Is the dji mini se worth it

The DJI Mini SE is basically based on the DJI Mavic Mini. Therefore, many features that were introduced with the DJI Mini 2 do not exist. Therefore, if you want to invest a little more, you should definitely take a closer look at the better DJI Mini 2 and other DJI models

  • Handling - 98%
  • Flight time / range - 97%
  • Flight stability - 98%
  • Portability - 100%
  • Quality of recordings - 93
  • Price / Performance - 98%

For a price of less than 300,- Euro you get with the DJI Mini SE a DJI drone with GPS, gimbal and many safety features - how crazy is that?! Even though the DJI Mini SE lacks many of the innovations of the DJI Mini 2, it is a great drone for beginners and vacationers due to the affordable price.

Overall Verdict 97%

With the DJI Mini SE, DJI has already announced a special edition of the Mavic Mini drone for various markets in 2021. Now DJI is also introducing the new DJI Mini SE in Germany, offering a particularly affordable entry-level drone. Basically, the DJI Mini SE - SE stands for Special Edition - is the former DJI Mavic Mini in the housing of the newer DJI Mini 2.

But that also means 4K recording, RAW images or OcuSync 2.0 signal transmission are not on board - instead, the DJI Mini SE only offers 2.7K, JPEG photos and extended WiFi with a range of around two kilometers. Where exactly does the new DJI Mini SE position itself and what are the advantages and disadvantages of the compromise model? Who should buy the affordable drone and what weaknesses do you still have to reckon with in comparison to the DJI Mini 2? In the article, we clarify the most important questions.

In the fall of 2019 and 2020 respectively, DJI first introduced the DJI Mavic Mini and then the DJI Mini 2. Now, in spring 2022, DJI is introducing a third follow-up model within the smallest DJI Mavic drone series, the DJI Mini SE. The photo drone comes with old technology and a new body, which classifies the DJI Mini SE as a slimmed-down version of the DJI Mini 2 and a better version of the DJI Mavic Mini. The DJI Mini SE does not have the features that the improved generation had. Instead, you get a drone that is surprisingly affordable with a price of 299 euros and is ideal for beginners thanks to its low weight of only 249 grams. Furthermore, you can look forward to a flight time of just under half an hour, 2.7K videos, photos with 12 megapixel resolution or precise GPS. For less than 300 euros, the new DJI Mini SE is a camera drone that, in addition to reliable technology and a high-performance camera, also has some of the typical DJI safety features.

Also good as a vacation drone or additional drone

However, due to the affordable price, the DJI Mini SE is also recommended for those who have already purchased a more expensive drone - such as the DJI Mavic 3. After all, there can always be situations where more powerful models will never always be needed. This can be the case on vacation, for example, when you only want to take snapshots with the drone. If you are traveling in the mountains or the risk of damage to the drone is high, the DJI Mini SE can make sense as a cheap replacement drone for the vacations. The flight characteristics of the DJI Mini SE and the performance of the camera should be sufficient in most cases, so that you can do without the more expensive drone model and do not even have to take it with you on vacation. Especially due to its low weight, the DJI Mini SE is ideal for taking pictures on the go and as an "always-on drone". This makes the affordable entry-level drone from DJI the perfect aircraft for influencers, Instagrammers and YouTubers.

features DJI Mini SE

foldable mini drone for beginners
weight: under 250 grams
no drone driving license necessary
but: marking obligation according to EU regulation
Attention: Insurance necessary!
dimensions: 138 x 81 x 58 mm
flight time: up to 30 minutes
max. flying speed: 46,8 km/h
range: 2 kilometers (CE) / 4 kilometers (FCC)
with GPS and downward sensor
Camera: 1/2.3 CMOS image sensor
Image resolution max: 12 megapixel
Video resolution max: 2.7K at 30 fps
App control with DJI Fly app

DJI Mini SE Fly More Combo: Scope of delivery and differences

The DJI Mini SE is available in two configuration variants, which differ from each other not by performance or function, but by the included scope of delivery and ultimately also the price. Thus, the DJI Mini SE is available in a single variant for 299 euros (RRP) or a bundle variant for 399 euros (RRP). (Info: The DJI Mini SE Fly More Combo is not expected to be available until March 2022).

