DJI Mavic Mini vs. Mavic Air vs. Mavic 2 Pro - Which one is for you?
News Flash: DJI released Mavic Air 2, and it has taken the world by storm. Its specs & performance put it shoulder to shoulder with the professional-range drones, while being in consumer price range.
The Drone Craze that has been experienced lately continues to inspire fresh Drone technology, with companies striving to produce smarter and safer drones. The single most important drone innovation currently is to find the ideal application of “sense and avoid” technology to apply in UAV drones.
Having had the opportunity to test different models of drones available in the market today, I must say that DJI is an industry leader when it comes to producing portable camera drones. This was evident when the introduced the Mavic Pro in 2016; a hit with drone enthusiasts that garnered positive reviews for its amazing features.
Being the industry leader, DJI continued to shake the market with the launch of the most compact and highly-portable Mavic Mini. It caused the biggest buzz ever, delivering great features in a very small frame. Besides its specs, the main selling point was the weight of 249 grams which means no registration is required. And the reception was great - with Mini, you could have an amazing 30 minutes of flight time, solid 2.7k video, 12 MPX images, all packed in the most compact frame ideal for carrying and all for a low price.
Well now, we have the latest addition to the DJI lineup - the Mavic Air 2. This drone is causing waves of buzz all around the web and people are getting highly interested. It upgrades the old Air model significantly; from 35 minutes of flight time, OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology which promises 6,2 miles (10km) of flight range, 48 MPX images, 4K@60fps video & 8K hyperlapse video, all that for $799 ($1050 for Fly More Kit).
Finally, we have the Mavic 2 Pro, the industry standard for the top-of-the-line drone performance in every aspect; from range, speed, connectivity, transmission, to superb camera quality. The photography & videography output this beast of a drone gets you brought a complete revamp of the market and aerial recording in general. Its premium features come at the cost, of course.
But given the range of choices for portable camera drones that DJI is offering, you might be wondering how the quadcopters stack up against each other. In this article, I will pit the three above mentioned DJI models against each other as far as performance, design, usability, and other features are concerned. In the end, I’ll try to establish which one is the best acquisition for every drone enthusiast out there.
Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro Comparison Table
DJI Mavic Mini
DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
249g / 0.5lbs
570g / 1.3 lbs
907g / 2 lbs
4 km (2,4 miles)
10 km (6.2miles)
8 km (5 miles)
12MP & 48 MP
2.7 K: 24/25/30fps
Obstacle Avoidance Sensors
Forward, backward & down
Forward, backward, sideways, up & down
Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro - Design & Appearance
Even though they are very much alike, there is a range of variations in the design between the Mini, Air 2, and Mavic 2 Pro. All three drones sport the same foldable design, which proves great for portability. I believe every drone they release will feature this design from now on.
The Mini is obviously the smallest with dimensions of 140×82×57 mm and a weight of 249 grams. It brings an unmatched portability and maneuverability for backpack carrying and storing, making it ideal for travel.
On the other hand, Air 2 sports 183x96.5x83.8 mm and weighs 570 grams, significantly more (precisely more than twice the Mini). When compared with Mini in this regard, its size and weight are definitely quite more formidable.
And finally Mavic Pro 2, as a professional-grade drone, comes at 214×91×84 mm & 907 grams of weight, which puts it at the lowest place in portability and maneuverability, but these specs shouldn't consider you if you're aiming for a drone of this caliber anyways.
So, each drone comes with its pros & cons considering design & appearance:
DESIGN & APPEARANCE SUMMARY
Mini - Lightest, Smallest, Most Portable
Air 2 - Medium-Size & Weight
2 Pro - Largest & Heaviest
Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro - Range
The newest Mavic Air 2 has a controller range of 10km, which is more than twice as much what you get from the Mini (4 km) and 2 km longer than 2 Pro (8 km). It can also climb to maximum ceiling height of 5,000 meters above sea level whereas its counterpart will go as high as 4,000 meters (Mini) & 6000 meters (2 Pro).
