DJI Mavic Mini Review: The Most Exciting Drone Release to Date?

Last updated November 5th, 2019
DJI Mavic Mini

DJI has released another budget-friendly drone that has all the basic needs of aspiring filmmakers on board. The Mavic Mini, as the name implies, is one of the new players in the pocket drone market.

Some might infer that the Mavic Mini’s petite size was designed to improve portability and performance — and they aren’t totally wrong — as the drone is a solid piece of hardware equipped with the smarts, while fitting snugly in your crowded backpack.

However, this stems from various reports that rogue drones have been flying over London’s Gatwick Airport airspace, endangering passengers and employees.

This event called for stricter drone regulations, with drones weighing over 250 grams required to be registered with their local aviation authorities. These UK regulations have followed similar laws that are present throughout the world, including in the US.

DJI have slyly evaded this particular clause by designing the Mavic Mini to be 1 gram lighter than the specified weight: yes, an incredible 249 grams!

This might sound sneaky — and it is — but how does this tiny drone actually stack up in terms of quality, usability and more? Read our full DJI Mavic Mini review below to find out.

Quick Specs

WeightUnloaded: 249 g
SizeLength: 160 mm
Width: 202 mm
Height: 55 mm
SpeedMax: 29 mph
SignalRange: ~4 km
Operating Frequencies: 2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz
BatteryFlight Time: ~30 mins
Capacity: 2400 mAh
RecordingResolutions: 1080p, 2.7K
DJI Mavic Mini Drone
10 Reviews
DJI Mavic Mini Drone
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  • Required Operating System: iOS v10.0 or later. Android v6.0 or later
  • Weighing under 250 grams, Mavic Mini is almost as light as the average smartphone.
  • Mavic Mini’s weight allows it to stay in the air longer than similar consumer FlyCams on...
  • In the United States and Canada, you can fly Mavic Mini without the need to register your...

DJI Mavic Mini Features

QuickShot

QuickShot gives you the ability to capture majestic footage by way of automated presets programmed into the Mavic Mini. You won’t have to worry about framing that shot while trying to maneuver the craft, which might compromise either. Here are the cinematic presets you can use.

Rocket – This makes the drone fly upward with the camera pointing downward, allowing for a progressively-widening cinematic shot of an area.

Dronie – The drone flies upward and backward to cover more of the background without losing focus of the subject, and is perfect for wide area shots with forward-facing subjects.

Circle – Set a target or subject for the Mavic Mini to circle around, filming in a perfect and smooth motion with a set speed, distance, and altitude.

Helix – This allows the craft to circle and while progressively distancing itself from the subject, for a wide and concentric panning effect which can be used to emphasize the surrounding of your subject, without losing frame of it.

GPS/GLONASS

Like most modern drones, the Mavic Mini has a dual GPS/GLONASS implementation for its global navigation satellite system, allowing it to accurately pinpoint its location, as well as set a real-time map of its locality, which is handy most of the time you’re out flying the craft.

‘This also means the drone is aware of its position in real-time, making it very stable to fly. Other drones have been known to drift off, seemingly gaining a mind of their own due to subpar navigational systems.

Battery Life

The Mavic Mini’s 2400 mAh LiPo battery packs about 30 minutes of flight time. This makes the drone one of the beefiest ones in terms of power consumption, despite its small size. Its battery pack weighs around 100 grams as well, meaning DJI has put that heft to good use.

The Fly More is a more comprehensive package. For $100 dollars more, you get 2 more batteries, a two-way charging hub (which can serve as a power bank when equipped with the battery packs), and many more accessories for the Mavic Mini. That’s about an hour more of extra flight time.

If you opt for the regular package, you won’t get a charger with it, but fret not as the Mavic Mini has a Micro USB port at the back — and most households have a Micro USB charger lying around.

This extra flight time can be attributed to the drone’s apparent lack of some of DJI’s most intuitive features like Obstacle Detection and Tracking, which consumes a lot of processing power, which in our books, is a sane move, although slightly disappointing.

Forcing these demanding features into a drone as tiny as the Mavic Mini might prove disastrous, as it could lead to the overheating of its onboard processor.

Camera

The Mavic Mini shoots videos and captures photos with its 12-MP 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor, which is capable of shooting videos at 2.7K, 30 fps or 1080p 60 fps.

While this might be a bit underwhelming for some who were expecting 4K capabilities with the craft, the image quality is outstanding, especially in well-lit conditions. Colors are lush and vibrant, while details are captured in crystal clarity.

