DJI Mini 2

After a few days of testing, we are ready to provide our flying impressions of the Mini 2, the drone that can be piloted without a license and which marked another halfway point for technology enthusiasts and also for professional users.

It weighs less than 250 grams, indeed we would dare to say well below, as officially the ready-to-fly Mini 2 weighs 242 grams, so even less than its predecessor Mavic Mini. Indeed, in the version intended for the Japanese market, where the limit for a certain category of drones is 200 grams, the Mini 2 drone is sold with an even lighter battery, even if less performing.

Complete review with flight test of the DJI Mini 2
After having extracted it from the packaging made in the now typical DJI style, and familiarized with the different remote control, which however is the same and indeed perfectly interchangeable with that of the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone and with the drone, which is really very similar to the little brother. born a year ago, we have finally flown it.

First, as always, it is necessary to activate it through its DJI Fly control application, download the inevitable firmware updates for the drone itself and sometimes even for the batteries.

No fear in this sense, the app takes care of reporting what needs to be done and how.
Very simple operation that can also be carried out on the flight area as long as you have an active internet data connection on your smartphone. It can also be performed at home or in the office with the DJI Assistant 2 and the Mini 2 connected to the computer, but why bother with cables and cords?

Once these operations have been performed, the internet connection can also be deactivated, if the maps with the limited geo zones reported by DJI are not interested through the system defined by them as FlySafe and a constantly updated database that prevents the drone from going too close to some sensitive areas or airports.
A nice security for less informed users.
[For details on unboxing and first impressions see this article]

Fly everywhere and without worries? Not exactly!
(Small legal incipit dedicated to people with little confidence with drones)
Yes, because the Mini 2 is defined by the Asian manufacturer as the perfect drone for beginners.
Beginner who in theory, without having to register (at least until the end of the year) and without having a license, aka APR Pilot Certificate for Non-Critical Operations, can fly wherever they want.
Or at least this is what they believe, in reality it is better to inform yourself well and immediately on the limitations present in the flight area. Limitations highlighted by the application certainly, but which must be extracted from reading the cartography offered by the portal

Returning to the small and light Mini 2, once the technical procedures have been completed with the necessary precautions regarding the area of ​​operations, its flying skills can be immediately appreciated.

To get it off the ground two simple ways:

o the crossing of the remote control sticks with the procedure called CSC and described in the Mini 2 manual or on the application
or by tapping on the appropriate icon of the DJI Fly and then holding your finger down for a few seconds waiting for the drone to arm (start) the motors and position itself 1.2 meters above the ground.
All this after having possibly calibrated the compass by following the indications that appeared on the smartphone screen and having waited for the satellite fix. In short, an audible and visual warning will announce that the Home Point return point has been registered and that it is possible to take off.

Among other things, the DJI Mini 2 drone receives many more signals from satellites in orbit since it is now also enabled for the constellation of European satellites. In short, the Mini 2 receives signals from the GPS, Glonass and GALILEO systems. A nice extra security even in the famous urban canyons, or in the middle of the tall buildings where satellite reception is often compromised.

Hovering stationary flight, like a top class drone

Once in the air, the Mini 2 sits still and awaits commands. Among other things, the proven optical positioning system thanks to the sensors located on the belly of the drone allows the Mini 2 to stay in the air, that is, in hovering, even indoors and without receiving any signal from the constellations indicated above.

All this up to a few meters above the ground, but it is enough to get up about ten meters to realize how stable the images are, received in real time and with a very low latency (delay). The merit is the stabilization performed masterfully by the 3-axis mechanical gimbal, a stabilization system that made DJI different from all other competitors by placing it a span or two above all competitors.

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Among other things, it is possible to change the gimbal stabilization parameters with a lot of precision and for each flight mode: Cinesmooth, Norm

al and Sport, making it softer or more responsive during drone yaws or swoops. The function is found under the Commands menu and then again Gimbal and Advanced Stabilization Setting.

From this point of view, even if it might sound strange to write it, we didn’t expect anything different. From the point of view of image stabilization and in-flight behavior, the Mini 2 behaves just as we expected, that is as the “new heir of the DJI family” with all the typical chromosomes of the know-how of the Shenzen leader.

Flight Modes: Normal, Cinematic and Sporty
During the flight we appreciated, in addition to the Normal mode that we recommend to absolute beginners in order to become familiar with the remote piloted flying vehicle, also the Cinesmooth mode, where all the movements of the drone are slower and more fluid.

We do not recommend starting with this mode for newbies in the sector, because then, by moving the central selector of the Mini 2 controller to the other positions, they could be frightened by excessive reactivity, especially in Sport Mode.

