Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic Mini: In-depth comparability
From the start, I can tell you that someone who tells you that the Mavic MINI is better than the Mavic Air 2 is trying to sell you one, or has simply never played with these two DJI drones before. Don’t get me wrong, both are fantastic drones in their own way and for their price. In my in-depth comparison, I’ll try to show all the pros and cons of these two affordable foldable drones.
While the Mavic Mini was introduced in October 2019, the Mavic Air 2 in April 2020, the Air 2 is a 6 months newer model, which means a lot in terms of technology. They also represent two different product lines. The MINI aka Arya is an affordable entry-level drone. Weighing only 249 grams, it can be used in most countries without special permission. Instead, the Air 2 requires FAA registration and offers some of the best features of the expensive Mavic 2 Pro series. It has an advanced obstacle avoidance system, a 4K camera, a super long flight range and an extended flight time – all at a great price.
FirstQuadcotper was among the first drone blogs to publish a detailed publication Mavic Mini review. I still remember how surprised I was by its compact size compared to my existing DJI Phantom drone. With arms folded, it is the size of a 6-inch smartphone. For the Japanese market, where there are even stricter weight restrictions, DJI released a lighter version that only weighs 199 grams.
Comparison table Mavic Air 2 against Mavic Mini
In the following table I compared the main specifications and functions of both DJI drones. I highlighted the Mavic Air 2 highlights with red and the Mavic mini highlights with green. Yes, not much of the table is “red” yet. The Air 2 is the real winner when you have the money.
|DJI Mavic Air 2||DJI Mavic Mini|
|size||Folded: 180 × 97 × 74 mm
Unfolded: 183 × 253 × 77 mm
|Folded: 140 × 82 × 57 mm
Unfolded: 160 × 202 × 55 mm
|Weight||570 grams||249 grams|
|camera||4K @ 60fps or 1080p @ 240fps||2.7K@30fps or 1080p @ 60fps|
|Image size||1/2 “CMOS||1 / 2.3 “CMOS|
|Maximum bit rate||120 Mbit / s||40 Mbit / s|
|Photo mode||12MP and 48 MP||12 MP|
|HDR||Video and photo||No|
|Mechanical reach||Inclination: -135 ° to 45 °
Roll: -45 ° to 45 °
Pan: -100 ° to 100 °
|Inclination: -110 ° to 35 °
Roll: -35 ° to 35 °
Pan: -20 ° to 20 °
|Controllable area||Tilt: -90 ° to 0 ° (standard)
-90 ° to 24 ° (extended)
|Tilt: -90 ° to 0 ° (standard)
-90 ° to + 20 ° (extended)
|Internal memory||Yes, 8 GB||NO|
|offer||10 km (FCC) or 6 km (CE)||4 km (FCC) or 2 km (CE)|
|transmission||Ocusync 2.0||Wireless Internet access|
|Lights||Motor + belly||tail|
|Intelligent flight modes||Dronie, rocket, circle, helix, Boomerang and asteroid||Dronie, rocket, circle and helix|
|Obstacle avoidance||Yes (3 way)||No|
|Additional sensors||Optical flow + Infrared||Optical flow|
|Maximum flight speed||19 m / s (S mode)
12 m / s (N mode)
5 m / s (T mode)
|13 m / s (S mode)
8 m / s (P mode)
4 m / s (C mode)
|Drag||≤ 37.8 km / h||≤ 28.8 km / h|
|remote control||Standard, NO screen||Standard, NO screen|
|battery||3s / 3500 mAh||2s / 2600 mAh|
|Flight time||34 minutes||30 minutes|
|US price (standard combo)||$ 799 $ 988||$ 399 $ 499|
DJI Mavic Air 2 vs. DJI Mavic Mini: Design
Both drones have the same space-saving design and color scheme. You can even confuse them by looking at them from a few meters away. In comparison, the Mavic Air 2 measures 180 × 97 × 74 mm with crossed arms and the Mini Mavic only 140 × 82 × 57 cm. The Air 2 is not only bigger, but also heavier than the Mavic Mini with 321 grams. Much of the difference in weight is due to the higher capacity battery and the aluminum heat sink.
While the Mavic Mini only has two position sensors down, the Mavic Air 2 has 6 obstacle avoidance sensors (2x front, 2x bottom and 2x rear) and 2 infrared sensors.
With folding propellers with quick-release fasteners, they can be easily replaced on the Mavic Air 2. Instead, the MINI propellers are equipped with screws that make replacement difficult.
