After countless of rumors and speculation, the DJI Mavic Mini was finally revealed officially on 30th of October. FirstQuadcotper is between the first drone review blogs which had the luck to receive the Mavic Arya for an in-depth analysis. Every new DJI drone comes with its own slogan, the smallest member of the Mavic series has ‘Fly as you are’ – let’s find out the sense of these words.
Over the last few years I reviewed more than 100 drones from various brands but, by far, the best were from DJI. To be honest, they were the most expensive ones too, so, in order to beat this fact, the Mavic Mini comes with a very competitive price. Advertised for only $399, it is not just the cheapest but also the smallest and lightest drone from DJI. The Mini mixes the friendly price tag of the retired Spark with the practical foldable design of the Mavic series into a size of a iPhone XS.
Mavic Mini Arya highlights
- Super compact folded size (130 × 80 × 60mm);
- Ultra lightweight (249 grams);
- Up to 30 minutes flight time;
- Long range Enhanced WiFi transmission (4Km-FCC or 2KM-CE);
- 720p@30fps FPV with up to 4 Mbps (170-240 ms latency);
- Stable hover (GPS&GLONASS + Downward Sensors);
- 3 type of flight modes (CineSmooth, Position and Sport);
- QuickShots (Dronie, Rocket, Circle and Helix);
- 12MP camera with 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor and 2.7K video recording;
- 3-axis mechanical stabilization.
Hands on: Mavic Mini review
Disclosure: I received this pocket flycam drone as part of a product review collaboration with DJI. Product specs and quality may vary according to the manufacturer’s reliability, so I cannot guarantee that you will get a product that performs exactly the same as seen in my article. As I received an early release test unit, package content may also vary.
I got the package two days before its official reveal – which was a big honor – and I need to thank DJI for the opportunity to make this prime-time review.
Being very enthusiastic, I immediately unwrapped the package and I happily found out that I got “Fly more combo” version with the following accessories included: 3 batteries, charging dock, transmitter, 360° blades guard, 3 pair of spare props, USB cables, gimbal protector and travel case.
Price & availability
Starting with today, you can order the Mavic MINI from DJI online store. While the “Standard” edition is priced for $399 for US and €399 for Europe market, the “Fly More Combo” pack with extra accessories has a price of US$499 and EU€499, respectively. Remember, Combo includes extra 2 batteries, two-way charger and newbie friendly blade protectors.
At a glance
After 3 years of flying with a Phantom 3 Advanced, I was pretty impressed by the size of the DJI Mavic Mini – it is damn small! (especially that both have cameras with similar specs).
When folded up, the Mavic Mini’s footprint is just slightly larger than a smartphone. It measures roughly 13 × 8 × 6 cm and weights 249 grams. Just by compassion, its bigger brother – the Mavic Air – has 430 grams and 16.8 × 8.3 × 4.9 cm. As far as I know, FAA has a relaxed regulation for under 250 gr. class drones – actually many countries are much permissive with lightweight flying machines.
I already mentioned about the “Fly as you are” slogan but, actually, I think it would fit also: “Fly wherever you are” as well. The Mavic Mini is a super backpack friendly drone, you can take it with you everywhere and shutting videos, regardless of your traveling destination, hiking or you just having a walk in the nearest park. Note: Always fly responsibly, without putting in danger any living being – including you!
In terms of design, the front of the MM reminds me about the head of a shark. Instead of frightening teeth it has a tiny 3-axis camera. Before you are getting too enthusiastic, those fake eyes are not obstacle avoidance sensors, they are just part of the design. You know, in order to make it as light as possible, you can’t fit inside all the technology available – especially when the budget is a quarter of Mavic 2’s price.
On the belly, besides the power switch and battery level indicator, there are two vision positioning TOF sensors. Those tiny cameras allow stable hovering for indoor environment or out of GPS coverage. USB port and micro SD slot are found under the battery bay’s flap.
With only one LED light on back, it will be hard to find it during night flights.
Mavic Mini review: Camera
Although we all expected from a 2020 drone to feature 4K resolution, the Mavic Mini comes with only 2.7K. IMHO, DJI did’t wanted to cannibalize the Mavic Pro’s market segment, this is why they limited the video resolution. Also, it features 720P WiFi video transmission instead of the more reliable OcuSync. Anyway, even 1080P satisfies most consumers’ image quality needs for social media sharing and personal archive. Don’t mention that 2.7K videos require less storage space and CPU power for post-editing than 4K ones. But who knows, maybe like in case of the P3A, which initially had 1080P and trough a firmware upgrade received 2.7K, the MiNI could receive a 4K upgrade in the future.
Despite its small size, the camera has 3-axis mechanical stabilization – which is a significant improvement compared to Smark’s 2-axis gimbal. The DJI Mavic MINI’s camera features 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor with 12M effective pixels.
Sample videos & photos will be added later!
Mavic Mini review: Transmitter
The MINI is packed with a similar entry-level remote like the Mavic Air. While FCC version has a range of 2.5 miles/4 Km, the CE compliant has only 2 Km. Yes, in US it is not just cheaper but flies further too :D.
