The DJI Mavic Mini was a remarkable achievement: a drone weighing less than 250 grams capable of recording good quality videos and photos, while being very easy to handle.
A follow-up wasn’t expected so soon, but the Mini 2 responds to some of the criticism of the original and makes the new, higher price tag worth it. The Mavic name part has been removed, although it is still in the Mavic range.
With the ability to record 4K video at 100Mbps (bit rate is the highlight here) and RAW photos, plus Ocusync 2.0 for control and video transmission up to 10km away, there’s almost nothing to criticize here.
“Almost” is the keyword because, while you wouldn’t expect it at this price, it would have been nice to shoot in 4K at 60fps, but it’s 24, 25, or 30fps.
The real blow, for some people, is the continued absence of Active Track. In DJI’s more expensive drones (and for those with more memory, also in older Spark ones), it’s a system that lets you select a person or object, like a car, and the drone will attach on that topic and He’ll follow you, moving both the drone and the camera to keep that topic in focus.
This is useful if you want to film yourself skiing or cycling on a hilltop trail. But you will have to fly manually with the Mini 2 to capture such scenes.
And this despite the fact that the Mini 2 can track subjects in Quick Shots mode, so removing Active Track is a conscious decision by DJI and makes it even more frustrating.
The other big omission concerns the obstacle avoidance sensors. While not guaranteed to work in all situations with other DJI drones, they are collision avoidance and can also be used with Active Track to avoid obstacles when tracking a subject.
Either because of its weight, which would push the Mini 2 past the recording limit in some countries, or because of the additional cost (or more likely to prevent DJI’s cheaper drone from competing with those more expensive models. ) are not present. .
Features and design
While you should still obey local laws on where you can fly a drone, you can charge the batteries, install the DJI Fly app, and start flying.
From a design standpoint, it’s hard to find many differences between this and the older Mavic Mini. However, there are many changes: a new battery design, a new multi-charger, new propellers and much more. It’s small enough to fit in your hand and – as it’s printed on the side – it weighs just 249 grams.
Charging is done via USB-C, or the Fly More kit’s multi-charger which takes three batteries (but charges them one after the other, annoyingly).
There’s a new LED strip on the front, the color of which you can customize in the Fly app, and a button on the back that you need to hold down for two seconds to put the drone into fast transfer mode.
This broadcasts a Wi-Fi network that your phone can connect to directly (without the driver) and allows you to import videos and photos at “up to” 20MB / s.
Seems to be a useful feature, but in my testing it turned out to be problematic, complaining that I was in a “high interference” location and transfers were failing after running at 1.5-2.5 MB / s.
I suspect it’s designed for use in the field, where it might come in handy, although the low-res previews are recorded in real time on the phone, so it’s hard to think of many reasons why you would need to download the original quality versions. to your phone that way. I prefer to put the microSD card (which by the way is not included) in a USB 3 card reader and transfer videos and photos in bulk to a PC.
The other novelty is only included in the Fly More kit: a propeller guard that wraps around the drone and keeps the four rotors in place and prevents them from being damaged while you are wearing the Mini 2.
And that’s the other reason to spend more on the Fly More version – it comes with a large shoulder bag that has room for the drone, controller, battery charger, spare propellers, and cables. USB.
Plus, it comes with three batteries in total, providing just over 90 minutes of flight time, although you obviously have to land the drone to change the batteries after half an hour.
The final highlight regarding the features is that DJI now provides the same controller you get with the Mavic Air 2, and it’s much, much better than the Mavic Mini.
This is partly because Ocusync 2.0 means a robust signal over greater distances (a maximum of 10 km in the US and 6 km in Europe), but also because the phone holder is much easier to use, and it places the screen above the controls, where it should be, and makes it easy to connect the cable to the phone’s USB port. Cables are included for Lightning, USB-C, and microUSB.
A nice addition is the pause icon on the back home button. This is because it can be used to stop the Mini 2 in the middle of a rapid fire.
With improved engines, the Mini 2 can withstand wind better than the Mavic Mini, up to 24 mph (around 37 km / h). It also has faster acceleration (if you need it) and a 2x lossless zoom when shooting at 1080p, which is useful if you like shooting at 48, 50, or 60 fps, which is not available. whether you choose 2.7K or 4K.
