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Covered in the Article
- DJI Mini 2 - Lightweight Drone
- DJI Mini 2 Features
- DJI Mini 2 Review: Our Experiences
- Cons of DJI Mini 2
- DJI Mini 2 - Drone for Travelling
- Buying DJI Mini 2
- Alternatives for DJI Mini 2
- DJI Mini 3 Pro
- Bottom Line
DJI Mini 2 - Lightweight Drone
DJI Mini 2 is a small drone weighing only 249 grams. This number is not a coincidence because in many countries the regulations allow flying drones less than 250 grams without training. The low weight provides also other benefits: The maximum flight time is longer and the drone is easy to carry while travelling.
DJI Mini 2 is the successor of DJI Mini. Both models look almost identical but there are a few important differences. The flight time of DJI Mini 2 is one minute longer while its camera can record real 4K videos. The most important difference is the new Ocusync signal transmission technology which significantly increases the drone´s range while the real-time video transmission works still well and the picture stays clear. The drone is no anymore dependent on unreliable WiFi technology.
Even though DJI Mini is slightly cheaper than DJI Mini 2, you should not buy the older model with worse features.
Drone, Remote Controller and Application
A remote controller comes always with DJI Mini 2 because of the Ocusync transmission technology. In addition, you need a mobile phone with DJI Fly App to control the drone's settings and to view the live camera. The controller is connected to the mobile phone thru a USB cable - not via an unreliable WiFi connection as in older drones. The cable is included in the drone package. A minor issue is that DJI Fly App can´t be found on Google's Play store rather it must be installed manually from DJI´s website.
Designed in China
DJI is a Chinese company that is the drone market leader. The company manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles for aerial photography and videography. The portfolio contains also camera gimbals, action cameras, camera stabilizers, flight platforms, propulsion systems and flight control systems. While DJI is not the cheapest drone manufacturer, the company's long experience guarantees quality. This time, the Chinese origin means quality.
DJI Mini 2 Features
The flight time of DJI Mini 2 is 31 minutes according to the DJI's specs. This requires a calm and warm environment with peaceful flying habits. The further you fly, the less flying time you have. Wind, cold temperatures or fast flying will reduce the available flight time.
The maximum distance between the drone and the remote controller can be even 10 kilometres but in Europe only 6 kilometres. This requires a line-of-sight connection to the drone. Buildings, trees and other heavy obstacles will decrease the range by many kilometres.
Like all good drones, also DJI Mini 2 has a reliable automatic Return-to-Home function. It can be triggered manually or it will be triggered automatically when the drone is running out of battery or has lost the remote control's signal.
The RTH function requires that the drone has a GPS connection before the take-off to record the home point. That is why RTH won´t work in closed environments / unanticipated flight environments. The home point can also be set manually.
We have lost the signal a few times. Usually, there is about a 10 to 15 seconds blackout period while you don´t get any information about the drone. When the signal returns, the drone is already on its way home. These seconds are exciting when you can´t be sure if your drone is safe.
Photography and Video Recording
The most important feature of any drone is the ability to shoot photos and video. DJI Mini 2 can record 4K photos and videos. The data is saved in an SD card that must support at least UHS Speed Class 3. Low-resolution versions are saved into the phone in real time and can easily be used on social media. You can also download the full-resolution files from the drone with DJI Fly App without taking the SD card out of the drone.
The camera has 12M pixels which is just the minimum to record 4K videos. With a few more pixels, the quality would be even better. Luckily, the drone has a 3-axis gimbal that keeps the video smooth. The gimbal reduces the vibration of the camera. Never buy any drone with only a 2-axis gimbal because the video will then be shaky.
Automatic camera settings work well but parameters can also be set manually. That is necessary for challenging lighting conditions.
The drone has a cinematic mode for smoother flying while filming. Movements will be slower and softer with this flying mode on. The other two modes are the normal flying mode and a fast sport mode with the max speed of 16 m/s.
DJI Mini 2 has five automatic flight modes that are called Quickshots. The modes are Dronie, Helix, Rocket, Circle and Boomerang. To use them, you need to fly the drone manually to the starting position, lock the target in the camera view and choose the Quickshot parameters like distance. After that, the Quickshot mode will control the drone automatically and record a video.
In the Helix Quickshot mode, you need to lock the object on the camera view and choose the distance. The drone will then automatically fly a helix and record a video. It is important to supervise the drone well because it cannot avoid collisions itself.
