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DJI Mavic Mini review: Ready to fly
This is a shorter version of our full DJI Mavic Mini review on Drone Rush, go check it out for all the details of this fun little camera drone.
The DJI Mavic Mini launched in November, 2019, but proved popular enough that pre-orders were backed up into December. For us, that’s no surprise, this is a fantastic drone, absolutely worth your consideration. The main selling points are the size and the price, both of which are relatively small.
No beating around the bush, we think the DJI Mavic Mini is the most important drone to hit the consumer market in 2019. It’s not the most powerful or fastest flying, nor does it boast the best camera, but the 249 gram take-off weight is important, the 2.7K video is solid and smooth, while that $399 starting price may change your approach to buying a drone. Let’s dive a little deeper in this mini DJI Mavic Mini review.
DJI Mavic Mini overview
If you’ve been looking at drones at all, you’ve likely seen the DJI Mavic Pro, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro or the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom. These are a line of some higher-end drones, the best of which rocks a 1-inch Hasselblad camera. The DJI Mavic Mini borrows design and function from these larger drones, but it packs it all into a much smaller package, and reduced the weight significantly. All of these drones looks very similar, fold up in the same way and the remote control is near identical in overall shape, they each offer different buttons.
We keep talking about the weight of the Mavic Mini, this is important. At just 249 grams, or 0.548 lbs, the drone weighs less than the minimum 250 gram or 0.55 lb requirement for certain drone laws around the globe. In the United States, you must register a 0.55 lbs drone with the FAA before you fly. Make no mistake, skipping registration does not change that the Mavic Mini is still a drone, you still have to follow all the rules of the sky, such as acquiring airspace authorization to fly in controlled airspace, which covers most cities across the country. We can help, check out this airspace map for more details on where you can and cannot fly.
Countries like Canada are a little more exciting, a 250 gram drone requires you to hold a valid pilot’s license and follow a strict set of flight rules, the Mavic Mini does not require licensing, and the rules are much more predictable, such as not flying over people and staying aware from other aircraft.
You do not need to register the Mavic Mini with the FAA, but you still have to fly by the airspace rules.
All the legal aside, the Mavic Mini is a drone that can easily pack with you on the go, it fires up quickly and can put a solid 2.7K video camera, with a 12MP, 1/2.3-inch sensor into the sky. On a full charge, you can see as much as 30 minutes of flight time. That’s among the best around these days.
The remote control is fairly bare-bones, but the new DJI Fly app for your phone adds in the most important navigation and flight telemetry info for your operations.
DJI always packs some great accessories into their Fly More combos for their drones, and the Mavic Mini Fly More combo is no exception. Enjoy extra spare parts for repair, some hefty propeller guards, a nice travel bag, a couple extra batteries and a slick battery charging hub. The battery hub is used to charge the batteries, obviously, but once charged, the hub can convert the stored power in those cells into USB power for your smartphone or other accessory. We prefer to retain that juice for flight, but the versatility is fantastic.
DJI Mavic Mini specs
We have a lengthy list of the most important specs for the Mavic Mini over on Drone Rush, check it out for all the details.
- 2.7K video recording - 30 minutes flight time - 2.5 mile range - 29 mph top speed
The DJI Mavic Mini is equipped with a decent set of components, including a 1/2.3-inch, 12MP camera, a 3-axis stabilized Gimbal, and antenna to connect up to 2.5 miles to the remote control. The final package measures approximately 9.5-inches in diameter when in flight, at only a couple inches tall, and can zip around at up to 29 mph for up to 30 minutes. Batteries are removable, for a quick swap out and get back into the air.
The drone shoots 2.7K video at up to 30fps, or drop down to 1080p at a max of 60fps. Insert a microSD card to store your photos and videos. The remote control connects to Android or iOS. Choose the cable you need for your micro USB or USB Type-C phone, then install the DJI Fly app to get started. Photos and videos can be saved in the app on your phone as well.
As you already know, the drone weighs just 249 grams.
Who is the Mavic Mini made for?
The DJI Mavic Mini is an interesting machine in determining its purpose. On the one hand, it’s easy to operate, safe to fly, and is not intimidating as a first drone for new pilots. On the other hand, it does not offer the same flight safety features you’ll find on drones that cost two or three times the price. Obstacle avoidance sensors are worth their weight when they save you from a crash, but the resilience of this little machine reduces the damage from a little bump.
If you were interested in the DJI Mavic Pro back in the day, or the newer Mavic drones, but never purchased, the Mavic Mini may be exactly what you’ve been wanting.
For the current DJI drone owner, the Mavic Mini handily replaces the Spark, except for those Jedi mind tricks that the mini drone does not offer. We’ll be exploring closer if the Mavic Mini can outdo the Mavic Pro and the Mavic Air, stay tuned to Drone Rush for that, but from what we see so far, it’s really close. Now, if you happen to own a Mavic 2 series drone, or a later model Phantom drone, the Mavic Mini is not an upgrade, not at all, however, it might just be the drone that rounds out your needs.
The Mavic Mini is so small and portable, and free of regulation, that it becomes extremely appealing. The 2.7K camera shoots at 40Mbps, which sounds horrible compared to the 4K at 100Mbps you’ve been enjoying, but again, what are your needs? Personally, I have a mighty DSLR camera that I haul around from time to time, my smaller point and shoot or my smartphone do not take as good of photos, but they still take good photos, and they are vastly more portable and easier to operate.
If you are a flight enthusiast that is into drones for the sake of flying, I’m not saying you should skip the Mavic Mini, but you might just skip the Mavic Mini. If you are into drones because you want to put a camera into the sky, we know of no better drone under $500 today. Truth told, the camera on this $399 drone is on par with machines twice the price, we are impressed, and we think you will be as well.
Is the Mavic Mini any good?
In a word, Yes. The DJI Mavic Mini will prove to be a reliable and frequently used drone in any pilot’s fleet. DJI has long been a leader in the basics of flight, and that continues with the Mavic Mini, producing a stable hover, consistent and accurate GPS connectivity and easy to use controls. Being able to launch your drone, fly safely, and land where intended without incident is the first and most important aspect of flight, the Mavic Mini delivers.
The Mavic Mini is easily the best drone under $500.
For many, what makes a drone good is the camera. Let me say this in terms that are easy to understand on this site: The Mavic Mini produces photo and video equal to the best smartphone cameras on the market right now. Do keep in mind that the Mavic Mini limits its video to 2.7K recording, in order to use the extra pixels for image stabilization, but the results are great. We’ll be putting the drone to task over on Drone Rush, comparing it to the Pixel 4 XL, if nothing else.
There is no doubt there are better drone cameras out there, but there is nothing, I say again, there are absolutely no other drones near this price point that offer this good of video recording. The DJI Mavic Mini is good.
Price and availability
The DJI Mavic Mini is up for sale now across your favorite retailers. The base package includes the drone, the remote, one battery and a few bits, that’s the DJI Mavic Mini for $399. If you’d like three total batteries, that fun charging hub, even more parts for repair and a carry case, grab the DJI Mavic Mini Fly More combo for $499 today.
The DJI Mavic Mini represents a popular drone manufacturer, and makes the joy of flight with a reliable camera drone more accessible than ever. There are many other drones out there for your consideration, we invite you to visit us at Drone Rush for all the best drones on the market.
Head on over to Drone Rush for the full DJI Mavic Mini review.