Digital zoom is possible (2x at 4K, 3x at 2.7K and 4x at 1080p). While it might seem unnecessary, it does seem to add a bit of extra detail compared to just zooming in in a video editor, or taking photos from a video and cropping them in Photoshop.
Additionally, you can use the function button on the controller in conjunction with the thumbwheel behind it to zoom in and out, allowing you to create cart zoom effects, or just zoom in smoothly in flight.
Photos can be taken in DNG format with their compressed and processed JPG equivalents so that you can import them into a suitable photo editor and apply this processing yourself – including white balance and highlight recovery.
The results (the photo above was processed by our own professional photographer) are impressive for an entry-level robot, but it’s disappointing that there isn’t a RAW equivalent for video.
What you get is a 100 Mbps MP4, which with proper 4K resolution is a huge step up from the Mavic Mini’s 40 Mbps 2.7K. That’s a variable bit rate, not constant, but it’s more than double what was available on the Mavic Mini.
This means the video quality is impressive for a “cheap” drone and while the pros don’t come close, it’s perfectly acceptable to display on your 65in 4K TV to family and friends.
The easiest way to describe the quality is that it is very close to what you would get from your smartphone, except that it is perfectly stabilized by a 3-axis gimbal.
Video becomes smooth when you pan left or right, or very close to objects. But when you fly 50 meters, things are nice and crisp, with good levels of detail and natural colors.
The Mini 2 has other tricks up its sleeve as well. It can automatically take and sew panoramic 3×3 (top), 180 ° (bottom) and spherical photos, it can auto bracketing for HDR photos, and also take photos at intervals of 5 to 60 seconds.
Finally, there are QuickShots that any recent drone owner will know. These are fun preset flight paths recorded in 720p (unfortunately) that create shareable videos.
It’s also the only easy way to get the Mini 2 to orbit a point of interest (usually yourself) and get other fun photos.
Price and availability
The Mini 2 is on sale now. The basic kit costs 449. It includes the drone, a battery and a pair of spare propellers. That’s 50 dollars more than the cost of the Mavic Mini when it was launched.
But it’s the Fly More combo that you’ll want to use. It may cost more at US $ 599, but it’s worth it as it includes two extra batteries, a propeller protector (to prevent the propellers from being damaged), a three battery charger, an 18W charger (the block Power Supply) Additional accessory sets and a carry bag to carry everything inside.
You can of course buy both versions from DJI, but also from other retailers.
With a lot more improvements and updates than it looks, the Mini 2 is truly a fantastic little drone. Video quality has been significantly improved over the Mavic Mini, and the ability to take RAW photos (along with the auto exposure bracketing feature) also makes it a great tool for aerial photography.
Add to that the upgraded motors, which allow for greater wind resistance, a significantly better driver, and much greater range (and higher performance when there is a lot of interference), the price hike is easily justified. .
Even without Active Track (which is the biggest disappointment – not the lack of obstacle avoidance), this is a great buy.
- Flight time: up to 31 minutes
- Range: Ocusync 2.0 – 10 km (6.2 miles), 6 km (3.7 miles) in UK / Europe
- Video resolutions:
- 4K: 3840 × 2160 at 24/25 / 30fps
- 2.7K: 2720 × 1530 a 24/25 / 30fps
- FHD: 1920 × 1080 a 24/25/30/48/50 / 60fps
- Maximum transmission speed: 100Mbps
- Video format: MP4 (H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
- Photo format: 12Mp JPEG, JPEG + RAW (DNG)
- Rapid Fire Modes: Dronie, Propeller, Rocket, Circle, Boomerang Obstacle Avoidance: No
- Weight: 249g
- Folded size: 138 × 81 × 58mm (L × W × H)
- Unfolded size: 159 × 203 × 56mm (L × W × H)
- Unfolded size (with propellers): 245 × 289 × 56mm (L × W × H)
- Wind resistance: 8.5-10.5 m / s (29-38 km / h) (scale 5
- Drone battery capacity: 2250mAh