When talking about range, I have to mention the transmission technology - Mavic Air 2 & 2 Pro's OcuSync 2.0 blows Mini out of the water. This transmission tech is based on radio frequency and won't have issues in dense city areas. This means no signal loss, no video transmission loss, and interruptance of your perfect shooting, no matter where you are. Mavic Mini relies on Enhanced WiFi, which works on dual-band frequency - on which many home routers and modems nowadays are connected as well.
When speaking about range, it's quite simple:
FLIGHT RANGE SUMMARY
Mini - Shortest Range, Works on WiFi
Air 2 - Amazing Range, Radio Connectivity
2 Pro - Same As Air 2 (but 2 km shorter in distance)
Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro - Flight Time
Mavic Mini brought the revolutionary upgrade in the small drones world, enabling its users to fly up to 30 minutes (in perfect conditions - realistically = 26 minutes). This feature is simply unmatched even by stronger, more capable & more expensive models like Mavic Air.
DJI continues in improving their products with every new iteration - Mavic Air 2 now brings 34 minutes of flight time. This spec is under heavy testing right now, and many report results of up to 30 minutes of realistic flight time in everyday conditions.
Mavic 2 Pro comes at 30 minutes of advertised flight time, and brings about 27-28 minutes of realistic flight time. Considering that it is a much more powerful and heavier drone, this is an amazing result.
A very important thing to consider in this regard is the wind resistance and overall conditions while flying.
Mavic Mini is the weakest one when it comes to this regard, and burns through battery quite rapidly when faced with stronger wind or gusts. (many cases of flyaways and disappearance reported so far)
On the other hand, both Air 2 and 2 Pro feature much better wind resistance, and won't burn through the battery on harsh conditions.
Here's the small comparison of battery capacity & flight time of each drone:
FLIGHT TIME SUMMARY
Mini - 2600 mAh, 30 minutes of flight time (26-27 realistic)
Air 2 - 3500 mAh, 34 minutes of flight time (30 realistic)
2 Pro - 3850 mAh, 31 minutes of flight time (27-28 realistic)
Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro - Speed
When talking about speed of flight, these three drones have a lot to offer. Let's sum the data and characteristics in a small table:
DJI Mavic Mini
DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
Sport Mode: 13 m/s
Sport Mode: 19 m/s
Sport Mode: 20 m/s
Position Mode: 8 m/s
Normal Mode: 12 m/s
Positioning Mode: 14 m/s
Cine Smooth Mode: 4 m/s
Tripod Mode: 5 m/s
Tripod Mode: 1 m/s
In sport mode, the DJI Mavic Mini can move at a speed of 29 mph while the Mavic Air 2 will reach speeds over 42.5 mph. However, in standard flight mode (Position), the Mini can only reach 17.89 mph. Mavic 2 Pro is in a league of its own here - Sports mode will set you soaring the sky at 44,7 mph, which is some serious speed.
The conclusion is quite easy here: if you want speed, you definitely don't want the Mini, but you can be quite satisfied with Air 2. It all comes down to your preferences and necessities.
Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro - Camera Capabilities
The Mini maxes out its video recording at 2,7K resolution, while the Air 2 can record videos at 4K resolution at 60fps, with a maximum bitrate of 120Mbps. It can further shoot slow motion 1080p videos at 240fps. This is a big upgrade over the last Air model, and especially in the contrary to the Mini.
Mini shoots 12-megapixel JPegs, which are usable but can't really compare with the output you get from the other two drones. Again, for its purpose and price tag, this drone is an absolute perfect purchase. Now, let's get the juicy part of the camera comparison started.
When compared to 2 Pro on video, we'll start by stating the positives: Air 2 brings more framerate in the 4K resolution, which is somewhat a standard now. The automatic sharpness of the 4K footage is better. The However, the sensor size on Pro is double the Air 2's, which means you're going to get better ISO sensitivity and far better dynamic range.
