Thanks to everyone who pitched in for my Christmas present this year: a Mavic Mini! Some of you may remember that I built my own quadcopter back in 2015 and while it worked well, I didn’t use it a ton and ended up selling it.
Fast forward to 202 and a few things have changed. Technology has improved dramatically and now you can fly 4k cameras around with high quality image stabilization with GPS signals feeding a bunch of automated flight algorithms. Also, I’ve given up on “quadcopter”. Fine. “Drone”. Whatever.
DJI makes a lot of very high end drones and the Mavic Mini is one of their entry level models. It was getting enough good reviews that I jumped in and went for it without doing a ton of research into the competing brands. Also, since this drone is only 249 grams, it’s on gram under the point where lots of additional FAA laws apply so you can skip some things like registering the drone.
I bought the “Fly More” kit which comes with some extra batteries, a carrying case, extra propellers and a few other things. I highly recommend it because while the batteries give you ~25-30 minutes of flight time, it’s pretty easy to burn through one before I’m ready to be done flying.
I saw a bunch of review videos online before I got mine, but actually witnessing it in person was still surprising. The video while it’s flying is rock solid. It’s like a tripod in the sky whether you’re hovering at 2 feet or 400 feet. (The drone will go up to 1600 ft by the FAA limits you to 400.)
There’s a remote that communicates with the drone but then my phone plugs in to give me a live view from the camera and adjust settings. Flying it is pretty simple as there are a lot of computers on board helping to hold you in the same spot when you let off the sticks and the gimble on the camera does a great job of removing vibrations or even large changes in direction.
I’m exited about the small size of the drone. I can easily fit the drone, batteries and remote into my hiking backpack so as long as I’m not violating any laws, I look forward to taking this on hikes. I should also be able to travel with it pretty easily so I can take it to Indiana and fly around home, fulfilling some childhood dreams of seeing my house from the sky.
The video from the camera is 2.7k at 40Mbps so the image is beautiful. It’s not a full 4k but it’s better than any monitor I own can display.
I put together a quick video from my first time flying it down at the school by our house. Prepare for gratuitous use of the drone in upcoming videos.