DJI’s second-generation entry-level drone, the Mini 2 ($ 599.00), is getting a reprint, abandoning the company’s long-recognized Marvic Mini series of flexible quadcopters. It’s a bit more than the first generation Marvic Mini, but includes an updated camera, a more powerful motor and a stronger remote control connection. The $ 599 Mavic Air 2 does not have some of the more advanced features, but it’s a great choice if you want to spend less – and avoid dealing with the FAA – to win our Editor’s Choice Award.
DJI MINI 2
Fixed 4K camera
Raw and JPG photo modes
Long flight time
Stronger motors and connection than the Mavic Mini
GPS and other security features
FAA registration is not required
No color profile for JPG and video yet
Prevents barriers and removes HDR
ActiveTrack or Hyperlapse not included
DJI’s smallest, lightest, flexible drone
The Mini 2 matches the original Mavic Mini’s exterior design. Both models use the same airframe and weigh 249 grams (8.78 ounces), bypassing the federal requirement for FAA registration. (If you intend to use the Mini 2 for profit 2 you still need a commercial license.)
When bent, the drone can slip into a jacket pocket, but you will need to carry it in a small bag. The included remote control is a bit larger this time around, but with more advanced wireless communication technology and a stronger antenna. The Mini 2 is definitely rock solid when the first generation aircraft struggles to maintain a remote connection.
Battery life is also improved. The motors in the Mini 2 are more powerful and uplifting, pushing the rated battery life from 30 to 31 minutes. It’s a humble bump and you’re ashamed of the 34 – minute rating. The expensive DJ Mavic Air 2 drone is the best class of drones when it comes to flight time.
Real life flight times vary slightly and are a few minutes – approximately 27 minutes from real flight time. The DJI Fly control app warns you when the battery is low, so you can safely bring the drone home and land it.
The app and the need for a smartphone to activate it – DJI Fly is available for current Android and iOS phones. I tested the Mini 2 with the iPhone 8 Plus and iOS 14
You have to find a certain level of ground for flights and landings. The low profile design means that even well-prepared grass blades will prevent the propeller rotation of the mini 2. If you are new to drones, read our guide on pilot basics.
Mini 2 ships with a single battery. The extra cost is $ 45 and there is a Flymore bundle, which costs $ 599. For the extra $ 150 you get two extra batteries (for a total of three), a multi-battery charger to charge all three in sequence, a carry case and more items.
You can charge the drone battery via the aircraft’s USB-C port. It is located on the back of the microSDX memory card. The Mini 2 does not include any internal storage, so don’t forget to buy a memory card – at least a 16GB card for 1080p and I recommend 32GB or 64GB if you plan to record video in 4K.
The drone includes transmitters for both GPS and GLONASS positioning systems, tools that help determine its location on a map and enhance its perfect navigation. The flight controller app, DJI Fly, includes a Find My Drone feature that shows the last known location of the aircraft, and if the Mini 2 is still active, the lights will go on. It’s a feature you believe you do not need to use, but it is there if you need it.
The GPS system can also perform automatic and semi-automatic flights. The Mini 2 has a number of automatic quickshots – round, coaxial or back and forth automatic flight paths.
DJI does not include subject tracking known as ActiveTrack. DJI cites the lack of barrier detection sensors as the reason and makes sense – there is no way to know if a Mini 2 object is in its path, so you do not need to fly it to a tree. If you want a chase drone, the Marvik Air 2 and Skydio 2 are better choices.
DJI drones also include a land defense system called FlySafe. Major sports events, fires, national parks and Washington D.C. It prevents travel in confined spaces, including aircraft set up to prevent unauthorized flying around. Before you buy a drone, check the map and make sure it can be used in your neighborhood.
The best drone for beginners
We expect entry-level models to have less features than the mid- and high-end options – generally a question of whether it is worth spending money on additional features. The DJI Mini 2 $ 599.00 leaves some of the most exciting targeted video and rendering options offered by the DJI Mavic Air 2 – you don’t get a 48MP Quad Bayer camera, barrier sensor or other high-end features. Instead, DJI has taken the original Mavic Mini and solved some very real-world problems. The more powerful motors in the Mini 2 and its better wireless system work together, and the drone will respond to commands even on windy days if it is slightly raided from the indoor base.