I always thought that owning a drone was for a specific purpose - like a photographer or a videographer who uses drones for the purpose of work. I suppose at one point, that idea was true. When I first heard about drones I was looking at £5000 units that required a week of training to fly.
Oh, how the times have changed. Now, owning a drone is as common as owning a DLSR camera, and they have become extremely popular within the hiking community .
I love walking through the Munroes of Scotland and recently purchased a DJI Mini 2 from Amazon and I took it to the highlands to give it a shot and to see what I thought. So, this is my DJI Mini 2 Review.
Summary of Pros & Cons
- Easy to use & Easy to set up
- Great preset instructions for cinematic shots and videos
- Great quality 4k camera
- Decent distance/ range and auto recall if caught out of sight.
- The case isn't great if you need to pack concise and light (3d printed cases are available online
- Propellor openings are exposed meaning it will be useless if it rains.
- Fairly fragile
- The propellers are a bit fragile - I had to WD40 one which had become sticky.
The Mini 2
As a brief summary, I love the DJI mini 2 and I don't believe there is another drone out there that could suit my needs better. The image quality is fantastic, the drone is easy to use and fairly reliable.
The first thing that strikes me about the drone is how light it is - it weighs less than 249g and can easily fit in the palm of your hand once the arms are folded away. It is a sleek, compact light bit of kit that doesn't require too much set-up. It looks great, feels quality and does exactly what you need it to do.
Price of the Mini 2
The Best price we found for the Mini 2 was £419 on Amazon - this was the drone on its own and without essential items such as the protective carry bag and SD card. The full price for the additional items is between £550 and £600 with next day delivery on prime.
The price makes the Mini 2 one of the more affordable DJI drones. There is a range of drones between £500 up to £1500 with additional quality features.
Set up and Handling
Firstly, the set-up couldn't be easier. All you require is the DJI fly app to connect your device. From here, you are pretty much ready to go (so long as you pass the process to get a flying licence in the UK - which is fairly cheap, easy and matter of fact - don't fly over airports or be silly).
The app is very easy to use and most people will not need to go further than the main dashboard. If you're a techy person and want to get specific about the settings, there is plenty to explore and master.
The controller is easy to set up, has a nice feel and is sturdy enough to take a knock. You simply attach your phone to the controller to act as a screen, and you're away. You can put the drone on a flat surface (or hold it in your hand) and launch the drone up and it is away.
While the controls are strait forward, it may take a little bit of time to get used to the way the drone moves. It can be quite start-stop and it is hard to get a smooth shot that can be achieved with more agile drones. You're going to get a great panning shot, but anything that requires some finesse isn't going to be easy.
Image & Picture Quality
The camera on the DJI Mini 2 is a 12MP camera (capable of filming 4k/30fps) which has a three-axis gimbal. The quality of the images is fantastic, clear and high resolution. It is good enough quality that (potentially with some editing) the footage could be used on advertising, social media content or amateur photography.
The Camera also has a 4 x digital zoom function which is handy when you want to take a closer image of something without moving the drone closer. For instance, wildlife that will be scared by the noise can be photographed from a safe distance. The quality of the image does decrease but this is to be expected.
The only downside is that the images can look a little overexposed in bright weather, and the camera struggles in dimmer lights. The exposure can make a contrasting image (setting sun for instance) look extremely bright, or way too dark. This can be fixed with basic editing software but it is worth noting if you do wish to capture beautiful dramatic pictures in the evening.
This is an example of an image taken with the DJI Mini 2
Battery Life & Performance
When the DJI Mini 2 is compared to other handheld drones, I find that the battery life is about average. It is advertised as having a battery life of 31 minutes but I found the battery lasted between 20 and 25 most times. To be fair, I was using the full video function. If I am to recommend anything it is to opt for the extra battery option when purchasing the drone. It is always good to have spares which mean that you can exponentially increase the time you can fly the drone if you are on a long walk, or you're walking over a number of days.
The DJI brand itself is known for its stability in fairly rough conditions. The highlands are known for high winds and I found that, while the drone wobbled a little bit, it was stable enough to be able to take great quality video. The Mini 2 is said to resist level 5 winds and can take off at a max altitude of 4000 meters, which is very impressive. I'm not too sure who will be flying a drone in level 5 winds, but the option is there if it is needed.
Overall Thoughts on the DJI Mini 2 - 4.5 out of 5
Overall, I rate the DJI very highly. Of all the drones that you could buy, the Mini 2 is up there in terms of cost-effectiveness and quality. The drone does everything I need it to, and has all the features I need to take brilliant photos and interesting videos for content on social media -and for my own personal use.
I love it.