DJI Mini 2 is not able to fly pre-defined tracks or follow an object. These better features are available in DJI´s more expensive drones.
In addition to the remote controller, you need DJI Fly App to control the drone. DJI Fly App records the flight route and all command inputs you have given in a detailed way. It is easy to analyze your flying and incidents afterwards and learn from them. The data is synchronized also to DJI´s cloud if the user has accepted this setting.
We had a few minor incidents with our previous drone, DJI Spark. After the incidents, we always analyzed if they were caused by our own mistakes or if they were technical faults.
DJI Mini 2 Review: Our Experiences
We replaced our older DJI Spark with DJI Mini 2. Both drones have 12M cameras but the Mini 2 is much lighter, has a longer flight time and can record more stable videos. In this DJI Mini 2 review, we analyze the feature based on our experiences.
The flight time with a brand new battery has varied between 20 and 24 minutes. Of course, it is not wise to consume the full battery because it causes safety risks and it may also damage the battery itself. For example, once after 24 minutes of flying in light winds, we had 11 per cent battery left and the total flown distance was more than 1 kilometre. We have been happy with the flight time.
We have 4 batteries together. The charging time of a single battery is a little more than an hour. Even though we have DJI´s charging hub for 3 batteries, it charges the batteries one by one. The good thing is that you can use any high-power charger that has a USB-C connection.
Always store the batteries fully charged to increase their life span.
We have been flying in Europe so the promised signal range is 6 kilometres. Our maximum distance has been 2 kilometres. That has not caused any signal issues in an open environment. We do not need to fly further. However, when there have been buildings or trees between us and the drone, the signal quality has got weak after 1 kilometre. Automatic Return-to-Home has been triggered a few times. So it is important to have a line of sight to the drone to avoid unwanted RTHs.
Drone for Windy Conditions
The wind resistance of DJI Mini 2 is great. We flew our drone in the Alps at an altitude of 2.5 kilometres. The drone didn´t encounter any issues returning home even though there was a headwind. The RTH speed was also more than 10 m/s. The wind resistance of DJI Mini 2 is much better than with our previous DJI Spark. We still do not recommend flying in too windy weather to stay on the safe side.
DJI Mini 2 is easy to control and it can hover very precisely by using the vision system and the GPS. The video quality is also stable. The stability of the drone is just perfect.
The drone has no difficulties flying even at a high altitude. To record a smooth video, it is wise not to rotate the drone while recording. Other movements must be done by using the cinematic mode with small control movements.
The drone´s camera is only 12M which is the minimum to record 4K video. Thanks to the 3-axis gimbal, the video is stable. The video and the photo quality are good but of course, with some more pixels it would be even better. The quality is enough for web publishing and YouTube videos.
In bright light, it is difficult to record the blue colour of the sky. The sky looks almost white or when the sky looks blue, the other parts are too dark. Maybe this white balance issue could be solved by adjusting camera settings manually?
Crash of the Drone
Even though DJI Mini 2 is a reliable drone, we have crashed it once into trees. The technology worked perfectly so the crash of a human error.
It was a windy day, especially with strong gusts. Before the incident, we had made shorter test flights to see if the drone can survive the gusts. The test flights were eventless so we continued flying normally in the windy condition. The last flight was also eventless until the last return-to-home phase.
We were about 450 metres away from the home point when the drone had signal issues for a short moment. The connection became stable again and we continued flying. However, we noticed that the battery level was already below 20 per cent so it was time to return to the home immediately.
We initiated the RTH function but surprisingly, the drone was moving back really slowly - almost not at all. There must have been really strong headwind gusts. We decided to start flying the drone manually using the sport mode but still, we were able to fly only about 3 m/s against the wind.
While we were flying the drone manually and concentrating mainly on the map, we didn´t notice that the battery had gone below 10 per cent and the drone had started auto descend. Because we were following the map, we didn´t realise that the drone was time descending into trees. Out of the blue, we lost the signal when the drone crashed into the trees at about 20 metres high.
With the aid of the DJI Fly app, we were able to locate the drone about 260 metres away from us in a thick forest. The drone was exactly there where the app directed us. It hadn´t any visible damage. The drone has also been functioning well since the incident. The crash must have been quite soft because of the thick trees. We have even the drone´s video of the crash and the incident seems to have lasted a long time. The final impact on the ground has been quite soft.
