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Cameras Dec 09, 2019

Is the DJI Mavic Mini Worth it? The Smallest DJI Drone Yet

DJI is one of the top brands when it comes to drones, with their Mavic 2 Pro (94% Metascore) being one of the top premium small-sized drones available. While most DJI drones, alongside offerings from competitors such as Holy Stone, target the professional or prosumer market, the smaller options have been rising in popularity amongst hobbyists and casual flyers.

The ‘problem’ with said small-sized drones is the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) registration requirement, whereby any drone that weighs above 250g (or 8.8 ounces) needs to be registered. The same rules also apply to certain EU countries and the UK.

Drone Laws

For the longest time, there weren’t many worthwhile options at the sub-250g mark, though that has changed with the release of the new DJI Mavic Mini, which comes in at a close 249g with batteries and an SD card included.

Considering the pedigree of other offerings at this weight class, DJI has a practical monopoly for up and coming drone enthusiasts looking for a first, hassle-light drone.

The question we’re here to answer is whether the DJI Mavic Mini is worth it at $399 for newcomers, and whether or not it’s a worthwhile portable option for pros who already have a tried and true daily driver.

As the incredible 97% Metascore shows, it might very well be another home run for DJI.

Weight and Size

When you unbox the DJI Mavic Mini, you’ll notice that the controller is larger than the drone itself. That’s not something you see every day.

Folded, the Mavic Mini is 140 x 82 x 57 mm (5.51 x 3.22 x 2.24 in). This feels pocketable, though I wouldn’t recommend shoving it into your bag on a whim on account of durability. Unfolded, the Mavic Mini maxes out at 245 x 290 x 55 mm (9.64 x 11.42 x 2.16 in), which makes its older brother, the Mavic 2, feel comparatively huge.

DJI Mavic Mini Size and weight

The drone markets its 249g proudly on the side, and it definitely feels light. This does translate to a bit of difficulty when flying against winds, but more on that later.

The lightweight also does mean some sacrifices in terms of durability. The Mavic Mini feels flimsy (though reviewers do note it withstands some collisions), notably less ‘premium’ than the other entries in the Mavic line. With that said, the price cut does somewhat justify the cheaper construction.

While you might feel inclined to take the Mavic Mini everywhere in case inspiration strikes, do note that the controller is compulsory, and you can’t just use your smartphone like with the DJI Spark. As a side note, the controller does function without a smartphone, but you lose out on video related controls.

Flying Experience

With regards to controls, the Mavic Mini uses the DJI Fly app. The Fly app feels basic, but its simple enough for beginners to not get overwhelmed, whilst still providing veterans a decent amount of control.

DJI Mavic Mini Fly App

The biggest compromise with the Mavic Mini is the lack of collision detection, which is a standard feature in flying drones. This takes some getting used to if you’ve come to rely on this crutch (however unwittingly), though it serves as a good training reminder for newcomers to keep line of sight.

Of course, you do get the usual necessities like auto take off and return to home, so not all is lost.

On that note, the DJI Mavic Mini uses a Wifi connection, which is good for around 400m of flight distance. This is also the range limit where the Mavic Mini remains visible to most human eyes, so be wary of going too far.

The lightweight nature of the Mavic Mini also proves to be an issue when faced with continuous gusts of wind. Some (but not all) reviews have noted that the Mavic Mini struggles versus strong air currents, particularly in vertical orientations. Beginners should be wary.

Despite the qualms, the Mavic Mini’s overall flight experience has nearly unanimous praise. While the lack of safety features might turn some off, the drone itself is stable, and the controller/app combo feels responsive enough when you’re not pushing the range limit.

The Mavic Mini’s 25-minute fly time is also generous, and is more than enough to get some good shots. For more demanding users, the Fly More purchase option includes 3 batteries in a charge pack, tripling your total use time.

The only other negative worth noting here is the use of Micro USB, which makes the charge time noticeably slower than the other Mavics which use USB-C. From zero to a full charge, you’re looking at around 2 hours plus of charge time.

Picture Quality

While the novelty of flying a drone is enough for some, their video capture capabilities are nothing to scoff at.

And professionals might certainly scoff at the Mavic Mini. While in video capture mode, there is no manual exposure and white balance, an instant strike against any serious filming effort.

However, DJI has designed the Mavic Mini quite ingeniously. The DJI Fly app allows you to lock the current exposure level, and even apply your own offsets to add a degree of personalization. The ‘smart’ nature is also seen with the automatic white-balance, with no reviews reporting jarring changes seen in cheaper sensors.

Let’s talk about the sensors. It’s a comparatively tiny sensor when put alongside the more prolific drones, and the recording bitrate is lower (40Mbps to the Mavic Pro’s 100), though colours and detail don’t seem to suffer too much.

Video and picture capture is done at 2k resolution, and HDR is absent as well. JPEGs are also the format for stills, as RAW is not included. Click here for some picture samples.

These seem like massive downgrades from the usual 4k resolution on other drones, but I wouldn’t write it off. For normal users, this isn’t a huge deal, and with post-processing, the Mavic Pro can compete with the heavy hitters. 2k is more than enough, and the countless demos available online show off DJI’s good eye for processing, even when faced with limitations.

For still pictures, the Fly app opens up manual tweaking of some settings, though there are notable omissions, such as tweakable white balance settings.

Sample picture taken by

There seems to be a trend with the Mavic Mini and the Fly app, some features feel left out, though it doesn’t make the Mavic Mini feel incomplete.

Some reviews note that this might just be features being locked out to motivate upgrading to a more expensive model, and it’s understandable. The Mavic Mini is way cheaper than its counterparts (it’s one third the price of a Mavic 2 Pro!), and what’s here is by no means unusable.

Is the DJI Mavic Mini Worth it?

If you’ve already got a good drone that handles your needs well, the Mavic Mini might feel like a toy. Though let’s be honest, its price and lightweight nature might mean that it becomes the drone you take along for fun or when sudden inspiration strikes.

If you’re a newcomer to the realm of flying drones, the Mavic Mini is a good first pick, arguably a no-brainer. Flight and video quality is much better than you’d expect from a sub-$500 drone. The lack of certain fail safes might even result in you building up some good habits early on, which is good for when you eventually upgrade.

All in all, the DJI Mavic Mini seems to target a very general audience of everyone, and it hits the mark. If you’re a drone enthusiast, new or otherwise, check out the DJI Mavic Mini.


96 Meta Score
100 Community Score

DJI Mavic Mini

View Reviews
  • Very small in size

  • Limited law restrictions

  • Not for professional or semi-professional use

  • No RAW photos

  • Only 2.7K resolution video

  • DJI Fly app has bugs




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