The bundle variant, i.e. the DJI Mini SE Fly More Combo, includes in addition to the standard scope of delivery, among other things, a 2-way multi-charger with QuickCharge function, two additional spare batteries (making a total of three batteries) and a storage bag. The standard scope of delivery of the DJI Mini 2, on the other hand, only includes the aircraft, flight controller, three connection cables to the smartphone with microUSB, USB-C and Lightning connectors, a battery, USB-C charging cable, a set of replacement propellers, gimbal protection cap, as well as a screwdriver and six replacement screws for mounting and removing the propellers. Important: A microSD card is not included with the DJI Mini SE. Therefore, you have to buy a memory card for the DJI Mini SE separately.

For even more flexibility, it is therefore recommended to opt for the Fly More Combo of the DJI Mini SE. Of course, if you don't want to pay the extra 100 euros, you can also purchase the accessories separately from the official DJI online store or from DJI dealers. In terms of what's included with the DJI Mini SE, it's also worth mentioning that a USB power adapter isn't included - even with the Fly More Combo, DJI doesn't include the 18-watt power adapter.

Pros

  • extremely low price of only 299,- Euro
  • 249 grams light and very compact
  • no drone driving license necessary (but license plate)
  • high beginner-friendliness
  • about 30 minutes flight time
  • very precise flight behavior
  • with GPS and hover sensors
  • app control and 2.7K resolution
  • extended WiFi with 2 kilometer range
  • up to 6 kilometer range

Cons

  • no display in the remote control
  • no quick release propellers
  • no RAW photo recording
  • no DJI OcuSync signal transmission
  • battery without direct charge indicator
  • no tracking functions
  • no obstacle sensors
  • old remote control compared to DJI Mini 2

Note on the EU Drone Regulation

Even in view of the EU Drone Regulation from 2021, the DJI Mini SE is a future-proof investment. Due to the low weight of less than 250 grams, the drone has almost no restrictions even without C0 classification. No EU drone license is required for the drone and the transition rules ensure stress-free operation even in the coming years (more details on the EU Drone Regulation). Only a pilot registration and an EU drone license plate are required for the DJI Mini SE. Here we have summarized all the requirements of the EU Drone Regulation for the DJI Mini SE: DJI Mini SE - Info on EU Drone Regulation

DJI Mini SE: Affordable entry-level drone

Like the DJI Mavic Mini or DJI Mini 2, the DJI Mini SE is positioned as an affordable entry-level drone that can be used primarily on vacation or while traveling.

The DJI Mini SE is a good entry-level drone. Due to an easy handling, GPS and many safety features, the DJI Mini SE is ideal as a beginner drone.
Due to the low weight of under 250 grams, the DJI Mini SE is not only uncomplicated from a legal point of view, but also a practical and hardly obtrusive companion on the go. Moreover, the drone is not only lightweight, but also quite compact and small with dimensions of only 138 x 81 x 58 millimeters (folded) or 159 x 203 x 56 millimeters (unfolded). The dimensions of the DJI Mini SE are identical to the DJI Mini 2. In purely visual terms, the two camera drones hardly differ from each other. However, the DJI Mini SE does not have the new LED light that was introduced with the DJI Mini 2. Therefore, there is no color selection for further customization with the DJI Mini SE.

Unobtrusive, unchanged design

The design of the DJI Mini SE hardly differs from the DJI Mavic Mini or DJI Mini 2. Only the lettering on the rotor arm tells you which drone model you are holding in your hands.

The drone is of course foldable and - when folded - can be easily transported in a bag or backpack. The design of the DJI Mini SE is again inconspicuous, simple and DJI-typical in classic gray. A more attractive color choice could have been considered for a special edition - for example, a DJI Mini in white. Those who want to buy the DJI Mini SE should not expect too much from the material selection. The drone is solid and functional, but it looks less premium compared to DJI's flagship models. This is also due to the thin plastics, which you will probably have to live with for weight-saving reasons.

You also still have to live with the somewhat unattractive "fake" obstacle sensors that DJI hints at as an optical element on the nose of the head. These have no function whatsoever - like the DJI Mavic Mini or DJI Mini 2, the DJI Mini SE cannot avoid obstacles and does not have a function like ActiveTrack. But that's all complaining at a high level: sure, the DJI Mini SE is a well-thought-out, stylish and proven gadget, as it is largely based on its very successful predecessors. Moreover, the drone is completely pre-assembled, very easy to use, and quite well-made compared to drones from other manufacturers in this price range.

The scope of delivery of the DJI Mini SE naturally includes a protective cap that protects the delicate gimbal and the sensitive camera during transport. The inner profile of the protective cap keeps the gimbal in position during transport and thus prevents unnecessary stress. Other than that, there's really nothing to worry about with the DJI Mini SE - the propellers can be replaced with spare propellers using the included screwdriver if needed. The battery of the DJI Mini SE is still located in the back of the drone and can be removed by opening a flap. Below the flap, you will not only find the slot for the memory card, but also the USB port for charging the DJI Mini SE. It would be desirable if the memory card slot and USB-C port were also covered by a flap.