As it is designed to be used in tandem with a smartphone, it does not have a status screen, nor FPV monitor. Your phone needs to be linked to the RC through one of the 3 types of included USB cables (Lightning, Micro and Type-C). The phone holder in the bottom folds down alongside the antenna on the top. In order to fit better into your pocket, the control sticks are detachable and can be stowed away in the bottom. Don’t worry if you loose them, one pair of spare stick-ends are included.
On front panel, besides the control sticks and changing level indicators, there are only two control buttons: left one enables auto return to home and right one turns on/off the transmitter.
While the left shoulder button allows to start/stop video recording, the right one takes still photos. On back, under the recording button there is a dial knob which allows to remotely change the camera’s tilt angle.
DJI Fly App (aka Go Lite)
Mavic Mini is operated on a brand new more user friendly APP. With redesigned layout, the live view (FPV) area is now 20% bigger comparing to the DJI GO 4 app, making newbie pilots’ flying experience much more intuitive. Starting with 11.11, the DJI Fly APP is available for both mobile OS (Android and iOS).
Besides real-time flight telemetry, live-view, camera control and social media share, the APP has 3 extra features: Creator Templates + QuickShots, Video Editor and Flight tutorials. I suggest you to go through the flight tutorials prior to your flights and only after that learn about how to edit your footage.
By default safety settings are set to 120m max altitude and 2000m max flight distance. Auto return to home altitude is set to 30 meters.
Unfortunately the DJI Fly APP isn’t perfect yet. There are reported many hardware incompatibilities and crashes for Android version. Personally, I tested it with two phones: iPhone 7 and Samsung S7. While with the iPhone worked like a charm, on Samsung I got only black screen instead of live-view (FPV).
Automated flight modes, known as “QuickShot” mode, allows you to capture professional-looking videos automatically. Pilots can choose from Rocket, Dronie, Circle and Helix camera moves in order to make creative aerial videos.
- In “Rocket” mode, the Mavic Mini flies autonomously straight up while keeps the desired subject in frame.
- The “Dronie” mode allows you to create the ultimate selfies. In a nutshell, the drone flies up and away from you while keeping you in the shoot.
- “Helix” mode is the enhanced version of the “Circle” or “Orbit” mode. In this mode, without the touch of control sticks, the Mavic Mini will rotate and rise autonomously around the point of interest.
Mavic Mini battery life: How long the fun lasts
The 2s/2400 mAh battery pack is loaded from the tail of the drone. According to its size, it looks like it uses two standard 18650 type LI-ION cells.
For a super compact drone, it features an outstanding battery life – probably the best one in its market segment. According to DJI, a freshly charged battery provides up to 30 minutes of airborne time (measured while flying at 14 kph in windless conditions). Furthermore, the Combo pack includes 3 flight batteries, which allows close to 90 minutes of uninterrupted flying fun.
Thanks to the standard USB port, the battery can be conveniently charged with any normal or fast phone charger. You can refuel even on the field from a power-bank. The Combo’s two-charger allows to charge 3 batteries but not in the same time – they are charged one by one.
Based on my experience, drone batteries need few flights till they work at maximum performance. After 5-10 cycles of charging I will do a real-world flight time test to check how the manufacturer’s specs are accurate or optimistic.
Overall performance of the Mavic MINI is excellent when considering its price, size, design, and videos taken. This little drone is the absolute best option for size-conscious consumers with a tight budget. The MMini is a truly pocked-friendly drone in both senses. It is only a bit larger than a 6″ smartphone, and you don’t need to rob a bank for it.
In addition to the excellent battery life, it offers enough beginner-friendly features, like 360° blade protector and QuickShot intelligent flight modes with the purpose of making it easy to use out of the box.
User Review( votes)
- Fairly priced;
- Incredibly compact and convenient to carry around;
- Less than 250 grams;
- Easy to fly out of the box;
- CineSmooth for super smooth aerials;
- QuickShot modes;
- 3-axis mechanical stabilization;
- Standard micro USB charging port;
- Best flight time in its price tag.
- Only 30fps at 2.7K;
- No obstacle avoidance;
- WiFi transmission instead of OcuSync;
- Need to opt for Combo in order to get the most out of it;
- With only one LED light is not for night flights.
Accessories – Pimp your Mavic Mini
While the Mavic Mini was just revealed officially today, you can already find some cool genuine, as well as third-party, accessories for it:
- 360° Propeller Guard (included in Combo pack) – Safer flights for newbie pilots;
- Two-Way Charging Hub (included in Combo pack) – Re-fuel up to 3 flight batteries in sequence;
- Hand bag (included in Combo pack) – Carry easily with style;
- DIY Creative Kit – Customize your Mavic Mini’s design. Kit includes shell stickers and colorful markers;
- Illuminated glass charging base – Mavic Mini expo stand;
- Snap Adapter – Use it with wide range of snap-in accessories;
- Propeller holder – Secures and protects the propellers for safer storage and transportation.
One week with the DJI Manic Mini
Useful resources for Mavic Mini owners
- Mavic Mini tutorials;
- Quick start guide;
- DJI Mavic Mini Facebook group with 10K members;
- Official DJI download (firmware, app & manual).
Last update on 14 November 2019