It's a drone...It's a Fly Cam...It's the DJI Mavic Mini — a compact drone for US$399 that doesn't require an FAA registration
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DJI has officially taken wraps off its new drone, the Mavic Mini. The Mavic Mini brings the best of DJI tech into a very compact form factor that fits snugly in the palm of your hand and is no bigger than a typical smartphone. It is so small that DJI prefers calling it a "Fly Cam" and not a drone. And the best part is that you do not need an FAA registration to operate one for recreational purposes.
The Mavic Mini weighs 249 grams — just a gram less than the weight cutoff for FAA registration. Despite the small size, the Mavic Mini offers most features found in other DJI drones such as the DJI Spark. The front camera has a 1/2.3-inch sensor, which is mounted on a three-axis gimbal and can shoot videos at 2.7K at 30 fps and stills at 12 MP. The Mavic Mini also offers several creative shooting modes and can automatically return to the takeoff spot. DJI says you can get about 30 minutes of flying time on a fully charged battery, which is not bad.
While the Mavic Mini seems to be a very capable drone in its own right, it does cut a few corners. There is no 4K capture or a body full of obstacle-avoiding sensors. So, the pilot needs to be careful not to run sideways into objects such as walls or trees. There are ground-facing sensors for hovering and soft-landing, however.
The DJI Mavic Mini is available for pre-order now for US$399 and will ship on November 11. For this price, you get the drone, a remote controller, one battery, and an extra propeller set. You can also opt for the 'Fly More' combo pack for US$499 that will give some extras such as propeller guards, carrying case, a battery charging hub, three batteries, and three extra propeller sets.
First time drone pilots and hobbyists will find the Mavic Mini attractive considering the pricing, the portability, and the fact that there is no need for an FAA registration. The Mavic Mini even comes with safety features that prevent new pilots from flying at high altitudes. However, DJI insists that pilots follow local laws and regulations.