The DJI Mini 2 Drone Takes Flight With 4K Video
Mini2 Feature.jpg

DJI updates the Mini 2 with 4K video and more.

The DJI Mini 2 is the upgrade the developers have been waiting for. The Mini was launched in October 2019. The consumer drone in particular weighed just 249 grams. This is important in that users can fly the drone without registering with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as it falls under the weight of the drone is considered a commercial drone (250 grams). It contained 12MP stills, 2.7K in 30/25 / 24p video, ground sensors for easy landing, and preprogrammed "QuickShots" for capturing film-quality footage.

Despite the stacked features for a drone this size, people wondered why there wasn't a 4K video option.

The Mini 2 changes all that and a lot more as it includes a 1 / 2.3-inch sensor, 4K video, Ocusync 2.0, and more robust motors for longer flight times, and still weighs less than 249 grams.

The Mini 2 has not been made available to a film school for review directly by DJI, but as with all of our reviews, the company does not see it prior to its release and has no control over how we rate products.

Let's dive in.

Compact size

For those familiar with the Mini, the Mini 2 has essentially the same form factor and grayish color as the Mini and Mavic Air 2. The arms and propellers also unfold / fold similarly, making the Mini 2 compact enough fits in the front pocket of a hoodie. The battery is located on the back of the device directly above the microSD card and the USB-C port. You can charge the drone directly via the USB-C port without the need for the optional two-way charging node.

However, we recommend purchasing the DJI Fly More Combo, which includes the charging node, three batteries, a remote control, and a carrying case. The hub can charge up to three lithium-ion batteries without having to replace them. When you plug in the hub, it charges one battery fully before moving on to the next. After the battery has been charged, four white LEDs remain lit.

We found that charging a weak battery with a white backlit LED takes less than two hours. The hub came in very handy, and even with the longer flight time, you can run out of batteries pretty quickly. The hub also has a USB output that can be used to power small devices.

In terms of charging time, we found a negligible difference between charging with the hub or charging directly with the Mini 2. If you don't have the 9V DJI power adapter, you can alternatively connect the USB-C to a laptop.However, if you want to charge or use the Apple iPhone 5V power adapter, please note that the 5V Apple cube supports the Extended charging time.

If you have the original mini, the batteries will fit the mini 2, but the mini 2 batteries will not fit the mini. That said, you shouldn't use the original mini batteries with the Mini 2. The Mini 2 needs a little more voltage to fly and the mini batteries are empty. Using the mini batteries may cause the Mini 2 to malfunction.

Distant, longer flight times

The Mini 2 uses the same remote control style as the Mavic Air 2. It has a gimbal control button to tilt on the left, a button to start recording on the right, an Fn button on the front and a quick button to switch between cameras – and to switch to freeze mode. The left stick moves up / down and turns the drone while the right stick moves the direction (left / right forward / backward).

While some have complained about the bulkiness of the remote, we actually like it, especially for those with larger hands. Hopefully, when DJI cuts it back in the next generation, it won't suffer from additional battery drain. We'd rather have a longer-lasting battery than a smaller remote control. Of course, having the best of both worlds is ideal, but …

To pair the Mini 2 with the remote control, you must first download the DJI Fly app and create a profile. After logging into the app, connect the smartphone to the USB cable on the remote control and place your phone in the spring-loaded holder. Depending on the type of phone, you may need to swap the USB cable on the remote control. The best thing to do is to unlock your phone's vertical screen as well.

DJI offers options for micro USB, USB-C and an Apple Lightning connector.

Before turning on the drone, be sure to remove the protective cover from the camera so that the gimbal can move freely during flight. The power switch is located under the Mini 2 and has two functions:

  • Quick Print: Shows how much battery is left
  • Press quickly, then press and hold a second time: Turns the drone on

It may take a few times to perfect the power-up sequence. However, as long as you can hear the Mini 2 chimes and the taillight is flashing, you're good to go. Once the drone is on, turn on the remote using the same quick / double press and hold method. Quickly press the remote control to show how much battery is left.

After everything is switched on, you can connect to the Mini 2 by pressing the Go Fly button in the app. If you don't need to fly a drone yet, you should check out the tutorial on the DJI app and do a pre-flight check before you take off.

We cannot emphasize enough to always be a responsible pilot when flying a drone. Even if you don't need to register the Mini 2, don't ignore local and state laws.

If you ignore them, you are impacting a much larger community, bigger than you. This includes hobbyists who flew unmanned craft long before DJI. So don't be an asshole. Follow the rules and be respectful.

When you start flying, the drone can operate in three different modes: Sport, Normal, and Cine.

