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DJI Mavic Mini Review – One of the Best Pieces of Tech Released in 2019

DJI Mavic Mini Drone Review Final

The DJI Mavic Mini Drone costs R6,999 and could be not only one of the easiest drones to pick up and use but also one of the best pieces of tech released in 2019. This small little drone packs all the features you would expect to find in something for double the price tag and checks multiple boxes when it comes to features, build quality and being just darn fun to use. It weighs 249 grams making it super light and small, perfect for any bag, and thanks to the lightweight design, it also falls under the regulatory restrictions so you don’t need a permit to fly it (where applicable).

The best part of the DJI Mavic Mini is the experience you are getting while it is in your hands. The 2.7K video quality means you can record some professional-looking shots, and the new DJI Fly App makes this all extremely approachable by eliminating all the complicated hogwash that I myself fear about using a drone. However, due to the cheaper price tag, the DJI Mavic Mini is missing a few notable features such as a 4K camera, collision detection, panoramic shots, time-lapse, zooming of any sort. However, the lack of these features is not the end of the world as the device makes up for them in other ways.

DJI Mavic Mini Tech Specs

  • Dimensions: 249g / 140x82x57 mm (folded) 160x202x55 mm (unfolded)
  • Max Flight Time: 30 minutes (while flying 13 km/h) 2600mAh
  • Transmission: 4 km HD video
  • Camera: 2.7K 3-axis Gimbal video (2720×1530 @ 30fps or 25fps) or (1920×1080 @ 60fps) / 4:3 4000×3000 + 16:9 4000×2250
  • Video/Photo Formats: JPEG + MP4 (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC)
  • Max Speed: 29 – 38 km/h (various speed modes)
  • Operating Temperature: 0 – 40C

DJI Mavic Mini Review

The Bundles

In typical drone fashion, the Mavic Mini is as run-of-the-mill as it comes. If you opt for the standard bundle at R6,999, you will get the drone, a battery pack and charging wires. However, the more expensive bundle which sets you back R9,199 includes three batteries, a charger pack to store them in which doubles as a power bank, a protector cage, a fancy carrying case and extra propellers. You can purchase all the extras separately if you don’t have the budget to spend on the bigger bundle. Every little extra accessory costs money so keep the below pricing in mind if you are in the market for it.

Mavic Mini Intelligent Flight Battery 699
Mavic Mini Propellers (Pair) 179
Mavic Mini Control Sticks (Pair) 149
Mavic Mini 360° Propeller Guard 179
Mavic Mini Two-Way Charging Hub 599
Mavic Mini DIY Creative Kit 249
Mavic Mini Charging Base 599
Mavic Mini Snap Adapter 249
Mavic Mini Propeller Holder (Beige) 179
Mavic Mini Propeller Holder (Charcoal) 179
DJI Mini Bag 499

Design

If you have not gathered yet, the DJI Mavic Mini is tiny. It is small when unfolded and even smaller when folded. To put it into perspective, it is smaller than the latest iPhone 11 Pro Max and weighs less than a can of Coca Cola.

Unfolding the propellers is super simple as the back folds outwards and the front forwards. I was a little worried about snapping something but these arms are strong and can withstand quite a bit of bend too. On the front of it, you will find the camera protected in a plastic cover. This is to prevent any damage that may occur while you are transporting it and the cover is easily removed too.

DJI Mavic Mini Review

The camera is on a gimble and anyone who has seen the DJI Osmo Pocket will recognize this as it looks as if they just took the top of one and placed it into the drone. The gimble is a 3-axis arm which means it is super stable across all angles.

On the back, you will find the battery compartment that flips open and you can slide the rechargeable 2600mAh battery into it. Just below that there is a Micro SD slot for your storage and a micro USB port so you can charge the battery while it is in the drone. I take it that the same port is used for the charging dock, but I was not given that to review.

On the bottom, you will find some sensors and a power button which is not only used to turn the device on but to also check the battery life left in whichever battery pack you have inserted into the device.

The cool thing about the DJI Mavic Mini is that you can personalise the top of it. Paint it, draw on it or even plaster some stickers across the top. DJI boasts the great customization options on the drone but I did not do anything to it because this was not mine and I did not want to upset DJI.

As for the propellors, DJI has gone for a screw design which means you will need to physically unscrew the broken ones and replace them with new ones if and when they break. Removing them is simple though but you will need a screwdriver, something which could be an issue if you don’t have one nearby or forgot it at home.