Improved flight behavior - compared to the DJI Mavic Mini

For example, the DJI Mini SE features an improvement in wind resistance. In this respect, the user benefits because the choice of shooting locations and operating conditions becomes more flexible. Compared to wind force 4 of DJI Mavic Mini, DJI Mini SE and DJI Mini 2 with wind force 5 features more robust flight performance in adverse windy conditions. But: the DJI Mini SE is not as fast as the DJI Mini 2. In fact, the latter offers a maximum speed of 16 m/s and 57.6 km/h, respectively, making it a bit nimbler than the DJI Mavic Mini and DJI Mini SE at 13 m/s and 46.8 km/h, respectively. In terms of altitude, both the new DJI Mini SE and the old DJI Mavic Mini are still at a disadvantage with 3,000 meters compared to the DJI Mini 2's 4,000 meters.

Of course, the DJI Mini SE is equipped with GPS. This ensures extremely stable flight behavior. In addition to the integrated GPS, the DJI Mini SE has a Vision Positioning System on the bottom. The downward-facing vision or 3D camera sensors in ToF design ensure extremely stable take-off and landing processes as well as a conspicuously stable hovering behavior by continuously measuring the distance to the ground and adjusting the position accordingly. Especially indoors, the DJI Mini SE, like the other DJI models, can hardly be ruffled. This point once again confirms that the latest mini drone is the ideal entry-level and beginner device, as stable flight behavior is essential for good user experience. According to the manufacturer, the flight time of the DJI Mini SE is specified at about 30 minutes. Through our practical tests, we can confirm the comparatively high flight time - on average, the DJI Mini 2 stays in the air for about half an hour without any problems.

Unfortunately, you have to do without DJI OcuSync 2.0

The DJI Mini 2 became especially popular because the OcuSync 2.0 signal transmission system was introduced. This step has been spared for the DJI Mini SE - like the DJI Mavic Mini, it only has extended WiFi and can thus achieve image transmission with ranges of about two kilometers (CE) or 4 kilometers (FCC). Apart from the advantages due to the high range, you also have to expect sacrifices in latency or stability. We therefore definitely recommend the highly optimized signal transmission of the DJI Mini 2, because it offers a significant added value in terms of safety, especially for beginners. If your wallet allows it, you should opt for the DJI Mini 2 and accept the slightly higher price with a clear conscience.

Of course, you can fold the DJI Mini SE. This is especially convenient if you want to easily transport the drone in a backpack or bag.

No 4K videos possible - but at least 2.7K.

On the camera side, the DJI Mini SE uses the same 2.7K camera as the DJI Mavic Mini. The DJI Mini SE therefore does not offer 4K recordings, as are possible with the DJI Mini 2. Moreover, users not only have to settle for a maximum of 2.7K videos at 30 fps instead of 4K videos at 30 fps, but also a video bitrate of 30 Mbps compared to 100 Mbps. In terms of moving camera image performance, the DJI Mini 2 is therefore far superior to the DJI Mini SE. Otherwise, DJI continues to rely on a 1/2.3 image sensor with a native resolution of 12 megapixels for the DJI Mini SE. The camera's field of view is a natural and less wide-angled 83 degrees. In terms of video codec, the DJI Mini 2 relies on H.264.

There are drawbacks on the photo side as well, however, because like the DJI Mavic Mini, the DJI Mini SE does not support DNG format. While the DJI Mini SE does not allow for bad pictures and videos and should be quite sufficient for most snapshots, the DJI Mini 2 offers significantly more reserves and performance. This makes the affordable entry-level model well-suited for those who can do without post-processing photos and who do not need 4K video footage. However, if you want to use the drone for YouTube videos or for expressive photos, you are better off with the DJI Mini 2.

There is nothing to complain about in terms of video quality with the DJI Mini SE. This is also due to the fact that the camera naturally has mechanical image stabilization via a 3-axis gimbal and thus - regardless of the lighting conditions - buttery smooth moving images in good quality are possible. Here, the DJI Mini SE has an advantage over other drone models under 300 euros, as these often have no or only digital image stabilization. The delicate gimbal of the DJI Mini SE can of course be operated via a tilt wheel on the remote control and used accordingly for manual camera pans.

