DJI Avata vs DJI FPV: Which is Best?

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RCHobby Lab’s Author: Daniel Henderson
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward

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DJI disrupted the world of first-person view (FPV) drone flight in 2021 with the release of their innovative DJI FPV drone. This ready-to-fly FPV quadcopter made aerial acrobatics more accessible to drone enthusiasts by combining a manual flight mode with useful GPS features like automatic hover and Return-to-Home.

In late 2022, DJI built on the strengths of the original FPV drone and launched the DJI Avata. Marketed as an FPV “cineWhoop,” the Avata refines and improves on the earlier DJI FPV model in a few key areas.

If you’re trying to decide between purchasing the original DJI FPV or the newer Avata, this in-depth feature will compare the two platforms across a range of factors.

We’ll outline the similarities and differences to help you determine which DJI FPV drone best fits your style of flight and filming.

An Introduction to DJI’s FPV Drones

DJI’s goal with both the FPV drone and the Avata is to open up the world of manual FPV flight to a wider audience.

Traditionally, piloting a racing drone or freestyle quadcopter in “Acro mode” took patience and practice. You had to build your own drone, master orientation, and fine-tune your reflexes. Crashing was a given. DJI set out to change this.

What is FPV Drone Flight?

FPV stands for “first-person view.” When you fly an FPV drone, you see a real-time video feed directly from the drone’s camera displayed in a pair of FPV goggles or transmitted to a mobile device. This creates an immersive “pilot’s eye view” experience, as if you are in the pilot’s seat.

Racing drones and freestyle quadcopters are designed specifically for FPV flight. Using manual controls, you can execute advanced moves like flips, dives, and complex routes around obstacles. It feels like a video game come to life, with you at the controls.

Why Choose a DJI FPV Drone?

While DJI did not invent FPV drones, their FPV and Avata models offer a few key innovations that open up the world of manual flight to a wider audience, including:

GPS and sensors for stability: Even in manual “Acro” modes, DJI FPV drones utilize GPS and vision sensors to retain control if you lose your bearings. This prevents drifting and uncontrolled crashes. Return-to-home and precision hover functions also add confidence.

Simplified controls: Rather than using old-school radio controllers with complex configurations, DJI FPV drones utilize simplified game-style controllers with integrated displays. Much easier to operate even for beginners.

First-person view: Integrated high quality FPV cameras and proven transmission systems give you clear, low-latency video. When paired with DJI’s FPV Goggles V2 or Goggles 2, it feels like you’re in the cockpit.

Safe equipment: Since DJI uses proprietary tech in their FPV equipment, you can feel reassured that video transmission, battery charge levels, warning sensors, and other key systems were designed specifically to work together safely. No risky DIY builds.

As you can see, DJI FPV drones lower the barrier of entry so more people can experience the thrill of high speed manual drone maneuvers and recording video along the way. Both the DJI FPV and Avata excel at this.

Now let’s explore exactly how they differ.

DJI FPV vs DJI Avata: Key Factors Compared

While the DJI FPV drone and DJI Avata share the same fundamental premise of opening up immersive FPV flight to a wider audience, the two drones take slightly different approaches based on their form factors and intended uses.

In short:

  • The DJI FPV was built for outright speed and agility. It succeeds as a gateway racing drone.
  • The DJI Avata refines the model into a more resilient and versatile “cineWhoop” platform optimized for shooting stabilized video footage in FPV mode.

Below we will compare the two across a range of factors so you can determine which model best fits your interests and budget.

Speed and Agility

There’s no contest here: the DJI FPV drone is both faster and more agile in the air. It was purpose-built for speed.

Spec-for-spec, the FPV simply outruns and outmaneuvers the Avata:

  • Top speed:
    • DJI FPV – 88 mph (142 km/h)
    • DJI Avata – 60 mph (96 km/h)
  • Ascent/descent speed:
    • DJI FPV – Unlimited vertical speed in manual mode. Up to 34 mph (55 km/h) in Sport mode
    • DJI Avata – Limited to 13 mph (22 km/h) vertical speed
  • Max tilt angle:
    • DJI FPV – No limits
    • DJI Avata – Limited to 85 ̊ pitch and roll

The DJI FPV’s unrestricted performance shows through in its brute power and razor sharp turns. In the hands of a competent pilot, it almost teleports through complex race-inspired courses with ease.