In fact, in the sport mode, the most nervous and fast one, the DJI Mini 2 drone looks almost like a small racer. Quick and quick, but just as safe when braking, releasing the stick or better still giving the command in reverse.

Photos and videos, very good results considering the DJI Mini 2 as a beginner drone
Having already tried the Mavic Mini and other drones of the DJI family, we were not surprised by the goodness of the photos and videos recorded. Bad to say, but everything in the norm, which means a good level, let’s not say excellent so as not to overdo it. First of all, for photography enthusiasts there is now the possibility to take and record photos in jpg (with compression) and in DNG (raw format) on the external memory. Which means that the possibility of working the files with Lightroom or other photographic development programs allow a post production worthy of the name.

We leave here a zip file to download with a couple of photos in the two modes.
[Download the zip file with the photos of the Mini 2- weight 32Mb]

Great resolution 4K video for a small drone
On the video front, the presence of the 4K format here also expands the options for videomakers, without neglecting the digital zoom that in the 1080p format that is in FullHD allows a 2x magnification without loss of resolution.

The zoom function, however, can reach up to 4x, (four times larger) and is particularly convenient even during video recording, observing the smartphone screen, to zoom in and perhaps find some details that may be interesting for the eye of the photographer or videomaker.

It is activated by simultaneously pressing the Function button combined with the movement of the side wheel, or by clicking on the mobile phone screen with the 1x symbol etc., or with the movement of Pinch on the smartphone (two fingers that move away from each other on the screen)

Beginners, beware! Another regulatory note: you must never lose the drone from your sight and you must not fly by looking only at the images coming from the drone and shown on the mobile phone screen.

12 Mpx photos in Jpg or Jpg + Raw format
The 1 / 2.3-inch sensor, the same as the Mavic Mini and Mavic Air 2, apparently, returns photos up to 12 Mpx (reaching up to 48 Mpx but we believe it is the result of an interpolation), are very similar to those produced by the Mavic Mini. We would like to recommend, for particularly intriguing shots, to use the A and B function in which, as for standard cameras, the Mini 2 will take a series of shots (some under exposed, others overexposed) to be mixed together in the post phase. production. And with the raw format, it produces really nice results.

Underexposed A and B shot

shot A and B correct exposure

A and B shot overexposed

Also nice various ways of taking photos in Panoramic mode, in which the drone takes a certain number of photos (from 9 or even up to 24) and then the DJI Fly application processes and aggregates them, providing images of sure impact.

As for the videos, nothing to say except that to work the clips recorded at 4K, perhaps pushing us high with the framerate expressed in fps (frame per second), you need computer with bodywork, especially for the rendering of some scenes.

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We have noticed on occasion a slight block or unexpected and unwanted movement from the gimbal that has ruined some scenes. We do not know if it was a case or if it is a defect that can be solved perhaps with a firmware update.

Quickshots already tested and of sure effect for drone novices

Example of a 360 ° overview that if uploaded to Facebook or Google Maps allows it to be rotated in all directions

These are quick and preset shooting and photo functions, useful for pilots

the Mini 2 drone for the first few times, and provide excellent results considering that they are carried out in complete autonomy by the drone. You have to be very careful in the area where they are started as the Mini 2, having no type of sensor except the lower one, could hit walls, trees or other obstructions nearby.
The control application explains well how to activate them and what results to obtain.

Remote control same as that of Mavic Air 2 with OcuSync 2 transmission; the highlight of the Mini 2
The Ocyusync 2 transmission, the real wildcard that this newborn DJI Mini 2 has played is obviously very robust and stable, but here too we have caught a couple of unexpected blocks or lags at distances well within the legal limits. Only flight on sight remember?

By carefully analyzing this segment, you notice a couple of blocks or lag of the video received on the smartphone exactly at 0:05 and again at 0:09. Given the proximity of the drone, it is certainly not a radio signal problem and the cause could be attributable to the DJI Fly application.

The strange thing is that if you look carefully, the video streaming has interruptions, while the telemetry with the data relating to the speed of the drone expressed in meters per second continues to advance. So it’s probably not even an application problem, as you actually keep seeing the numbers change.

In theory it could have been a problem with the application, it happens every now and then and it also happened with old versions of the app for controlling the drone. Nothing unforgivable, for heaven’s sake, but given that you buy the Mini 2 also and above all to be sure of never losing the radio control signal, this smudge is really annoying. Bearable, but definitely improved.

