The DJI Mini 2 launched in November 2020, it’s a compact, folding drone, like almost all Mavic drones before it. As an update to the original DJI Mavic Mini, the Mini 2 has almost the exact same airframe parts, measuring and weighing in at almost exactly the same size and weight. The differences worth talking about are on the inside.
Big picture, the updates are a bump to 4K video capture, OcuSync 2.0 connectivity, more powerful motors and more flight time.
Why trust Drone Rush?
I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.
DJI Mini 2 overview
DJI accomplished an important task with the Mini series of drones, most airspace authorities around the globe have adopted 250 grams, or 0.55 pounds, as the minimum weight of a drone that needs registration. By delivering a drone that weight less than 250g, you do not need to register the Mini 2 with the FAA in the United States.
Make no mistake, not having to register with the FAA does not exclude the drone from the other airspace rules. As an example, you must acquire authorization to fly in controlled airspace, no matter what your drone weighs.
Remember: There are drone laws to consider before you fly
The DJI Mini 2 is designed for portability. Once the drone is folded all the way down, and the propellers secured with the prop holder, one can easily slip this drone into a small pouch, a large pocket, and easily into a side pocket on a backpack. Let’s just say that the drone is not as long or wide as a smartphone, and only weighs a few grams more than the average pocket computer you don’t think twice about hauling around.
The value in the Mini 2 is the camera. If you are looking for the most affordable, most portable, flying camera possible, this is probably your best option. The 1/2.3-inch sensor shoots 12MP photos and 4K video. The camera is on par with many higher-end smartphones on the market today.
Related: DJI Mini 2 accessories
Is the DJI Mini 2 a good drone?
What do you need from a drone? Are you looking for a solid 4K camera that shoots silky smooth footage from the sky? Great, many drones do that. Are you looking to spend $1000+ on the best consumer drones on the market? No? The DJI Mini 2 comes in at under $500, and, we dare say, is the very best drone under $500 on the market at the time of launch.
What makes the drone so good? Let’s find out:
DJI Mini 2 camera
Make no mistake, the camera on the DJI Mini 2 is not as good as the shooter on the DJI Mavic Air 2, nor many of the drones that cost more than the Air 2. We think the Mavic Air 2 is the best drone you can get for under $1000, and the Mavic 2 Pro is about the best camera drone you can get for under $1,500. Having said all that, the DJI Mini 2 is the only drone under $500 that offers a viable 4K camera. The 1/2.3-inch sensor is mounted on a 3-axis stabilized gimbal, backed by powerful software to enable things like HDR shots and panoramas, and shoots that video at a solid 100Mbps, which means you are capturing tons of image data for improved results.
DJI Mini 2 and OcuSync 2.0
For those new to drones, let me assure you that connectivity is a big deal. The better your remote talks to your drone, the better your flight experience will be. A poor connection can result in stuttering video, failure to launch, and, worst of all, a loss of control situation in the sky. This is dangerous and annoying. OcuSync 2.0 nearly triples the usable connection range of the Mini 2 vs the non-OcuSync connection of the older Mavic Mini.
Rated at 10KM of HD video transmission range, the drone will be more than capable of exceeding the legal line-of-sight limits in place in most countries. Better yet, this means a reliable connection in areas with radio or magnetic interference. When I fly from my yard, the Mavic Mini struggles. I have magnetic interference at ground level that causes GPS connection issues and a stuttering connection to the remote. The Mini 2, on the other hand, connects flawlessly here.
DJI Mini 2 compact size
Portability is important for drones. We’ve used some beasts that need a flatbed truck to transport, and a landing strip to operate from. The Mini 2 fits in a large pocket, and weighs as much as a smartphone. The full Fly More combo is a kit that doesn’t fit in a pocket, but is still very portable. The remote control for the DJI Mini 2 is a bit more difficult to haul than the drone itself, but it’s a decent rectangle block that can slide in a side pouch of a backpack as well. Finally, a single battery can stay inside the Mini 2, but the battery hub is a reliable way to haul three batteries. Best of all, the hub acts as a USB power pack, so you can charge the remote, or your phone, on the go.
With the prop holder that comes with the DJI Mini 2, you can be sure that your flight systems are protected during transport as well.
DJI Mini 2 upgraded motors
The DJI Mini 2 has upgraded motors over the older Mavic Mini. The result is a higher top speed, a sportier feel in the air, and, believe it or not, longer flight times. DJI proved that motors matter back when they launched the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum. By adjusting the electrical frequencies flowing through the components, they managed to show significant gains in efficiency, with improved flight times and more stable flight.
The DJI Mini 2 will scoot around at up to 36 mph, for up to 31 minutes. While up there, the drone can withstand winds over 20 mph. These are numbers that are close to the performance of drones that are quadruple the size and triple the price.
The DJI Mini 2 is easy to fly
Thanks to the flight capabilities that DJI has built and tested across their fleet of aircraft, the Mini 2 is able to offer a very stable auto-hover, several operating modes, and a good selection of automated flight functions. A first-time pilot can successfully put this drone into the sky, and bring it back safely.
The DJI Mini 2 is not equipped with obstacle avoidance sensors, not like many more expensive drone offer, but it does use vision sensors to avoid colliding head-on with objects and to land safely. Many are still impressed with DJI’s ability to auto-land a drone within inches of its initial take-off point.
The DJI Fly app focuses on the basics. Live view from the camera fills the screen, unless you choose to fill the screen with the map, which shows your location, the location of your drone, and can show the location of other aircraft as reported through ADS-B.
DJI Mini 2 cost
We already mention that we think the DJI Mini 2 is the best drone you can buy for under $500. To put into a greater perspective, most drones under $500 are barely better than toy-drones, or racing drones. For the longest time it stood that the best camera drones cost well over $1,500. To get 4K video used to be a $1,000 expense. Slowly, the price of a 4K drone came down, but the capabilities of some of those crafts were not what folks were looking for in a flying machine.
Make no mistake, the DJI Mini 2 for $449 is a fantastic thing for those looking to put a reliable and portable 4K camera into the sky, but you still need to spend double that price or more to get a drone with multi-directional obstacle avoidance sensors, or the ability to haul additional payloads.
Should I buy the DJI Mini 2?
If you are looking for your first drone, or a very capable 4K drone to round out your fleet, yes, the DJI Mini 2 is worth your consideration.
If you do not need 4K, and you are sure that magnetic interference isn’t a problem in your flight area, like it is where I usually fly, then the older DJI Mavic Mini should be on your radar as well. They’re practically the same drone for basic usage, and we expect some big sales, if not a permanent price drop, on the older drone.
In the same light, the camera in the DJI Mini 2 is the same sensor and capabilities as higher-end smartphones, if you are looking for a camera that is as good as the best smartphones today, or better, you will need to increase your purchasing budget.