DJI’s been on a bit of a tear of late, with a slew of new products in its handheld line. Today it’s back to what we know the company for best: drones. The latest offering is the Mavic Mini 2, which, as the name suggests, is the sequel to DJI’s smallest aircraft. Predictably, the Mavic Mini 2 adds some key features to the diminutive drone, but don’t expect anything too fancy. This is, after all, DJI’s most entry-level model and, by design, likely too small to support some of the more sophisticated hardware that gives its larger craft their more powerful abilities.
What’s new in the Mavic Mini 2? Well, perhaps predictably, the camera can now shoot 4K video at 30fps (100Mbps). The original Mini topped out at 2.7K and cynics might argue it was almost an intentional restriction to leave something open for the inevitable “2” (given that both appear to have the same 1/2.3-inch, 12-megapixel sensor). You’ll also now be able to enjoy a 4X zoom (2X of which is lossless), a feature we’ve seen creeping into the broader Mavic line, including the recent Mavic Air 2. Photographers will also appreciate the option to shoot in RAW now, something the original didn’t offer.
Perhaps less of a sexy upgrade, but also a very worthy one is the move away from “enhanced WiFi” to DJI’s own OcuSync 2.0 transmission/video stream system. This means the maximum distance or range (in optimal conditions) more than doubles from the original’s 4 km to 10 km this time around. Typically this also means you can expect the video feed to remain stable at much greater distances, too. But the usual caveats apply -- if you can’t see the drone there’s a good chance you’re flying too far out (depending on where you are). And given how small this thing is, at these distances, that’s very likely.
The last thing on the spec sheet that seems marginally different is the expected flight time. The original Mavic Mini already claimed 30 minutes of air time, and according to DJI you’ll be able to eke out a whole minute more this time around. It’s not much, but we’ll take it.
Most everything else appears to be the same as before. Which includes that all-important 249g weight (just ducking under the FAA’s requirement for registering your drone). It also means the Mavic Mini 2 remains one of the most portable 4K video drones in its category.
The design and look also remain largely untouched. The original Mini was one of the more visually subdued drones in DJI’s range, with a simple gray color scheme and nothing much in the way of visual flares. So it’s still a little dull to look at, but that doesn’t matter so much -- although it might have been nice to have some of the design details found on the Air line to give it a visual distinction to the drone it replaces.
On the software side, there are a few new perks, though the QuickShot selection appears to be the same (Helix, Circle, Rocket, Dronie return along with Boomerang) but a couple of new usability perks come along for the ride. Notably, QuickTransfer, Enhanced Photo and Trimmed Download -- which the names pretty much explain themselves.
In short, if you were drawn to the Mavic Mini for its size or price, but turned off by the lack of 4K or the less reliable WiFi transmission, then the Mavic Mini 2 will be an easy choice. That is, if you don’t mind swallowing the extra $50 it costs this time around ($449 compared to the original’s $399).