DJI Mini 2 vs. DJI Mavic Mini – Is the Upgrade Worth It?

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DJI has just released the Mavic Air 2. See all of the specs here.

Just a few weeks ago, DJI released the Mini 2 amongst a flurry of other DJI product launches. Despite releasing in a fairly crowded market, the Mini 2 easily stands ironically because of how tiny it is.

This isn’t DJI’s first foray into creating tiny and lightweight yet high-performance drones. The original Mavic Mini is barely a year old and is a product that probably still has some legs on it. With the Mini 2, should Mavic Mini owners be considering going for an upgrade? Do the features of the Mini 2 justify its price difference from the original Mavic Mini?

Overview

Both the original Mavic Mini and Mini 2 have a major thing in common – they weigh exactly 249 grams. This is just below the 250-gram minimum for which the FAA requires drone registration for recreational users. This is basically the elevator pitch for this product line. The Mavic Mini and Mini 2 drones are perfect for those who simply want to be able to fly their drones out of the box without having to bother with FAA registration.

Very small and light drones aren’t exactly unique, though. There are dozens of cheap mini-drones and “toy” drones out there, almost all of which cost much less than either the Mavic Mini or Mini 2. However, DJI’s objective is to deliver high-performance drone technology despite the limitations on size and weight. Indeed, there is no other drone in this weight class that can equal the features of the Mavic Mini, more so the updated Mini 2.

Thus, there is really no other contender in the “lightweight but high-performance” market of drones except from the two models from DJI that we are considering here. The only question that remains is – should you spend more for the upgraded Mini 2 or stick with the older Mavic Mini?

Build quality and design

ParameterMavic MiniMini 2
Weight249 grams249 grams
Size (folded)140 x 82 x 57 mm138 x 81 x 58 mm
Size (open)160 x 202 x 55 mm159 x 203 x 56

Both the Mavic Mini and Mini 2 have been designed to fall just under the 250-gram limit, so they weigh exactly the same at 249 grams. In terms of size, they are also virtually the same with just a few millimeters difference. Both these drones are just about the size of a smartphone and easily fit in the palm of your hand.

As expected from the DJI brand, the build quality of both drones is impeccable and elegant. We already know from the old Mavic models that these drones can take a beating, despite their size. There are just a few subtle design changes in the Mini 2 such as new front-facing lights, a ‘4K’ logo on the camera, and labels on the frame that clearly identify it as the ‘Mini 2.’ Despite dropping the Mavic from the name, the Mini 2 is still a part of the Mavic family through and through.

Flight performance

ParameterMavic MiniMini 2
Horizontal speed13 m/s16 m/s
Wind resistance8 m/s (Level 4)10.5 m/s (Level 5)
Ascent speed4 m/s5 m/s
Max ceiling above sea level3000 m4000 m

Both the Mini 2 and the Mavic Mini have three flight modes: A Normal (N or P) mode, a Sport mode which lets the drone fly at its fastest, and a much slower Cinematic mode for smooth aerial filmmaking. Given that the size and weight of the two drones are virtually the same, these specs imply that the Mini 2 comes with more powerful motors.

This assumption is reinforced by the fact that the Mini 2 is rated for a higher maximum service ceiling above sea level of 4000 meters compared to the Mavic Mini’s 3000 meters. This is the theoretical maximum altitude at which the drone’s propellers can still provide lift given how air pressure decreases with altitude.

While it’s unlikely for you to ever need to fly either of the two drones at their maximum speeds, it does not hurt to know that the Mini 2 comes with the better propeller motors. The higher ceiling altitude might also come in useful if you’re the type to pack a drone on a hike to take nice photos.

An interesting feature of the Mini 2 is that it can detect if you’re flying against a strong wind and can lean up to 40 degrees to counteract the effects of this wind. While the Mavic Mini can also do this, it was a feature that was accessible only in Sport Mode. In the Mini 2, this feature helps the tiny drone exhibit good wind resistance in any mode.

