Drones are really hot these days with both enthusiasts and professionals. They come in all sizes, skill levels, and prices, and I’m sure if you look hard enough, you’ll find one that is perfect for you. The one thing about drones though is that you do need to register them with the FAA, unless they’re under s a specific weight, which usually applies to toy drones. There are very few drones in the “pro” range that meet this, though DJI has one and it’s one of the best drones out there in this category. The DJI Mavic Mini has a lot of features found in its more expensive brothers, just in a smaller, less expensive package.
Launched originally last year on October 30, 2019, the DJI Mavic Mini is still a very popular drone. The Mavic Mini only weighs 249 grams which allows it to bypass drone registration regulations, though you still need to follow drone laws where they apply.
Unlike most cheap drones, the Mavic Mini has a 12MP camera capable of 2.7K video at 30FPS. This camera sits on a three-axis gimbal which allows for buttery smooth shots. You can also snap photos if videos aren’t your thing. Other notable features include vision sensors and built-in GPS and GPS Precise Hover, up to 30 minutes of flight time, and an intuitive remote controller that can be coupled with a smartphone.
The DJI Mavic Mini makes it easy for both beginning drone pilots and pros. I was up and running with the kit DJI sent me in less than five minutes. Basically you just need to download the DJI Fly app to your iOS or Android smartphone, attach it to the controller, pop a fresh battery into the drone, a memory card, and you’re set. Flying the drone itself and learning the controls doesn’t take long either especially with three different control schemes and the ability to customize them as well. There’s even a layout for “FPS gamers” which will be very natural for them (that’s the one I use).
If you opt for the $100 extra Fly More kit, you’ll get several extras that are worth it just for the extra two batteries and charger alone.
There are some caveats with buying a DJI or any other high end drone that isn’t labeled as a toy. For starters, don’t think you can fly your drone anywhere. Even though the DJI Mavic Mini doesn’t require registration with the FAA, you are still expected to follow the rules required of larger drones. Second, there are actually restricted zones where you can not fly this at all unless under special permission. For example, I actually live in a No Fly Zone near the airport, so I have to leave that area in order to fly. So keep that in mind.
Don’t let that deter you though because flying the DJI Mavic Mini is really fun. This is a small drone that is highly portable and highly maneuverable. Not only can you fly this outdoors, but it’s also possible to fly it indoors. This makes the Mavic Mini a great little drone to learn on, especially since it has many of the features more professional drones have, mainly being able to stabilize itself in windy conditions and built in GPS.
So why would you pick up the DJI Mavic Mini over the newer DJI Mini 2? Basically you’ll be saving yourself a good chunk of change seeing as the DJI Mini 2 starts at $449 which is $50 more than the original or the new Fly More Combo for $599. Not only that, you’ll probably be able to pick up the DJI Mavic Mini for even less now as I’m sure there will be some pretty good deals soon. Sure you’ll miss out on some of the upgrades, such as 4K video recording, OcuSync 2.0, a new controller, and a slightly longer battery life, but I think the cost savings will make up the difference.
Of course you may want those new features and the extra cost might be worth it to you. The DJI Mini 2 is still an amazing value, but you shouldn’t overlook the original just because the new version is out. It’s still one heck of a drone for beginners.
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