If you’re in the market for a beginner-level consumer drone, one of the leading brands you must consider is DJI. The manufacturer boasts a stellar reputation in the drone making world with a long line of high-performance entry-level drones under their belt.
The DJI Mavic Mini is the smallest drone in DJI’s Mavic series. This pocket Hercules will surprise you with a ton of advanced features that will give the more expensive Mavic Air a run for its money. In this post, we are pitting the Mavic Mini against the Mavic Air.
So, what should you buy…Mavic Mini or Mavic Air?
DJI Mavic Mini
DJI Mavic Air
Folding:140 × 82 × 57
Unfolding:160 × 202× 55
Folding:214 × 91 × 84
Unfolding:322 × 242 × 84
46.8km/h (S mode)
68.4km/h (S mode)
Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level
Max Flight Time
Satellite Positioning Systems
4000 by 3000
4056 by 3040
[amazon fields="B07RQJHG8M" value="button"]
[amazon fields="B078WQ9SN3" value="button"]
Mavic Mini vs Air: Comparison
Both the DJI Mavic Mini and Mavic Air are popular quadcopters with a great following in the drone community. However, let’s compare and highlight the different individual features and see how they stack up against each other:
The DJI Mavic Mini features an ultra-compact construction with dimensions of 160 x202 x 55 mm when unfolded. This reduces to 140 x 82 x 57mm when folded to leave you with a very portable drone that you can easily store inside your backpack whenever you want to hit the road.
It is also lightweight and weighs only 249g, which is conveniently just below the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) limit for drone registration. This means you’ll be able to fly your drone without having to register with the authorities, saving you the extra costs involved.
The DJI Mavic Air, although slightly bulkier than the Mini, is also pretty portable thanks to its collapsible design. The drone measures 322 x242 x 84mm when unfolded and 214 x 91 x 84 mm when folded. The drone measures 322 x242 x 84mm when unfolded and 214 x 91 x 84 mm when folded.
Visually, the two drones are almost the same size when folded but the difference is visible once you unfold them. For a traveler looking to maximize space in their backpack, the Mini seems like the better alternative; albeit only slightly.
Given that it is more compact, lighter, and saves you the trouble of registering with the FAA, you’ll have an easier time bringing the Mini on your various outdoor adventures.
The DJI Mavic Mini has the edge over the Air when it comes to design!
[amazon fields="B07RQJHG8M" value="button"]
When it comes to the control range, both the DJI Mavic Mini and Air can be controlled to a maximum distance of 4km, which is pretty impressive by industry standards. However, you should note that this range is in FCC mode; so, if you’re buying the quadcopter from Europe, expect the range to be different given that they use CE frequencies.
FCC and CE modes are simply the mode in which the drone and controller operate, with the CE being the lower signal and FCC the higher signal. FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is the American agency charged with regulating the principles of applying radio frequencies to communicate for USA-based devices.
Meanwhile, CE (Conformité Européenne) mode is used on products that adhere to European Union directives. This designation is for devices that are sold and used in Europe.
The FCC mode for DJI Mavic Mini and Mavic Air is the same at 4km while the CE mode for the two aircrafts reduces to 2km. This means that you get the same control range when flying both drones, whether in Europe or the US.
As such, we have a tie as far as the control range is concerned!
Usually, the bigger drones in the market tend to have a longer flight time than their smaller counterparts. However, the more compact Mavic Mini goes against the grain to offer you a longer playtime compared to the bulkier DJI Mavic Air.
The Mini comes with a flight time of 30 minutes, which is simply bonkers for a small drone under 500. It gets even more interesting when you consider that the bigger Air will only give you 21 minutes of playtime.
Nevertheless, you should note that the above figures are simply what you get on paper. Flying the drones in real-world conditions reduces the flight time of the Mini to around 27 minutes and that of the Air to approximately 17 minutes.
We must commend the DJI design team for the long flight time that the smaller DJI drone offers.
The DJI Mavic Mini takes the price for the best flight time!
When you look at the sizes of the drones side by side, you’ll be right to assume that the Mini would be slower given its smaller motors and, therefore, less overall power generated.
[amazon fields="B078WQ9SN3" value="button"]
As expected, the DJI Mavic Air is swifter in the air with a maximum speed of 42.5mph when flying it in the sport mode. It also boasts a maximum ascent and descent speed of 4m/s.
However, the Mini is no slouch when it comes to speed. This drone can hit a respectable top speed of 29mph and descend/ascend at a maximum speed of 3m/s.
Clearly, both drones are pretty quick but the DJI Mavic Air takes the prize when you want to get your adrenaline pumping when flying these drones!
Both the Mavic Mini and Mavic Air have a high-quality 12MP camera that features a 1/ 2.3-inch CMOS image sensor to go with a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer. These help to deliver crystal clear stills and videos with enhanced resolution.
Video Modes and Quality
For a small drone, you’ll be impressed by the quality of resolution that the Mavic Mini offers you. You can record videos at a maximum resolution of 2.7K at 30fps or slow things down to 1080p at 60fps.
On the other hand, the Mavic Air lets you shoot 3840 by 2160p videos at 30fps, ensuring that you get slightly better image quality than the Mavic Mini.
Another notable difference in the features between the two cameras is the Bitrate offered by the drones.
Whereas the DJI Mavic Mini’s camera offers 40Mbps, the Air comes with a higher bitrate at 100Mbps. Also, the Mavic Air offers you MP4 and MOV formats while the Mavic Mini can only manage the MP4 format.
When it comes to camera quality, the DJI Mavic Air has a better overall camera even though the Mavic Mini’s camera is pretty decent. If you’re a professional photographer, the Mavic Air is the go-to drone!