Also, remember that not all 4K capable drones in the price bracket of the Mavic Mini can deliver consistent and top-notch quality captures, so there’s that.

You may wonder when you’re ever going to get everything you want in one drone, and to that we say that you most definitely CAN get what you want, just not at the price point of the Mavic Mini. Probably.

Stability is taken care of the 3-axis gimbal to keep video capturing steady even at windy conditions. The gimbal also supports 2 modes: Follow mode, where it keeps the horizon line level, and FPV mode, which assumes the craft’s primary perspective without ruining the shot.

You can also make use of one of the three flight modes, which is called the CineSmooth mode (the other two being Positional and Sport modes), for buttery smooth panning on your shots. The drone does this by reducing breaking times and slowing down its flight speed.

Ease Of Use

The Mavic Mini’s controller layout is immaculately clean, with the standard joysticks neighboring each other and just the bare function buttons populating the upper part of the controller. It is also ergonomic, unfurling when needed, while folding into a neat brick for storage.

You can connect your smartphone to the controller via cable, where DJI graciously offers you a Micro USB, USB Type C, or a Lighting option, catering to a variety of modern smartphone models. Unlike some of its bigger brothers that use the DJI Go 4 app, the craft makes use of the new DJI Go Lite app, which is still in its beta testing phase as of writing.

Basic controls include flight and movement, camera angle adjustment and photo and video capturing. This neat and simple layout means beginners can easily learn the functions without going too technical. You can use the jog dial to adjust the camera’s angle by a range of 90°, but can only do so downwards, as it can’t look up.

The DJI Go Lite App walks you through with a setup tutorial and will prompt you to download the latest flight safety information from the cloud to maximize safety. It also records your home location, which can be handy in the event of transmission loss during flight.

The app doesn’t give you too much control over how your images and videos are captured, with no options for contrast or saturation adjustments, though this can of course be done during post-flight editing.

Design and Build Quality

Being the little brother of the DJI Mavic lineup, the Mavic Mini was bound to have similarities with its predecessors in one way or another, with slight tweaks to improve portability. The folding drone still follows the quadcopter layout, and is mostly constructed from plastic, which is one of the reasons why this bird is so light.

Be aware though, as the material’s quality seems to be a bit flimsy, and you won’t have an obstacle detection feature aiding you in flight. During any winds, you’ll need to be focused with your flying.

At the back is the micro SD expansion slot for your storage needs, and the aforementioned Micro USB slot to charge the drone with. Its underbelly features LEDs for status indicators and has obstacle sensors on the base, which only help to land the Mavic Mini gracefully.

DJI Mavic Mini Drone
10 Reviews
DJI Mavic Mini Drone
  • The compact yet powerful Mavic Mini is the perfect creative companion, capturing your...
  • Required Operating System: iOS v10.0 or later. Android v6.0 or later
  • Weighing under 250 grams, Mavic Mini is almost as light as the average smartphone.
  • Mavic Mini’s weight allows it to stay in the air longer than similar consumer FlyCams on...
  • In the United States and Canada, you can fly Mavic Mini without the need to register your...

Performance

The Mavic Mini is perfectly represented by its size, being a nimble craft from the get-go. It can achieve a max speed of 29 mph on Sport mode, which is nothing to scoff at, but we’d bet you would want to keep things on the more conservative side as the drone hasn’t been packed with an awful lot of intuitive safety features.

The amazing 4km range is also handy if you don’t care about taking pictures and just want to do speed runs, although be wary that video transmission isn’t the same as its control transmission.

You’d be lucky to get 50 meters on the live FPV feed on a signal-crowded location, to which the company advises with flying the drone within your line of sight.

Also be aware not to breach privacy or drone-flying regulations with this enormous flying range.

Final Thoughts

As far as we’re concerned, the Mavic Mini is a worthy contender in its weight class. Flight performance and battery life are commendable, photo and video captures are top-notch even at 2.7 K (though these can be greatly improved with more control features activated), and overall design passes with flying colors.

Still, we do miss the intuitive obstacle-avoidance system and other smart features that have been the bread and butter of a majority of DJI’s drones, but the design ceiling just couldn’t allow it.

We just can’t bring ourselves to not love what the DJI Mavic Mini has to offer, keeping consistent with the company’s excellent reputation.

If you’d like to see more, YouTuber Casey Neistat also got hands on with the Mavic Mini in this video:

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