2023 has been another big year for DJI, releasing several drones, such as the Inspire 3, Mavic 3 Pro, Air 3, and the Mini 2 SE, with the Mini 3 being released just one month prior in December of 2022.
Following in the footsteps of the previous 5 DJI Mini drones (Mini, Mini SE, Mini 2, Mini 3, and Mini 3 Pro), the Mini 2 SE is a tiny, capable drone, weighing in at a mere 246g.
Is the Mini 2 SE worth it?
The Mini 2 SE is worth it for those new to drones, hobbyists looking to spend less on a sub-250g drone than the recent Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro, those looking to avoid having to register their drone in the United States, as well as those who are looking for an inexpensive drone for travel.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about DJI Mini 2 SE.
Who is the Mini 2 SE for?
Although the Mini 2 SE has a relatively low price tag amongst DJI’s lineup of drones, it is capable and fun to fly. As such, the Mini 2 SE can be comfortably used by many owners, not limited to the following.
Great Starter Drone
DJI Mini 2 SE
Lightweight and Foldable Mini Drone with 2.7K Video, 10km Video Transmission, 31-min Flight Time, Under 249 g, Return to Home, Automatic Pro Shoots, Drone with camera for Beginners.
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08/17/2023 10:36 pm GMT
When first starting out in flying drones (we’ve all been there), there are a few things that are important to look for in a drone:
- Ease of use
- Fun factor
Thankfully, the Mini 2 SE checks all of these boxes.
Because the Mini 2 SE is so small and has a bottom vision positioning system, coupled with GPS, it can hover in a stabilized fixed position, making it easier for new flyers to operate.
If they find themselves in a particularly difficult situation, they can easily let go of the sticks and regroup, while the Mini 2 SE remains stationary.
Likewise, with the Mini 2 SE being so small and lightweight, with decently powered motors, it is agile and handles well when not in too windy of conditions.
With the addition of propeller guards, the Mini 2 SE can confidently be flown indoors.
When on vacation or traveling the world, there are a few concerns travelers have regarding their photography equipment.
These are how lightweight the equipment is, how easy it is to carry the equipment when packed, and how expensive or inexpensive the equipment is to capture the perfect shot.
The Mini 2 SE, sporting a 1/2.3-inch 12 MP CMOS camera, is able to capture cellphone-quality images while also shooting in 2.7k up to 30fps. If slower-motion footage is needed, this can be done at 60fps in FHD.
While not the highest-end camera specs, the Mini 2 SE is quite capable of capturing memories in beautiful locales.
Considering the Mini 2 SE is also a sub-250g drone and can fit in the palm of a hand, it is ideal for flying in countries that might have regulations limiting the size and power of drones that can fly there.
Also, with it being so small, it can easily be stored in any type of photography gear bag, sling/shoulder bag, purse, or even cargo pant pocket.
For those wanting a sub-250g drone, the Mini 2 SE is a great option, even with DJI having 2 more technologically advanced drones over the Mini 2 SE.
With the Mini 2 SE weighing in at 246g, that means that in the United States, it does not need to be registered if only flying recreationally.
Additionally, as it need not be registered, its RID (Remote ID) information will not be stored with the FAA. This is a plus for those trying to limit their public drone exposure.
What makes the Mini 2 SE worth it?
For being such a small drone, there are quite a few features that make the Mini 2 SE a buying option and contender in this fully saturated drone space.
When looking at the Mini 2 SE as a purchase option, its price is one of the first things that appeals to buyers.
As it currently stands, if you are looking to buy the newest least expensive DJI drone, the Mini 2 SE is it.
The original Mini 2, a longtime favorite among sub-250g drone enthusiasts costs $449 new, whereas the newer Mini 3 costs $469, putting the Mini 2 SE close to at least USD 100 less than either drone.
What’s nice with the Mini 2 SE is that, like with most drone offerings by DJI, the Mini 2 SE can also be purchased in a Fly More combo.
The Fly More combo adds an additional $150 to the price tag but includes an additional two batteries, a carrying bag, a charging hub, a propeller holder, additional propellers, and a variety of cables.
Even with the added price of the Fly More combo, the Mini 2 SE is still the least expensive Mini drone out of the list of Mini drones that also have Fly More combos.
