DJI Mavic Mini Evaluation: Ingenious combination of functions, the most suitable drone for novices

On the evening of October 30th, DJI officially released the Mavic Mini, the “little brother” of the Mavic family, and Aifaner also released the hands-on experience as soon as possible.

In the next few days, we observed many players outside the drone circle paying attention to the Mavic Mini on Weibo and WeChat.


▲DJI Spark

This kind of enthusiasm also appeared in May 2017, when DJI released the first drone with “lightweight” and “selfie” as its main selling point-Spark.

However, after Spark has gained attention and finally reached the hands of consumers, it has also become a high-frequency product. There is no other reason, short battery life, weak image transmission performance, limited image quality, large size… Various limitations make Spark only a short-lived product for DJI to explore the sinking market, even if it has infrared TOF face recognition and handheld Selling points such as take-off and off-control flight.


▲DJI Spark

The existence of Spark proves that black technology is not the core product selling point that can impress consumers in the sinking market. What they really care about is the core product value of drones-shooting, and what is necessary to realize this value Functional stability-flight, image transmission.

So, after the Mavic Mini hands-on experience was released, Ai Faner also collected some questions from the attention of these readers. I hope that when the Mavic Mini is released, readers can further understand whether Mavic Mini is suitable for them.

Use Mavic Mini to record “Guangzhou Morning”:

Hardware design: micro innovation based on mature architecture

Spark’s smallness is mainly reflected in the small central part of the fuselage, but considering the non-foldable design of its arms, the size of Spark is actually very large.


In the Mavic Mini project, DJI has obviously learned a lot. It directly applies the ancestral folding structure of Mavic Pro to strike a balance between body size, wheelbase and portability.

After folding, the Mavic Mini, which is only the size of a mobile phone, has an excellent wheelbase of 213mm, which is 25% more than Spark’s 170mm. Whether the stability will be better, more tests are needed to prove it, but a larger wheelbase can theoretically provide better flight stability, which is beyond doubt.


However, the body of Mavic Pro is designed for Pro level players after all. To minimize weight and battery life dji drone, a lot of simplification work is still needed.

For example, the iconic front-view binocular vision sensor of the Mavic Pro series is not equipped with Mavic Mini, and the openings originally prepared for it have become pure decorations, even without the function of the heat sink.


The cover of the Micro-SD card is naturally skipped, and the circuit boards and wires distributed above and below the fuselage can be directly seen inside the battery compartment, thus eliminating unnecessary load for Mavic Mini.


Similar lightweight transformations, we can still find many on Mavic Mini, so I won’t repeat them here.

The reason why Mavic Mini looks like Mavic Pro series, Aifaner guessed that on the one hand, this fuselage structure has been verified by the market. It is a structure that integrates performance and portability, and it is re-developed on this basis. , You can achieve the goal of portability with high efficiency.

At the same time, because it looks the same as Mavic Pro as a whole, it can also create a “shrinked version of Mavic Pro” feeling for Mavic Mini.


So, how do you make Mavic Mini look more than just a “short version” of Mavic 2? The answer is accessories.

At present, DJI has released a total of 6 Mavic Mini accessories:

DJI officially refers to these accessories as “creating urban flight aesthetics”, but I do not recommend Mavic Mini users to fly too aggressively in densely populated urban buildings, but from a hardware perspective, “creating flight aesthetics” Thinking, DJI did it.


Although Mavic Mini is indeed very similar to Mavic 2 as a whole, these micro-innovative accessories still add a touch of differentiation to Mavic Mini.

So, if you want to buy a cheap entry-level drone, but don’t want to be entangled in the “cheap sense”, then Mavic Mini and its accessory system can satisfy you.

Flying is more than I expected

Whether novice players can quickly get started with a drone, the adjustment of the flying feel has a great impact. A friend who has a lot of drone flight experience told me that “flying feel” is a very complex concept (it can be said to be second only to audio), which can be understood as a collection of a series of detailed experiences such as attitude stability and response speed. Just like the car media’s evaluation of car handling, there is no uniform standard, which is a “flight metaphysics.”

