You’ve seen some of the leaks. Now, the wait is over. You can now buy the new DJI Mini 2. But should you? Depends on what you’re looking for. But we’ve put together a list of 10 reasons why you might want to consider picking up this amazing little drone.
Like every DJI release, this one has been a bit of a drumroll. First there were rumours. Then some leaks by our old (or young) pal @OsitaLV. Then an unboxing video, and another, from people who were able to beat the release date because Best Buy put some of these out on the shelves prior to November 4 at 8:00 PM EST. Mind you, those people weren’t able to fly their drones until the release time, because DJI FLY did not recognize the new product. But we were able to go flying. And we are incredibly impressed with what this new DJI product.
Seriously. If the Mavic Mini was worth the money – and it was – this model should be considered a bargain.
I’ve flown the original Mavic Mini on a few occasions. I thought it was a really great product for the money, with a lot of technology that was borne from other products in the DJI line. The 2.7K video was really quite impressive in a package that size, with what to my eyes seemed like very good overall colour accuracy and detail. And while a stiff breeze could get that tiny drone twitching, the gimbal software worked incredibly well, producing a very stable video image that belied the turbulent ride.
But things can always be better. And some pilots pined for better resolution, more power to fight wind, and RAW image capability.
Well, quite a bit. And while we’ll get to a video review in a moment, let’s take a look at what I consider to be the reasons why the new Mini 2 is a great buy at $449 for the base model and $599 for the Fly More Combo.
We all like lists, so here we go with my Top 10 Reasons why the Mini 2 is pretty awesome.
- 4K, 30 FPS Video
2.7K was great. 4K is better. And not just any old 4K, but this machine writes data to the MicroSD card at a rate of 100 Mbps. The original Mavic Mini’s maximum video bitrate is 40 Mbps. That’s a lot more data, carrying all that great high-res video directly to your card. As an FYI, I shoot with a Fujifilm X-T3 – really a pretty great camera – and it has the same 100 Mbps data rate. Cramming that into a tiny bundle that fits in your hand? Just awesome.
The sensor size has not changed – it’s still 1/2.3″ – but they’ve managed, we suspect, to cram more pixels onto it in order to capture that great 4K footage.
2. RAW Image
Yes, it shoots RAW! So those of you who prefer to tweak your footage with the flexibility that comes from a RAW file can go nuts. (And if you’ve never worked with RAW, there is a ton more information contained that allows you to truly take control over your image in post-processing.) The sensor size has not changed – it’s still 1/2.3″.
3. More Power
Yeah, baby. We put the Mini 2 into Sport Mode and gave it the gas. It’s fast for a drone this size – impressively so. The video will give you a sense of that, but until you watch it whiz past overhead, it’s tough to show you exactly how much juice this puppy has. Suffice to say that it’s great. The new Mini 2 can hold its own in winds up to 24 miles per hour.
4. Zoom, Zoom, Zoom…
Because the Mini 2 shoots 4K video, that gives you the option of zooming in when shooting 1080p.
- 1080p gives you 4x Zoom: 2x lossless zoom plus 2x lossy zoom
- 2.7K – 3x lossy zoom
- 4K – 2x lossy zoom
5. Longer Flight Time
The new Mavic Mini can defy gravity for up to 31 minutes on a single battery. Now, a cynic might say: “But that’s only one minute more than the original Mavic Mini!” That’s true. But remember this: The Mini 2 has more power. That means the motors require more juice. So building a more powerful machine that’s the same weight but can fly even one minute longer is pretty amazing.
6. OcuSync 2.0
How far away can you fly the Mini 2 and still remain connected? The answer? An astonishing 10 kilometres, which is a 150 per cent gain over the original Mavic Mini. We don’t think anyone has the eyeballs to track that…so you would be breaking the law in most countries by flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight. However, it’s indicative of how robust the C2 connection is – and great to know.
