DJI Mavic 3 vs. Skydio 2 Tracking Tests – DJI Drone closes the Gap!
Alright, so Skydio 2 versus DJI Mavic 3 tracking. This is probably a video I should have done right when the DJI Mavic 3 came out, as this drone got a massive overhaul to its obstacle avoidance system, as well as Active Track, bringing it up to Active Track 5.0. So these two drones are now the best tracking drones that you can purchase. But which one is better?
Skydio 2 vs. DJI Mavic 3 tracking video
I actually need to know for myself because I'm about to go on a little ski trip, so I need to bring one of these drones with me that is the best tracking drone if I want to track myself or a friend. So let's put these drones head-to-head and see which one does best.
Skydio 2 tracking challenge
All right, so I figured we'd get things started here with the Skydio 2, as this is the reigning champion of tracking drones.
So we are going to ride on my OneWheel here along the same course, the same path to see how both drones far along the way. Now, the reason I say the Skydio 2 is the reigning champion of tracking drones is because it is the best drone that you can buy right now for tracking. And let's talk about the age of these drones.
This Skydio 2 is coming up on four years old, and it still is at the top when it comes to autonomy and tracking. One of the reasons is because I've got this small beacon. I can tell it, “hey, I need you on my left side.” It's instantly there. I can say, “Hey, I need you on my front.” It instantly flies to the front and then I can make it go and fly right towards the back again.
So the Beacon makes it really easy to control the drone, tell it where you want it to go, and also you can throw it inside your pocket like it's small. You don't need this big, massive controller. Now, I do have my phone here with me, and I'm screen recording just so you guys can see what my phone sees or what the drone is seeing.
You wouldn't have to use this exact setup that I have here. In order to actually track with the Skydio, you can literally just use the Beacon here. But again, when we're starting to talk about things, like the snappiness of the drone. I could tell it: “Hey, I need you in front.” And it instantly gets there. It says, “Hey, all right, you need me in the front. I'm there.” It's instantaneous.
This is really, oh gosh. This is really a drone that was built for autonomy, and we'll get more to that when we fly the Mavic 3. I'll touch on why I enjoy the DJI Mavic 3. But again, like this drone built for autonomy can put it over here on the right. There it is.
Like everything that went into designing. It lost me a little bit there. All right, there you go. I noticed I've been flying it a little bit along this golf course, and whenever I go over onto the right side or around that, it seems to always fly above me, which is strange. But this drone was built entirely for autonomy.
All the features in that are built for it, all the accessories, everything, right? The Beacon. Also, there's the height floor, which right now is disabled. So the height floor basically tells the drone, “Hey, you have to stay above eight feet.” And that's just for the safety of people around you if you've got the drone tracking you.
But right now I've got the height floor off. So the drone is actually able to fly under trees, under branches, and what not to continue to follow me. Now let's talk about these branches, because that's a big thing that is obvious. There are no leaves on the trees. The branches are thin. So as we ride along this golf course, it's gonna be really interesting to see how the drone fares in terms of dodging and avoiding not only trees, but also like thinner branches.
For example, I had the drone tracking me on my right. There's a tree up here on the right. Let's see what the drone decides. So it looks like it wanted to go underneath the tree to continue to follow me, which is good, right? I've got that height floor disabled, so the drone knows it can fly under eight feet and then continue to keep up with me. So now I'm going to switch it to follow me from behind.
By the way, we're using the Skydio 2, not the Skydio 2 Plus. So this doesn't have that upgraded antenna system. It just has the regular antennas. But for tracking, you don't really need the antennas because the drone stays so close to you.
You know it's so funny, like when I'm riding and I've got the drone behind me, the Skydio is like one of those drones that I know I don't need to look behind me to check out where it is. We do have some low-hanging branches. So it saw those branches, especially the thin ones. And it came to a stop, went under, and then continued to follow me, which is cool.
Now we have a little bit of a tree canopy coming up here, so it'll be interesting to see how the drone fares in handling this. It went underneath the tree. Nice move, and continue to stay under the trees.
I'll tell you what, my OneWheel, my Little Pint, for some reason, does not like hills. I could be riding my Boosted Board, which is a little bit faster.
Okay. So I figure trying to think about a good route that we can run. Let's go ahead. We'll go to the right here. We'll end at the cul-de-sac, and then we'll go and we'll run that same test using the DJI Mavic 3. Specifically speaking, we'll be flying the Mavic 3 Classic. So again, we can go ahead and tell it to zip to the front.
It'll zip around under the trees, so giving it a little bit of an obstacle course to try to get to the front. It does its best at going around trees, then goes and beams its way to the front. That's awesome. You know it's funny because this portion of the video might seem a little bit boring because the drone we already know is so good at tracking that it's not gonna crash.
And while the DJI Mavic 3 has made some serious improvements, DJI has also made improvements to the Mavic 3. It'll be interesting to see how that drone fares in terms of tracking, especially along some of those tighter areas. Okay, so that's going to wrap it up here with our tracking flight of the Skydio 2.
DJI Mavic 3 tracking challenge
All right, so next up is the Mavic 3 Classic. In order to enter Active Track, we'll go ahead, drag a box over ourselves. It'll pick us up. We'll tap on “Active Track” and then go. So now the drone is completely flying by itself. Now we do have a car, so we're going to speed up here a little bit.