In previous reports on hands-on experience, I once stated that it only took 30 minutes to operate Mavic Mini from entry to proficiency.


Looking back now, the simple reasons for Mavic Mini to get started can probably be summarized as follows.

First is the remote control.

Many novice players have always thought that a mobile phone is a drone controller that is easier to use than a remote control, but the opposite is true. Although mobile phones are convenient and lightweight, their control feedback is far less accurate and easy to perceive than physical joysticks.

Novices are often accustomed to watching airplanes fly, which makes it difficult to quickly understand the relationship between the amount of stroke and the flight dynamics of drones when learning to fly drones with mobile phones instead of remote controllers.

So, I suggest that novice drones should use the remote control to control the aircraft honestly, first intuitively understand how the drone flies, and then start to consider advanced gameplay such as direct phone control and gesture control. .


The second is the adjustment of aircraft sensitivity. Professional players generally call it “EXP”, or “sensitivity”, which determines the response sensitivity of the aircraft posture after the stick.

Similar to non-entry-level aerial drones such as Mavic 2, Inspire 2, DJI generally provides a custom adjustment function for aircraft sensitivity. The pilot can adjust the flight feel according to the flight mission and scene, and position it at The entry-level Mavic Mini does not allow players to customize it.

Theoretically, the lack of custom functions makes it more difficult for Mavic Mini to adapt to complex and ever-changing flight missions, but the abundant “custom” space is not a necessary capability for entry-level drones.


It is worthy of recognition that the adjustments of the three flight modes (sports, normal, and steady) of the Mavic Mini are excellent. The movement speed of the aircraft and the pitch speed of the gimbal change very linearly. Sports gear is difficult to accurately control, and it will not slow down everywhere in a stable gear.

Entry-level players can use these three levels of flight sensitivity to practice complicated flight routes such as pot brushing and spiral ascent to hone their flying skills. In this way, when players have the opportunity to upgrade to a higher level of aerial photography drones, its flying technology is also reliable enough.


The third is the actual flight performance, including stability and flight speed.

Many people have speculated that the wind resistance of Mavic Mini is not good. Since the Mavic Mini has a wheelbase of 231 mm and the algorithm base accumulated by DJI over the years, the flight stability of the Mavic Mini should pass the test.


The truth is also true. According to Peng Fei, the editor of Aifaner Automobile who flew by the sea in Sanya, the stability of the Mavic Mini in the sea breeze is not bad. Although I did not fly in a windy day, the stability of the Mavic Mini’s GPS positioning alone is sufficient for outdoor lawns at night with poor light.

As for indoors without wind, thanks to the positioning of optical flow and stable airflow, its flight stability is enough to play the role of a small rocker arm.


Of course, we should also pay attention to whether the floor has obvious texture during indoor flight, and install the blade protection cover, otherwise the optical flow positioning technology will not be able to give full play to its positioning function, and may even cause danger.

To tell the truth, a 249-gram small airplane cannot be very wind-resistant, so Aifaner recommends that everyone fly in stable weather and avoid unnecessary high-altitude flying and flying between buildings as much as possible.

Fourth, the most questioned configuration of Mavic Mini-WiFi image transmission.

Today’s WiFi image transmission is much stronger than the Wi-Fi image transmission of the Wizard 2 era under the strong training strength of the DJI R&D team, so I insist that WiFi image transmission is not good, just like saying that smart phones are not suitable for taking pictures. .

Moreover, the cost of WiFi image transmission is relatively low. If WiFi image transmission is not used, Mavic Mini will not sink to the ultra-low price of 2,699 yuan.


So, how about the WiFi image transmission of Mavic Mini?

Although it is the same “enhanced WiFi image transmission”, it seems to be slightly different from Mavic Air. It is a bit difficult to support it to fly high and far away in the urban environment with complex signals, and this is not recommended. Moreover, the speed of downloading image files when flying at high altitude is obviously much slower than when the ground is stationary, which shows that its performance is still reduced according to price positioning.


