DJI is back with a Mini 2 one year after the release of the incredible, but imperfect Mavic Mini, which corrects its biggest flaws and introduces 4K video in a drone that still weighs less than 250 g in particular. A real must-have for the public in general?
The Mavic Mini brought consistency to the range by notably taking up the folding design of the other Mavic drones from the manufacturer by replacing the Spark at the entry-level of the DJI consumer drone catalog .
However, by satisfying itself with essential features, but opting for an even more compact size than the Spark, it wanted to be more accessible than its big brothers.
If the compactness and ease of use of the Mavic Mini had actually been greatly appreciated by us, it could not film in 4K Ultra HD as well as some more advanced features that even the general public could have appreciated .
Undoubtedly, DJI waited only a year before proposing a successor to its Mavic Mini to correct these few deficiencies.
Therefore, the Mini 2 arrives in November 2020 with capabilities that were lacking in the first model: 4K Ultra HD video recording, raw photo format and new OcuSync 2.0 transmission radio control for better radio link stability.
New features bring it closer to other Mavics, even if this newcomer is paradoxically losing its Mavic name to retain only its “Mini” attribute.
However, on the official DJI website, it remains listed in the Mavic range.
Is this Mini 2 the ideal drone for all those who do not need the Mavic Air 2’s, Mavic 2 Pro and 2 Zoom’s more advanced functions? Let’s see what all this is about…
The Mini 2 is almost identical in appearance to the Mavic Mini and continues to evolve with certain important details.
The device fits in your hand, even as compact as ever; it is only 13.8cm long, 8.1cm wide and 5.8cm high.
If the plastics seem identical, they appear to be stiffer than the ones used on the Mavic Mini, which reassures the Mini 2 of its robustness.
The new kid, however, is even lighter than his predecessor, showing a balance of only 236 g with his battery and his propellers mounted.
Amazing, since the words on the side of the device indicating a mass of 249 g has not been changed by DJI.
In any case, we appreciate the Mini 2’s good build quality and its folding nature, making it transportable very easily.
The deployment is done in a few seconds and as soon as the geographical situation allows it, we do not hesitate for a moment to take it out for filming.
In this regard, it should be noted that, like all DJI drones, the Mini 2 is directly subject to no-fly zones in its application, thereby preventing take-off in certain locations.
Be careful, however, because not all of the areas indicated by DJI correspond to those prohibited by the regulations of certain countries, particularly France, from flying.
We advise you to check that the target area tolerates drone overflights well, at least on the Geoportail site.
If in doubt, and since the accuracy of the information is not always guaranteed by Geoportail, it is better not to take any risk and refrain from flying or to check other services such as Mach 7 Drone.
To conclude on this particularly important regulatory point, it should be noted that the Mini 2 does not have a CE drone marking, which will not, however, prevent it from being used once European regulations have been put in place (on 1 January 2021), so far as its weight of less than 250 g allows it to enter category A1, which will remain fairly permissive vis-à-vis thefts close to individuals and inhabited.
In terms of small changes, instead of the old micro-USB to recharge the battery, we notice the arrival of a USB-C port next to which there is still a microSD card slot.
For recording shots, the latter remains essential, since the Mini 2 does not incorporate internal memory.
The battery stays in the same location, always hidden on the back of the device behind a cover and easy to remove.
The Mavic Mini batteries can be used, but the new Mini 2 battery is not suitable for the latter.
However, DJI specifies that the use of the Mavic Mini battery takes the Mini 2 above the 250 g mark, which may explain why the manufacturer decided to use the battery.
The most visible novelty, however, is not the drone itself, but the remote control side of it.
DJI chose to associate the Mini 2 with its Mavic Air 2’s radio control, slightly enhanced for the occasion.
A good comfort idea, less for the bulk, because it’s quite massive and ultimately takes up more space than the drone in the bag itself.
All the display is done on the smartphone screen, which certainly helps to reduce costs and does not bother us too much.
There is still no control screen.
