LAS VEGAS -- There's a reason DJI's Mavic Pro is our favorite drone. Its folding arms let you easily pack up the drone into a bag, it takes high-quality 4K video, it has a 3-axis gimbal, it's easy to fly, and DJI has a number of innovative features in the mobile app that interacts with the drone. However, at $999 for just the drone and controller, the Mavic Pro isn't cheap.
GDU is looking to undercut DJI with the O2, a drone that looks remarkably similar to the Mavic Pro when we saw it here at CES 2018. But at $732 — controller included — the O2 costs hundreds less than the Mavic Pro. The GDU O2 is currently available for pre-order, and will start shipping in February.
The GDU O2 features four fold-out arms, on the end of each of which is a rotor. Underneath, a 4K camera is mounted on a three-axis gimbal, helping to ensure smooth video. Other features include GPS and Glonass connectivity with 20 satellites, and a 0.6-mile video transmission distance. Similar to DJI, the O2 has a few object tracking modes: It will slowly circle a subject as the person moves, Follow Me will trail a person, and Rocket Mode will cause the O2 to shoot up and away from a person, before coming to a stop.
The controller that comes with the GDU O2 has space between the joysticks for a smartphone (it works with Android and iOS). This may make it easier to use than DJI's controller, which requires you to place your phone between two extendable arms that are below the sticks, but the arms' flexibility is easily adaptable for any number of different-sized smartphones.
With a rated flight time of 20 minutes, the GDU O2 has a bit less endurance than the Mavic Pro, which can last up to 27 minutes in the air. We're looking forward to testing the GDU O2 to see how it compares with the Mavic Pro, and whether you can really get all those features for less.
Editor's Note: This was updated to reflect the fact that the Mavic Pro comes with a controller for $999.