Gimbal camera

ParameterMavic MiniMini 2
Gimbal2-axis3-axis
Camera sensor1/2.3“1/2.3“
Video4K @ 30 fps, 2.7K @ 30 fps,
1080p @ 60 fps
2.7K @ 30 fps / 1080p @ 60 fps
Stills4000 x 3000 pixels4000 x 3000 pixels
Bitrate100 Mbps40 Mbps
Zoom4x digital zoomNone
ISO Range100 – 3200 (1600 in Auto)100 – 3200 (3200 in Auto)
Image formatsJPEGJPEG, RAW
AEB mode?NoYes
Camera modesSingle shot, IntervalSingle shot, Interval, Panorama

The major highlight of the Mavic Mini back when it was launched was the fact that it came with an excellent camera mounted on a true mechanical gimbal. Back then, there was simply no other drone in its weight class that did not rely on electronic image stabilization. With its 2.7K camera and a 2-axis gimbal, the Mavic Mini easily stood out.

With the Mini 2, DJI has effectively upped the ante with the ability to capture 4K videos at 30 fps. Even the gimbal has been improved, as it now provides stabilization across all three axes. Even though the camera sensor of the Mini 2 is the same as that of the Mavic Mini, its improved bitrate makes the recording of high-resolution videos possible.

Both the Mavic Mini and the Mini 2 have standard ISO ranges of 100 to 3200, although the Mavic Mini can only access up to 1600 in Auto mode. The Mavic Mini had no ability to zoom in while taking videos whatsoever, while the Mini 2 can deliver up to 4x digital zoom.

The Mini 2 can save images in RAW format, a feature that was absent in the Mavic Mini. This makes the Mini 2 more compatible for photographers who prefer having the freedom to post-process their images. The mini 2 also has an Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) feature and the ability to take panoramic shots, both features that were not in the original Mavic Mini.

Just by looking at the specs, it’s clear that the camera of the Mini 2 represents an almost across-the-board improvement from that of the Mavic Mini. If you’re getting a drone primarily for aerial photography, then it’s much easier to justify splurging a little for the Mini 2.

Controller

ParameterMavic MiniMini 2
TransmissionWi-FiOcuSync 2.0
Transmission range4 km (FCC)10 km (FCC)
Live view quality720p @ 30fps720p @ 30fps
Max bitrate4 Mbps8 Mbps
Latency170 to 240 msAbout 200 ms
Battery2600 mAh5200 mAh

The Mavic Mini came with an appropriately compact remote controller which echoed the design principles of the old-fashioned controllers of the previous Mavic drones. The controller of the Mini 2 has been greatly redesigned to resemble that of the Mavic Air 2. Instead of a black color scheme, the Mini 2 controller features an elegant matte gray finish and a minimalist button layout.

The most notable departure of the redesigned controller is that its phone mount is now located at the top of the buttons, instead of below. This feels a little more intuitive and ergonomic, as you no longer end up blocking the screen with your hands.

The improvements in the Mini 2 controller are more than aesthetics. It now comes with DJI’s signature OcuSync 2.0 transmission which provides a more extensive range and higher bitrate than the Mavic Mini’s Wi-Fi connection.

Again, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to push the Mini 2 to its 10-kilometer boundary, but this an indication of the drone’s transmission being stronger and more stable. If you’re going to fly your drone around large obstacles or sources of electromagnetic noise, then every bit of signal strength will be useful.

Both controllers receive a live video stream at 720p resolution but the higher bitrate of the Mini 2 should mean that the video stream should be more stable. The Mini 2 controller also sports a battery that has twice the capacity of that of the Mavic Mini. This is a fairly minor improvement as you’ll likely have to go through several drone batteries before your controller battery runs out.

Battery life

ParameterMavic MiniMini 2
Capacity2400 mAh2250 mAh
Max flight time30 minutes31 minutes
Battery typeLi-ion 2SLi-Po 2S
Battery weight100 grams86.2 grams

The 1-minute improvement in flight time of the Mini 2 is minimal and really only significant if you tend to use your drone down to the wire. What makes this feat impressive is the fact that the Mini 2 comes with a smaller battery, which probably has also helped keep the weight of the drone down.