Overall, the build quality of the Mavic Mini is fantastic. It is smaller than you could ever imagine making it portable and light.

Performance and Video Quality

So how does it fly? Probably the most important question you can ask when buying a drone. I had zero skill with drones before taking on this device to review. They are cool but I prefer to fly things in video games because when they crash, they can easily be replaced. The DJI Mavic Mini was one of the easiest things to learn thanks to the ease of use of the newly revamped DJI Fly App which acts as the heart of the entire experience.

There are two parts to flying the DJI Mavic Mini, the remote and your phone. The controller opens up and you can slide any smartphone into the rubberized dock. It also plugs into the controller with either a USB Type-C, Micro-USB or Lightning cable depending on what device you have. Your phone powers the controller so you need to make sure it has some battery life. Once plugged in, the device is then powered on and the drone battery inserted into the back of it.

I first opted for the safety cage, worried about any damage I might cause for the first time flight. The cage was easy to install and clipped onto each propeller. It does add a little bit of extra weight to it which will be detected when you turn on the drone. The cage also limits the height which the drone can fly so if you want to get the most out of your flight time, you will want to fly cage-less.

DJI Mavic Mini Review

Setting up the drone, controller and app was very simple and once connected the flight tutorial guided me on my first ever take off. Taking off is as easy as holding down a button and letting it go and I even held the drone in the palm of my hand in the air and it flew up with ease.

The app is the heart of the DJI Mavic Mini experience and it is so seamless and simple. Switching between the three flight modes provided a quick way to speed up the drone from the cinematic mode, which is nice and slow to the sport mode which boosts the speed up to 38km/h. Holding down on my iPhone screen I could easily adjust the angle of the camera gimbal moving it up and down to cover whatever shot I was looking for.

The app also offers a wide range of simple and advanced settings to fiddle with if you are interested in dabbing in the advanced drone life. For those newbies, like myself, various automatic shots allows you to perform some professional-looking clips with just a press of a button. Some shots saw the drone target me and fly away in a cool slow-motion method and another let me target an object and watch as the drone circled it. It was extremely impressive how these turned out and the simple one-tap button pressing made it a joy to perform too.

Controlling the drone is also much easier than I thought it would be. The left stick flies the drone left and right and the right controller stick moves it up and down. The combination of both then allows you to manoeuvre it around with ease and after a few minutes, it really is natural. There are also two triggers on the controller, one for taking a photo and one for starting a recording so you never have to tap the phone screen.

In terms of range, the DJI Mavic Mini is extremely impressive. I took off the cage and unlocked all the restrictions ending up 500 meters in the air and at least the same distance away from the RC. I did have one signal issue but that was when I pushed it way too far from me which resulted in the drone finding its way back to the RC. The flying experience was fun after I got over the fear of this R7,000 device falling out of the air. Knowing it can look after itself if something was to happen to the signal was a great relief.

What about the camera? Well, the DJI Mavic Mini Drone boasts a 2,7K 2720×1530 @ 30fps or 25fps video mode or 1080p 60fps. Would I have preferred a 1440p 60fps mode? Yes, it kind of feels like the sweet spot nowadays and 1080p 60fps is so 2013, right? But the 2.7K mode is superb, especially at 25fps. The combination of the two creates a stunningly cinematic video that is so stable and crisp you would think it was filmed using a drone that is double the price.

Even in windy conditions, the drone managed to stay stable and the video quality top notch. There was even a moment in the video clip which you can watch below where I thought the video froze but it was actually the drone just sitting in the air. Changing the video mode is also quick and once you have recorded your fancy clips to the SD card, you can transfer them to your phone for safekeeping.

Even photos are great on the device too which means you can get stunning landscape shots 500-meters in the air with some advanced exposure settings enabled too. Once you unlock the potential of this drone, the possibilities are endless.

Verdict

After a few weeks of using the DJI Mavic Mini, I felt at ease with the thought of flying an expensive piece of tech into the air. The app, the drone and all its features combine to create the most user-friendly experience on the market. This coming from a complete noob with drones. It is not only easy to use but also so much fun. From the ability to return it home automatically and land in a safe spot, to experimenting with all the great Cineshots modes. There is more than just a drone here, it is a fun and enjoyable experience. Simply put, the DJI Mavic Mini Drone could be one of the best pieces of tech released in 2019.

This DJI Mavic Mini Drone review was based on a loan unite borrowed to us over a period of three weeks. It has since been returned to DJI. The Mavic Mini retails for R6,999 and is available from iStore.

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