  • Sports: Maximizes the speed of the drone and the sensitivity of the remote control sticks. The Mini 2 reacts even to a light touch. The mode is ideal for quick actions. It has an airspeed of about 13 m / s, an ascent speed of 4 m / s and a descent speed of 3 m / s.
  • Normal: Best for most situations. When you start out, work in this mode or even in cine to get the hang of it.
  • Cine: It is the slowest operating mode. Good when you want to create cinematic-looking footage. The speeds are slowed to approximately 4 m / s airspeed, m / s 1.5 ascent and m / s 1 descent.

While working in sport mode, we continuously flew the drone and recorded videos, and the low battery warning light came on at 20% about 24 minutes after the flight began. In normal mode we had about 30 minutes of flight time. Depending on the video mode (4K, 2.7K, 1080p) your running time can vary.

Conveniently, you will see approximately 25 minutes of flight time outside of sport mode. It can seem like a quick 25 minutes, and that's why we recommend buying multiple batteries.

While it is about the remote control, while the Fly More Combo comes with a power adapter and a single USB-C cable, it would be cool if DJI provided a second USB-C cable. In this way, you can not only charge the batteries, but also charge the remote control via the USB output on the charging hub or use another adapter.

Video & still images

Video

The Mini 2 is updated to 4K with what appears to be the same sensor as the Mini. To record 4K, 2.7K or select one of the QuickShot modes, you will need a microSD card.

  • 4K UHD, 2x lossy zoom
  • 2.7K, 3x lossy zoom
  • 1080p 4x zoom, 2x lossless zoom, 2x lossy zoom

QuickShots

Mini 2 has been adopted from other drones and has pre-programmed image capture modes.

  • Dronie:: Flies backwards and upwards, tracking your subject. Set an altitude restriction of 40, 60, 80, 100, or 120 feet
  • Helix:: Flies up and away, spiraling around your subject. Set an altitude restriction of 40, 60, 80, 100, or 120 feet
  • rocket:: Fly straight into the air with the camera pointing down at your subject. Set an altitude restriction of 40, 60, 80, 100, or 120 feet
  • circle:: Orbits your subject at a constant height and distance
  • boomerang:: Fly a boomerang-like oval trajectory around your subject and start and stop the video at the same point


Mini 2 JPEG, F2.8, 1/2500, ISO 100

Stills

The Mini 2 can capture both 12MP JPEG and JPEG + RAW (DNG) images and offers various capture modes, including three panorama modes.

  • Panoramas
    • Bullet: Takes 26 pictures and puts them together
    • 180 °: Takes 7 photos to sweep landscape pictures
    • Wide angle: Takes a wide 3×3 picture made up of 9 pictures

Other still image modes are:

  • AEB Triple Shot:: The automatic exposure bracketing (AEB) takes 3 pictures with different exposures and combines them into one vivid picture. This can be further edited to highlight an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image in post-processing.
  • Timed recordings:: Take a few seconds before taking the timed photo.

In addition to the unique recording modes, DJI offers the ability to download images and videos (including 4K) directly from the drone to your phone. By connecting the drone to your smartphone (via the remote cable) you can download the images in the DJI Fly app without needing the remote. This is particularly useful when the battery in your remote control is empty. From there, you can edit your footage before publishing.

OcuSync 2.0

OcuSync was first introduced with the Mavic Pro. It is a wireless transmission system that provides a low latency wireless video signal and control over a long range. It is essentially the communication system between the drone and the remote control. With OcuSync version 2.0, DJI has improved the original design and offers 1080p over all distances, as it can automatically switch between 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequency bands for a more robust system. The latency is still around 130 m / s, but with drones we take the range above the latency.

The Mini 2 now comes with OcuSync 2.0, a much more reliable system than the original Mini. This is the same reliability you can find with the Mavic Air 2. During our tests, we did not find any connection or range issues with the drone.

camp

The Mini 2 doesn't have internal storage like the Mavic Air 2. Instead, still images or 1080p videos can be stored directly on your phone. If you want to record 2.7K or 4K video, you will need to use a microSD card. DJI recommends a number of different cards, but as long as it's formatted in FAT32 for cards under 32GB or exFAT for cards over 32GB, you're generally fine. Look for cards with UHS-I Speed ​​Class 3 or higher.