Mavic Air 2 vs. Mavic Mini: camera
As you can see in the comparison table above, the Mavic Mini has a 2.7K @ 30 camera and the Mavic Air 2 has a 4K @ 60fps camera. Higher resolution means more details and therefore better video quality. Both cameras have 3-axis mechanical stabilization, but the Air 2’s gimbal offers much greater freedom of movement. It can even be tilted up to take beautiful sky pictures. The expanded mechanical section also makes creating 3D photos much easier. In addition, we can capture still images at 48 megapixels and export them in RAW format.
ND or other types of optical filters can be used for both drones, but the Mavic Air 2 has a more professional filter holder that allows easy filter change.
To be realistic, the camera of the Mavic Air 2 is powerful enough to appeal to both leisure and semi-professional users. However, the MINI is only suitable for hobby players.
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Mavic Air 2 vs. Mavic Mini: range
First, be aware that most DJI drone consumers, including Air 2 and MINI, have two radio versions: FCC and CE. While in the USA the MINI has a range of up to 4 km and the Air 2 has 10 km, in Europe the MINI has only 2 km and the Air2 6 km.
In terms of communication technology, there is a big difference between these two opponents. While the Mavic MINI uses a toy-quality WIFI transmission, the Mavic Air 2 has an extremely long range Ocusync 2.0 transmission system.
I personally tested the CE version of both drones. I achieved a flight range of around 1600 meters with the Mavic Mini and more than 5000 meters with the Mavic Air 2. It’s a hell of a difference. In addition, the FPV quality of the Air 2 is much better than that of the MINI (1080p versus 720p). Since the Air 2 ‘transmitter has integrated antennas, you do not have to adjust their position in order to achieve the best possible flight distance.
Mavic Air 2 vs. Mavic Mini: battery life
On paper, the Mavic Mini has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes and the Mavic Air2 has a flight time of 34 minutes. To be honest, that extra 4 minutes isn’t too much considering how much you pay for it. In any case, these values can only be obtained under optimal flight conditions (no wind, normal flight mode and gentle maneuvers).
During my Mavic Air 2 reviewI tested the actual battery life in various situations, from simple hovering to flying in strong winds. The results varied between 18 and 32 minutes. Flying in sport mode drastically reduced the maximum flight time.
In terms of capacity, the Mavic Mini is powered by a simple 2S LIPO package with 2600 mAh and the Mavic Air 2 by a 3S package with 3500 mAh. A charging node is available for both types of batteries, which can be used to charge up to 3 batteries at the same time. While each battery on the Mavic Air 2 has its own charge level indicator, the battery level indicator of the Mavic Mini is located directly on the drone.
While both models use the same DJI Fly APPthere is a little difference in the functions available. This app was first introduced together with the Mavic Mini to offer a simplified user interface compared to the older DJI GO-APP.
In addition to the higher resolutions and higher frame rates, Mavic Air 2 offers many other functions: just a few QuickShot modes (+ Boomerang and Asteroid), HDR modes, Panorama, Hyperlapse and the most frequently used Mavic Mini users – ActiveTrack.
There are also some differences in the settings menu. For example, since Air 2 has 8 GB of internal storage, you can choose which storage to use. There are also obstacle avoidance system settings. You also have more options to customize the main screen, e.g. Add histogram.
In addition to the superior image quality, the greater range and the exceptional flight performance, the most important features of Mavic Air 2 compared to the Mavic Mini are the ActiveTrack and obstacle avoidance sensors. In practice, the Air 2 is able to follow you autonomously even in the forest.
The Air 2 is also better suited for night flights than its little brother. In addition to the four status lights (one under each motor), there is a bright additional light under the belly that can be switched on and off remotely if necessary.
Conclusion: Mavic Air 2 or Mavic Mini – twice as expensive?
You should keep in mind that even if you buy the best drone currently available, time will become a mediocre drone for which you have paid a fortune. Never consider a drone as a long-term investment. Don’t mention that newbies usually crash their first drone after a few weeks.
If you are on a tight budget or play occasionally, the Mavic Mini is for you. Probably the biggest (if not the only) advantage over the Mavic Air 2 is that it is not needed FAA registration.
On the other hand, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is the best drone you can get for your money. It has a 48MP / 4K @ 60fps camera, a battery life of more than 30 minutes and a control range of up to 10KM. Driven by APAS 3.0 obstacle avoidance system, it is safe to fly even for completely new pilots. It has the most intelligent flight modes available with the very expensive Mavic 2 series.
Is it worth upgrading from Mavic Mini to Mavic Air 2?
After testing both drones and playing a lot with them, I can tell you that there is a big difference between them. It’s like switching from a normal bike to an electric bike. They have more power, a better range and, last but not least, comfort. If you have the money to upgrade, you should do it. You will like all the Mavic Air 2 extras mentioned above.