If needed, the camera settings can of course be selected manually if you want to implement more sophisticated results. In photo mode, for example, the DJI Mini SE allows you to set exposure times (4 to 1/8000 seconds) or ISO values (100 to 3,200). And if image areas are too bright or too dark, you can apply exposure compensation and deliver better image results. But even without special image settings or complicated post-processing, the DJI Mini SE delivers impressive video recordings and photos. Of course, an automatic mode is also on board for this, so you can leave the right settings to the drone camera. In addition to the classic single shot, the DJI Mini SE also supports interval shooting or exposure bracketing, of course. There are also settings in video mode that relate to resolution, frame rate or exposure compensation, for example. Overall, the recording quality is quite respectable, especially considering the low price.

Cool QuickShot modes, but no ActiveTrack

Of course, the DJI Mini SE also supports the cool QuickShot modes that you already know from the DJI Mavic Mini. Among others, there are the modes Dronie, Rocket, Circling and Helix, so you can ideally film yourself without having to hold the remote control in your hand. The flight is performed independently by the drone. Depending on the desired mode, the DJI Fly app naturally also offers various setting options in terms of flight altitudes or flight distances. In addition, the subject or object to be captured can be selected manually for each mode - similar to the well-known ActiveTrack function. However, the DJI Mini SE does not have ActiveTrack in the sense of a tracking function. There is also no zoom function, as became possible with the DJI Mini 2.

Flight mode settings unchanged

In terms of pure flight modes, the DJI Mini SE offers three setting options in the deeper control settings with Sport, Position and CineSmooth, which each differ from the control intensity or braking behaviour of the drone. For example, the DJI Mini SE reacts particularly aggressively and agilely in Sport mode, while particularly soft and gentle movements are the result in CineSmooth mode. In the control settings, there are also two different gimbal modes with the Follow mode and the FPV mode. In FPV mode, the gimbal remains fixed horizontally while the drone is in motion. Thus, video footage in FPV mode gives the impression of looking out of an airplane cockpit and operating a fixed-wing aircraft. In addition, in the deeper settings, you can, for example, determine the maximum flight altitude, the maximum flight distance or the altitude when returning to the take-off point (RTH mode) more precisely and configure it according to experience values and intended use. The maximum flight altitude of the DJI Mini SE is 500 meters. Therefore, the small camera drone should be absolutely sufficient for most application purposes.


No panorama, no QuickTransfer, old remote control

But you also have to do without features like panoramas with the DJI Mini SE. The spherical, 180° and wide-angle panorama is therefore only available with the DJI Mini 2. Similarly, the QuickTransfer function is also not available on the DJI Mini SE. Many of the interesting but small features of the DJI Mini 2 are therefore not available on the DJI Mini SE.

The tried and true controller with integrated, foldable smartphone holder is also used on the DJI Mini SE. Those who want the newer DJI RC-N1 remote control will have to reach for the more expensive DJI Mini 2.

It is even more important to emphasize that the DJI Mini SE does not even come with the new remote control as we already know it from the DJI Mini 2. This is logical, since the DJI Mini SE does not support the new OcuSync 2.0 radio standard, so instead the user gets the radio that was already included with the DJI Mavic Air or DJI Mavic Mini. This remote control is comparatively unspectacular and only has an on/off switch and a return button on the front. The latter can be used to initiate the return function or to cancel the return function by pressing it again. There are also shoulder buttons for video and photo recording. The remote control is therefore reduced to the essentials and should satisfy the demands of a beginner in any case. You should not make high demands on the remote control - after all, it has detachable joysticks, which simplifies taking the controller with you.

Conclusion and evaluation

The DJI Mini SE offers no innovation whatsoever - it's basically a face-lifted version of the former DJI Mavic Mini, as it was introduced a few years ago. The DJI Mini SE has pretty much nothing in common with the features of the DJI Mini 2, which was introduced afterwards. When buying it, you should therefore be aware that you will have to do without features such as 4K videos, panoramas, RAW photos, OcuSync signal transmission or the new RC-N1 remote control. The innovations of the DJI Mini 2 play absolutely no role in the DJI Mini SE. There are improvements in the new DJI Mini SE drone rather when you compare it with the old DJI Mavic Mini. In that case, the DJI Mini SE stands out first and foremost for its improved wind resistance, which makes the choice of location more flexible. But that is not the reason why you should buy the DJI Mini SE. Rather, the extremely attractive price of only 299 euros (MSRP) is a reason why you should get the DJI Mini SE. It should meet the requirements of a beginner in any case, which is why it is best suited as an inexpensive beginner drone. However, due to the affordable price, the DJI Mini SE can also be useful as an add-on drone or as a replacement drone for vacations.

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