Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic Mini: In-depth comparison

DJI Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic Mini

From the beginning, I can tell you that in case someone advises you that the Mavic MINI is better than the Mavic Air 2 he’s trying to sell you one or just never played with these two DJI drones before. Don’t get me wrong, both are fantastic drones in their own way and for their price. In my in-depth comparison, I will try to reveal all the cons and pros of these two affordable foldable drones.

While the Mavic Mini was revealed in October 2019, the Mavic Air 2 in April 2020, so the Air 2 is about 6 months newer model, which in terms of technology-wise means a lot. They also represent two different product ranges. The MINI aka Arya is a budget entry-level drone. Weighing just 249 grams, it can be used in most countries without special authorization. Instead, the Air 2 requires FAA registration and brings some of the best features of the expensive Mavic 2 Pro series. It has an advanced obstacle avoidance system, 4K camera, super long flight range, and extended flight time, all for a friendly price.

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FirstQuadcotper was between the first drone blogs which published an in-depth Mavic Mini review. I still remember how surprised I was by its compact size compared to my existing DJI Phantom drone. With folded arms, it has the size of a 6″ smartphone. For the Japanese market, where there are even more strict weight restrictions, DJI released a lighter version that has only 199 grams.

Mavic Air 2 versus Mavic Mini: Intro

Mavic Air 2 versus Mavic Mini comparison chart

In the table below, I compared the most important specs and features of both DJI drones. I highlighted with red were the Mavic Air 2 excels and with green were the Mavic Mini shines. Yes, not much of the table left to be not ‘red’. The Air 2 is the true winner if you have the money for it.

  DJI Mavic Air 2 DJI Mavic Mini
Size Folded: 180 × 97 × 74 mm
Unfolded: 183 × 253 × 77 mm
Folded: 140 × 82 × 57 mm
Unfolded: 160 × 202 × 55 mm
Weight 570 grams 249 grams
Camera 4K@60fps or 1080p@240fps 2.7K@30fps or 1080p@60fps
Image size 1/2″ CMOS 1/2.3″ CMOS
Max bit rate 120Mbps 40Mbps
Photo mode 12MP and 48 MP 12 MP
HDR Video and Photo No
8K Hyperlapse Yes No
Gimbal 3-axis 3-axis
Mechanical range Tilt: -135° to 45°
Roll: -45° to 45°
Pan: -100° to 100°
Tilt: -110° to 35°
Roll: -35° to 35°
Pan: -20° to 20°
Controllable range Tilt: -90° to 0° (Default)
-90° to 24° (Extended)
Tilt: -90° to 0° (Default)
-90° to +20° (Extended)
FPV 1080P 720P
Internal storage Yes, 8GB NO
Range 10 km (FCC) or 6 km (CE) 4Km (FCC) or 2KM (CE)
Transmission Ocusync 2.0 WiFi
Lights Motor + Belly Tail
Intelligent flight modes Dronie, Rocket, Circle, Helix, Boomerang, and Asteroid Dronie, Rocket, Circle and Helix
Active tracking Yes No
Obstacle avoidance Yes (3 direction) No
Additional sensors Optical flow + Infrared Optical flow
Geofence Yes Yes
Max flight speed 19 m/s (S Mode)
12 m/s (N Mode)
5 m/s (T Mode)
13 m/s (S Mode)
8 m/s (P Mode)
4 m/s (C Mode)
Wind resistance  ≤37.8 kph ≤28.8 kph
Remote controller Standard, NO Screen Standard, NO Screen
Battery 3s/3500 mAh 2s/2600 mAh
Flight time 34 minutes 30 minutes
FAA registration Yes No
US Price (Standard\Combo) $799\$988 $399\$499

DJI Mavic Air 2 versus DJI Mavic Mini: Design

Both drones share the same space-saving design and color scheme, you can even confuse them looking at them from a few meters. By comparison, with folded arms, the Mavic Air 2 measures 180 × 97 × 74 mm and the Mini Mavic just 140 × 82 × 57 cm. The Air 2 is not just bigger, but also heavier than the Mavic Mini with 321 grams. Much of the weight difference comes from the higher capacity battery and aluminum heatsink.

Design: Top view

While the Mavic Mini has only two downward positioning sensors, the Mavic Air 2 has 6 obstacle avoidance sensors (2x front, 2x bottom, and 2x rear) and 2 infrared sensors.

Design: Bottom view

Adopting quick-release folding propellers, they can be swapped easily on the Mavic Air 2. Instead, the MINI’s propellers are installed with screws which makes it harder to replace them.

Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic Mini: Camera

As you could see in the comparison table above, the Mavic Mini has a 2.7K@30 camera and the Mavic Air 2 a 4K@60fps one. Higher resolution means greater details, hence better video quality. Both cameras feature 3-axis mechanical stabilization, but the Air 2’s gimbal has much greater movement freedom. It can be tilted even upward to capture beautiful sky footage. The extended mechanical range also allows creating 3D photos much easier. Top of that it allows us to take 48-megapixel stills and to export in RAW format.