But among all the WiFi image transmissions I have experienced, the performance of Mavic Mini’s image transmission is relatively high. On the bank of the river south of Guangzhou University Town, I flew as far as 729 meters.

Before the freeze, the frame rate and delay of the image transmission screen will not hinder normal flight and shooting. It is worth noting that the Mavic Mini mobile phone is connected to the remote control through the Micro USB interface, instead of connecting the remote control through WiFi like Spark does, the connection stability is better.

According to these results, the speed and stability of the Mavic Mini’s image transmission are sufficient to meet the needs of daily travel photography in an open environment. In a complex signal environment, it is also sufficient as long as it does not fly far.


To sum up, Mavic Mini is a relatively easy-to-use aerial drone:

It abandons the function that seems to be suitable for novices on Spark, but actually reduces the control experience, and returns to the simplest and most intuitive remote control operation;

Strong flight performance and stability, combined with a small and lightweight body, reduces the psychological burden of the player when flying, and also allows the aircraft to adapt to more flight scenarios;

The stability of ordinary WiFi image transmission is more guaranteed than that of models of the same grade, which can ensure that the aircraft provides a stable image transmission image within a safe line of sight.

DJI did not simply streamline the functions on the Mavic 2 and Mavic Air and then transfer them to the Mavic Mini, but actually refer to the needs of novices and formulate the performance of the Mavic Mini under a reasonable cost limit. Configuration.


Note from the author: Mavic Mini weighs as low as 249 grams, which only means that it is not legally required to be registered in some countries or regions, and does not mean that it is exempt from no-fly zone restrictions. Novice flying friends should form a good habit of safe and legal flight as soon as possible, and jointly maintain a civilized and safe flight environment. Only by consciously complying with laws and regulations can the sky of flying friends be more free and open.

Shooting: Slightly exceeded expectations, slightly regrettable

Faced with the small 1/2.3 inch CMOS on the Mavic Mini, I believe that no one will have high expectations for its picture quality. In fact, it is true.

As for the lens, the Mavic Mini is equipped with a wide-angle pan-focus lens with an equivalent focal length of 24mm, which can achieve focus from the nearest 1 meter to infinity, so the focus function is naturally omitted.




From the actual picture performance, the sharpness and anti-glare ability of this small lens are not bad, coupled with the decent latitude and white balance of CMOS, and automatic light metering, there is no pressure in the environment with sufficient light. Take a picture of a passing circle of friends tour.

In the night scene shooting, thanks to the addition of a three-axis mechanical gimbal, Mavic Mini can even hold a shutter speed of up to 4 seconds, which is convenient for us to reduce the ISO as much as possible to avoid the impact of high ISO on image quality. The Mavic Mini’s night scene shooting level far exceeded my expectations.




But what I want Amway more than photos is video.

Mavic Mini’s video shooting parameters are not outstanding, only supporting up to 2.7K 30fps or 1080P 60fps, but compared to Spark’s poor 1080P 30fps, there is no three-axis gimbal. Mavic Mini’s video performance can be said to have undergone a qualitative change.

On the basis of 24mm 1080P 60fps shooting, the video quality of Mavic Mini is actually not much worse than Mavic 2 Zoom.


I also got an unconfirmed rumor that Mavic Mini’s video may be 4K oversampling, so the picture quality will be better than ordinary 1080P or 2.7K video.

If combined with the above-mentioned three-axis mechanical gimbal and comfortable control feel, Mavic Mini can really let novices quickly learn to shoot a high-quality aerial video. This is the unmatched achievement of Spark, which was once regarded as “beginners”.

So, where is “regret” reflected?

First, Mavic Mini does not support shooting in RAW format, which limits post-processing space.

Secondly, Mavic Mini does not support manual video exposure. Although the picture quality of its video shooting is good, the lack of manual exposure function will cause many video clips to be unable to guarantee stable exposure and affect the look and feel of the work.


I can understand that perhaps many users who buy Mavic Mini do not particularly rely on the RAW format and manual video exposure. Mavic Mini also needs some lack of features to clarify its entry-level product positioning, but the lack of these two features is undoubtedly also It limits the growth space for some novices, and at the same time discourages photography enthusiasts who are interested in buying a cheap drone to supplement the seats.


