Sony’s first drone, the Airpeak S1, isn’t even here yet. But that hasn’t stopped many from speculating about how this new entry into the drone landscape will compare to one of the leaders of the industry, the DJI Inspire 2.
Now that Sony has divulged some important specifications regarding the Airpeak, let’s dive in and see how it stacks up (on paper) to one of DJI’s high-end products.
The Sony Airpeak and DJI Inspire 2 are similarly-sized drones, with the Airpeak measuring 644 mm compared to the Inspire 2’s slightly smaller, 604.5 mm diameter. The Airpeak is a bit heavier, weighing in at 9 pounds, 12 ounces excluding a gimbal or camera. The Inspire 2, meanwhile, tips the scales at 7.58 pounds.
The Sony Airpeak is already taking the drone world by storm with some of its specs, like its ability to go 0-50 mph in 3.5 seconds. The DJI Inspire 2 doesn’t have quite as quick of an acceleration, reaching 50 mph in 5 seconds. That being said, the Inspire 2 does have a better top speed (58 mph) than the Airpeak (55.9 mph).
Sony says the Airpeak can carry a 5-pound payload which, if true, is significantly better than the Inspire 2’s 1.24-pound payload capability. The Airpeak also easily wins in other areas, like wind resistance (44.7 mph to 22.4 mph), positioning it as the more powerful drone of the two.
All that power comes at a cost, however. Sony says the Airpeak will have a flight time of 22 minutes when fully unloaded, with that time plummeting to 12 minutes when outfitted with a gimbal and camera. The Inspire 2 boasts a max flight time between 23-27 minutes, depending on what camera is attached to it.
To be fair, the Inspire 2 sports a dual-battery setup that gives it a bit of an edge in this department. But that doesn’t excuse the Airpeak from being so far behind when it comes to battery life.
Both of these drones rely on carrying gimbals and separate cameras to capture compelling footage while in the air. Furthermore, both drones are currently only compatible with specific camera models.
The DJI Inspire 2, for instance, supports the Zenmuse X4S, Zenmuse X5S and Zenmuse X7 as options for cameras. The Airpeak, meanwhile, only works with a list of Sony cameras: the Alpha 1, Alpha A9 II, Alpha 7S II, Alpha 7R IV, and FX3.
In other words, the Inspire 2 and Airpeak are similarly limited when it comes to the equipment you can add to them to shoot photos and video with.
Here’s where the DJI Inspire 2 has a major advantage. The price of just the drone itself — which includes propellers, a remote, a pair of batteries and a charger — will run you $3,300. Alternatively, shelling out for the Airpeak will cost $9,000 for the same package.
To put that into perspective, you can buy the Inspire 2 X7 Advanced Kit — which includes an upgraded controller, a Zenmuse X7 and a DL-S 16mm F.28 ND ASPH Lens among other accessories — for $9,400. For about $400 more than the Airpeak, that instantly seems like quite a value.
The only way to figure out which drone performs the best is to test their capabilities against each other. And, with Sony refusing to say exactly when the Airpeak will arrive (the official word is “fall 2021”) it’s unlikely that will happen anytime soon.
For now, here’s what we can gather from a battle of the specs sheets. The Airpeak could very well be a better drone overall, as long as it performs as well as Sony says it will. But it is wildly more expensive than the Inspire 2, which still offers respectable features for far less money.
If money is no object, it may be worth waiting for the release of Sony’s intriguing new drone. At the same time, DJI has been a reliable name in the drone industry for years, and the Inspire 2 projects to be a far more affordable option.