The smartphone is inserted into a clamp on the top of the remote control, which integrates the antennas, and is connected to a small cable that is carefully stored at its edge and interchangeable according to the connection required for the smartphone (Lightning, USB-C or micro- USB).
The Mini 2 still uses the DJI Fly application on the interface side, which has been enriched over the versions and now provides a display that is both clear and quite abundant in options.
Armed with the new remote control that we have previously inserted and plugged into our smartphone, we can start automatically and in just a few seconds with the Mini 2 in less than a minute, pairing and acquiring satellites.
In automatic take-off mode, the Mini 2 takes off on its own by pressing the dedicated button to the left of the DJI Fly interface and stabilizes approximately 1.50 m above its starting point, which can optionally be our hand, even if DJI warns against it.
It is very well stabilized and retains its position if nothing is touched, so there is no need to jump on the controls to take control of the device. It’s always so reassuring for the starting pilot.
Beware of the drone environment, however, as there are no safety barriers. In case you are afraid of hitting the background, DJI nevertheless provides optional propeller guards that go all around the device.
The Mini 2 does as well as its predecessor in terms of discretion. When you are within 10 meters of it, it remains quite audible, but without emitting a deafening noise.
It is no longer too disturbing beyond 30 or 40 m, although it can still be heard clearly. Beyond 50 m, you’ve got to strain your ears this time to hear its little shrill sound.
It relies, however, on the direction of the wind and, of course, the ambient noise.
Count 65 to 66 dB(A) at distances of 1 m, 58 dB(A) at distances of 10 m, then 51 dB(A) at distances of 30 m on windy days (less ideal conditions for noise).
When the wind starts blowing, the switch to slightly more powerful engines results in a gain in stability, but you must always be careful because the Mini 2 only officially withstands winds of up to 28 km / h.
Besides, the risk of drift is significant and the aircraft tells us that the automatic return to the point of departure (RTH) mode is no longer guaranteed, and then advises us to go down to altitude for greater safety.
Alternatively, the Mini 2 can fly up to 36 km/h in normal mode and up to 58 km/h in sports mode.
It is convenient to get as close as possible to the filming location quickly.
It’s still less than the 72 km/h of a Mavic 2, but in most situations, it’s enough.
As the range of the link between the drone and its radio control has significantly increased, this speed gain is appreciable.
The Mini 2 wins the famous OcuSync 2.0 link that the Mavic Mini lacked and that we have so much appreciated on the Mavic 2 and Mavic Air 2.
What, in theory, flies up to six kilometers, even 10 kilometers in countries that allow such a distance.
In practice, if the obstacles between the drone and its operator are not too numerous and obscuring, the distance kilometer can easily be exceeded and potentially reach 2 km.
It should be noted, however, that the regulations in France require that the drone be kept in direct view at all times, which necessarily limits the perimeter of the flight.
Nevertheless, compared to the Mavic Mini’s Wi-Fi connection, we gain in transmission stability, which is very important not to see the drone go into RTH mode all the time.
The connection quality is all the more important since the Mini 2 still does not have obstacle sensors, not even at the front, which can cause some problems if we inadvertently decided to go under or behind a somewhat high obstacle despite the obligation to keep the drone in sight.
The risk of a drone colliding with that obstacle is not negligible in the event of loss of connection and activation of the RTH, although the setting of a sufficiently high flight height during the automatic return to the starting point avoids most of the concerns of this kind in principle.
However, we can not sufficiently remind you that you have to maintain control of your drone at all times and be aware of your limits.
We may also regret that the Mini 2 does not have its predecessors’ Active Track feature. It is therefore not feasible to maintain framing on a chosen subject.
We have to put a cross on the Follow Me feature in the same spirit, which would allow the drone to move along while following its subject.
Nevertheless, nothing seemed to block the technique.
Besides, the famous shooting modes of “QuickShots” actually benefit from a few snippets of these technologies that allow the Mini 2 to keep its subject in the center of the frame while making automatic trajectories.
