A hearty welcome to our review of the DJI Mini 2, a brilliant pocket-sized drone designed for the masses. Usually when someone asks me what type of drone they should buy I just say ’anything by DJI’. This isn’t because I have some kind of publicity deal with them – every drone we review goes back to the manufacturer. Rather, it’s simply because the Chinese company has been at the forefront of consumer drone design and manufacture for years and has absolutely nailed every element from flight mechanics and features to that most essential of drone requirements, reliability.
Where DJI’s very early Phantoms had a few alarming issues, like suddenly flying off into the distance never to be seen again, there have been no major reports of any in-flight calamities befalling any of its current crop – and that’s more than one can say for some of its current competitors. So, yes, if you’re looking for a high quality consumer drone that’s easy to get a handle on and filled with more safety tech than a space shuttle, then DJI is your go-to brand.
The titchy Mini 2 is a prime case in point In fact, it sits right near the top of our best drone ranking. This amazing little craft is the result of years of drone development and is in itself a staggering benchmark that few other manufacturers could even hope to follow. Read on for our full DJI Mini 2 review, or see how it compares to another excellent DJI model in our DJI Mini 2 vs DJI Mavic Air 2 comparison.
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DJI Mini 2 drone review: design and features
Presumably for marketing simplicity, DJI has dropped the Mavic moniker of this drone’s predecessor, the Mavic Mini, and opted for something that rolls a little easier off the tongue. On the surface, the Mini 2 looks identical to the Mavic Mini yet in some areas, especially beneath the fuselage, there’s a whole lot more going on.
From a portability point of view, this drone is in a league of its own. Firstly, its four prop arms fold in to create a package no larger in width and length than an iPhone 11. And even when in flight mode with arms extended and propellers fitted, it’s just 245mm in width, 289mm in length and 56mm in height. When folded, even with the collapsible props in situ, it will easily fit into an outdoor jacket pocket. It’s very, very small, in other words.
Crucially, it’s also very light and for reasons other than just portability. At just 249g, it’s one measly gram shy of the CAA’s regulation of 2019 which, at the time, regarded any drone below 250 grams as a toy and hence exempted from any form of regulation. The result of that (then impending) decision spurred DJI into creating this drone’s groundbreaking predecessor, the Mavic Mini. Fast forward a year and, guess what, the CAA decided in Dec 2020 to move the goalposts so that both mighty Minis 1 & 2 fell under its regulation umbrella.
This means that although you don’t need to pass an online exam to fly the Mini 2, you do now need to register it, stick an ID number on it, and pay £9 every year to the CAA for the privilege. While this is indeed an inconvenience, you should thank your lucky stars you don’t own a larger Mavic model because those drones now require even more hoop jumping in order to fly them.
DJI Mini 2 review: camera performance
The humble consumer drone has literally revolutionised both videography and photography and this drone is one of the very best for the purpose. The 3-axis gimbal works like a dream, keeping the image absolutely rock steady no matter what the drone is doing. The 1/2.3” CMOS camera attached to the gimbal shoots razor sharp 4K at up to 30 frames per second, 2.7K up to 30fps and 1080p up to 60fps. Another cool thing is that when shooting in 4K mode you can engage 4x zoom to help bring the subject a little closer. It also shoots beautifully detailed 12mp stills in both JPEG and RAW.
This drone also comes with a raft of autonomous quick-shot functions including Dronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket and Boomerang. It will also shoot 4K Hyperlapse and three types of panorama on its own with no input from the pilot.
DJI Mini 2 review: Flight performance
If you’ve never flown a drone before and think it’s like flying a model helicopter, think again. DJI drones, this one included, are incredibly easy to fly. The joysticks have a lovely soft spring feel to them and the flight parameters in normal mode are perfectly dialled to take into account the insensitive approach that most beginners display the first time they ever fly a remote controlled aircraft. The closest similarity I can think of is that it’s like driving a car – the joysticks have a long length of travel like a car’s accelerator pedal so that everything ramps up really smoothly and slowly. After all, a drone of this nature is designed for shooting video so the last thing you want is something that is blisteringly quick (for those kind of thrills you need something like the new DJI FPV).
That said, when coaxed the little Mini 2 is certainly no slouch in the speed department – in normal mode it will reach 22mph and in Sport mode a not too shabby 36mph. For such a titchy thing, the GPS-equipped Mini 2 is also surprisingly stable in a stiff breeze – it will lock onto a bunch of satellites and simply stay aloft in one place until the pilot fiddles with the controller sticks. It will also fly for up to 31 minutes at a time, which is remarkable for a drone of this size.
As with most decent drones, everything the camera sees is transmitted to your mobile phone which sits neatly in a cradle on the hand controller. With DJI’s groundbreaking OcuSync 2.0 technology onboard, this drone will continue to send real-time transmission images from up to six miles (10km) away. Although strictly illegal (by law, you are meant to always fly within line of sight), this distance is nevertheless extremely impressive.
As was the case with the earlier Mavic Mini, the Mini 2 doesn’t feature obstacle avoidance so you may need to be extra careful when flying in confined areas. That said, this reviewer doesn’t think the lack of obstacle avoidance is a deal breaker if common sense prevails.
DJI Mini 2 review: who can fly it?
As of 31 December 2020, all pilots of camera drones will need to purchase an Operator ID from the CAA. Thankfully there is no need to sit an exam with this drone though you will still need to register it online and pay £9 for a pilot ID.
Find out more about CAA drone regulations.
DJI Mini 2 review: verdict
The DJI Mini 2 is nothing short of sensational. It’s superbly built, extremely reliable and it’s hard to believe such ravishing aerial imagery could come out of something so small and portable. If you’re looking for a camera-equipped drone that you will always want to take with you, then the Mini 2 is unquestionably the model to go for.