So for outright speed demons who want a purely performance focused FPV racer straight out of the box, the DJI FPV is very enticing.

Just know that with all that power comes additional risks and less resilience if you do crash at speed, which we’ll explore more below. But when used properly, the DJI FPV dominates with pace.

👍 Winner: DJI FPV

Durability and Protection

Here’s where we see the first major divergence between models. In pursuit of maximum velocity, the DJI FPV model leaves key components exposed. The DJI Avata takes durability into account with guards and a protective frame.

Let’s examine the differences:

  • Propeller protection
    • DJI FPV – Totally exposed props
    • DJI Avata – Built-in prop guards
  • Frame structure
    • DJI FPV – Exposed plastic arms
    • DJI Avata – Protective composite shell
  • Payload area
    • DJI FPV – Vulnerable camera, battery, and electronics
    • DJI Avata – Impact-resistant frame around internal components

As you can see, DJI clearly optimized the Avata’s physical design to withstand crashes much better than the faster FPV drone. The integrated prop guards prevent props from striking obstacles at speed and transferring energy directly to fragile components. The rigid frame encloses the most vital payloads safely inside.

And according to early user reports, DJI also engineered the Avata for simplified repairs. Key items like the props, motors, and camera module can be replaced by users with basic tools, rather than needing full company service on each crash. Much more DIY-friendly.

For these reasons, the DJI Avata simply offers more confidence and resilience out in the field compared to the more delicate DJI FPV drone. It’s far more willing to get scraped up in tight spaces or brush off minor crashes. The FPV can certainly hold its own too, but requires more cautious piloting.

👍 Winner: DJI Avata

FPV Camera Quality

Another area where the DJI Avata pulls ahead is the all-important first-person-view camera.

Since immersive real-time video is the main attraction of FPV drones, the Avata’s upgrades here make a big impact:

  • Sensor size
    • DJI FPV – 1/2.3” CMOS
    • DJI Avata – 1/1.7” CMOS (larger for better light capture and dynamic range)
  • Resolution & Frame Rate
    • Both shoot 4K 60fps, but the Avata’s footage exhibits better clarity and sharpness
  • Lens FOV
    • DJI FPV – 150 ̊ FOV
    • DJI Avata – 155 ̊ FOV (wider perspective)
  • Digital video output
    • 8-bit H.264 (DJI FPV drone)
    • 10-bit H.265 (DJI Avata – better color detail)
  • Additional recording features
    • DJI Avata can capture gyro/metadata for ReelSteady GO post-processing stabilization

On paper alone, you can see numerous areas where the DJI Avata simply upgrades the image quality over previous FPV models. And most user reports confirm this translates to noticeably better video captured straight off the SD card.

Since the DJI FPV’s camera exhibits a more limited dynamic range along with propeller shadows in frame, many pilots actually equip a GoPro camera externally to improve footage. This works well, but adds weight, alters performance, and introduces balancing challenges.

The Avata sidesteps all that by packing pro-caliber visuals into an integrated FPV camera system. For convenience and quality in one unit, it can’t be beat. Just launch and capture cinema-quality FPV shots.

👍 Winner: DJI Avata

Intelligent Flight Modes

One area where the DJI FPV and Avata drones share equal footing is their collection of intelligent flight modes. Both leverage a suite of advanced sensors and processing capabilities for confidence and control.

