Depending on where you get yours, the packaging may be a bit different. There was a plastic wrapping around the box which I quickly took off. But, before we get into the cool things in the box, here are a few specifications to take note of. It comes with a 12MP camera that shoots 2.7K resolution video. Comes with 30mins on flight time and is rated for a 4K altitude range.
Inside the box is the controller in this plastic wrap. We’ll talk about that later. We also have the drone inside and see how tiny it is. I believe this is the exact size as the Mini 2 and 3. To the point that you can practically use the exact same batteries for any. There’s also a silica gel, a box with all the necessary accessories like extra propellers, a USB type C charging cable, a micro-USB charging cable, a mini screwdriver, and a 2nd pair of controller joystick tips, and 3 data cables for your smartphone and the controller. And these come in USB type C, lightning cable and micro-USB. Then finally, come the user guide and manual.
I went with the basic package, where you have just the drone, the controller and the cables. That’s all. There are other combos where you can get a maximum of 3 batteries + a charging dock + a carrying bag. But I decided it would be much cheaper to get this and then later get extra batteries and a carrying bag if and when the need be.
Now let’s take a look at the controller. If you purchase the Mavic 2 or mini, as well as this SE Mini I have here, you would receive this type of controller. A bit smaller in comparison to that of the Mavic Pro, Mini 2 and 3, etc. which comes with some compromises that helped to cut down the cost of this drone.
On the left side is where you connect the data cable to the controller and your smartphone. I use a Samsung device which comes with a type C port so I quickly swapped out the lightning cable which comes preinstalled with the controller in the box. You may also have to take out the joysticks from the bottom here and connect them to make the whole user experience a bit better. Don’t worry, they are of the same size and shape, so either will fit any. At the back is, well nothing. At the top left is the dial for controlling the angle of the camera which will get to in a bit, and the video record button. The top right has the button for switching to picture mode and for taking pictures. There are also the landing button and the power button. And that’s it for the controlling, at least for now.
For the drone, well I’m sure you’ve seen a drone before and you probably have a fair idea of how they look. For first-time flyers, there are stickers all around that basically guide you through, so be on the lookout for them. The front wings open up first to the sides and the rear ones open up second, downwards.
Before turning it on though, you would need to detach all stickers holding propellers together as well as take off the case protecting the front camera. The power button beneath, along with some depth and height sensors. There are air vents on the sides and front to help with airflow and cooling. The USB type C charging port, the micro-SD card slot, and an LED indicator are at the back. The battery compartment to also available for housing the 2400 mAh battery which is rated to last for a 30 minutes flight. The connecting pin is facing up so take a sec to look before jamming it into the drone.
If you’re on Android, you would have to download the DJI Fly app from the Google Play store. If it doesn’t show up on your search, then your device is probably not compatible. I couldn’t find mine in the store so I went ahead to DJI’s site to download and install the sideline. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as well. My phone is not compatible. So, before you waste your time complaining, just check the compatible devices right from the website first. On Apple devices, as long as you’re using the iPhone 8 or later and running on newer software, you should be fine.
Once you have that, you can go ahead and connect the data cable to the controller and your phone and then mount it at the bottom of the controller like so. My 6-inch phone was in a bit of an uncomfortable position with this one. You most likely would have to take off whatever phone casing you have on too.
Since we have everything ready now, let’s get flying. Ever driven a car or ridden a motorcycle before? Do you remember the jerk movement you got when you moved it for the first time? You probably thought you had to press down harder on the pedal or turn the knob quickly, right? Well, that’s how it is with the drone too. With the slight movement you make to the controls, you would see results in the drone’s movement.
For the specs, the drone’s 12MP camera sits on a 3-axis gimbal. It shoots 2.7K video and weighs 0.55lbs (249 g). for this weight, you wouldn’t need to register your drone with the local government in places such as the United States. The drone is reported to withstand winds of 29 to 38 kilometers per hour.
The drone is rated to move at an altitude of 4km away from the controller with a clear line of sight. Meaning, no obstacles, no buildings or trees, whatsoever. We got ours a bit high up though, just high enough for us. You see that dot over there? Well, that’s the drone.
It has sensors all around to help prevent, correction, to help minimize crashes. I know if you try to catch it in mid-air, it would just fly up. So, if for some reason you don’t have a place to land it. Say, you’re on a boat, at sea or something, then one way to get the drone safely is to catch it of course. For that you would have to be swift and careful, cos the propellors can cut you.
When starting the drone though, you can use the app or what I like to do is, drive the joysticks towards each other at the center. And that will get the propellers spinning. Note that I’m shooting at a slower shutter speed so you may think they aren’t spinning fast enough, but they are. The left side controls the altitudes and turns. So forward moves the drone up, left and right spins the drone along its axis and then back brings the drone down. For the right, it controls forward and backwards movements and then movement to the side and sides.
Oh yeah, there are a few drone rules and laws you have to obey of course. Don’t fly around people’s houses and rooms, with the intention of spying on them and what not.
Also keep a lookout for birds, especially hawks and eagles. Those creatures respect their boundaries and they don’t want anything flying within their territories.
So, for a starting price of GHc 3,500, should you buy this? Well, just like everything else, there are pros and cons. The pros include a budget price and a smaller body for easy carry. For the cons, well, there’s the smaller battery life and a shorter range from the controller. Of course, there are other things are well, but I feel I would be nitpicking if I go into those too much.
My advice is, if you’re just getting into the drone flying business and you want a drone to start with, which you would not be doing any crazy and wild shots with, then this is the one for you. But, if you’re looking to fly further, and get more resolution from the sensor, then you may want to look into the DJI Mini 2. Yes, it cost about twice the price of this, but that may look more appealing to such people.