To Mini or Not to Mini
Drones are taking over the world. From package delivery to weapons targeting and engagement, they seem ubiquitous. Technological advancements finally made the tech available with a price point that many drone enthusiasts can afford. Today, if you want to own a drone you can do so with a few hundred dollars.
The choices from drone manufacturers are vast. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of data on different models. While there are many brand choices, one company reigns supreme and produces the majority of units for the average user: DJI.
Despite some ongoing concerns about security, most dronies choose DJI because of their reputation for solid, reliable technology, as well as being a leader in drone innovation. Think of DJI as the Toyota of drones makers; good quality for a fair price.
Who Needs a Drone?
The average Joe doesn't necessarily NEED a drone. They are simply fun to fly and make for cool social media uploads. However, the 12MP and 4k camera capability of the DJI Mini 2 can take a photographer's and videographer's work to the next level, as you can see in the video below.
Is the DJI Mini 2 a Good First Drone?
It depends on what you intend to use if for. For youngsters, the answer is likely no—for them, it becomes an expensive toy to break. For folks that have spatial awareness issues, also no. The Mini 2 is one of the few in the DJI lineup that does not have obstacle avoidance (the Mini 3 was upgraded with “Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing”), meaning you can easily fly it into a brick wall. If drones are a complete mystery to you, then again no. In any of the previous cases apply to you, buy a cheap toy drone that has decent performance and fly, fly, fly until you become proficient. Then you will be ready for a serious drone.
Still, the DJI Mini 2 is a very forgiving unit. It has a good controller to drone connection using what DJI calls Occusync. It also has several automatic return to home features. If you get lost flying it, or the battery becomes too low, it can automatically fly to the point of launch and land all by itself. It also has an excellent interface that lets you know your speed and altitude so you can easily know if you are in danger of running into something. And if you are having a hard time controlling it, simply release both joysticks and it will immediately stop and hover.
So, is it a good first drone? If you are patient and serious about using a drone, and want to take some amazing photos or video, then yes. If you intend to just buzz around the neighborhood terrorizing your neighbors, or are planning on racing it (drone racing is a thing), then no.
Why the DJI Mini 2 is a Good Choice
The biggest draw to the DJI Mini series is its weight. Any unmanned aerial vehicle (which a drone is) weighing 250 grams or more must be registered with the FAA. The Mini and Mini 2 weigh 249 grams. On top of the freedom from FAA red tape, it also has a good 12mp camera and can take 4K video. Images and video from the Mini 2 can easily compete with much more expensive drones.
When DJI says mini, they mean it. With its propeller arms folded in, the Mini 2 is about the size of a large cellphone. Its size makes it the best travel drone on the market. If you are looking for a drone to film your travel adventures, look no further, the Mini 2 is for you.
It has a good lineup of features. The drone has several automatic video modes that takes the guess work out of capturing a good dronie (a drone selfie), or a circling or spiraling shot. Battery life is decent. While 30 minutes of flight time does not seem that impressive, it stays in the air longer than most drones.
If you are a serious photographer, especially a real estate photographer, you are behind the curve and competition if you do not have a drone to capture aerial shots. At this point, you should be aware that if you plan to use your drone commercially, you need to have an FAA Part 107 license. It is a test you need to study for and pay to take. While not extremely difficult, it is like a lighter version of a private pilot's test.
Why the DJI Mini 2 is a Bad Choice
While one of the most affordable drones available, it still costs over $300. That is a lot of money for something that is going to live in your closet. If you don't plan on flying regularly, skip the Mini 2. It also does not have obstacle avoidance like many other drones. Sensors on many drones will stop the unit from running into anything.
It is also missing a few automatic modes. The most popular one missing is the “follow me” mode where the drone will follow you riding your bike, running or any other activity. And while not actually something bad, it does not have as large of a camera sensor as some more pricey models.
Mini Is Mighty
If you figured out from the above that you want a serious drone, the Mini 2 is a great choice. It gets rave reviews from users and really is the best value. The drone that you get for the money cannot be matched anywhere else. You will not be disappointed with the performance and quality of photos and videos the Mini 2 provides.
Tips on Purchasing the Mini 2
You will be presented with two options when buying the Mini 2: the regular drone or the Fly More package. The Fly More includes two extra batteries, a multi-charger and a case. If you end up enjoying drone flying, you will want the extra batteries and getting them in the fly more package is the best deal.
When you register your drone with DJI, you will have a day or two to purchase a replacement policy. It costs $50 and if you crash and destroy your drone within a year, send another $50 to DJI along with your damaged drone and they will send you a new one. If you are a first time flyer, it is highly recommended.
Buy a case to carry it around in if you didn't get the Fly More package. Keeping all of your drone accessories in one convenient case is well worth the price.
Don't hesitate to buy a DJI refurbished drone. It's as good as a new one with a lower price.
Get Off the Ground
Flying a drone will get you outside and provide some needed excitement in your life. Don't let the stigma of a drone being used to “spy” on people stop you. No one outside of the government is spying on anyone. You will be amazed at how your neighborhood looks from 400 feet up. With a drone, you can get a bird's eye view of anything. While you have it out, do a roof inspection.
Treat yourself to one of the most exciting and engaging hobbies today and get airborne.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.