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DJI Mavic Mini: compact, light, cheap

DJI, the consumer drone market leader, has announced the compact and fold-able Mavic Mini, a 249 gram drone which records 2.7K video at 30fps, will be available from November 11 with prices starting at $599.

As the name suggests, the Mavic Mini builds on the technology utilised in the folding Mavic series, but it’s smaller. In fact, it’s the smallest and lightest DJI drone on the market, and DJI says Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) will have softer regulation for Mavic Mini operators due to it just weighing less than 250 grams.

CASA plans to introduce drone registration and accreditation on all unmanned aircraft weighing 250 grams and more. The DJI engineers must have worked hard to shave off that last gram. The Chinese manufacturer also puts considerable efforts into safety features to please aviation authorities.

Mavic Mini safety features include geogencing, which helps drone pilots avoid restricted areas; AeroScope remote identification to help protect sensitive locations; built-in altitude limits; and auto return if the drone loses connection or reaches critically low battery.

The battery life lasts up to 30 minutes. Wi-Fi transmission signal delivers stable control and HD live feed to the operator, and GPS receives along with downward visual sensors detect the ground below for precise hovering and stable flying. Both indoors and out, DJI says.

As well as capturing 2.7K video, the Mavic Mini is also capable of 1080p at 60fps or 12-megapixel stills using the 1/ 2.3-inch sensor. A three-axis motorised gimbal supports and stabilises the camera to ensure smooth footage with minimum shake.

‘To design a drone as lightweight, compact yet capable as Mavic Mini was one of the most challenging projects we’ve ever tackled at DJI,’ said Roger Luo, DJI’s President. ‘Distilling top-of-the-line features into a palm-of-your-hand drone is the culmination of years of work, and we are ecstatic to bring a new class of drone to the DJI lineup. Mavic Mini’s long flight time, ultra-light weight and high-quality camera makes it DJI’s everyday drone – and most importantly, it’s easy to fly, no matter your experience level with drones.’

DJI has a new Fly mobile app, which it says simplifies the flying and content capturing process to open the skies up to ‘pilots of all skill levels’.

Beginner operators can choose to fly in Position (P) mode for basic operation, more experienced users can unlock more capabilities in Sport (S) mode, and content creators can choose CineSmooth (C) mode to lengthen braking time for smoother shots and more cinematic footage.

Pilots can also choose from several pre-programmed flight maneuvers known as QuickShots, which are as follow:
Rocket – Mavic Mini flies straight up into the air with the camera pointing downward focused on your subject. Set a height limit of 40, 60, 80, 100, or 120 feet;
Circle – Mavic Mini will circle around your subject at a constant altitude and distance;
Dronie – Mavic Mini flies backward and upward, with the camera focused on your subject. Set a height limit of 40, 60, 80, 100, or 120 feet;
Helix – Mavic Mini flies upward and away, spiraling around your subject. Set a height limit of 40, 60, 80, 100, or 120 feet.

DJI has a bunch of accessories to go with the Mavic Mini, such as a 360° Propeller Guard, a Charging Base, Propeller Holder, bags, adapters, and so on. These accessories come in a ‘Fly More’ package, which costs $799.

Lastly, DJI offers Care Refresh – insurance coverage which costs an additional $59.

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