SAN SAN FRANCISCO
After trying for several weeks the DJI Mavic Mini, the last drone of the Chinese brand, and to dispel the first doubts and seen what is said on the internet, no, it is not a Spark 2, is quite far from the smallest drone to date of DJI, and its audience is not the same. But for price and size, it is impossible not to compare them.
The main feature of this drone is that it weighs 249 grams, which allows him to circumvent the new regulation on the flight of recreational drones that restricts them in urban areas, and in many countries such as the United States obliges the drone registration if it weighs more than 250 grams. We can fly it right out of the box even in urban areas with certain altitude limitations and respecting the restricted spaces near the airports.
This weight may be key to the purchase, but what is decisive is the flight time that can be approximated at 30 minutes in an ideal environment, which translates into some 20 or 25 minutes of real flight. A wonder compared to Spark and its scarce 10 minutes of flight. Which means that with a couple of batteries you have one hour of flight. Another problem that housed the DJI Spark were his batteries that they were losing load with the passage of time, ten days without use and these fell to 50%, very inconvenient on a trip, something that does not happen in this model.
Like the Mavic Air, the drone's arms can be folded, leaving a very small size, almost the size of a phone, even in a pocket. If we add the command to that, then the volume to be transported is a little higher. The application to control it is different from the rest of the drones of the firm, it has been simplified to the maximum, the controls are very intuitive and only with a couple of touches on the mobile can we make it fly. Regarding the command, it is very similar to that we have already seen in other models DJI with detachable controls.
The scope has disappointed us a bit, losing video signal just 400 meters away in the tests we have done from the beach. As a positive point, despite the lightness of the Mavic Mini it held the wind very well with stable video shots despite the alerts of the application. It might seem that such a small and light drone would not be a good option for outdoors, with wind gusts typical of the coast where we tested, but the Mavic Mini endured perfectly keeping the horizon in place for the video.
The 249 grams of this new model do not come without certain sacrifices, since the drone has lost all proximity sensors and with them the capacity for autonomous tracking and recording. A feature widely used by athletes when they want the drone to follow them while recording video, but without proximity sensors, the drone would crash with the first obstacle it encountered in tracking mode. A pity, because it would be a round product with it.
The image quality is more than enough with 2K video and 12 megapixels in the photographs. The only negative points are that it does not shoot in RAW format – perfect for editing – and that almost all preferences are automatic, as well as the focus. All this has the objective of simplifying its use to the maximum, the bad thing that, for example, when taking the image of the sunset we will not be able to manipulate the configuration of the camera at our whim, and the result will always be better than in automatic.
Mavic Mini is a great entry drone for anyone who wants to try what it is to fly a photo drone. DJI has done nothing but eliminate friction of this drone, without legal problems with the weight, a very tight price, good image quality and great autonomy, is probably the best option to travel.