ads responsive
Review

DJI Mavic Mini Review: Perfect Drone for Beginners and Hobbies

DJI Mavic Mini / Google Search
ads link

When it comes to consumer level drones, it’s hard to find something that is not made by DJI. Chinese companies have cornered the market with an easy-to-fly quadcopter capable of capturing cinematic recordings. Before today, you need to spend almost $ 1,000 to get something decent. That changed with the release of Mavic Mini.
This is what we like

  • Cheap
  • Portable
  • Good for all skill levels
  • There is no FAA registration

And What We Don’t Do

  • Limited collision sensor
  • Control the stripped camera
  • Lack of following the QuickShot option
  • The controller range is limited

I have owned and flown DJI drones for more than a year now and have spent the last week testing Mavic Mini. During that time, it became very clear that this quad was designed for beginners and those looking for drones to be used more like toys and less like professional cameras.

Compared to top-end drones, Mavic Mini has several disadvantages. The difference between these different classes is the fact that DJI’s latest offer is $ 500 to $ 1,000 cheaper than other options.

Mavic Mini is just about the perfect package in the price range provided. Basically, don’t expect miracles from drones, and you will be happy. This is all you need to know.

Mini Mavic Feels Like Toys, But Not Cheap

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

Mavic Mini gets its name from its tiny size. This drone comes in weighing only 249g (more than that in a little) and can get into your palm when folded. The small package allows the owner to take flying cameras anywhere.

In the United States, any aircraft heavier or equal to 250g must be registered with the FAA. This means providing information to government agencies, serial numbers and aircraft identification, and paying a small registration fee. Because DJI shaves that single gram, you don’t need to worry about all that complexity.

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

Being so light does have some limitations. First, it makes the Mavic Mini feel like plastic. The building doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic toy from a vending machine, but the combination of materials plus the lack of weight makes the drone feel almost fragile.

DJI Mavic Mini compared to the Mavic 2 Zoom Justin Duino/ Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

Another disadvantage of having a craft that is so light compared to some of the more premium DJI drones is that even slightly stiff wind tends to make the Mavic Mini spin. Having to fight against turbulence will cause a quad-pocketable bounce when capturing video and reduce battery life.

The wind also causes problems when you try to fly a Mavic Mini. During one of my first flights, the drone had a strong headwind so that it moved sideways faster than forward. That’s usually not a big deal, except when you reach the end of your battery life, and craft trying to get back home.

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

Speaking of battery life, the Mavic Mini has one of the best flight times in the air I’ve ever experienced. DJI states that each smart battery must give you flight time of up to 30 minutes. Because it is falling and windy where I live, I average about 22 to 25 minutes of flight time per charge. I find this more than acceptable, given the circumstances.

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

One limitation that you should also pay attention to is the absence of collision sensors. Some other DJI drones have a sensing system that helps stop the plane from crashing into solid objects whether it is flying forwards, backwards, upwards, downwards, or sideways. As you can see from the photo above, the Mavic Mini only has a sensor on the bottom of the device.

For drones that are so clearly made for beginners and those who just want to have fun flying, not having a lot of collision sensors seems like a mistake. Fortunately, the downward facing sensor really helped the Mavic Mini land and stopped someone from grabbing and injuring themselves while trying to reach the plane in the middle of the flight.

The Flying Experience Is Better Than Expected

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

The overall design of the Mavic Mini controller is very similar to other models sold by the company. You have two antennas that rotate from the top of the controller, two thumbsticks that can be removed and stored in the controller when not in use, and a number of buttons to turn on the controller, bring the drone home, activate video and photo modes, and rockers that change the drone’s camera gimbal tone.

DJI is also good enough to include USB-C, Lightning, and a micro USB cable in the box so you can connect your phone to the controller no matter what handset you have.

The biggest drawback of this controller is that it uses enhanced Wi-Fi when communicating with drones. DJI’s premium models use transmission technologies such as Ocusync and Lightbridge. This means that video feeds directly to the screen of your smartphone won’t be this sharp, and it’s easier to lose connection to the drone.

In my tests, I found that I could fly Mavic Mini right out of my sight before experiencing video transmission and connection problems. Because you really shouldn’t forget to look at a plane that is remotely controlled, that’s no big deal.

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

Mavic Mini was also launched with a completely new application called DJI Fly. The best way that I can describe compared to other company control applications is simplified. Everything about the interface in the application is similar to what we have seen before, but with far less menu items and buttons to press.

The DJI Fly application also includes a built-in video editor that allows you to download clips from a drone, stitch them together with some music, and share movies directly to the social network of your choice. Unfortunately, I cannot activate this feature, but I have used a beta version of this application. It should be fully functional when you get the Mavic Mini.

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

Except when I first set up the drone, the only time I jumped into application settings was to switch flight mode. These three options change the Mavic Mini’s flying behavior and are made for a very different flying experience:

  • Sports: When activated, the aircraft’s speed increases dramatically. Fly carefully.
  • Position: GPS and sight sensor are working normally.
  • CineSmooth: When activated, the plane slows down and increases the braking distance for smoother shooting.