The drastic change comes about with the use of a Li-Po battery in the Mini 2, instead of the Li-ion in the Mavic Mini. Not only is the Li-Po battery lighter, but it is also more capable of generating a higher burst discharge. This is likely necessary for the more power-intensive functions of the Mini 2.

Intelligent modes

ParameterMavic MiniMini 2
Quick ShotsDronie, Circle, Helix, RocketDronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket,
Boomerang
PanoramaNoneSphere, 180°, Wide-angle
EditingNoneEnhanced Photo
DownloadNoneQuickTransfer, Trimmed
Download

Although the Mavic Mini came with a very basic set of intelligent features, it still managed to impress a lot of people back when it was launched. With the Mini 2, DJI has clearly outdone themselves and have greatly expanded its intelligent functions.

To start, the Mini 2 has an additional Boomerang feature to complement the same Drone, Circle, Helix, and Rocket modes found in the Mavic Mini. These are fairly standard intelligent camera modes that most drone pilots have used before and will certainly appreciate.

The new Panorama feature of the Mini 2 comes in three modes, all of which are usually found in larger and more expensive drones. The Enhanced Photo feature is simply a means to make quick edits on your photos using the DJI Fly app before quickly sharing them via social media.

This concept of ‘quick sharing’ seems to have been a major design consideration for the Mini 2, especially considering how the new QuickTransfer and Trimmed Download features work. With QuickTransfer, you can download images and videos from the Mini 2 to your smartphone at a much faster rate of 20 Mbps when they are close to each other. The Trimmed Download feature allows you to cut out segments of a long video so that you don’t spend excessive time downloading them to your device.

With these features, you can shoot aerial photos and videos, quickly download and edit them on your phone, share them on social media, and have people fawning over them even before you get home.

Price

ParameterMavic MiniMini 2
Price (unit only)$399$449
Price (with accessories)$499$599

The Mavic Mini isn’t that old yet, so its price has not gone down from $399 -the same price that it was launched at. For $100 more, you can get the Mavic Mini Fly More combo which comes with a carrying bag, a two-way charging hub, a set of propeller guards, and additional spare batteries and propellers.

The Mini 2 costs $50 more than the Mavic Mini for the basic package. The Mini 2 is also offered in a Fly More combo which costs $150 more for the bundle that includes a carrying bag, a two-way charging hub, a propeller holder that wraps around the drone while in storage, and spare batteries and controllers.

If you’re on a really tight budget, an advantage of going with the Mavic Mini is that you can probably find one that’s refurbished. They are still pretty rare right now (even DJI doesn’t offer one) but we expect refurbished Mavic Minis to be more common as more people upgrade to the Mini 2.

Which one should you get?

While deciding which drone is best for you is something that we cannot decide on, there is one thing that’s clear from this comparison – the Mini 2 is a better version of the Mavic Mini is just about every aspect. It has a better camera, more powerful motors, and a longer list of intelligent features. What’s even more impressive is that the Mini 2 can achieve this improvement while retaining the ultra-lightweight build which is a signature of the Mavic Mini lineup.

The biggest drawback of the Mini 2 is that it’s more expensive than its predecessor. This isn’t a huge surprise, and we feel that the $50 price difference is more than justified considering the improvements made on the Mini 2. The Mini 2 Fly More Combo is significantly pricier, though, so your measures may vary – it’s nice to have the additional accessories, but it’s not necessary.

The transition from Li-ion to LiPo batteries is something to take note of if you’re buying a Mini 2. LiPo batteries are generally more fragile and should be stored and transported in LiPo-safe bags. This is an additional expense you might need to prepare for.

If you’re really on a budget, then the Mavic Mini is a perfectly good option for a beginner or gateway drone. This ultra-lightweight drone received highly favored reviewed back when it was launched mostly because it surpassed all expectations of what is possible with a drone at its size and weight.

However, we still recommend the Mini 2 is you can afford to spend for the price difference. It’s a better version of the Mavic Mini in just about every way, making the original Mavic Mini pale in comparison. We expect the Mini 2 to become one of the more popular gift items for the coming holiday season, so you might want to come to a decision soon.