DJI Mini 2 SE (Fly More Combo)
Lightweight Drone with QHD Video, 10km Video Transmission, 3 Batteries for Total of 93 Mins Flight Time, Under 249 g, Automatic Pro Shots, Camera Drone for Beginners.
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08/18/2023 11:49 am GMT
Size & Weight
One of the biggest draws to the Mini line of DJI drones is that they fall under 250g. The Mini 2 SE is no exception, weighing in at 246g.
In some countries, there are drone regulations that stipulate the size and weight a drone must be for hobbyists to use recreationally.
In others, having a sub-250g drone means the drone doesn’t need to be registered, as is the case here in the United States.
Many in the United States don’t want to register their drones out of privacy concerns, not wanting to pay additional money for the drone (FAA registration fees), or for fear of having their drones tracked (see Privacy Concerns).
These are all valid reasons and the Mini 2 SEs weight ensures that the drone does not have to be registered in the United States if used only for recreational purposes.
The Mini 2 SE having such a small footprint enables it to get into tighter areas to better line up the perfect shot.
This is ideal for those wanting to get images and videos from a slightly different perspective than the norm.
Another great thing about the Mini 2 SE is that it ditches the stripped-down version of the original Mavic Airs remote controller that the Mavic Mini and Mini SE used and replaced it with the RC-N1 remote controller.
The RC-N1 is the same remote controller option the Mavic 3, Mavic Air 2, Air 2S, and Mini 2, 3, and Mini 3 Pro lines use.
Having this type of controller makes the Mini 2 SE feel less like a toy and more like part of a much larger family.
Because of this, if someone already owns one of those drones and is using the RC-N1, they can leave the Mini 2 SE’s RC at home and connect it to the same controller their other drones are using.
For those who have not flown a DJI drone with the tried and true RC-N1 controller, it is a solid, albeit rectangular controller that feels very comfortable, due to rubberized grips on the back that fit in the hand comfortably.
Unlike the previous Mini SE and Mavic Mini controller, the RC-N1 has no parts of the controller that need to be unfolded to hold onto a smartphone, in an awkward position at that.
Additionally, the RC-N1 does not have folding antennas that must be flipped up and facing the correct way to work properly.
Instead, there is a dual-purpose antenna and smartphone mount on the RC-N1 that slide up from the interior of the remote controller.
A few neat features of the RC-N1 controller are on the face of the remote.
The first of these is the flight mode switch. This switch enables you to put the Mini 2 SE in the slower, Cinematic or Cine mode (C), Normal flight mode (N), and even Sport mode (S).
Another feature the RC-N1 has, that can come in handy to new flyers from a safety standpoint, is the RTH (return to home) button.
After setting up the proper return-to-home parameters in the DJI Dly app, such as height, the Mini 2 SE will return to home at the press of a button on the face of the RC-N1.
Flight Software (DJI Fly)
One of the many benefits of flying the Mini 2 SE is DJI’s DJI Fly app. Using a relatively inexpensive drone doesn’t mean you have to suffer with stripped-down flight software.
Using the DJI Fly app means you get to experience the Mini 2 SE as it was meant to be.
The DJI Fly app allows you to easily change all of the Mini 2 SE’s camera settings from one easy-to-access on-screen location, without having to scroll through tabs and tabs of configurations and settings.
If you are familiar with the DJI Fly app, use it regularly for other drones, and happen to notice options missing when flying the Mini 2 SE this is because the Mini 2 SE does not have those capabilities available.
For instance, Active Track functions immediately come to mind. More on this later.
Intelligent Flight Modes
Although not equipped with vision sensors, the Mini 2 SE can perform a few automated flight modes, in the form of QuickShots:
In addition to these QuickShots, the Mini 2 SE can also perform picture-specific automated Panorama modes, such as:
- Wide Angle
Video Transmission System
Previously, the more inexpensive Mini series of drones (Mavic Mini and Mini SE) used an enhanced WiFi-based transmission system.
At best, you could get a 4k or 2.48 miles transmission distance. However, using a WiFi transmission signal will be plagued by intruding signal interference.
This interference can and will cause disconnects between the RC and drone, possibly resulting in lost drones if the RTH (return to home) settings were not implemented prior.
The Mini 2 SE uses the upgraded DJI OccuSync 2.0 system which provides a stronger signal and is prone to less interference for up to a distance of 6.2 miles (10km).