What it lacks in bitrate, Mavic 2 Pro fulfils with 10-bit recording, and a complete Dlog. This means you get a flat output with the most captured information possible, and the biggest capabilities for post production color corrections.
When it comes to still photography, the performance between the three is comparing similarly like in the video. Mavic 2 Pro shoots 20-megapixel stills with the highest quality and most detail & dynamic range, especially at RAW. Air 2 follows up with 12 MPX RAW & 48 MPX Jpeg files, followed by automatic HDR, and Smart Photo mode, which improves the results.
So, to sum it up:
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY
Mini - 1/2.3″ CMOS Sensor, 12 MPX JPEG | Up to 2,7K 24/25fps
Air 2 - 1/2″ CMOS Sensor, 12/48 MPX JPEG/RAW | Up to 4k 60fps D-Cinelike 8-bit color
2 Pro - 1/2″ CMOS Sensor, 20 MPX JPEG/RAW | Up to 4k 30fps, Dlog 10-bit color
Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro - Advanced Features and Obstacle Avoidance
When talking about features and obstacle avoidance, again I have to stress out that the Mini lacks any obstacle avoidance sensors except the bottom ones. So basically, you're getting the drone that won't avoid any obstacle in its path, and therefore is quite risky, especially for the beginners (even though it's labeled as a beginner drone).
On the other hand, with the Mavic Air 2 and the 2 Pro you get the advanced obstacle avoidance, which you'll love if you want to use the drone for some advanced movements and shots. In this field, Air 2 comes with the latest iteration of APAS, or Advanced Pilot Assistance System 3.0.
This system is designed to map the surroundings with 3D imagery and process it in real time so the drone can track the subject without crushing into obstacles. However, this system had to be improved simply because Air 2 comes without top and side hardware sensors.
Mavic 2 Pro, on the other side, has 360-degree obstacle sensors, and can avoid everything in its path while following its subject. It uses the older APAS 2.0 but performs way better in avoiding top and sideway obstacles.
Speaking of features, every drone in this comparison has the QuickShots video possibilities, offering predefined flight patterns which help to maintain the object in the frame to provide you with cinema-like video effects. As you can probably guess, Mavic Mini has the least functions and it is the worst of the three in performance, but still overall performs great.
The other staple feature on the DJI drones have been programmed with is ActiveTrack. This allows for automatic tracking of a person or item by the drone. According to DJI, the ActiveTrack on the DJI Mavic Air 2 has been updated track people who are moving (running and cycling) even more efficiently.
Comparing the tracking capabilities on the Mavic 2 Pro and Air 2 (Mini doesn't have active tracking, only stationary in Quick shots), Air 2 comes out as a better performer, but only in situations where you don't require side obstacle avoidance and are careful not to have anything over your drone as well. This result is to be expected, as Air 2 is the latest model with most advanced algorithms, but without these two sensors.
Summing it all up:
FEATURES AND OBSTACLE AVOIDANCE
Mini - Bottom Obstacle Sensor, QuickShot Modes, Stationary
Air 2 - Advanced Subject Tracking & Amazing QuickShot Modes (lack of top & side sensors is evident though)
2 Pro - Omnidirectional Obstacle Avoidance, Great QuickShot Modes
Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro - Controllers
When speaking about the controllers these drones come with, we have a novelty to cover. The new Air 2 drone is paired with an improved pro-looking controller, which is a step away from the standard controller design the Mavic line is famous for.
As you can see, the new controller resembles the DJI's Smart controller which is used for professional use, but utilizes the smartphone clamp on top of the controller itself, which is a bit more comfortable for use and flying, and can house bigger phones or even smaller tablets comfortably. Its lifetime is also improved, giving at least 2,5 hours of use before drying out the controller battery.
On its downsides, the obvious one is the size - packing this controller won't be a breeze. Luckily, you can remove the joysticks and place them in the designated slots at the bottom of the controller, and the smartphone clamp is incorporated in the boxy design.