We had made many mistakes that led to this incident. Gusts were too strong for the drone. We were flying too far from the home point with a low battery level. The return-to-home altitude was set too high and the wind was even stronger. And above all, we didn´t have visual contact with the drone during the return-to-home phase. we conclude that DJI Mini 2 is strong enough to survive soft crashes.
Cons of DJI Mini 2
Based on our hands-on experiences, DJI Mini 2 is a really good drone but still not perfect.
Slow Battery Charging
Battery charging is slow. You need about 5 hours to charge 4 batteries with DJI´s charger.
Only Few Automatic Flight Modes
DJI Mini 2 has only a few Quickshot modes. For example, it can´t follow a predefined track.
Toy Looking Remote Controller
We are not sure if this is a real issue but the remote controller looks like a toy. DJI could redesign it to look more professional.
Lack of Collision Sensors
Because the drone is so light, it lacks important collision sensors. There are no sensors in the front or back of the drone so it can easily collide with obstacles. You need to be careful when flying DJI Mini 2 in complicated environments. We recommend setting the Return-to-Home altitude to the maximum allowed when the wind isn't an issue.
The drone has a good GPS, a downward vision system for hovering and a barometric altimeter.
DJI Mini 2 - Drone for Travelling
DJI Mini 2 is perfect for travelling because of its small size. It fits DJI´s well-designed bag perfectly. The bag comes with DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo.
Easy to Carry in Airplane
Not all airlines allow you to carry drones. Consider this when booking flights. The simple rule is, don't fly with the airlines that prohibit you to take drones!
During a summer trip around the Mediterranean Sea, we had the plan to fly our drone. We had mistakenly booked a flight by Volotea which did not allow to carry drones neither inside the cabin nor in the hold. The only obvious option was to leave the drone at home. Usually, all airlines allow drones onboard, but Volotea was an unfortunate exception at that time.
If the airline allows carrying a drone, it must be taken inside the cabin. Batteries are not allowed to be attached to the drone but should be stored in fire-proof cases. It may also be enough to use tape to prevent batteries to get short-circuited.
It is forbidden to travel by aeroplane with batteries that have more than 100 Wh energy in a single battery. Usually, small drones' batteries have a much smaller capacity so this should not become a problem. Always check the capacity limit from the airline. The battery capacity of DJI Mini 2 is 44.4 Wh.
Battery capacities are often measured by mAh. You can convert the mAh unit to Wh with the following formula: mAh x Battery voltage / 1000. Airlines are usually using Watt-hour (Wh) as the unit of measurement for batteries in their written guidelines in contrast to what is indicated in the batteries.
Compatible with the EU Drone Law
In the EU, there is a European-wide drone law. DJI Mini 2 like all camera drones must be registered in your home country and the drone operator should obtain an operator ID. The operator ID is valid in the whole EU area.
In addition, all drone pilots must complete online training and the certificate from this training should be brought along while travelling with a drone. Normally, the maximum allowed flight altitude is 120 metres from the ground, but some countries may have extra rules. Check them carefully before flying a drone in any EU country.
Liability Insurance Recommended
When you are sure that flying a drone is legal, consider having liability insurance. In some countries, it is even mandatory to obtain such insurance. For example, this is the case in Germany and Austria.
In case of any incident, you may cause a lot of damage to third parties so insurance will protect you. Of course, if you are flying far from the cities and people, the risk of incidents will be significantly lower.
Check Coverdrone for the EU compliant liability insurance.
Buying DJI Mini 2
DJI Mini 2 drone is sold globally in many electronics shops and some countries, also in well-equipped supermarkets. It may become a little more affordable to order a drone from the internet especially if you live in a small city. We bought our drone from a local store, Gigantti, because they had a sale where all drones were discounted.
DJI Mini 2 Combo
It is possible to buy just the drone with a remote controller but you should buy DJI Mini 2 Combo. You will get 2 more batteries, a handy charging dock, a bag for the drone and some spare parts. Buying just a drone will make you regret it later when you have to buy the extra accessories separately and pay much more.
DJI Mini 2 Combo is just slightly more expensive than the drone itself. And the 2-way charging hub has a nice extra feature: it can be used as a backup battery for your phone.
DJI Mini 2 is a medium-priced drone and also extra batteries are affordable compared to professional drones.
