Review: DJI's Mavic Mini

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Review: DJIs Mavic Mini

The flying gizmo gives you smooth shots without roughing up your wallet

By Alvin R Cabral

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Published: Thu 12 Dec 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 13 Dec 2019, 1:00 AM

First-time wannabe drone users, as some sort of rule of thumb, should get one of these flying gizmos that aren't high on the price tag because, understandably, you don't want to see your investment abruptly crashing down because of lack of experience, right?
Drone maker DJI aims to solve this with its latest Mavic Mini. The company - welcome to our fold, by the way, finally - is headquartered in China and, many may not know, is a parent organisation of camera maker par excellence, Hasselblad.
DJI pegs the Mavic Mini as the world's lightest and smallest foldable drone, and is its smallest by far. It fits perfectly in your hand and weighs just 249g; during a preview event, DJI had digital weighing scales to prove that point - and it was consistent even with the one I use at home.
Right in front is a three-axis camera, which comes with a plastic protector out of the box - of course, you have to take it off before letting it loose. Right behind are a microSD slot and micro-USB-B port; while indeed exposed, these two slots are easy to access, especially the former.
Its controller, which resembles one of those from video game lore, is easy to use. It has two control sticks, and on top of those are the return-to-home and power buttons; on top are the video and photo buttons, while behind the former is the gimbal dial, which controls the drone's camera tilt. Below are grips that secure your smartphone in place, and you don't have to worry what mobile you're using because in the box comes all types of connecting cables - lightning, USB-B and USB-C.
By default, the left stick lets the drone ascend/descend and turn left/right, while the right stick moves it forward/backward and rotates in left/right. There are other modes, including a custom one, to suit your needs. Which brings us to the software behind this flying hardware, the DJI Fly app. Aside from customising those sticks, the app brings a lot of fun and important features.
The drone supports 12MP images and maxes out at 2.7K quad-HD videos, meaning this isn't for those who need 4K scenes. Despite that, its three-axis gimbal ensures smooth video flow, though there are times when it throbs when you change direction; it doesn't distort your scene per se, but it does disrupt the flow of stuff.
The app also comes equipped with DJI's QuickShots, which are pre-programmed flight manoeuvres that add zest to your shots - though not as much as what's found in DJI's larger, more premium machines. The Mavic Mini also lacks its other drones' obstacle avoidance system. DJI promises up to 30 minutes of flight time, and up to 4km of distance - both are pretty swell for a drone its size. Finally, you have two purchase options - The standard set that includes the Mavic Mini, the controller, one battery, extra propellers and all the wires, while Fly More Combo comes with those plus two more batteries, a propeller cage, three extra propeller sets, a charging hub that acts as a power bank and a carrying case.

DJI's Mavic Mini blends a balance of portability, ease of use and creativity, plus a good dose of stable shooting. It does lack some essential features as we've pointed above, but its well-roundedness more than makes up for that. It's an everyday machine for those who want to go higher (pun intended) when it comes to photo and video, whether you've been doing it for a while now or just starting out, beginner's luck for all you would-be drone enthusiasts?

Type: Foldable drone
Navigation: GPS + Glonass
Camera: 3-axis gimbal, 12MP still, up to 2.7K video @ 30fps, f/2.8
Max distance: 4km
Connectivity: Lightning, USB-B, USB-C
Transmission: Enhanced Wi-Fi
Battery: 2400mAh, up to 30m
Price: Dh1,369/1,759 (combo)
Pros: Great shots, easy to use, stable shooting, fairly priced
Cons: No internal storage, lacks obstacle sensing, no 4K
Author's Rating: 4.5/5

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