DJI’s newest drone is a tie for smallest drone yet, but it wins the award for tiniest drone with 4K video. The DJI Mini 2 launched on Nov. 4 as an ultra-light (249 grams, to be exact), portable drone that’s capable of recording 4K video — particularly impressive given the drone’s small size and low price point.
The new DJI Mini 2 was announced on Wednesday night as part of a product launch called “Make Your Moments Fly.” The Mini 2 is the successor to the DJI Mavic Mini. This time around, DJI dropped ‘Mavic’ from the name — but that’s not all that changed.
Among the biggest changes seen in the DJI Mini 2 vs. the original DJI Mavic Mini:
A 4K camera: We forgave the DJI Mavic Mini for not having 4K video because the price point of the drone was so low. That’s why we’re super impressed that the Mini 2 does pack in 12-megapixel images and a maximum video resolution of 4K/30fps @100 Mbps.
OcuSync 2.0: OcuSync 2.0, which is a transmission technology developed by DJI and used in many of its other drones, is incorporated into the Mini 2 (it was not used in the original DJI Mavic Mini). With OcuSync 2.0, drones have a more stable and reliable connection between the remote controller and the drone — especially over long distances. The drone’s maximum transmission range is 10 km — a 150% increase in transmission range vs. the original Mavic Mini.
That’s also massively important because it means the Mini 2, unlike the Mavic Mini, does not rely on Wi-Fi.
Longer flight time and steadier flight: With the DJI Mavic 2, you’re looking at 31 minutes of flight time, faster acceleration and speed. That’s largely due to upgraded motors. The tiny drone is also more sturdy in rough conditions with the ability to withstand winds up to 24mph (up from just 18 mph previously).
Like all DJI drones, the Mini 2 is easy to fly thanks to high-grade positioning and vision sensors that enable the drone to hover in one place. Couple that with GPS and features like DJI fencing, Return to Home and Altitude Lock (an adjustable limit on how high the drone can go), and the drone is friendly for even the most novice pilot.
By pairing your smartphone, you can view a live feed from the drone’s camera so you can see exactly what the drone sees.
Image quality saw a huge upgrade in the Mini 2’s camera. Thanks to a 1/2.3-inch sensor, the Mini 2 can record 12-megapixel images and a maximum video resolution of 4K/30fps @100 Mbps. Images can be shot in RAW (important for more serious photographers who might want to further edit footage).
There’s also a 4X Zoom (2X lossless in quality) option while recording in 1080p resolution.
As is the case in most DJI drones, pre-programmed flight modes make automate how you can get cinematic-quality shots. For example, ‘Dronie’ mode commands the DJI Mini 2 to fly backward and upward to a preset height limit, with the camera tracking your subject. Rocket mode makes the drone fly straight up into the air (again, to a pre-programmed height) with the camera pointing downward following your subject. For people who prefer still images, there are also various image modes including AEB Triple Shot, which makes for a more vivid image (that can be edited further for HDR processing).
While a 1/2.3-inch sensor is impressive for a drone of this size and price, it is worth pointing out that image quality still won’t compare with DJI’s higher-end drones. You won’t notice if you’re shooting images for Instagram. But more professional photographers (say, you’re a real estate agent or wedding photographer) should temper their expectations.
For all those improvements, there is a cost — but don’t panic. The drone costs AU$130 more than what the original Mavic Mini debuted at, but not by much.
The standard DJI Mini 2 package (which includes a remote controller and one battery) costs $749.
Or, upgrade for a grand total of AU$949 to the Fly More Combo, which includes three batteries, charging hub, DJI Mini 2, a carrying case and remote controller.
DJI Care Refresh, which is essentially an extended warranty plan offered by DJI, is also available for AU$79.
DJI is targeting beginners who still want great image quality with its easy to fly Mini 2. Throw in significantly enhanced transmission technology for longer and more reliable connections, and the Mini 2 adds a new level of safety that’s especially important for newbies.
And to make it easy to capture shots that actually look cinematic, DJI’s intelligent, pre-programmed modes are optimized to get your drone filming with just a few taps (and supplemented with plenty of beginner tutorials and learning tools).
The launch of the Mini 2 comes just about a year after its predecessor, the DJI Mavic Mini was announced (which was Oct. 30, 2019). The Mavic Mini was a monumental drone for two big reasons: price point and size.
“Mavic Mini was a monumental breakthrough for DJI and for drone pilots across the world, as its unprecedented combination of weight, safety, performance, and overall value became the entry point for countless new drone pilots and fans,” said DJI President, Roger Luo, in a prepared statement. “DJI Mini 2 enhances those key aspects, packing larger drone performance in an approachable, small design in the safest drone category that is perfect for beginners and will also impress more experienced pilots.”
Price: At AU$599 for its original launch price, the Mavic Mini was the first drone made by DJI at such a low price point — making drones instantly more accessible to people who didn’t want to commit all in on drones given previously high price points.
Prior to the Mavic Mini, DJI’s cheapest drone was the DJI Spark, which initially sold for $799. DJI is also affiliated with another less-than-$100 drone called the Tello, which is made by a partner company called Ryze using DJI parts (though the Tello is sold directly on DJI’s site).
Size: But what was really interesting for drone industry experts when it launched last year was the Mavic Mini’s size. Weighing in at 249 grams, DJI’s Mavic Mini doesn’t fall under the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration if you’re flying for hobby purchases (the FAA currently only requires drones flying for hobby purchases weighing 250 grams or more to be registered). Again, that makes the Mini much more accessible for people who don’t want to worry about complying (or not complying) with federal laws while flying their drones.
DJI is not hitting the brakes on new products anytime soon. Just last month, DJI added to its family of handheld cameras called Osmo with the release of the DJI Pocket 2. And industry experts suspect more drones more focused on the professional market aren’t far out on the horizon. Many are already talking about what we can expect from the DJI Mavic 3.
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