Arguably, no one is legally flying their drone out 6 miles here in the United States.
However, if flying the Mini 2 SE in congested areas, such as in urban areas, that 6-mile transmission signal will be stronger, ensuring a more consistent experience between the remote controller and drone.
Why choose something else?
We talked about a lot of positive things the Mini 2 SE has going for it such as the price, flight experience, remote controller, and flight software, however, there are quite a few things that are negative which might push potential buyers to look elsewhere.
The 1/2.3-inch CMOS camera does take very nice 12 Mp photos in either JPG or RAW. In all honesty, 12 Mp is equal to what many smartphone cameras, including the iPhone 13, can shoot.
However, there are DJI Mini drones that shoot up to 48 Mp photos, which look excellent.
The main issue of low camera specs is actually more apparent on the video end.
As it stands, 4k is the standard many are looking for when shooting video. 4k at 60 fps is more precisely what many drone owners look for.
The Mini 2 SE shoots video at a maximum of 2.7k 30 fps. This means no 4k slow-motion footage.
Likewise, the Mini 2 SE does not have a 10-bit color profile like the D-Cinelike found in the Mini 3 Pro.
This means that if you are wanting to have the flexibility to fully control the color output of the Mini 2 SE in post-production, that is not an option.
The advertised flight time of the Mini 2 SE is 31 minutes. When it comes to drone batteries, the maximum advertised flight time is normally a bit less than the actual flight times hobbyists will get with their drones.
With the Mini 2 SE, if you were to fly the battery down to 25% and land, as is normally recommended, you could get around 23 minutes of flight time.
Taking into account outside weather elements, like not flying in a vacuum like in the testing facilities, you are talking more realistically 20 minutes of flight time.
There are other DJI models of Mini drones that can get a maximum of 51 minutes (all while going over the 250g threshold) or 38 minutes with a battery that keeps that model of Mini under the 250g mark.
Additionally, there are non-DJI mini drones with the same battery life as the Mini 2 SE, which also include 2 additional batteries, at a lower price point.
If battery life is a major concern, then there are indeed other options available.
» MORE: Potensic Atom SE Drone Review
Right now it seems that obstacle avoidance is a big deal for many. So many advertisements and videos stress a drone’s having 2-way, tri, 4-way, or omnidirectional obstacle sensing.
Obstacle avoidance is indeed a good thing to have, as it makes flying a drone that much safer. This is especially a feature those new to flying drones may look for.
With the obstacle avoidance sensors in newer, more expensive DJI drones comes the APAS system, or Advanced Pilot Assitance System which, when the sensors are activated, will either cause the drone to brake or bypass an obstacle in the drone’s path.
In addition to the safety aspect, DJI drones with multiple obstacle-sensing options enable them to perform the highly sought-after and heavily publicized Focus Track modes:
- Active Track
- POI (Point of interest)
Obstacle avoidance is necessary to perform these modes, as they are autonomous flight paths that can either follow a moving subject or circle them while filming.
Without sensors, the drone could crash into a variety of stationary objects while flying.
Single Remote Controller Option
While the much loved RC-N1 remote controller is an excellent controller, one used on quite a few of DJI’s drones, it is the only controller the Mini 2 SE can be controlled by.
When you look at the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro, they are able to fully use, not only the RC-N1 but also the new, integrated screen, DJI RC.
The DJI RC is an excellent controller in that, in addition to having an integrated 5.5″ screen, that screen is 700 nits of continual brightness.
This means that, unlike cellphones, the screen never auto dims, regardless of how bright or hot it may be outdoors.
In addition to the DJI RC, the Mini 3 Pro can also use the higher priced professional grade remote controller, the DJI RC Pro, which has many more added features and acts as a complete Android smart device.
Lack of Quick Transfer
Quick Transfer allows you to wirelessly transfer the content from a DJI drone’s SD card to a smartphone or tablet at a high rate of speed, without having to power on the controller.
The technology used in the Quick Transfer system also enables LightCut (a DJI-recommended video editing app) to edit the video content in DJI drones and action cameras, without having to either connect them to a computer or remove the SD cards and connect those to a computer.
The Mini 2 SE currently does not have the Quick Transfer function nor is it supported in the LightCut video editing app.