On the opposite side, we have standard controllers of Mini and Mavic 2 Pro, which have been around for a while (Mini's a bit more fresh yet much more basic, of course).
Mavic 2 Pro Controller
Mavic Mini Controller
When comparing Mavic 2 Pro controller with the one of Air 2, there are different opinions out there, so I'll stay neutral, because they both have quite similar performance, while the looks and size attribute to one's personal preference.
Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro - Stability in the Air
When talking about this feature, which is quite important for the average drone pilot out there, we must be honest to each other - Mavic Mini can't compete with the Air 2 & 2 Pro. It's simply way over their league, and its purpose isn't to endure stronger winds.
In practice, its performance is surprisingly good, though - the official specs state that it can withstand 8m/s wind, which is 28.8 km h or 17,89 mph. I've personally flown Mini in the conditions like this, and the results weren't as impressive - the battery burned down quite fast, and it had problems moving in the air if not on Sport mode. Still, it managed to capture some very nice shots. For a drone weighing 249 grams, this is just insanely good.
Having said that, I must point out that there are thousands of cases out there on the DJI forums and elsewhere on the web where users flown the drone in similar conditions and experienced gusts, which blew the poor Mini away, sometimes to lose connection and fall, or drift until dead, never to be found again. So, if you're eyeing Mini for many great features it brings, please be careful with the wind. It is great, but don't push it.
On the other hand, Air 2 and 2 Pro are handling stronger winds quite well. The official data shows wind resistance up to 38 meters per second, which is seriously fantastic.
Here's a recent video of Mavic Air 2 wind test, that will showcase its capabilities the best.
This epic wind resistance results are taken from Mavic 2 Pro, and if I can say, updated a bit. Overall, with either of these two drones, you're getting a very capable aircraft that won't cause problems even in the windiest situations.
Summing it up:
STABILITY IN THE AIR
Mini - Resists wind up to 8 m/s (be careful)
Air 2 - Resists wind up to 10,5 m/s (up to 13,8 gusts)
2 Pro - Resists wind up to 10,5 m/s (up to 17 gusts)
Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro - Price & Conclusion
The DJI Mavic Mini is the cheapest option among DJI’s drone models. It retails at $399 ($499 for FlyMore Combo which I highly recommend you should go for).
This is an absolute best bang for the buck, and can bring you countless hours of fun, some semi-pro videos and photos, and overall great quality & set of features to enjoy.
PRICE & VALUE
Mavic Mini - Absolute Best Budget Buy
Mavic Air 2, as the freshest drone on the market today, brings the most value and features money can buy today. For $799 ($988 for FlyMore Combo) you get the latest tech, improved software and performance, amazing performance and pro-grade output with some advanced functions which aren't present on the more expensive Mavic 2 Pro.
PRICE & VALUE
Mavic Air 2 - Best Value For The Money
The Mavic 2 Pro is getting old, but it still holds the crown of the best consumer pro-grade drone on the market.
For its price ($1599 for the basic package, many different packages for Fly More, all around $2000), you get the best sensor, the strongest motors and the fastest drone overall, amazing photo and superb video capabilities, and a robust body with advanced features.
Of course, if you're not aiming to do aerial photography & videography for a living, you can make do with the new Air 2. It all depends on your personal preferences.
PRICE & VALUE
Mavic 2 Pro - Premium Price & Features, For Professionals
The DJI Mavic Mini will make a great acquisition if you are just catching the drone bug and looking to buy on a budget. It has enough features to impress any hobbyist out there. But it may not be enough for an avid drone enthusiast.
When you compare all the features in general, you will see that the Mavic Air 2 is the outright winner! It is fast, it stays longer in the air, it has a wider range, it has great camera capabilities, the video quality is superb, not to mention that you get extra features and options that even Mavic 2 Pro does not have.
If I were to choose, I wouldn’t mind spending $988 to get myself the DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo.
You shouldn't too!
My Winner: The Mavic Air 2
Last update on 2023-01-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API This article contains affiliate links which for which the owner of the site may receive a commision.