We had to book some Mavic Air 2 benefits…
Quality of image
Like the Mavic Mini, the Mini 2 is equipped with a camera with an angle of 83 ° (focal length of 24 mm f / 2.8 in 35 mm equivalent) and based on a 12 Mpx 1 / 2.3′ CMOS sensor.
However, its faster electronics now allow it to shoot up to 4K Ultra HD at 24, 25 or 30 fps, while the Mavic Mini had to be satisfied with 2.7K at 30 fps maximum.
Let’s not sulk our pleasure, because the arrival of 4K already gives a good breath of fresh air, providing much more detail in the videos and anchoring the Mini 2 in an era where a 4K Ultra HD definition panel is even embedded in entry-level televisions.
If you decide to make some enlargements, this definition also provides a considerable margin of maneuver in post-production. You can also not
As for pure image quality, we appreciate the good color rendering, quite natural and without excessive saturation.
Nonetheless, the images are quite flattering.
In the center of the image, the sharpness is quite good, but at the periphery, it deteriorates.
Post-production retouching fans may regret the lack of a flat profile (type D-Cinelike) that would leave more colorimetry latitude. For such purposes,
The Mini 2 will soon pass in front of our photo scene to give you more explanations and compare its photographs and videos with those captured by the Mavic Mini.
Therefore, as soon as possible, we will offer you a Lab news on this subject, which will also join this test.
As for the photo, the intrinsic quality of the images captured with the Mini 2 is equivalent to what the Mavic Mini was already producing.
The shots are quite detailed, but as the luminosity begins to drop, the digital noise sets in quite quickly.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity to improve our images manually this time.
Indeed, the great novelty that will delight informed photographers is the arrival of a recording in raw format, offering them the possibility of carrying out retouching which would be impossible to achieve with a photo recorded directly in Jpeg.
We welcome the arrival of automatic panoramas (wide-angle, 180 ° and sphere) as for the shooting modes.
On the other hand, HDR must be dispensed with, the only possibility of obtaining such a photo is to use an automatic bracketing mode of exposure consisting of taking 3 photos at different exposures successively.
We can then assemble these photos to obtain an HDR image on a computer, but this Panoramic photo of 180 ° (with manual adjustment of levels on a computer and Jpeg compression).
The Mini 2 could fly a minute longer than the Mavic Mini and its 2400mAh battery despite having a 2250mAh battery.
You ask yourself, by what miracle? On the one hand, and probably thanks to more sober electronics, through the use of less greedy engines, although DJI does not go into details.
Still, despite 150 mAh less in reserve, the result is that the Mini 2 holds as long as its predecessor, about 25 to 26 minutes before the device decides to start the landing procedure.
After 20 minutes, he would have previously sounded the alert to ask us to return to our starting point, which, if it is several hundred meters away, remains the wisest solution.
Only under ideal conditions and by forcing the drone to stay in the air by continuing to push on the left stick of the remote control are the promised 31 minutes achieved.
A solution to be used only in extreme urgency, as this involves the maximum discharge of the battery, which is harmful to its life.
We have thus been able to achieve 30 minutes of flight during our tests.
Count on a good hour and a quarter with the supplied 18 W charger for recharge.
Although we can not recharge the battery without it being inserted into the device, we appreciate being able to recharge it via the drone with a simple external battery due to the lack of a USB-C connector on it.
Other batteries and a specific 3-battery charger – which can act as a stand-alone charger, for example, to charge a smartphone – can be purchased by those who want to be able to fly for longer, which DJI otherwise includes in its Mini 2 Fly More Combo pack, including 3 batteries in total, spare propellers and, above all, a rather practical carrying case.
The DJI Mini 2 is ultra-compact, light and easy to use, and now that it benefits from 4K Ultra HD video recording and a powerful OcuSync 2.0 connection, the DJI Mini 2 ticks almost all the boxes of the excellent consumer drone.
A real little flying camera ready to use, that we do not hesitate to take with us and that we draw when the flight conditions allow it at the first chance.