Camera comparison

ND or other types of optical filters can be used on both drones, but the Mavic Air 2 has a more professional filter mount, which allows easy filter swap.

To be realistic, while the Mavic Air 2’s camera is powerful enough to appeal to both recreational and semi-professional users alike, the MINI’s is suitable only for hobby-grade players.

12 MP sample photo + 400% crop
Click to enlarge

Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic Mini: Range

Firstly, you should know that most DJI drones consumers, including Air 2 and MINI, have two radio versions: FCC and CE. While in the US the MINI has up to 4Km range and the Air 2 10KM, in Europe MINI has only 2KM and the Air2 6KM.

In terms of communication technology, there is a huge difference between these two opponents. While the Mavic MINI adopts toy-grade WIFI transmission, the Mavic Air 2 feature an ultra-long-range Ocusync 2.0 transmission system.

Transmitter (remote controller) comparison

Personally, I tested CE version of both drones. I got a flight range of about 1600 meters using the Mavic Mini and more than 5000 meters with the Mavic Air 2. This is a damn huge difference. Furthermore, the Air 2’s FPV quality is much better compared to the MINI’s one (1080p vs 720p). As the Air 2′ transmitter has built-in antennas, you don’t need to adjust their position in order to obtain the best possible flight distance.

Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic Mini: Battery life

On paper, the Mavic Mini has a maximum of 30 minutes of flight time and the Mavic Air2 34 minutes. To be honest, those extra 4 minutes are not too much considering the amount you pay for it. Anyway, these values can be obtained only in optimal flight conditions (no wind, ‘Normal’ flight mode, and gentle maneuvers).

During my Mavic Air 2 review, I tested the real battery life in multiple situations, from basic hovering to flying in strong wind. The results varied between 18 and 32 minutes. Flying in sport mode dramatically reduced the max flight time.

Battery and charger comparison

Capacity wise, the Mavic Mini is powered by a basic 2S LIPO pack with 2600 mAh and the Mavic Air 2 a 3S one with 3500mAh. For both battery types, there is available a charging hub, which allows charging up to 3 batteries in a sequence. While in the case of the Mavic Air 2, each battery has its own charge level indicator, for the Mavic Mini battery level display is located right on the drone.

Mobile APP

While both models are using the same DJI Fly APP, there is a slight difference in available functions. This APP was first introduced together with the Mavic Mini with the goal to offer a simplified user interface compared to the older DJI GO APP.

Besides the higher resolutions and more frame rates, there are many other features enabled with Mavic Air 2. Just to count a few of them: More QuickShot modes (+ Boomerang and Asteroid), HDR modes, Panorama, Hyperlapse, and the most aimed by Mavic Mini users – ActiveTrack.

DJI Fly APP

There are also some differences in the settings menu. For example, as Air 2 features 8GB internal memory, you can select which storage should be used. There are also settings for the obstacle avoidance system. You have also more options to customize the main screen, eg. adding histogram.

Other features

For sure, besides the superior image quality, longer range, and exceptional flight performance, the most important features of Mavic Air 2 over the Mavic Mini are the ActiveTrack and Obstacle avoidance sensor. Practically, the Air 2 is capable to autonomously follow you even in the woods.

Other features of Mavic Air 2 and Mavic Mini

For night flights, the Air 2 is also more suitable over its little brother. In addition to the four status lights (one under each motor), there is a bright auxiliary light under the belly which can be turned on/off remotely whenever needed.

Bottom line: Mavic Air 2 or Mavic Mini – Worth double the price?

You should take into consideration that even if you purchase the best drone of the moment, in time will become a mediocre one for which you paid a fortune. Never consider a drone like a long term investment. Don’t mention that newbies usually crash their first drone in a few weeks.

If you are on a tight budget or you are an occasional player, the Mavic Mini will be just perfect for you. Probably its biggest (if not the only) advantage over the Mavic Air 2 is that it does not require FAA registration.

Verdict

On the other hand, for its money, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is the best drone that you can get right now. It has a 48MP/4K@60fps camera, more than 30 minutes of battery life, and up to 10KM control range. Powered by APAS 3.0 Obstacle Avoidance System it is safe to fly even for completely newbies pilots. It features most of the intelligent flight modes available with the much expensive Mavic 2 series.

Worth to upgrade from Mavic Mini to Mavic Air 2?

After I tested and played a lot with both drones, I can tell you there is a huge difference between them. It’s like moving from a normal bike to an electric bike, you have more power, better range, and not lastly comfort. If you have the money for the upgrade, I think you should do it, you will like all the above-mentioned extras of the Mavic Air 2.

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