When I flew the plane, I found myself most often moving between Sport and CineSmooth. Sport Mode allows me to reach a certain height in a timely manner and to position the drone where I want it. Switching it to CineSmooth then allows me to capture video clips at even speeds when shifting and traveling in a certain direction.

The Camera Surprised Me, but Functionality Is Limited

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

DJ consumer drones have never been made to take blockbuster quality photos and videos, but on the right hand, recordings can look cinematic and professional. Doubling the quality of the Mavic Mini is possible, but it requires some work.

The fact that this is a beginner level consumer drone is the most prevalent when it comes time to take content. Instead of being able to change the shooting mode to capture RAW images or different video formats, Mavic Mini only produces JPG photos and MP4 videos without the ability to take pictures with a flat color profile or change the codec.

For most people, lack of adjustment will not be a big problem. Those who want to use drones for professional photo and video work should see high-level DJI products.

You can find some examples of taking photos taken with Mini Mavic below. This has not been edited other than to decrease the resolution. I have also created a Google Photos album, which includes full resolution versions of these images. I will continue to add photos when I take them.

The most disappointing part about recording video on Mavic Mini is the lack of manual control. When taking photos, you have control over the shutter speed and ISO. Automatic mode usually creates images that are too bright, so the ability to reset settings is very helpful.

But in video mode, you are stuck with automatic adjustments. Fortunately, you can adjust the exposure value (EV), but that only affects a lot. I hope future updates bring more adjustments so that it’s easier to capture beautiful images.

I have combined several video clips recorded on Mavic Mini that you can watch below. These are all shot at 2.7K, down tocalp to 1080p, and haven’t been corrected or edited in color.

The quality isn’t the sharpest, in part because of YouTube’s compression. DJI has launched an update during the review period that has massively improved the recording appearance.

QuickShots Are Fun but Lacking

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

In most DJI advertisements, you see shots of drones spinning around and following people. The videos are cinematic and produce amazing Instagram content. Most of these clips were not captured by someone who flew Mavic Mini manually but instead “QuickShots.”

The four QuickShot options that you can choose on the Mavic Mini include Dronie, Rocket, Circle, and Helix. Each highlights the subject and performs the set motion when recording a short video.

The most significant disadvantage of QuickShots on the Mavic Mini is that there is some missing when compared to high-end DJI drones. The most prominent is the shot that follows the subject. For example, on my Zoom Mavic 2, I can make a drone track a car or group of people running and automatically take videos until the feature is turned off.

Mavic Mini has less processing power compared to DJI’s larger drones and, as such, cannot accomplish the same type of action. Even though I lost functionality, I don’t think it’s a make-or-break feature.

Using the QuickShot feature is as easy as tapping a few buttons on the screen. You can watch the screen recording below, but the point is you choose the “QuickShot” option, choose one of the predefined shots, set the distance (if applicable), highlight the subject, and then start shooting.

After QuickShot is finished, Mavic Mini will fly back to the starting point. With clips saved to a microSD card, you can shoot another QuickShot or switch to photo or video mode.

The Fly More Combo

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

Our Mavic Mini review unit (owned by DJI) comes with Fly More Combo. Inside, you get three batteries instead of one, more spare propellers, propeller protectors, charging hubs, 18W USB chargers, tote bags, and other small accessories.

The best accessory in a combo is the charging hub. Apart from being able to charge all three batteries and controllers at the same time, it offers smart features that help you fly faster.

As you can see in the photo below, the charging indicator appears in front of each slot when you insert the battery into the hub. When plugged into the 18W power adapter, the hub will charge the battery with the highest battery life to the full and then move on to the next one. This feature allows you to take a full battery without waiting for the three to reach maximum capacity.

Images by : Justin Duino (reviewgeek)

The Fly More Combo adds $ 100 to the Mavic MIni price tag, bringing the total to $ 499. As an additional battery costs $ 45 each, the bundle is definitely worth the premium upgrade.

Conclusion: Buy the Mavic Mini As Your First Drone

My biggest complaint with Mavic Mini comes from being someone who owns one of the premium DJI consumer drones. When I don’t compare budget-friendly quad with options outside of its price range, I can’t find a reason not to recommend it to most.

You won’t be recording a video for the next big Hollywood hit with Mavic Mini, but you will be able to capture shots that haunt almost all home movies. Plus, as the company continues to launch software updates, the quality of craft images and videos will only improve.

With how easy it is for anyone to pick up and fly, I think DJI’s latest offer is great for anyone who wants to fly a drone around their home on an occasion or want to learn how to fly before upgrading to something more serious. I wish I had learned to fly with something like the Mavic Mini so that it didn’t hurt my wallet as bad as the first time I fell.

Oh, and if you decide to buy a Mavic Mini, make sure you also take a microSD card. Quad does not include built-in storage, so you must add a card to store all your photos and videos.

This is what we like

  • Cheap
  • Portable
  • Good for all skill levels
  • There is no FAA registration

And What We Don’t Do

  • Limited collision sensor
  • Control the stripped camera
  • Lack of following the QuickShot option
  • The controller range is limited
ads responsive

How to Take Better Photos with Your iPhone

Previous article

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Review

Next article

You may also like

More in Review