DJI Avata review first-person drone

DJI Avata – an FPV drone for the masses (review)

DJI is a name synonymous with consumer drones and the company is back at it again. This time, they’re bringing the exhilarating world of first-person view (FPV) drones to the mainstream with the DJI Avata.

For the uninitiated, FPV is a class of drone that enables the pilot to see what the drone sees via the use of an onboard camera that transmits a live feed back to a head-mounted display the pilot wears. Since the FPV drone is piloted directly from the drone’s perspective, it enables the drone to access previously unreachable places to produce spectacular footage.

The learning curve for FPV drones is notoriously steep which is why the category has largely been confined to hobbyists who go through the effort of either building one from scratch or retrofitting an existing drone. 

The DJI Avata changes all that with a super easy plug-and-play solution. It integrates a number of sensors and smarts making it easy for beginners to fly while still capturing the immersive thrills that come with flying an FPV drone. 

For newcomers, however, the Avata doesn’t come cheap at a starting price of $1629. This nets you the drone, FPV goggles and motion controller. Is it worth the price of admission?

Features and design

The drone is surprisingly small and comes with a guard preinstalled that helps protect the propellers from getting damaged in the event of a crash. It also makes it much safer to fly around people. 

I had a few unfortunate crashes during the review period, but the Avata held up well with only a couple of light scuff marks to show for it which speaks to the rugged design. It’s certainly a lot more durable than something like the Mavic Mini which I’ve found to be more on the fragile side. 

Thankfully, if you do end up damaging the Avata, most of the components are cheap and replaceable with DJI making the prop guard ($39), upper frame ($29) and propellers ($19) available.   

At 410 grams, the Avata is much lighter than DJI’s previous FPV but a bit heavier than the Mavic Mini. Keep in mind that as the Avata crosses the 250-gram weight threshold, you will need to register the drone before flying (more on this later).

The benefit of being a bit weightier than the Mavic Mini is that it copes better in windy conditions. The Avata has a level 5 wind resistance rating, so it has enough power to overcome wind speeds of up to 38km per hour. It’s worth noting that DJI’s stabilisation is second to none and recorded video always came through super stable irrespective of how windy the conditions were.  

The onboard camera has a larger sensor size than what you would find on a Mavic Mini and is capable of shooting at 4K at 60fps or 2.7K at 120fps for more dramatic slow-motion footage. It can also capture 48MP still photos.

Underneath are two cameras and an infrared sensing system used in conjunction for the downward vision system to help the drone hover and fly more precisely in environments where there isn’t any GPS signal such as when flying indoors. 

Sadly, the Avata doesn’t have collision avoidance sensors which means it won’t automatically go around obstacles in its path. This isn’t a problem when you’re actually in control of the drone since the FPV perspective makes it a lot easier to anticipate and avoid oncoming hazards. However, it’s an issue when you do lose connection with the drone and the Avata has to pilot itself back to home base. 

Obstacle avoidance sensors are available in a number of other DJI drones such as the company’s original FPV drone as well as the cheaper Mavic Mini 3 Pro so it’s a shame not to see it here.

On the upside, there are a bunch of other safety features built in. One of my favourites is a handy ‘turtle mode’ that can be activated within a few taps to flip the drone over should it fall on its back after a crash.

The microSD card slot and USB port are awkwardly tucked away where the propellers are located, making it difficult to access when removing a card or trying to plug in a USB-C cable. Unfortunately, there’s no way to transfer recorded footage wirelessly from the drone either. This means you have to wrestle with the poorly located ports every time you want to offload some footage. 

The Avata does at least come with 20GB of internal storage so you can get flying if you don’t have a spare microSD card lying around. 

DJI sent me their Pro-View combo for review which comes with the new Goggles 2 which are smaller and lighter than the previous version. The goggles boast some impressive-looking micro-OLED panels with 1080p resolution for each eye and a silky smooth refresh rate of up to 100Hz. The clarity of the low latency picture looks excellent with a beautifully bright image and top-notch colour reproduction. 

The goggles even support wireless streaming so you can project Netflix and YouTube from your smartphone and effectively turn the goggles into a portable cinema. Unfortunately, device compatibility seems to be a bit hit and miss as I wasn’t able to get it working with my Galaxy Z Fold 4 or iPhone 13. 

The sleeker design of the Google 2 means that there’s not enough space to accommodate glasses but there is a dioptre built-in so you can dial in the lens to your prescription and correct your eyesight. 

The Goggles come with a microSD card slot as well so you can screen record the FPV display while also capturing footage from the drone itself which is a very nice feature and should make for some creative edits. 

All Avata settings are integrated into the Goggles which you can navigate using the touchpad located on the side of the goggles. This means that you don’t need to use a separate app or smartphone while flying like you would with a regular drone. 

Rounding out the package is the motion controller which resembles a flight stick in appearance and allows you to steer the Avata by simply moving your wrists. DJI doesn’t offer a bundle of the Avata with a traditional controller, so you’ll have to purchase one separately. 


Getting set up for the first time can seem a little overwhelming as the package comes with quite a few bits and pieces. Fortunately, the guided tutorials included within the DJI app do an excellent job of simplifying the setup process, getting you flying within minutes.