Supported memory cards

  • 16 GIGABYTE: SanDisk Extreme, Lexar 633x
  • 32 GB: Samsung Pro Endurance, Samsung Evo Plus, SanDisk Industrial, Sandisk Extreme V30 A1, SanDisk Extreme V30 A2, SanDisk Extreme Pro V30 A1, SanDisk Extreme Pro V30 A2, Lexar 633x, Lexar 667x
  • 64 GB: Samsung Pro Endurance, Samsung Evo Plus, SanDisk Extreme V30 A1, SanDisk Extreme V30 A2, Lexar 633x, Lexar 667x, Lexar 1000x, Lexar High Endurance, Toshiba EXCERIA M303 V30 A1, Netac Pro V30 A1
  • 128 GB: Samsung Pro Plus, Samsung Evo Plus, SanDisk Extreme V30 A1, SanDisk Extreme V30 A2, SanDisk Extreme Plus V30 A1, SanDisk Extreme Plus V30 A2, Lexar 633x, Lexar 667x, Lexar 1000x, Lexar High Endurance, Toshiba EXCERIA M303 V30 A1, Netac Pro V30 A1
  • 256 GB: SanDisk Extreme V30 A1, SanDisk Extreme V30 A2

You can transfer the files directly from the Mini 2 to your computer using the USB-C cable. To do this, you may need to turn on the Mini 2 first, and then connect the device to your computer.

Mini fly 2

Flying the Mini 2 is a lot more fun than the Mavic Air 2. It is naturally smaller and more nimble, so it can also be used in narrow spaces. That is, it has no obstacle avoidance functions. Since this is a smaller consumer drone, you really need to know how to fly it as it doesn't have sensors to automatically stop or fly around an object like the Mavic Air 2.

The Mini 2 has GEO fences that alert you to nearby areas like airports and keep the drone away. There is also a "Return Home" feature that can be activated to return the drone to the pilot. In addition, the height lock in the Fly app adjusts how high the drone can be.

During the flight, the app shows the battery level, the available recording time on the microSD (either in capacity or remaining time) and the recording settings. As soon as the battery has dropped to approx. 20%, the remote control notifies you with a constant beep. If the battery runs low, the drone will automatically return home and land.

According to DJI, the Mini 2 has a level 5 wind resistance of up to 40 km / h. We weren't able to specifically test this feature, but while flying we found that the Mini 2 can be pushed around by the slightest wind while hovering and changes position at higher altitudes. When shooting a descent you should consider your speed as this will provide the greatest drag on the lighter drone.

Even as a smaller drone, the 3-axis gimbal was absolutely solid in terms of performance and even shots. Remember that there is some latency when taking pictures.

equipment

In addition to the Standard and Fly More packages, the DJI Mini 2 offers various accessories:

  • 360 ° propeller protection
  • DJI mini bag
  • Loading showcase
  • DIY Creative Kit: Personalize your Mini 2 with custom stickers or blank stickers to create your own piece of art
  • Snap adapter: An adapter that clicks into place on top of the Mini 2 and allows a small LED screen to be attached

For whom is that?

In addition to first-time drone buyers, those flying the Mini or Mavic Air 2 should consider the Mini 2. The image quality, shooting options, range, and safety features make it one of the best portable drones on the market.

Now we're not saying the picture quality is better than the Mavic Air 2. It doesn't, but if you find that the Air 2 sometimes doesn't fit in your kit, the Mini 2 can get what you need in a pinch .

If you are a YouTube creator, vlogger, or post content on social media, this drone will do enough. If you're looking for something more robust in terms of image quality, consider the Air 2 (or wait for the Mavic 3).

competition

DJI has had a stronghold in the under $ 500 drone market since Yuneec took a more commercial route. There are other options available:

Skydio is another drone company on our radar. They have the Skydio 2 and Skydio X2, but with prices above $ 1,000, they compare more to the Mavic Air 2 and Inspire.

Final thoughts

If you've been curious about a drone, the Mini 2 is a good place to start. It's small enough to go almost anywhere but has professional features and security measures to keep you the pilot safe. In terms of video image quality, it's good but not exceptional. And that's what is expected with a sensor of this size. It works well enough for smaller screen content like social media and YouTube, but isn't ideal for commercial work.

The biggest area that DJI can improve is the low-light performance for the Mini 3. We did some twilight testing and there is quite a bit of noise in the recording. It may look like the sun in the video above, but it's actually the moon. That said, it is best to use the Mini 2 when there is a lot of light. The golden hour gives you a decent color palette, but not a lot of dynamic in the sky. However, we tested the Mini 2 in the hazy Los Angeles skies.

Price and availability

The DJI Mini 2 can be purchased in two options. The standard package includes a remote control and battery for $ 449. The Fly More Combo comes with three batteries, the charging node, remote control, and case for $ 599.

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