Mavic Mini Review
The DJI Mavic Mini looks set to have mass market appeal unlike any of its predecessors. We take this tiny bundle of loveliness and give you our honest verdict in our no holds barred Mavic Mini review.
DJI Mavic Mini Reviewed
If there is one thing DJI cannot be accused of, it is showing naivety in their marketing. The Mavic Mini is their latest flagship release and comes well over a year after their latest Mavic product. The Mavic lineup has been bolstered by the Mini and will appeal to a somewhat different crowd than the hardcore DJI drone owners – although it might also appeal to previous Mavic owners too.
The Mavic Mini is (as the name suggests) pretty small. But this is one of its key strengths and the launch date (in the UK especially) coincides quite nicely with the latest drone laws concerning registration of drones that weigh 250g or over – rather ingeniously, the Mavic Mini weighs in at a snip under this with an official weight of 249g. Now that’s how you leverage local laws to enhance your marketing campaigns!
Aside from the size, the Mavic Mini actually boasts some pretty decent specs and has some headline figures that will make other drone owners envious. It does lack some of the more advanced features of the more expensive DJI drones but for users who are not looking to spend a large amount of money and don’t necessarily need those features it will be an easy compromise to make.
DJI Mavic Mini Out Of The Box
The Mavic Mini is available in two different packages, the standard Mavic Mini and the Fly More Combo. This is a common feature of DJI product lines and essentially allows you to purchase everything you need for a slightly reduced price. Both are priced fairly competitively in the UK market with the Mavic Mini being in the mid-price range and the Fly More Combo coming in at somewhat more. The combo package gives you everything you get in the standard as well as two extra batteries, two extra sets of spare propellers, an extra micro USB cable, a propeller guard, to way charger, USB charger and a rather nice looking carry bag. The main attraction here is the carrying bag and two extra batteries which make it pretty good value for money in our eyes.
We were over the moon to discover that the Mavic Mini comes with a controller. Despite some other omissions, the lack of a physical controller could have been a deal breaker for many, but DJI have come up trumps by including a well built controller with the Mini. You will still need a smart phone along with the new DJI Fly app to communicate with the drone and sync up the video transmission but being able to use the physical sticks to control the drone rather than a virtual controller not only makes controlling the Mavic Mini much easier, it also allows you to have a full unhindered FPV viewing experience.
The Mavic Mini folds up in to the smallest of packages which can sit snugly in the palm of most adult hands. It is not quite small enough to comfortably slot in to a pocket and as such you will probably need a carrying case of some sort to transport it around. However, think back to the days of the Phantom 2 or 3 and the Mini is about as portable as a quality drone gets.
The Mavic Mini has a DJI quality to its build and although the materials do have a little more give to them this could be seen as a positive in case of crashes. The four arms that fold out feel solid enough and the potential to add a propeller guard can afford a little more protection to the drone if needed.
Overall, on looks alone the Mini is a winner and stands up against its bigger brothers in the Spark and Mavic Air.
Flying the Mavic Mini
There is rarely a concern when it comes to the quality of DJI drones and the only seed of doubt in our minds when it came to the Mini was the weight of the drone and how it would hold up in blustery conditions.
We were astounded at the results.
The Mavic Mini is remarkably stable in the air and even when just being held in a stationary hover it holds its position extremely well. It utilises GPS and GLONASS and has a downward facing visioning system that allows it to keep so stable. Don’t mistake this visioning system as being any kind of collision avoidance sensor though – as that is one of the features that DJI has sacrificed in order to keep the cost and size/weight of the drone down.
The Mini has an impressive range of up to 4km and the video transmission that is carried via a Wi-Fi connection (between the phone and the drone) can support these distances over 5.8Ghz – or so DJI say. We found that in practice the distance was not quite so far but we were able to get a good 2km distance to work pretty well.
The drone has a maximum height of 3000m which again is pretty impressive for a drone of its size. In flight, the Mini is a joy to fly and is extremely responsive. It features various speed modes with the highest allowing top speeds of 13m/s in zero wind conditions. It really does feel good to fly.
The lack of collision avoidance is the only real downside that we can see with the Mavic Mini and for some that may be a deal breaker. For us, it just means you have to become pretty solid at flying it and take a little more care about where you do. Not having to register the Mavic Mini as it falls under the 250g weight limit means that the lack of collision avoidance sensors will be tolerated. And let’s not forget, this is essentially a premium budget drone – but one that is extremely well spec’d.
Camera and Video
Although the Mavic Mini falls a little shy of full 4K video, the specs here are impressive given the price point of the drone – they will also suit most users well. A 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor camera can produce 12MP stills and is capable of capturing video in 2730×1530 at 30FPS (that’s 2.7k video to me and you). If you prefer a higher frame rate then you can opt for shooting in full HD at 1920x1080p at up to 60FPS.
The camera sits atop a 3 axis mechanical gimbal and allows for smooth video shots to be taken. There is also scope for panning and tilting the camera to provide a wide array of cinematic shot types. Video is shot in MP4 and images are taken in jpeg format so it is probably not suited to profession photography or videography, but for most general users it will more than live up to expected standards.
We found colours to be bright and vibrant but natural and the images were crisp. The gimbal really does do an excellent job of steadying the video and even in windy conditions the video footage we were able to obtain was very smooth.
The DJI Fly app allows you to use templates to create different shot types and editing can be performed straight away in-app and then shared to social media if that’s your thing. From the casual user to v-loggers, the Mavic Mini is just the ticket. After all, they do say the best camera is the one you have with you and there really is no excuse not to have your mini with you.
Mavic Mini Battery Life
The biggest question we get with any new drone surrounds battery life. DJI have pulled a blinder when it comes to the battery life of the Mavic Mini as they claim a whopping 30 minutes of flight time. If you opt for the Fly More Combo then you have three batteries providing you with an exceptional 1 hour and 30 minutes of flying time!
So is the battery all that DJI say it is?
We are pleased to report that our testing was not too far out from DJI’s claims and we enjoyed continued flying for around 27 minutes. The overall flight time is wind dependent so keep that in mind but to have a drone at this price point with these features that can stay airborne for almost 30 minutes without changing battery is possible a game changer.
The Mavic Mini looks set to bridge the gap between budget drone users and those who have aspirations of greater tech. 2K video and a rock solid gimbal along with the hassle saving 249g weight meaning there is no need for drone registration in the UK will have enough appeal to most casual users. The lack of collision avoidance sensors is the only real drawback but it keeps the drone lightweight in terms of weight and budget. It’s been a while since the last DJI release but this one is a real winner for us!
- Ease of use
- Value for money
Weighs in under 250g meaning no need to register the drone
2K video will suffice for most users and the gimbal is rock solid
Easy to use and the new DJI Fly app is much improved
Battery life of 30 minutes is a game changer!
No collision avoidance sensors