The DJI Avata is my favorite drone for beginners. I can’t think of anything easier or more fun to fly, even if it can’t dodge obstacles like a Skydio. But the configuration you’ll probably want to feel like you’re flying costs $1,388 — and requires you to insert a belt-clip battery pack into goggles and use a gyroscopic controller that limits you to flying like an airplane.
Today, DJI is introducing new goggles and a new controller that should keep that core flying experience while lowering the price of entry to $1,278.
The Integra has the same pair of 0.49-inch/1080p 100Hz/700-nit micro OLED displays as the original DJI Goggles 2 I tested, and the same range of 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) using DJI’s OcuSync 3 Plus transmission technology over a pair of foldable 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz antennas at up to 50 megabits per second.
But it’s also easier in a number of ways, some of which you may not appreciate. They have a smaller field of view at 44 degrees versus 51 degrees for the more expensive DJI Goggles 2. While you still get IPD adjustment, there’s no more diopter adjustment to help correct your vision. Instead, it looks like DJI will sell special sets of interchangeable lenses to do that job for you. There’s no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so you can’t stream your movies wirelessly to the headset, not that you’d be comfortable leaning against the headrest on an airplane with the new large bulge on the headband.
Indeed, what you might appreciate is that the Integra ditches the belt buckle battery for an integrated headband battery like you might find on a wireless VR headset, one with practically the same capacity (17.64 watt-hours vs. 18 watt-hours) as the original. It makes the headset weigh more, at 410g versus 290g, but the weight should hopefully be distributed for better balance than the original – less pulling down on the front of your face. Personally, the reduced field of view is the only specification that worries me.
The new kit also comes with the revised DJI RCMotion 2 controller, which costs $40 more than the original — adding a brand new joystick, a new trigger that can be pushed forward and backward, and a new Fn dial on the side to adjust ISO, shutter speed, and other variables. The trigger is like the one on a toy RC car, allowing you to reverse the drone instead of having to turn around when you get too close to objects, and the joystick allows you to move laterally or vertically so you can get a full set have a quadcopter. controls rather than being limited to airplane-like flights.
It’s about the same weight, range, and five-hour battery life.
The new DJI RC Motion 2 costs $239 individually (versus $199 for the original). The DJI Goggles Integra cost $499 individually, compared to $649 for the DJI Goggles 2. And if you still want to get a kit with those more expensive goggles, it now also comes with the RC Motion 2 for $1,428 (was $1,388 ). If you want the $1,278 kit, it’s called the DJI Avata Explorer Combo. None of the combos come with extra batteries I’m afraid.
I leave you with this video of what it was like to fly last year with the original controller and goggles.