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DJI Mini 2 Review So Far –

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The DJI Mini 2 is a brand new replacement for the 249g Mavic Mini. It drops the moniker “Mavic” but retains essentially the same folding airframe. Why, you might wonder, is a drone getting a significant refresh less than 13 months after launch? And, after you take a look at the outside, is there anything happening at all?

OK, the outside might look pretty similar, but the new model brings a 4K camera (doubling the pixel count from 2.7K), more powerful motors and – perhaps most excitingly – DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 radio system. The 2019 DJI Mavic Mini touted a range of up to 4km, with the signal between controller and drone using a system some know as “enhanced Wi-Fi”. In practice the video might drop out at a considerably lower distance if there is any interference.

DJI-Mini2-Embargo
The new DJI Mini 2 – note the new name on the arm and the ‘4K’ logo on the front of the camera’s 3-axis gimbal.

OcuSync 2.0, on the other hand, is well established on DJI’s other weightier aircraft, and offers a range of 6 km (most of world) or 10km/6miles (FAA). More significantly, it does this using a dual-channel automatic switching system which, in practice, is far better at maintaining a signal for the length of the advertised range (you can read about the technology in the Mavic Air 2 review).

The promised improvements to the motors will be welcome. The original Mavic Mini (review here) achieved a useful 30 minutes flight time, and that’s only expected to rise to 31, but extra power will be really welcome in battling the wind. The drone is still under 249g (a key legal threshold for registration in many countries), meaning it’ll never be able to take on gale force winds, but DJI promise the new motors can handle a breeze of 24 mph, which is five on the Beaufort scale, which should be good for safe operation.

DJI-Mini2-Top-Embargo
Overhead view of the DJI Mini 2; the folding form factor means the drone will be just as popular with those packing light.

Finally the boost to 4K video, at 30 frames per second, recording at 100 Mbps, is a significant enhancement to the original Mavic Mini, which will bring the drone much more in line with the cameras most high end consumers have had in their phones for some time. Even last year the 2.7K camera in the Mavic Mini, although perfectly adequate, seemed like it might have been an effort to deliberately keep the feature set obviously below more expensive aircraft. (It’s just as plausible that processing the video wasn’t possible without temperature concerns, but that’s a much less appealing conspiracy theory for forum contributors).

Lifestyle10
DJI Mini is being marketed at the same consumer and lifestyle category that its predecessor targeted, but perhaps this time DJI are being a bit smarter about the features which impress shoppers!

The Mini 2 sports a 12-megapixel camera capable of 4000 x 3000 stills, as both RAW and JPEG, which will be welcomed by processing enthusiasts. Other software extras include Auto Exposure Bracketing and a variety of panoramas (Spheres, 180˚ and 3×3 Wide Angle, as seen on the Mavic Air 2). It will also retain all of the video QuickShots and include the ability to download content to the phone without a cable.

Summary

DJI are the biggest supplier of civilian drones, and the 2019 Mavic Mini has been one of their biggest successes, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s being given a new lease of life before the Christmas 2020 season. The new “Mini 2” retains the key weight advantage – it’s under 249g – and gets not only a cleaner name but improved technology. The arrival of 4K and RAW in this form factor have both been longstanding requests of professionals, many hoping that the Mini 2’s weight will avoid some of the demands of aviation authority paperwork.

The new aircraft is a little more costly though, at £419 alone or £549 in the Fly More kit (the 2.7K Mavic Mini was £369). Check back soon for my full review!



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