The Mavic Air, as well as the Mavic Mini, can reach 3200 ISO in manual mode when shooting still photos, which is significantly better than the 1600 ISO you get from the DJI Spark.
Notwithstanding, the Air has the edge over the DJI Mavic Mini when it comes to photo modes offered.
The only modes you can manage to shoot on the Mavic Mini are single shots and interval photo shots. Meanwhile, the Air offers you greater and more interesting options such as panoramas, burst HDR and ShallowFocus.
So, the best photo mode drone is the Mavic Air !
Features and Controls
There is a range of advanced features that the Mavic Air and Mavic Mini offers and will surely impress you. For instance, both drones feature bottom and backward-facing sensors that make for safer flying and landing. Unlike the Mavic Mini, the Mavic Air has extra forward-facing sensors for better obstacle avoidance when flying.
Additionally, the Mavic Air features an impressive Follow Me mode, as well as a few other flight modes that aren’t offered by the more basic Mavic Mini. Despite missing the obstacle avoidance Active Track features, the Mini can still take quickshots in the DJI app using modes like Dronie, Helix, and Orbit mode (that can use subject tracking).
Overall, the Air has greater features and flight modes than the Mavic Mini!
The Mavic Mini’s controller is somewhat underwhelming! It features neither a display nor back custom buttons.
You only get RTH, photo, and camera buttons. The handles also feel feeble compared to other DJI drone controllers.
You also won’t get a screen on the Mavic Air’s controller, although there is a latency reducing cable and custom back buttons. Overall, the Air’s transmitter offers more flying options for a more exciting flying experience.
The Mavic Air has the better controller of the two!
For learners who are still wrapping their head around flying a drone, you will be pleased to hear that both the Mavic Mini and Mavic Air can be flown indoors. The bottom sensors on the Mini allow it to maintain a steady hover even without GPS support.
Thanks to a Vision Positioning System, the Mini manages a stable flight indoors and 360-degree propeller guards available on the Mavic Mini Fly more combo help to keep the drone from damage when it flies close to the walls.
The Mavic Air will also fly indoors without any trouble. Nonetheless, you’d be wise to find a bigger room to do this in since the obstacle avoidance sensors will keep on interrupting your flight in a relatively confined space.
You may, however, opt to disable the obstacle avoidance sensors but this exposes you to mid-air hits and collisions, especially if you’re a rookie pilot.
For indoor flying, the Mavic Mini offers you a more reliable experience!
The smallest drone in DJI’s Mavic series will cost you a little under $400. Considering the wealth of advanced features DJI has managed to squeeze into this diminutive quadcopter, the Mavic Mini will easily rival some of the best drones under $500.
Meanwhile, the Mavic Air costs more than double what you’ll cough out for the Mini. It is a great drone that you can get for less than $1000. However, you’ll need to have it registered with the FAA before you can launch it into the air, which is an additional expense.
The registration cost is $5 for each aircraft and this has to be renewed after three years. Obviously, your financial flexibility will influence the level of importance you place on the price when choosing between these two drones; but given the nearly $500 difference, the Mini sounds like the better option!
Is Mavic air better than Mavic mini?
Not really! The Mini seems like the better pick, especially when you consider aspects such as affordability, practicality and portability. You don’t have to register it with the FAA before flying and it delivers a more reliable experience when you want to fly the drone indoors.
The only areas where the Mavic Air outwits the Mavic Mini is in the camera quality and obstacle avoidance. But you need to remember that it will cost you almost twice the price of the Mavic Mini. So, yeah, we’d rather pick the Mavic Mini and have some extra change for accessories.
Which is better Mavic air or Mavic 2 pro?
Compared to the Mavic 2 Pro, the Mavic Air punches above its weight class as far as the camera quality is concerned! It offers a more superior sensor, bitrate and image processor than the Pro; not to mention that it is the more affordable option.
On the flip side, the Mavic Air has a shorter flight time and control range, coupled with a lack of D-logs. The Mavic 2 Pro employs more current DJI technology than the Mavic Air, making it a notable upgrade on the Mavic Air.
How good is the Mavic mini?
For a quadcopter that will cost you less than $400, the Mini offers a great bang for your buck with a great number of advanced features. It has a long flight time (30 minutes) and an extensive control range (4km) that you won’t even find in some mid-level drones.
The small and compact design of the drone is convenient for travelers, while extra advanced features like a 3-axis gimbal, 2.7K HD camera, and GPS/GLONASS mode further enhance the quality you get from this amazing quadcopter.
The icing on the cake is that you don’t have to register with the FAA before flying it!
Should I buy DJI Mavic air?
The Mavic Air is among the best compact drones you can buy today! Not only does it offer superior DJI technology but it also comes with a number of features that make flying easy and interesting for both beginner and experienced drone pilots.
The DJI Mavic Air boasts an exquisite camera for those who are into aerial photography, highlighted by 4K capabilities and 1000Mbps recording. When you factor in the long 4km control range and 21 minutes of flight time, you’re left with a practical and high-quality drone that you can use to enhance your piloting skills.
From the above comparison, Mavic Mini vs Mavic Air, you’ll agree that both are pretty solid quadcopters from DJI. These drones are suitable for both inexperienced, as well as advanced pilots and you will have a great time flying them.
However, we feel that apart from the obstacle avoidance feature, camera quality, and intelligent flight modes, the Mini stands its ground against the bigger DJI Mavic Air. It will cost you half the price of the Mavic Air yet still offer you a longer flight time and a similar control range.
Finally, the smaller weight of the Mini exempts you from registering with the FAA before flying it, saving you the extra cost. In a nutshell, the Mavic Mini is, overall, a better drone than the Mavic Air considering the price!