Memory Cards and Backup Capacity
The drone comes without an SD card. We recommend buying at least a 128GB SD card to have enough capacity for long 4K videos. The card must follow UHS Class 3 specifications to work well. 128GB SD card costs about 25 euros. We recommend buying at least two of them since you don't want to run out of memory while on the road.
Never store your material long time on an SD card. They are quite unreliable and you should back up the material into a traditional hard disk, preferably two of them. Cloud backup is also a good option. It is a good idea to take a portable hard disk to backup videos already while travelling.
We rate DJI Mini 2 as a 4-star drone in its price class. Our DJI Mini 2 review showed that the drone is very reliable and it has high-quality features. Especially, the battery duration is long and the signal range is awesome. The missing collision avoidance sensors and professional automated flight modes are the biggest cons of this drone.
Alternatives for DJI Mini 2
There are not many good enough alternatives for DJI Mini in the same price class. The original DJI Mini is an option but because its features are worse, we do not recommend buying it.
We recommend checking Autel Nano+. This drone is slightly more expensive than DJI Mini 2 but it has a better camera and collision avoidance sensors. A better camera makes digital zooming possible. Autel Nano+ has also more automated flying modes. Otherwise, the drone's weight is the same as the Mini's weight and the other features are quite similar to DJI Mini 2.
DJI Mini 3 Pro
At the time of writing this, DJI Mini 3 was just published. This successor of DJI Mini 2 is called DJI Mini 3 or DJI Mini 3 Pro.
DJI Mini 3 has improved features to Mini 2. The drone has a better camera (48M), collision avoidance sensors in the front, rear and bottom, faster charging and more automated flight modes. The size and weight have remained about the same.
The new drone is also more expensive so buying the older DJI Mini 2 is still a good choice. Despite the lack of improved features, DJI Mini 2 is an excellent drone to begin with.
- Is DJI Mini 2 reliable?
- Yes, it is very reliable.
- Should I buy DJI Mini 2 or DJI Mini 2 Combo?
- You should buy the combo.
- Can I fly DJI Mini 2 in windy conditions?
- Yes, DJI Mini 2 can resist wind quite well.
- What is the charging time of a DJI Mini 2 battery?
- With DJI´s charger, it takes about 90 minutes to charge a single battery.
- Does DJI Mini 2 have collision avoidance sensors?
- Unfortunately, it does not have.
- What is the observed battery duration of DJI Mini 2?
- According to our experience, it is about 20 - 24 minutes with some reserve left.
- What is the observed range of the DJI Mini 2 drone?
- We expect it to be about 4 kilometres in Europe.
- What is the maximum flight altitude of a drone?
- In many countries, the maximum allowed altitude is 120 meters but less close to airports. But the drone can climb much higher.
- Is flying a drone difficult?
- With all the automated functions, flying a drone is simple. However, the automated functions may fail so you need to be able to control the drone manually too.
- Does flying a drone require a license?
- It varies between countries. Consumer drones can usually be flown without a license. In the EU, you must register yourself as a drone operator and must complete online training to legally operate one.
- Do I need liability insurance to fly a drone?
- In some countries, you must have insurance. We recommend you to have it always.
- Can I take the drone's batteries inside an aeroplane?
- The majority of airlines allow it. Check the rules of the airline. The maximum energy in the batteries is limited to 100 Wh.
- How much does a good drone cost?
- Prepare to spend at least 600 euros on a good consumer drone and its accessories.
- What is the best drone for a traveller?
- There is no single best option but DJI Mini 2 is a great choice.
DJI Mini 2 will take your holiday photography to the next level. We think DJI Mini 2 is a really good drone in its price class even though DJI has even better and more expensive professional products. Learn to fly the drone in your home country in good conditions before heading overseas to ensure you can fly a drone safely!
We do recommend buying at least 3 spare batteries to carry along with you for every single flying session to maximize your potential of getting the desired quality videos. Make sure that you buy the DJI Mini 2 combo instead of only the drone.
Before a journey, do background work well. Learn to pack the drone safely. Investigate the laws related to drone flying of your destinations and the airline's rules as well. Take insurance if required.
With good preparations, travelling with DJI Mini 2 will be rewarding. It is a reliable mini drone for travellers. Those instagrammable photos and videos you will take with a drone will surely make great holiday memories.