Being number two can mean a lot of different things. If you’re in a race, you lost. If you are a pencil, you totally won – nobody really uses a No. 1 pencil. do they? Coming second might feel like you’re a little less than the original but for a company like DJI, the successor to the OG is always an evolution, a refinement, and a revolution.
If you were a little underwhelmed by the release of the original Mavic Mini when it was announced in the fall of 2019, you might be shocked by how many updates have gone into the sequel. The original was just a hobbyist prosumer’s toy, but the Mavic Mini 2 is a full-fledged, entry-level professional tool that will find its way into a lot of video & film shooter’s kits.
Stefan Malloch sets both systems side-by-side to give us a glimpse of the improvements that the world’s greatest drone manufacturer had to offer in this budget-friendly drone. The Mavic Mini 2 might be number 2 but it really starts to make the original Mavic Mini look like sh*t.
Mavic Mini 1 Key Features
- Lightweight Design at Under 9 oz
- 12MP/2.7K Quad HD 3-Axis Gimbal Camera
- Up to 30 Minutes of Flight Time
- Stream HD Video from up to 2.5 Miles
- Price: $399 ($499 Fly More Combo)
Mavic Mini 2 Key Features
- 8.8 oz Lightweight & Foldable Design
- 3-Axis Gimbal with 4K30 Video
- Withstands 19 to 24 mph Winds
- Up to 6.2-Mile Range with OcuSync
- Price: $449 ($599 Fly More Combo)
Resolution & Video
Unlike the Mavic Mini 1, which had a maximum video resolution of 2.7K, the Mavic Mini 2 can shoot in 4K at up to 30fps with a much higher bitrate of 100mbps. From a professional standpoint in 2020, 4K capabilities are a must. It would have been nice to see 150-200mbps bitrates but the capture quality is still fantastic for a drone at this price point.
In addition to 4k, the Mini 2 has a 2x digital zoom in 4K and 4x digital zoom in 1080p, and like the Mini 1 it can take 12mp stills but it isn’t limited to just JPG; it can also capture RAW, and in-camera bracketing and panorama shots.
Size & Weight
Both the Mavic Mini and Mini 2 come in at the golden, sweet spot for size and weight. The Mini 1 weighs in at 249g, and the Mini 2 weighs slightly less at 238g. This is extremely important, and the absolute best aspect of these drones.
In most countries, drones weighing under 250g don’t need to be registered, and the operators aren’t required to have a license to fly them! There are still restrictions on where you can fly any drone, but not having to be licensed to fly your drone is huge. Like it or hate it, drone footage has become a staple of video, documentary, and film. Sometimes you just need that quick drone shot and for a lot of businesses this footage will suffice.
The slightly fewer Gs on the Mini 2 also give you room for reflective stickers and ND filters while still keeping you under the limit.
The original Mavic Mini 1 is a Wifi drone and has a range of 2.49 miles, but the new Mini 2 nearly triples that range thanks entirely to the inclusion of DJI’s fantastic OcuSync 2.0 technology, which (on paper) gives the drone a range of 6.2 miles.
With so much interference out there, it is highly unlikely you’ll be able to achieve THAT good of a range performance from either of these drones but OcuSync 2.0 has been delivering fantastic results and a rock solid connection. You will see a definite improvement here.
The largest physical difference between the OG and the new kid on the block is the completely redesigned controller, which uses OcuSync 2.0 technology, puts the cellphone on top, moves the antennas into the phone mount, has improved cable management, and feels better in the hand.
The Mini 1’s controller was always a bit awkward to hold and use, and it always seemed like something on it could break very easily. It is terrific to see they’ve given this a solid update – the new controller should be a joy to use.
DJI have replaced the more rigid, grey case from the Mini 1 with what seems to be a cheaper sling bag design. The original case certainly gave flyers a greater sense of confidence taking their Minis out and about, but the new sling bag offers greater water resistance, has more room for accessories, and doesn’t have to leave your shoulder while you operate.
Also, if you were worried about the safety of the drone inside of that pouch, DJI has created a new brace for the Mini 2 to keep the propellers and arms safe inside your bag.
Batteries and Battery Banks
The Mavic Mini 2 has a difference style of battery from the original Mini 1, and although the Mini 1 batteries can be used in the Mini 2, you CAN NOT use your Mini 2 batteries in your Mini 1.
The Mini 1 has a lithium ion 2400mah battery which provides 30 minutes of flight time, and the Mini 2 uses a lithium ion polymer 2250mah battery which provides an extra minute for 31 mins in the air.
With the Fly More Combo, DJI includes 3 batteries and a charging bank. The new bank has the same functionality as the previous but incorporates USB-C instead of Micro USB, and is made of a slightly cheaper plastic material than the original.
It is also worth mentioning that the new Mini 2 is 6-8db quieter than the original Mini 1. This may not seem like a whole lot, especially outdoors, but it is good to see they’re making advancements on the loudness of their drones. With every iteration of their drones that DJI releases, they seem to have cut the sound down by a little bit so we know their engineers are always working on this issue.
The DJI Mini 2 might be number 2, but it isn’t a number 2 – it’s pretty damn great. This would make a fantastic first drone for any videographer or filmmaker, and hobbyists will definitely enjoy the added ranged and camera performance.
This weight class is where I hope DJI is investing the absolute most of their resources for development. What has kept me away from owning a drone myself (other than fear of crashing/losing it) is the process of becoming licensed and risk of ever-changing regulations. I can definitely see myself adding the Mini 2 to my kit.
[source: Stefan Malloch]
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