DJI might be most famous for its drones, but so far this year its aerial innovations have been grounded in favour of land-based tech like the Osmo Action. That could soon be about to change, though, with rumours hotting up about a new entry-level model called the Mavic Mini.
DJI’s Mavics are traditionally its mid-range and prosumer drones, with models like the DJI Mavic Air (pictured above) and Mavic 2 Pro sitting in between the beginner-friendly Spark and the professional Phantoms.
The apparent leaks of the Mavic Mini suggest that this new model could replace the Mavic Air or, more likely, become DJI’s affordable starter drone, replacing the Spark, which flew into UK skies back in May 2017.
So how is the Mavic Mini shaping up and how could it fit into the UK’s changing drone laws landscape? Here’s everything we know so far.
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DJI Mavic Mini price and release date: when is it out and how much will it cost?
The DJI Mavic Mini leaks so far have come from the usually reliable source of DJI drone pilot and filmmaker OsitaLV, who suggested in a Twitter post that the Mavic Mini’s price could be $399, which will likely translate to £399 for the UK.
That would make it cheaper than the DJI Spark, which is currently out of stock and has an RRP of £449, suggesting that the Mavic Mini could be a successor to that model.
There are currently no rumoured release dates for the drone, though DJI does have an event planned for tomorrow August 13 2019 at 2pm GMT.
While it’s possible we could see a Mavic Mini announced then, the event teaser suggests it’s more likely to be for the announcement of the DJI Osmo Mobile 3.
And with DJI announcing recently that its aircraft-detecting AirSense tech will becoming standard on “all DJI drones weighing above 250 grams” from 1st January 2020, it might be that won’t see the Mavic Mini appear on shelves until next year. We’ll update this page as soon as we hear anything more official.
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DJI Mavic Mini design: what will it look like and would it need to be registered in the UK?
So far, the only leaked photos we have of the rumoured Mavic Mini have come from the usually reliable source of Twitter user @OsitaLV. They show a mocked up and possibly 3D-printed version of a small drone that apes the folding design of the Mavic 2 Pro.
While there are no photos of a final, working version of the Mavic Mini, these do give us a good idea of what it might look like.
One interesting part of the leak is that the drone will apparently weigh 350g, which would put it 100g over the weight limit for both the FAA (the USA’s civil aviation authority) and the UK’s CAA for mandatory drone registration and online safety tests, which come into effect from November 30th 2019.
Given DJI’s impressive ability to miniaturise gimbal-stabilised cameras, it would appear that getting a drone to both come in below that weight limit and have acceptable video-shooting powers might not yet be possible. The Osmo Pocket weighs 116g and that, of course, has no motors, propellers or the ability to fly safely.
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DJI Mavic Mini specs: will it be able to shoot 4K video and what sensors will it have?
According to DroneDJ, the Mavic Mini will apparently have a 4K camera. This could be the same module as the Osmo Pocket, given the rumoured specs are a 12-megapixel, 1/2.3 CMOS sensor that can shoot 4K video.
If it is indeed a similar camera to the module in the Osmo Pocket, this would mean it has an 80-degree field of view with an f/2.0 aperture and the ability to shoot 4K video at 60fps with a 100Mbps bit-rate, though it’s difficult to tell from the photos whether or not this is the case.
In terms of sensors, the Mavic Mini apparently has two obstacle sensors (on the front and underneath), though doesn’t have any on the back or the sides, which means you’ll need to be wary of trees and branches when flying.
According to OsitaLV, it’ll also have enhanced Wi-Fi, which would be an improvement over the Spark’s standard Wi-Fi connection. That restricted the Spark to a range of just 500m but enhanced Wi-Fi would, like on the Mavic Air, give the Mavic Mini a range of at least 2km, with real-time HD streaming to a phone that’s tethered to the controller.
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DJI Mavic Mini – Early verdict
While it’s early days for this leak and there’s still no official info available, a Mavic Mini would make a lot of sense as DJI’s next drone release.
The Spark is one of DJI’s oldest models and, like a flying Osmo Pocket, a Mavic Mini would take its beginner-friendly baton and fly it into the very useful fields of 4K video and greater flying range.
The main question mark is over the timing of its release – the recent spate of negative drone publicity (some of which has been slightly unfair) and the upcoming new UK drone laws, which will make it mandatory to register any drone that weighs over 250g, has so far meant no new DJI drones in 2019.
Another factor is AirSense, DJI’s aircraft-detecting tech, which it says will “become standard on all DJI drones weighing above 250 grams” from 1st January 2020. Would DJI release a new drone before then without AirSense? It seems unlikely, which means that even if a Mavic Mini is announced this year, you may not be able to buy one till after Christmas.
As ever, though, we’ll bring you all the official news and analysis as soon as we get it.