Hands-on with the DJI Mavic Mini

31 Oct

The DJI Mavic Mini

The Mavic Mini’s headline feature is its minuscule size, making it DJI’s smallest and lightest folding-drone. However, it still manages to deliver many of the features found inside of DJI’s larger Mavic models. It’s also designed to be extremely accessible for all levels of users. On the next few slides we’ll take a look at some of its features to see how it stacks up.

Small enough to avoid regulation?

When folded up the drone fits inside the palm of your hand and is about the length of a standard smartphone, making it the uber-portable option for drone pilots. It even looks small compared to DJI’s other compact models.

What’s arguably more notable than the Mavic Mini’s size is its weight. It’s no accident that the Mavic Mini weighs in at 249g – just under the 250g limit where additional regulations for heavier drones kick in in many countries. Does this represent a new cat and mouse game between drone manufacturers and regulatory agencies? Time will tell.

Camera and gimbal

The Mavic Mini has a camera with a 1/2.3-inch sensor that can capture up to 2.7K/30p or 1080/60p. This leaves a bit of performance on the table compared to the larger Mavic models, but even 2.7K will be plenty of resolution for many people. The camera also captures 12MP photographs. Unfortunately for photographers, it doesn’t capture Raw images.

A three-axis motorized gimbal supports the camera during flight to ensure that footage is stable. A three-axis gimbal inside such a small drone is an impressive feature; DJI’s previous compact model, the Spark, relied on a 2-axis gimbal. Although the video and photo specs aren’t quite as impressive as what you can get with a full-sized Mavic, that extra level of stability in flight will make a difference when it comes to capturing cinematic footage.

Sensors and safety

The Mavic Mini includes a number of features to help keep you safe while flying. First there’s Geofencing technology, which helps keep drone pilots away from restricted areas. The Mavic Mini also has a feature known as AeroScope remote identification, which provides authorized users – think airport traffic controllers and police departments – with location, altitude, speed, and direction of every DJI drone within a radio range as well as the location of the drone pilot and the serial number of the drone. The drone also has built-in altitude limits and an automatic return-home function if the drone’s battery becomes critically low during flight.

The Mavic Mini also features downward visual sensors that can detect the ground for hovering, stable flights and safe landings.

Battery and flight time:

The Mavic Mini has a flight time of up to 30 minutes, an impressive feat for such a small drone. In fact, it significantly outperforms other small DJI models like the Mavic Air and the Spark. DJI says this is a result of the drone’s lightweight design combined with high-grade motors.


The Mavic Mini has a dedicated controller that you can slide your smartphone into. A Wi-Fi signal gives pilots a live HD feed and a stable flying experience.

However, anyone who has flown a drone knows that it’s not just the physical controller that matters, but also the software used to control the drone. With that in mind, we’ll next take a look at DJI’s new app: DJI Fly.

The new DJI Fly app

The Mavic Mini uses DJI’s new app, DJI Fly, for remote control. DJI Fly promises to make the process of flying a drone and capturing images simpler and more accessible to pilots, particularly beginners. During our hands-on time with the Mavic Mini the Fly app was still a pre-production version, so we weren’t able to demo all of the forthcoming features.

The new app will feature tutorials to help new pilots pick up tips and tricks for flying as well as pre-set editing templates for footage. The app allows users to fly in Position mode for the most basic operation, Sport mode (designed for folks with a little more experience with drones) or CineSmooth mode, which extends braking time for footage with a more cinematic look. There will also be a number of the DJI-standard pre-programmed QuickShot modes like Rocket, Circle, Drone, and Helix.

Useful and kitschy accessories

The Mavic Mini comes with a number of optional accessories that range from practical to a little kitschy. On the practical side there’s a 360° propeller guard, a charging base that doubles as a display case, a propeller holder that locks the Drone’s propellers into place during travel, a mini travel bag, and a two way charging hub that allows you to charge up to three Mavic Mini batteries or your phone.

On the kitschy side there’s a DIY creative kit which comes with Mavic Mini sized stickers so you can customize the look of your drone (we know, just what you’ve all been waiting for), a Snap adapter that lets you attach a toy building brick for adding Legos on top of the drone or a mini LED display to write custom messages (see photo above). You can use the Snap adapter in flight, but it will certainly add weight to the drone, which is one of its most appealing features.

Pricing and availability

The Mavic Mini is available for pre-order starting today and will begin shipping on November 11. It will be available as a standard version, which includes the drone, a remote controller, one battery and extra propellers for $ 399. A Mavic Mini ‘Fly More’ combo will include everything from the standard kit as well as the 360° propeller cage, a two-way charging hub, three batteries, three sets of propellers and a carrying case for $ 499.

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