The photography ability of Mavic Mini is enough to shoot 60-point pass works. If you know some editing and color correction techniques, you can even take the video quality to a higher level. But its limitation is that if you want to shoot better and prepare for more post-production space, then Mavic Mini is beyond reach.

DJI Fly: A must-use trick for novices

DJI Fly is an app launched in conjunction with Mavic Mini. It retains the basic functions such as video editor, Sky City, personal center, and manual that other consumer apps have in DJI. Although it looks very streamlined, DJI GO There are several major functions on 4, in fact, DJI Fly also has a lot of them.


DJI Fly’s “simplification” is mainly reflected in the aircraft control interface. Except for the pop-up aircraft status notification and the map icon in the lower left corner, it basically adopts a monochrome color scheme to guide users to focus on the image transmission screen. .

In addition, menus such as image transmission, remote control, shooting mode switching, photo parameter setting, etc. only retain the setting items required by Mavic Mini players. It is not easy to have the problem of not knowing how to set up the aircraft, and it is very easy to get started.


There is not much that can be said about the software part. Ai Faner will simply end it with a little trick. Since Mavic Mini has only one LED indicator on the rear, the noise during flight is relatively small, and the aircraft status display on the DJI Fly image transmission interface is not very intuitive, so when flying, you want to quickly find the position of the aircraft in order to adjust the antenna orientation To get the best signal connection, you can click on the map icon in the lower left corner of the image transmission interface.

At this time, the GPS map will accurately display the aircraft, route records, and home points in two modes: zoomed in and full screen, all positions are clear at a glance.

Integrating micro-innovation and compromise, a pure entry-level aerial drone

The day after the Mavic Mini was released, two friends asked me whether Mavic Mini was worth buying.

One of them is a tour guide in Australia, and the other is an ordinary emperor office worker dji drone, preparing to go to the beach with his wife for a honeymoon. The user portraits of my two friends may well represent the target users of Mavic Mini:

The funds that can be spent on drones are not sufficient; there is a light travel demand; I want to try a different perspective; I have no experience in flying drones.


Frankly speaking, if you just don’t worry about your drone control technology, then Mavic Mini is not the most suitable choice. In order to reduce the price and form a difference with high-end products, Mavic Mini’s spatial perception and image transmission performance are not much stronger than those of the Phantom 3 series released in 2015. Only infrared fixed height, optical flow positioning and wifi image transmission are available.

Mavic Mini should be the only aerial drone in DJI in the past three or four years that does not use black technology as a selling point.

But if you integrate all the user characteristics and compare the performance of Mavic Mini, Mavic Mini seems to be very suitable for these two friends. The low price will not constitute an obstacle to persuade my wife and myself to try aerial photography;

Simple and intuitive remote control control makes it easier for novice users to develop an intuitive understanding of drone flight control logic; the lack of visual obstacle avoidance will urge players to take flight safety seriously;

Good picture quality and extremely portable body shape qualify it to become a member of the digital enthusiast edc; good flight stability and endurance have greatly enriched the application scenarios of Mavic Mini…….


Is there no innovation in Mavic Mini? Proper combination and collocation of mature technologies for user positioning can create a cheap aerial photography drone with long battery life, good picture quality, and extremely light weight. This can be regarded as an innovation in product planning.

Designing accessories with the value of beauty is the innovation of the product market image. Mavic Mini is not without innovation, but the innovative way is not like the traditional DJI Style.


As for the compromises, considering that the Mavic Mini’s Changfei suit is nearly 50% cheaper than the Mavic Air all-around suit, and the weight of the body with a battery is about the same as a mobile phone, it seems that the compromise is a natural one. Compared to Spark’s omission of the standard remote control and three-axis gimbal, Mavic Mini’s “compromise” is more reasonable.

So is the Mavic Mini worth buying? You can buy it for beginners. Its positioning was originally not a super machine to accompany the photographers on the snowy mountains and grasslands, but an enlightenment model responsible for burying the fire of aerial photography in the hearts of new players.

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