Key flight modes found in both models include:

  • Normal: Smooth GPS-guided automated flight ideal for beginners, camera gimbal control enabled
  • Sport: Faster performance with some GPS stabilization, gimbal disabled
  • Manual/Acro: Full manual control of pitch, yaw, roll and other parameters, no limits on tricks and techniques

Additionally, whether you’re flying in automated Normal mode or fully-manual Acro, you get these helpful aids on both platforms:

  • Altitude hold and hover: Keeps the drone locked at a set altitude hands-free if needed
  • Automatic Emergency Pause: If drone loses orientation or telemetry signal, it will brake and hover until pilot regains control
  • Enhanced Return to Home: Failsafe nudges the aircraft back to the launch point if connection drops out completely

Thanks to these measures borrowed from DJI’s camera drone playbook, both the FPV and Avata models retain a baseline confidence and accessibility for newcomers that purely manual racing rigs may lack. You can enable stabilizers while learning the ropes, then flip them off when ready to take full creative control.

For these smart features alone, DJI FPV options stand clearly apart from old-school analog FPV builds. Everything you need comes neatly bundled for beginner accessibility but retains competitive performance ceilings.

👍 Winner: No

Transmission Signal & Range

One spec where both the DJI FPV drone and Avata rate equally is the stellar O3 digital video transmission functionality. It’s DJI’s proprietary long-range low-latency FPV systempacking plenty of confidence.

Both setups deliver:

  • 4K 60fps crystal clear video
  • Sub 40ms latency for real-time immersive FPV
  • Range up to 10km / 6.2 miles (FCC compliant)
  • Dual frequency connectivity with automatic handoff between bands
  • AES 256 encryption on the signal

The DJI FPV model equips four transmitting antennas for 360 ̊ transmission coverage. The Avata makes due with two front-facing antennas.

But multiple user reports note that the Avata’s stream somehow feels more reliable and resistant to interference than the FPV drone’s. This could simply come down to the FPV model carrying an additional GoPro camera payload in many cases which may inhibit effective quadcopter positioning.

Either way, both setups rate strong enough in the connectivity department for most applications. Just take care to keep the drone in line of sight per regulations.

👍 Winner: No

Portability & Ease of Use

This round goes firmly to team Avata. Due to its smaller size and integrated design, you’ll find the Avata much simpler to travel with and launch into flight on short notice.

As a diminutive 3.64 lb / 1.65 kg unit, the DJI Avata stuffs conveniently into an average backpack with space leftover for other gear. The smart battery, aircraft, props, and other critical components all transport as one grabbed-and-go package.

The DJI FPV drone clocks in at a heavier 4.03 lb / 1.83 kg before you strap on an action camera like a GoPro for improved footage. Then you must haul additional batteries, remote, chargers, and other accessories piecemeal. Not nearly as friendly for mobility and rapid deployment.

And the Avata definitely saves time prepping for flight too. Just unfold, connect the battery and you’re off. Swapping external cameras to balance perspectives simply isn’t needed thanks to the Avata’s refined integrated camera system.

Even the newly released DJI Goggles 2 were designed specifically for the Avata’s compact form. Their slimmed down, lightweight profile cuts down on neck strain if flying longer sessions.

While the DJI FPV drone still holds some advantages in pure power, the Avata sweeps the experience when it comes to simplified launching and transport. Huge perks for hobbyists focused on filming.

👍 Winner: DJI Avata

DJI FPV vs Avata: Which is Better Overall?

In summary, the DJI Avata brings incremental but meaningful improvements over the already solid DJI FPV drone formula tried by earlier adopters.

Thanks to its fully-integrated single package design, the Avata offers hobbyists, aerial cinematographers and FPV enthusiasts more convenience coupled with just enough speed for tightly framed tandem footage in exotic locales.

The DJI FPV drone still reigns for those hardcore pilots purely pursuing closed-course FPV racing and bando-bashing sessions demanding outright top velocity. And it pairs well with GoPro or Insta360 camera payloads.

But for most recreational and semi-pro needs, the DJI Avata stands as a sleeker, more refined execution of the FPV drone concept with cinema explicitly in mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still debating between the DJI FPV or Avata models and have some unanswered questions? Below we tackle some commonly asked considerations to help cement your decision.

Does the DJI FPV drone have obstacle avoidance?

