There are plenty of reasons to buy the new DJI Mini 2. In fact, we outlined 10 reasons why you might want to consider picking up the new drone in this story. We also put the new drone to the test in this video. But we have some thoughts, based on personal experience.
Every drone flies differently. And every drone has its own features and specs. There are times when, say, an Inspire 2 is the best drone for the task at hand. If you want to track something in movement on the ground, maybe the Skydio 2 would be your choice. Point is, every drone is suited to its own particular tasks. And, I suspect, when most of us purchase a drone, we try to find something that checks off as many boxes as possible. That’s why, for several months, I’ve been convinced my next drone purchase would be the Mavic Air 2. I really love its size, speed, imaging quality. In short, it’s a great drone. A fantastic drone, really.
Now I’m thinking about the Mini 2 instead.
I’d flown the original Mavic Mini on multiple occasions. I’d always been impressed, but not enough to consider purchasing the unit. Why? Well, part of it was the 2.7K video. Who wouldn’t prefer 4K as an option if it’s available? My other concern with the Mavic Mini was its capabilities in wind. It was still impressive for its size, but I was left with the uneasy feeling that an unexpected and sustained gust might carry it away. I’ve seen that happen with larger drones (a Mavic Pro in high winds), and it’s not a pleasant feeling to lose control of your drone.
The Mini 2 addresses both of those factors right off the bat. It has 4K 30fps video (and 24 fps, 25 fps), and it’s vastly more capable in the wind. In fact, it will hold its own in winds up to 24 miles per hour. That’s pretty amazing.
(If you’d like to see our comprehensive review, you’ll find it right here.)
Small package, big advantages
You already know this, of course. But the original DJI Mavic Mini and the new Mini 2 both weight 249 grams. That’s a very deliberate weight. Anything under 250 grams is not considered to pose much potential danger, even were it to drop right on top of someone. Because of that, it’s not subject to the same regulations in the US and Canada as drones that weigh 250 grams and above. It does not require a license to fly (although I have an Advanced Remotely Piloted Aircraft System certificate), and does not require registration.
I already knew all that, of course, when I went out to fly the Mini 2 the other day. But that’s when the real advantage of this drone became apparent.
In testing the Mini 2 for our review, I took it to several locations. One of them was a wide open park with no one around. But another location was a very popular park, where lots of people were enjoying a last blast of sunshine and warm weather before the rest of the month brings gray skies, colder temperatures, and rain. The kind of day when you just want to walk, undisturbed, and feel the sunshine on your face.
I sat down at that park and set up the Mini 2 for a flight. I was aware, as I always am, of the rights of people to enjoy public spaces like this undisturbed. I’m also aware that something like the Mavic Pro would be both noisier and larger – drawing more attention.
I waited until there wasn’t anyone immediately nearby. Some people were close, maybe 50 yards away. I spun up the Mini 2 and took off. No one turned their head. The noise footprint was incredibly low, and it didn’t disturb anyone. And once it was in the air? It was barely a speck — nothing that anyone could point to and freak out about.
Have a look at our video, if you haven’t seen it. The location I’m describing is the section where you see me on the bench, the big trees, and the creek. (It’s also worth mentioning that no one at the second park, the one with the baseball diamond, raised even an eyebrow.)
Acutely aware that plenty of people want peace and quiet, I ensured that I wasn’t flying too close to anyone. But there was one location I really wanted to shoot at that was going to be more tricky. It was a small footpath bridge over a creek. I really wanted to fly over that creek and get some footage.
There was no one around when I took off. But no sooner was the mini over the water than a guy walking his dog approached me. He was actually a drone guy, and aware of the Mini 2 release. So he was friendly. But a few moments later, two women with two dogs came along, followed by a third. They stopped, watching the Mini 2 hover.
“Is that just suspended there?” asked one, clearly curious.
“Yes, it’s basically a flying camera.”
“Wow,” she said. “That’s amazing!”
Point is, the Mini 2 is so small and quiet that, to most people, it really appears like a toy. It’s not threatening, there’s no grinding buzz to tick people off… and, in my limited contact with bystanders, doesn’t trouble people. Trust me, flying a Phantom 4 in that same space would not have elicited a similar reaction.
While I was flying that Mini 2, regardless of location, I felt calm. I wasn’t craning my neck to see who might be troubled, wasn’t worried that someone might come up and hassle me. Plus, let me tell you, it’s a lot more convenient to carry around a lightweight shoulder bag and a drone that fits in the palm of your hand than something larger. It’s the kind of drone you can take anywhere, and fly with confidence.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Mavic Air 2. It’s an amazing piece of technology, and incredibly fast and responsive for this style of drone. If I had the dough, I’d probably buy it AND the Mini 2.
But I don’t have that kind of cash to throw at drones right now. So I’ll be settling on one of the two.
And right now? I’m leaning, heavily, toward the Mini 2. It’s that small, that light…
And that good.