My one thing I like about this drone, when it uses active track and it flies by itself, it's how smooth and cinematic it is, right? Like it's two completely different platforms. What I've really enjoyed about the Skydio is that it's snappy, it's fast, it's snappy, it's able to change directions quickly. But this, in my opinion, looks like better, usable video.
Now this is going to be a tough spot for the drone to try to go through with all these branches, but this is just the beginning of the test because we do have a good amount of other challenges for it.
Now, another thing is that this drone seems to be very cautious in terms of what it wants to do. So like it always lags back and lags behind a little bit.
But what I've seen improved with DJI's Active Track over the years is that it's able to continue to track its subject even from further away. So even though I was further away, it's still new. Where I was wearing a gray sweatshirt on a, gray on a gray blacktop. That part is tough. Now let me show you here.
I can pop up on the screen right here and make it fly to my right, and the drone will fly to the right. But notice, that it's not as snappy. See, it's actually giving me an error here, saying that it's going to change directions when I start to fly or when I start to move slower. So it's not as snappy as the Skydio 2.
You'd get, whoop , not as snappy as what you'd get with the Skydio. But again, I think that it's just a little bit more cinematic. It is a little bit close too, but what's cool is that because I have my controller, I can actually go and move the stick backwards to make it fly a little bit further away from me. So that's nice.
Seems like the drone just is lagging behind there. Now this, in my opinion, is going to be the biggest test for the drone. It's flying very slow.
Again, the Skydio was like right up on top of me, so it took the route of flying directly over the bridge. Now remember, I have it set to fly to my right now, but it's flying basically behind me. Let me go and switch it to the rear. It's doing a good job at tracking, but in my opinion, it's just lagging behind so far. I want it to be closer to me.
All right. It's doing a good job at dodging these obstacles. And again, DJI's algorithm has gotten so good at being able to, oh… DJ's algorithm has gotten so good. at being able to continue to track the subject as you're moving further away from, the drone. So even though I'm farther away from the drone, it's still able to pick me up.
Oh, it's going behind the trees. Okay. It's almost pulling a Skydio there, going behind the trees. But yeah, so my favorite thing that I like about the DJI Mavic 3 is that it has autonomy with a pilot-centric focus.
They built a drone that for me, I can go and fly, manually using my DJI RC Pro and love every minute of it, but there is a little bit of autonomy sprinkled in there.
It's just slower. It's more cautious than the Skydio. Now, DJI did upgrade their sensors in the drone, which is really what makes Active Track a lot better. Oh, it looked like it got very close. I think my OneWheel is about to die here too. It's really puttering along. That was like the final thing I wanted to see.
Nope, I don't think we're going to have enough juice to get all the way up the hill. I have such a love-hate relationship with this OneWheel. It's so good, but also so bad. Alright, this battery is dying on me. So why don't we run inside and break into some final thoughts on Skydio versus Mavic 3 tracking?
Final thoughts on Skydio versus Mavic 3 tracking
Alright, so now that we've finished up with our side-by-side tracking comparison using DJI's Active Track in their DJI Mavic 3 and Skydio's motion track in the Skydio 2, it's now time to dissect what we learned from this video as well as bring in some other thoughts to determine which of these drones is going to be right for you.
Now, personally, I don't think that there is a “best” tracking drone. The reason I say that is because both of these drones handled the course, handled the flights very well. They didn't lose me, they didn't crash. Nothing happened to these drones while I was flying them. So both of them did the task properly.
I think it just comes down to personal preference. Now, personally. I prefer the DJI Mavic 3. I think that it's a lot smoother when following you. I think the video looks a lot more clean compared to the Skydio, which is a little bit more jumpy. Like you'll notice that, even though it tries to keep up with you, it's very jumpy going around obstacles.
Sometimes it doesn't center you in the frame. So personally, from a video aspect, I think that the Mavic 3 Classic gives you a better final result. In the video, it just flies a little bit smoother when it's tracking you.
But with that said, the Skydio has a lot of these niche tracking features built in that make it, I would say, a more superior option when it comes to feature set when you're actually having the drone follow you, for example, the Beacon, as I mentioned, it would be great to just throw this in your pocket. Forget about it and have the drone follow you. As compared to a larger controller, say on the DJI Mavic 3.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could lock the controls on the Mavic 3 so you could throw it in a backpack, but you wouldn't want to do that because if it presses the screen or moves one of the joysticks, then the drone will obviously be thrown off course.
And you can't just disconnect the remote controller, because then it'll fly back to the home point. So the Beacon is great. Also, you have things. The height floor, the height ceiling, right? So there are a lot of things built into the Skydio that, in my opinion, make it more of a tracking-centered drone, right? It has a bigger feature set.
But personally, when it comes down to that final result, the video bet you get to post, I think the DJI Mavic 3 is the winner in my book just because it provides you with a little bit more smoother video also.
Thinking about both of these drones, when it comes down to the time where you actually want to fly the drone, I think the DJI Mavic 3 Classic is for superior in terms of photo quality, video quality flight time range, right?
So the DJI Mavic 3 is definitely a pilot's drone, but it's got great tracking features built in that definitely rival these Skydio 2.
So, when it comes down to which of these drones I'd recommend, it would definitely be the DJI Mavic 3 Classic because it can do everything that this Skydio can in terms of giving you that great tracking experience. As well as an awesome flying experience if you actually want to fly the drone and take some photos and videos for yourself.
Anyway, thank you guys so much for watching this video. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below based on what you saw in this video. And maybe some things you've seen in other videos or personal experience when using either of these drones for tracking.
And, as always, I'll talk to you later.
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