or not the older Mavic remotes are compatible with this aircraft? The answer is, yes, but you’re going to have to purchase it separately.
Some of you may wonder why would someone want to do that? Well, many people want to use the CrystalSky monitors, including myself, and they really want to use this combination.
Using the older remotes allows you to easily mount a CrystalSky monitor. Whereas, the remote for the Advanced, even if you want to use a Tablet, makes it more difficult to mount.
It’s also important to note that the Advance is not compatible with iOS or iPad. So if you want to use a tablet, you’re going to have to use an Android tablet.
DJI provides a stock case that mirrors the previous Enterprise versions. There is storage for the aircraft, x7 batteries, and x3 slots for accessories on the top. All-in-all it makes for easy storage, traveling, and quick deployment.
In our opinion, the Mavic 2 Advanced is a great addition to the Mavic Enterprise Series at a great price point.
That being said, as with all UAV purchases, you need to make a decision based on your needs and applications. Our hope with this review is to provide enough information for you to determine if the Mavic 2 Advanced is the right UAV solution for you.
Whether it’s the Mavic 2 Advanced or the Matrice 300 or something else, we’re here to help in your next purcha
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DRONE TRAINING AND INTEGRATION
Steel City Drones Flight Academy offers complete training solutions for the DJI Matrice 300. We offer on-site drone training at your location, anywhere in the United States. We also offer complete drone integration programs to get your organization up and running from start to finish.