DJI hasn't let up on the new product announcements in the second half of 2020. At the end of August, it released thefollowed by two new camera stabilizers, the , and the in October. Now, it's adding a drone to the list, the DJI Mini 2.
If you follow DJI and drones, you probably already knew this was coming, because it was pretty widely leaked. But if you missed all that, here's what you need to know about DJI's smallest folding drone: This follow-up to(DJI is shortening its product names lately) still weighs just under 249 grams (8.8 ounces), which is ridiculously light and is part of the reason it can stay in the air for up to 31 minutes -- a minute longer than the original.
Flying for an extra minute isn't really a big reason to upgrade, though. The main new feature that most will care about is the updated camera, which now captures video in 4K at 30 frames per second at a bit rate of 100 megabits per second. It's a solid improvement in image quality from the 2.7K-resolution video at 40Mbps recorded by the Mavic Mini. Recording in 4K also gives access to a 2x digital zoom that actually looks decent. There's also a 4x digital zoom when recording in full HD, but the results are not good.
For photos, the Mini 2 captures 12-megapixel shots and you can grab JPEGs and Adobe DNG raw images now, too. The small 1/2.3-inch sensor won't give you much room for corrections, but it does give you some room, which is nice if you want to rescue shadow or highlight details. You also get a three-photo exposure bracketing mode and three panorama options.
Along with the updated camera, the Mini 2 has improved video transmission. Instead of relying on enhanced Wi-Fi that's prone to interference, DJI added its OcuSync 2.0 wireless technology, the same used in its. OcuSync extends your transmission range out to 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) and has anti-interference technology that blocks unwanted signals.
The Mini 2 also comes with the same style controller as the Air 2. (Another nice futureproofing upgrade: All the connectors are now USB-C -- on the drone, controller and battery charger.) The Mavic Mini's controller was smaller, but it also awkwardly held the camera below the controls, so you were always looking down as well as moving your hands down to change settings on your display. The newer controller puts your phone at the top and the mount is easier to use, even with a case on your device, and it's still compact. The holder drops down into the top and the sticks can be unscrewed and stashed in the bottom of the controller for travel.
The updated camera and extended video transmission range are the big new features. Well, those and that extra minute of flight time, made possible with improved motors -- which also help it fly in winds up to 24 miles per hour.
There is one other cool addition for those who like to shoot and share. You can now connect your phone directly to the drone and download straight to your device at a brisk 20 megabytes per second. That way, if you take advantage of one of the drone's automated QuickShot options for a dronie, you can land and share it on the spot.
The standard package for the DJI Mini 2 includes the drone, the controller and one battery for the retail price of $449 (£419, AU$749). There's also a Fly More Combo for $599 (£549, AU$949) that includes three batteries, a charging hub, a carrying case, the drone and controller. So, if you recently picked up the, you got a good deal.
One thing worth mentioning is that unlike DJI's higher-end drones, there are no sensors on here for obstacle avoidance. While the Mini 2's size, price and smooth performance make it good for those starting out, you won't have that extra safety net to keep you out of trouble. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, since it means you'll actually have to learn and get a feel for how it flies. It's overall an excellent experience for those getting started in aerial photos and video.