As there are restrictions on where you can fly your drone, you will need to register the drone with DJI before you can fly. As I live within five kilometres of a local aerodrome, the drone prompted me to request permission via an online unlock system from DJI’s flysafe website (I couldn’t even fly inside my own home or backyard until I did). It would be nice to see the unlocking process integrated into the DJI app as opposed to being bumped off to a separate website. 

The other issue is that the unlock requests are only valid for a maximum of 48 hours so you have to go through the whole unlocking process again should you wish to fly in the same area. 

Once approved, I had to then use a wired connection to plug the goggles into my phone and transfer the unlocking licence using the DJI app before I could take off. The frustrating part is that the licence is wiped from memory after you turn off the drone, forcing you to go through the transfer process if you want to fly again.

Anyone interested in a DJI Avata who plans to do the bulk of their flying within their local area should consult with DJI’s Geo Zone map to see if they live in an affected area before buying.

DJI Avata Flying experience 

Once you do take off, the feeling of flying an FPV drone is nothing short of exhilarating. 

The small size of the drone coupled with the FPV perspective makes the Avata incredibly versatile. I found myself flying into small gaps and in areas that I wouldn’t dare fly with my regular drone. 

On the beachside, I was zipping under jetties and through gaps with ease before flying tantalisingly close to the water for a dramatic fast moving wide-angle ocean shot. The goggles had no issues in keeping up and I never experienced any latency issues or video breakup so long as I stayed within range. Speaking of range, DJI claims a maximum range of 10km but I was never able to achieve more than 1km before losing video transmission and connection with the drone. 

Video quality is excellent with good dynamic range, accurate colours and rock-solid stabilisation. There’s some visible noise once the light begins to fade so you’ll want to do most of your flying during the day. Outside of shooting at 2.7K or 4K there’s an ultrawide mode, which increases the field of view to an expansive 155 degrees, making it ideal for those dramatic low-to-ground landscape shots.

The motion controller is highly intuitive, even my ten-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter could fly the drone almost immediately with no real learning curve. There’s also a large emergency brake button on the motion controller should you encounter a situation that requires an abrupt stop. 

The motion controller is perfect for most people but you can’t do more advanced manoeuvres such as flying backwards or flips. Additionally, speeds are limited to either 50km/h and 29km/h in sport or normal mode respectively. As such, more experienced drone pilots might feel the need to spring for the $229 FPV Remote Controller 2 which also unlocks full manual mode and increases the top speed to 96km/h. 

I tested the Avata out with the FPV Remote Controller in full manual mode and let’s just say there’s a reason why this option is reserved for more experienced pilots. In full manual mode, all the sensor safeguards and flight assistance functions are disabled, requiring proficient control skills at all times. Thankfully, DJI offers a simulator app that you can use to train in using the controller and goggles. After a few hours in the simulator, I was able to fly relatively successfully in manual mode. The boosted speed and added controls of manual mode provide a serious adrenaline rush and it gives beginners something to graduate to once they’ve reached the limits of the motion controller.

DJI Avata Battery life 

DJI rates the battery life at 18 minutes for the drone but I was averaging just below 15 minutes in normal mode and closer to 10 minutes in sport mode. The runtime will vary depending on the wind conditions and the speed at which you fly the drone.

The Avata comes with just one battery for the drone and the price for an extra battery isn’t exactly cheap at $169. A more cost-effective solution would be to buy DJI’s $329 Fly-More kit which gives you two more batteries and a charging station that can charge up to four batteries with a single charger.

The battery life of the goggles and motion controller is excellent with an operating time of 2 hours and 5 hours respectively. You just need to remember to turn off all three devices (drone, motion controller and goggles) after you’re done flying otherwise it will chew through the battery while idle.

GadgetGuy’s take 

With a rugged design and a dead-simple piloting experience, the DJI Avata does a stellar job at bringing the thrills of FPV drones to the masses. The immersive flying experience that the Avata delivers is also likely to convert owners of more traditional drones as its small size and FPV perspective makes it more versatile and ratchets up the fun factor to eleven. 

Whether it’s flying through tight corridors, under bridges or other small gaps, you can film in places previously inaccessible. Meanwhile, more experienced pilots will get a kick out of manual mode which really unlocks the full potential of this drone.

The lack of collision avoidance sensors is a notable omission, however, the rugged build of the Avata means it is more likely to survive a crash and replacement parts are inexpensive. DJI also offers an optional replacement program for just an extra $85 should the drone get lost or damaged.  

The DJI Avata is a little on the pricey side when you factor in the cost of the drone, motion controller and goggles as well as the additional batteries but for those who have the means, you won’t be disappointed.

DJI Avata
If you ever wanted to experience the immersive thrills of FPV drones and are prepared to drop $1,629 for the privilege, the DJI Avata really is in a class of its own.
Value for money
Ease of use
Easy to fly for beginners
Impressive low latency head-mounted display
Captures high quality video with rock-solid stabilisation
Small and rugged design
Intuitive and responsive motion controls
Manual mode unlocks the full potential for more advanced flyers
Replacement parts are inexpensive
No collision avoidance sensors
Poor placement of microSD card slot and USB-C port
Self unlock process is a bit cumbersome