The Mavic Mini is so small and light (only 249g) that you won't need to register it with the FAA – you were registering your bigger drones in the FAA, right? But this size is not just about making fewer documents, but also making more flights. With a drone that you can literally fit in your back pocket, it's almost never an inconvenient time to take it with you if you assume you have a second pocket for the controller. (You can't fly a Mini with just your phone as you could light it.)
DJI has traditionally enjoyed providing its smaller / cheaper drone features. The air, for example, cost less than the Mavic Pro that came before it, but it had features that its price brothers didn't. Even little old Spark offered gesture control and budget tracking features. However, there are a lot of compromises with the Mini ̵
Perhaps the most crucial missing feature is the avoidance of obstacles. Mavic 2 Pro and Air come with sensors that detect obstacles, allowing safer flying. The Mavic Mini does not have one. That seems reasonable given that the Mini costs more than $ 1,300 less than the Mavic Pro 2 and $ 500 less than the Air. But DJI also throws the Mini at beginners who would benefit most from these sensors.
The second notable compromise is the camera. As with Spark, there is no 4K video here, but the Mini will record at 2.7K / 30 (along with FHD up to 60 fps at 40Mbps), so there is at least some high-resolution form for you to enjoy . Another trick the Mini has is that Spark is not able to fold its hands. Spark's body is similar in size, but his fixed arms make it much less portable.
The folding design of the Mavic line has become something of a business card. What makes drones uncomfortable are those important protruding weapons. DJI came up with a clever design for the first Mavic and since then it has been featured in almost all of its custom drones. When fully folded, the Mini is about the size of a soda can and weighs about the size of a phone (my OnePlus 7 Pro with a case comes in at about 230g).
The Mavic Mini may lack obstacle avoidance sensors, but is not completely devoid of positioning technology. , Obviously there is a GPS and a sensor facing down so that it can hold its position when there is no satellite connection (such as indoors).
I was also surprised that the Mavic Mini does not offer "tripod mode". This simple feature, found in other Mavics, limits the speed of the drone, which, in combination with the triaxial PTO, is great for slow and steady tracking shots. The Mini would be perfect for this, especially when flying indoors. As far as I can tell, there is no technical reason for the Mini not to support it, but it is not here, which is a slight disappointment. However, there is a new Cinesmooth mode, which DJI says "extends the braking process". That sounds a little boring, but in my testing, it's actually more like a tripod mode (thankfully) than I thought. In general, it seems to soften turns, brakes and other sharp movements, leaving you with a much smoother shot.
It is also worth noting that in the app you now need to change your flying modes (Regular / Sports and Cinesmooth). Other Mavics have a controller switch, but it's another small compromise I guess. In fact, the whole app experience has been simplified en masse. I am inclined to say that this is a good thing, as I have never been a big fan of DJI's dense application. But as good as it is to simplify things, I would almost say that the new Go app is almost too rare. It's nice that there are less things on the screen, but vital information like battery life and GPS is represented by such small icons that you can't really see them at a glance – which means you end up looking at screen longer than you & # 39; d like.
 In an effort to simplify, DJI also moved the QuickShot section of the app under the camera options to the right rather than left under its own icon, as before. Here you can choose between Photo, Video and QuickShot. The submenu for each will appear after you select it.
For pictures, you will only see the explanatory options for "Single" or "Time Shot", though in the main settings menu you will find options for aspect ratio (4: 3 or 16: 9), screen histogram switches and overexposure warning, network lines, etc. As mentioned earlier, for video, your options are FHD and 2.7K, and then selecting a frame rate: 25, 30, 50 and 60 for FHD versus 25 and 30 for 2.7K. Here for some reason there are no 24 frames per second.
The selection of Mini snapshots is limited. You have Drones, Rockets, Circles and Helix – the names broadly describe how the mines will move around a target. This time there is no asteroid or boomerang and that's good. I'm more disappointed with the lack of ActiveTrack, DJI's People Tracking feature. It is present on most products, including Osmo Mobile, which has no camera at all (uses the phone on your phone). It's curious that the QuickShot modes that Mini makes have asked you to click on a human target to focus on it – so the bones of the technology are there, but for some reason the company chose not to turn it on. In short, the Mavic Mini cannot follow you autonomously. But it feels like something that is just a firmware update.
Despite its minor annoyances, such as the small power indicator (it's literally a small battery icon with a percentage number like on the phone), the app is easy to use. Connect your phone to the controller, open the app and you are already very good. The bigger problem is that the drone connection is via WiFi, which does not process almost the video stream, as well as DJI's own Ocusync technology. For the most part, this is fine, but there are too many times when the flow stops or skips. It was especially embarrassing when I was relying on this link to sit back and watch my photo.
A related problem that is not unique to the Mini, but sharpens in size, is that it is extremely easy to lose sight of a drone in the sky after looking down at the video stream. Flight with a linear view is important. I see too many people flying off a drone, looking at the video stream to know where it is. But this video stream can fail, and it happened with the Mavic Mini just so much that I would never rely on it for navigation. Even just a quick glance at the app, look back and … where the hell did it go? This caught me several times.
You don't need your phone at all to throw a drone or even shoot a video. But it's much easier with the video stream and the on-screen buttons if you need to take action and maneuver around something. Also, while there are buttons on the controller to take a photo or star t video, you can't change the settings or access QuickShots, so you definitely want your phone fully charged.
Last but not least, because the Mini can fly for a long time. DJI claims up to 30 minutes for charging. I think this is possible if you are flying lightly, but about 25 minutes is more realistic in windy conditions or if you break in Sport mode etcetera.
A few more minor nitrites and we'll get to the good stuff, I promise. The first is that there is no way to know how much the Mini batteries are charging unless they are in a drone or in a multi-charger (which comes with the Fly more kit). Most other camera drones have a battery button that will show approximately how much power you have left. You need to put the battery in the drone or the caddy is not very difficult, but if you have several, it is not perfect.
Second, 2019 is and everything on the Mavic Mini is still micro-USB. To charge the controller? Micro-USB. Want to connect to the drone itself? You get it. USB-C is long enough to be here by default. Especially the caddy to charge the battery. Using micro-USB means that it takes longer to charge. (Oh, bonus nitpick: Caddy holds three batteries, but charges them one at a time, not in parallel, which seems a bit useless.) Finally, for the first time in several years, I was able to fire a propeller. , This was a regular problem until DJI figured out how to keep them out of the camera. This has only happened once before, in windy conditions and during a tight turn, but it is worth remembering that this can happen.