DJI Mavic Mini: Just fly!

The $399 Mavic Mini lives in a sweet location with key characteristics and a low price. It bundles anything needed to be a drone of quality. The camera is good, has good range and a good controller. It's strong in the wind and fast enough to be enjoyable. And it's so small that you can throw it into your bag and take it on Instagram adventures.

The small size is the main selling point of Mavic Mini. It weights 249 grams, and it's an unusual number. Drones weighing 250 grams or more must be registered to fly. Yet while the Mavic Mini is lightweight and foldable, its core features are packed with: a 30-minute flight time, 4 km HD video, a three-axis gimbal with a 2.7 K camera and a physical controller that operates on Android and iOS devices. At $399, it's a lot of money for a drone, although the features are missing from the other drones of DJI.

More expensive drones are packed with many features. Most of these drones I own. It's fun, but a few years ago, feature creep began to sneak into DJI products. Now, a coated product line requires a table to uncoat DJI's drones. Most are filled with countless features that owners probably never use. The Mavic Mini is different. It's fundamental, and I dig it.

The following are missing: collision detection, ultra-long range connection, 4K camera, gestural control and advanced tracking camera features like panoramic, time lapse and optical zoom.

The Mavic Mini is fast enough to have fun, but won no races. It's fast and sensitive enough. Light and easy. Light and easy. It feels smaller and less powerful compared with a Mavic 2, because it is, but it never feels small or powerless. The Mavic Mini is balanced and should be pleasant for owners to fly.

The Mavic Mini holds well in high wind despite its small size. On a windy fall day in the Midwest, I took it up to 200 m. The wind cleared the trees, and I was clustered with hats and gloves. It was good. The Mavic Mini didn't care about that. It took off much larger like a drone and stood against the wind. Furthermore, the video did not suffer. The gimbal kept the camera constant as the autumn landscape was recorded.

The drone uses the new DJI application and I use a beta version to test the drone. Called DJI Fly, it is a streamlined DJI Go version that offers several improvements. Safe fly areas are better integrated into the app and have additional details over the older application. DJI also provides better integrated support for its SkyPixel social community app. As this version is streamlined, however, there is a great deal of standard information on the Go version, particularly a mini-map in the bottom of the screen. I hope that after it is launched, DJI will add more features to this app.

The camera's good at the cost. The images here have been taken from the drone and have not been edited or changed. The days were rainy and sunny. The range is surprisingly good because the drone can capture dark and blue skies. Occasionally, the colors of the camera are washed out in direct sunlight.

You say you have the best camera with you. This is where Mavic Mini enters. The best drone is the one with you. I lugged a massive Pelican case with Phantom 2 and later a Phantom 3 for years. I think I've been the coolest. At one point, I could go to the trunk of my car and get a suitcase with a flying camera. A couple of minutes later, I had 15 minutes of flight time after my phone synced to the drone and the controller joined drone networks. Then came the foldable Mavic, which fit like a large telephoto lens alongside my camera gear. There came and went other drones. For a time, I liked GoPro Karma.

The small Mavic Mini is a game changer. It's small enough I'm going to bring it everywhere. It is small and light enough that it feels like a big point in my computer bag and shooting.

Would you like more features and a better camera but still have portable size? DJI announced earlier this year that Mavic Air has a $919 foldable camera and five-mile film.

The Mavic Mini's got it all right. It's small, comes with an attractive case and two more batteries with a smart charging pack, in a $499 bundle. The camera is surprisingly good but certainly less powerful than DJI's more costly drones. The Mavic Mini is the perfect drone for an experienced or first time drone fan. DJI puts enough characteristics in the 249 gram body to make it a fantastic drone.

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