DJI Fly flight application

We have already talked many times about the DJI Fly app used for the Mavic Mini and Mavic Air 2. For those coming from the world of drones and in particular who have already had experiences with DJI drones, a small step has been taken, leaving the pilot / user fewer opportunities to interact with the drone system.

Aesthetically renewed and lacking some features present in the old DJI GO4, the DJI Fly application is ultimately very convenient and usable for beginners and even experts will have to get used to it (of course). Unfortunately, since last November, when it made its first appearance together with the Mavic Mini, it has had mixed results, a succession of additional and replacement releases that corrected some even important bugs but in some cases created others. That’s why we always recommend paying close attention before updates, perhaps reading the various comments from those who have already installed them on the internet.

For the Mini 2 the minimum version of the DJI Fly application is 1.2. But when used for example with the Mavic Mini it introduces some defects that were not present before. We look forward to a quick resolution of these bugs by DJI’s IT engineering team.

Fortunately, the video and photo editing functions have been introduced and enhanced, which allow all beginners, but also advanced users, to edit the videos recorded by the Mini 2 directly in the field and immediately share them on social networks.

Photos and videos instantly on your smartphone thanks to QuickTransfer

Also nice is the new QuickTransfer function that allows you to receive files from the drone directly on your smartphone, without connecting the remote control.
To do this, make sure you have the Wifi and Bluetooth connections turned on on the phone, turn on the drone, wait for the diagnostic and then press the button for 2 seconds (which also acts as the rear led of the Mini 2) until it turns blue and the drone emits some warning sounds. At that point all that remains is to launch the DJI Fly application and follow the instructions on the screen.

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Wind resistance of the Mini 2
Another workhorse for the small foldable Mini 2 drone is its wind resistance, or rather, the improvement in its wind resistance compared to its predecessor Mavic Mini. In fact, with remotely piloted aircraft weighing less than 250 grams, we cannot expect great stability in the face of gusts or sustained wind.

All Mavic Mini owners know very well what the words “Strong Wind lower and land” means. Well, DJI engineers have worked wonders in this regard too. The Mini 2 drone now resists up to a wind of almost 38 km / h. Which are not many it is true, but almost 10 km / h more than the older brother.

Coupled propellers and better motors?
On social networks and on the internet in general we read many assumptions about how the Chinese technicians could have done to improve these performances: some say that

the engines have changed, those who claim that they have changed the propellers and those who are convinced that they have changed both.

Our personal opinion on the motors is that they could actually have been replaced, at least considering the number of windings of the stator turns, but without disassembling them and measuring their length and diameter it is difficult to state. The dimensions of the motor and the rotating case are similar (if not the same), only the attachment to the propellers changes, which now has a single metal bar, on whose ends the propellers are screwed.

Mavic Mini propellers and motors

Mini propellers and motors 2

Blades that are installed on a single wider central crosspiece that gives greater stability to the attachment of the blades, which incidentally have a perforated cylinder a few millimeters higher than the previous version of the Mavic Mini propellers.

The length of the screw is also different in fact. Some argue that weighing 1 gram more propellers are more robust. Trying to bend them slightly or to make a slight twist they seem to us the same as those of the Mavic Mini, but even here, without adequate tools, it is difficult to make a comparison.

DJI Mini 2 seen in profile

DJI Mavic Mini seen in profile

We are sure of one thing, that they are the same in profile, diameter and pitch (they are both 4.7x 2.6) which means that from the aerodynamic point of view they will behave in the same way with the same efficiency.
At best, if they are really more robust, they will have a higher yield and (perhaps) produce less vibrations.
The real increase in wind resistance in our opinion is due to the Lithium Polymer batteries compared to the previous Lithium Ion ones. At about the same power, given as the ratio between Volts per Ampere, they have a greater discharge capacity (C value) which means greater strength and reactivity transmitted through the ESCs to the motors of the Mini 2.

After the technicalities, a very brief consideration with our very personal advice for the possible purchase of a Mini 2
Should you buy the DJI Mini 2 drone?
– Yes, if you don’t have any drone and it’s your first purchase
– Yes, even if you already have a drone, but you don’t have one weighing less than 250 grams

You already have a Mavic Mini should you buy the Mini 2 anyway?
– Yes, if during use you have had problems with interference with video and radio signals
– Yes, if 2.7K is not enough for you or sometimes the photos in raw format and not just in jpg

Having clarified these simple points, in these days and also in the future you will find excellent bargains or real sales of the Mavic Mini on the market, so if you want to spend little, this whole movement could be for you. If you are decided by now we leave you some indications on where to slightly empty your wallet or credit card

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