OcuSync 2.0, by the way, works by constantly assessing which of two frequencies (2.4 or 5.8 GHz) provides the strongest connection and hopping on the strongest. Great to have.
7. Upgraded Remote
The Mini 2 comes with what appears to be the same remote that ships with the Mavic Air 2. We personally prefer the ergonomics, plus you can bet some of that OcuSync goodness lives inside this little box. We consider this a significant upgrade from the original Mavic Mini.
8. Better Propellors
Some Mavic Mini owners ran into an issue where the critical shape of the propellors on some of the production run could deform after being in storage. That meant they couldn’t provide as much lift – which could really shake you up depending on your flight location. The new version appears to have different props (they have a different model number) and we assume these will make that issue a thing of the past.
The Mini 2 shoots three different types of panoramas: Sphere, 180 and Wide. The difference?
- Sphere captures 26 images and stitches them together for a spherical image
- 180 captures seven images for a sweeping landscape-style shot
- Wide captures a large square image composed of nine stitched shots
This is a new and faster way to transfer your image content from the drone to your phone via WiFi. Transfer speed is 20 Mbps, and photos will be enhanced as they are downloaded.
Okay – you’ve been patient. Here’s our video:
DJI has added a new Quickshot that it calls “Boomerang.” The drone acts a bit like a boomerang, heading away on an oval path and then returning to its starting point. These Quickshots take the guesswork out of creating a quick and memorable piece of video, with your subject at the center of the action. We’re not sure, but it’s possible if not likely that this Quickshot will work with the original Mavic Mini. It’s a cool shot, and we have it in our video.
We’ll delve deeper into the app at a later stage. But if does have additional features that will make pilots happy. And if you’re into editing quick videos and using social media? The new DJI FLY has you covered.
Room to improve?
Yeah, there are a couple of things. But they seem pretty minor, all things considered.
The camera’s colour accuracy and detail are great, and that 100 Mbps video bitrate blows our mind a bit. But we did notice – and it feels a bit petty here to mention this – that the dynamic range could still use some tweaking. We noticed some shots, particularly when we were flying above a small creek, where lighter items were blown out.
Yes, we could have (and perhaps should have) gone to manual settings in the camera. But we know most people simply pop these things up and fly, at least initially, so we wanted to see how the auto exposure performed. In this case, it was slightly overexposed and the dynamic range left us a bit wanting.
That being said, we were very impressed with the detail the Mini 2 was capable of providing. Even when the subject was a tree, with tens of thousands of swaying leaves, we were left impressed.
While using the Quickshot feature, we tagged ourself as the target subject. As long as we were still, the Mini 2 stayed locked on. But on three occasions (in a row) when we started walking, the Mini 2 lost its lock on us. We’ve seen this before, with our original Mavic Pro – and were kind of anticipating it, to be honest. But hey – are you expecting top-level AI on top of everything else this drone has to offer?
Time for a new phone…
Our other small – tiny, really – complaint is that the combo of the Mini 2 with the DJI FLY app, seems to occasionally overwhelm our poor old iPhone 6s Plus. We received more than one message that the phone’s processor was being overloaded, which left us wondering if the C2 link might suffer. Thankfully, it did not. A minor point, and we fully acknowledge it’s time to get a new phone.
We’ve flown a lot of drones over the years. We were very familiar with the original Mavic Mini, and were wondering what DJI could possibly do to make a significant improvement in the same size. Well, now we know. The combination of power, resolution and additional features really take this drone to the next level.
Plus, it’s worth nothing – for both models – the incredible convenience. The Mini 2 Fly More Combo, in particular, gives you everything you need to head out to the wilds and put that drone in the air for up to 93 minutes over three batteries, with the confidence that winds up to 24 mph won’t blow you away. And even if a gust did happen to interfere, the OcuSync 2.0 has you largely covered. It would have to be blown far, far away for you to lose connection and the hope of recovering your new Mini 2.
Because – trust us on this – you won’t want to lose this drone. It’s amazing.
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