When DJI announced the release of the Mavic Pro it was a revelation three years ago. The foldable drone was what the industry needed to help make the technology more available to the masses.
In July 2019, Brian Heater of TechCrunch, visited the markets of Shenzhen. Heater said it was “clear that the design has had a profound impact on both the industry at large and the public perception of a drone’s platonic ideal.” Additionally, he discovered that DJI has spent the past few years refining the line and building up a robust software.
The design of the Mavic also impacted the DJI Spark. The selfie drone was not really considered part of the Mavic line. The higher-end drones have appealed to professionals, thanks to their ability to capture great footage with a small footprint.
On Oct. 30, the Mavic Mini was released. Like the Spark, the Mini is small enough to rest in the palm of a hand. Unlike the Spark, the sub-250 gram drone is designed to serve as a serious imaging product. It is capable of shooting 2.7K video at 30fps or 1080p video at 60fps. It can take still shots at 12 megapixels thanks to a ½.3-inch sensor. All of this is mounted on a three-axis motorized gimbal.
Granted, the Mavic Mini cannot compete with the Hasselblad camera mounted on the newest Mavic Pro, however, weight and pricing are the concerns here. Additionally, there is no built-in obstacle avoidance with the Mini. The requisite sensors were not included for the aforementioned reasons.
Heater understands why DJI cut corners to keep the drone light and inexpensive, however, leaving out those sensors is a pretty big feature to leave out. DJI is positioning this as a first-time drone. Additionally, the drone is tiny, making it easy to lose the line of sight on it quickly.
Heater has piloted the drone and says it is easy to maneuver. DJI is also offering free demo software, so buyers can take it on a virtual drone on a spin before potentially sacrificing the real thing.
Even without the built-in obstacle avoidance, the drone has plenty to enjoy. The battery life should allow for 30 minutes of flying on a full charge. There are a variety of shooting modes that will make anyone look like they know what they are doing with the push of a button.
The most prominent feature of the Mavic Mini is that it is so small it does not need to be registered with the FAA.
The drone can be pre-ordered now at $399. There is also a $499 package that includes three batteries, and an extra set of propellers, a carrying case, a charging hub (that will also charge a phone), and some beefy propeller cages. It ships Nov. 11.
By Jeanette Vietti
TechCrunch: DJI announces the smallest Mavic drone yet
PCMag: DJI Mavic Mini: A Capable Drone, Without Federal Registration
The Verge: The Mavic Mini is DJI’s first drone that doesn’t need FAA registration