No, unlike DJI camera drones built for automation like the Mavic series, neither the FPV drone nor Avata models have forward, backward or downward facing obstacle avoidance sensors. These omissions were likely deemed necessary from a cost and processing power perspective since FPV drones focus heavily on uncompromised manual flight.

You’ll need to take care to fly both options in wide open areas clear of people, structures and other risks. Pay constant attention to your flight path at all times.

How long does the DJI FPV drone fly per charge?

Officially, the DJI FPV touts 20 minutes of hover/cruise flight endurance on a fully charged 2000mAh LiPo battery under minimal wind conditions.

The DJI Avata bumps this up slightly to 18-23 minutes hovering thanks to its intelligent 2420 mAh Li-ion battery.

But for both, expect roughly half those times when flying hard in manual/Acro modes performing tricks or pushing the speed envelope. Real world flight durations shake out to about 10 minutes (FPV drone) or 15 minutes (Avata) under heavy throttle.

As always, bring multiple charged batteries along to extend your continuous field time.

Does the DJI FPV or Avata come with FPV goggles?

Unfortunately neither drone includes FPV goggles in the basic package to help keep costs down. So you’ll need to budget an additional $429 – $799 for one of the following compatible DJI goggle options:

  • DJI FPV Goggles V2 – $429
    The second generation goggles work with both the FPV drone and Avata via an OcuSync video connection. Decent value.
  • DJI Goggles 2 – $799
    Slimmer and lighter than the FPV Goggles V2. Designed exclusively for the Avata drone.Highest quality and comfort but expensive.

Most enthusiasts argue that FPV drones need an immersive first person viewing solution to capture the proper experience. So do consider goggles essential to purchase alongside your aircraft even though they bump up the total starter price.

Third party goggle brands tailored for analog FPV drones likely won’t integrate well with DJI’s proprietary digital transmission tech. Stick to DJI’s ecosystem for a trouble-free ride.

Can I use the DJI FPV drone controller with the Avata?

Yes! This cross compatibility is handy for current DJI FPV drone owners.

The DJI FPV drone and Avata quadcopter work interchangeably with both of DJI’s primary remote controllers:

  • DJI Motion Controller – Simplified handheld gamepad-style transmitter made for casual users
  • DJI FPV Remote Controller 2 – Higher performance aircraft-style radio controller preferred by experienced pilots

So no need to reinvest in new controls if swapping between aircraft down the road. Just bind your preferred transmitter to the drone and take flight.

Does the DJI FPV or Avata have “Angle mode” for beginners?

Both platforms offer a helpful stability option called “Attitude Limit” you can enable which essentially functions akin to Angle mode on a camera drone.

With this aid toggled ON in the menu system, hard stops are introduced to prevent the aircraft from rolling inverted while in Manual/Acro mode. Very useful for beginners still learning to handle pitch/roll movements without losing all orientation.

Over time as your reflexes improve, you can always disengage Attitude Limits to graduate towards true unlimited Acro. It’s a thoughtful feature to build pilot confidence.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, both the DJI FPV drone and DJI Avata give hobbyists, aerial cinematographers, and drone enthusiasts a solid gateway into the exciting world of first-person view flight. DJI has made significant strides to open up this immersive form of piloting to more mainstream audiences.

While the original DJI FPV model first cracked open the doorway with confidence and video game-esque control, the Avata kicks it further ajar for newcomers. Its accessible design welcomes fresh users for their inaugural manned drone adventures with simplified operation, pleasing IQ straight off the SD card, and just enough velocity to feel like a proper FPV platform.

Veterans with need for speed may still side with the wicked velocity of the unadulterated FPV rig. But more participants stand to thrive under the Avata’s refined approach that neatly balances cinema and crunch. Here’s hoping DJI continues to democratize FPV for future generations one model iteration at a time!

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Written By Daniel Henderson

My name is Daniel Henderson and I'm an avid FPV pilot and videographer. I've been flying quadcopters for over 5 years and have tried just about every drone and FPV product on the market. When not flying quads, you can find me mountain biking, snowboarding, or planning my next travel adventure.

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