DJI’s First ‘Budget’ Drone – the DJI Mini SE Review

DJI’s first foray into the budget cinematographic drone scene – but you may not be able to buy one.

DJI is without a doubt one of if not the best drone manufacturers on the market. Consistently DJI have released new products constantly one-upping their previous flagship drones and forcing the rest of the market to catch up each time they do so. It has gotten to the point that most drones nowadays look rather suspiciously similar to the iconic DJI Mavic series, the successor to the legendary DJI Phantom lineup.

The Chinese drone giant’s products have never been cheap, and budding drone cinematographic enthusiasts who wish to pick up an official DJI drone can expect to pay upwards of £500 at least for an entry-level DJI Mavic Mini, although for the crème-de-la-crème DJI Mavic Pro line-up, you are looking more like upwards of £1000. 

Da-Jiang Innovations has, as a result, had a change of heart and wishes to start releasing more affordable options to enthusiasts – meaning you no longer have to gamble on an AliExpress drone from a particularly dodgy brand, as DJI is attempting to enter the ‘budget’ drone market – but still expect to pay at least £300… Oh and that’s right, it might not be available in your market either. 

DJI Mini SE Specs

  • 1/2.3in CMOS sensor  
  • Max photo resolution: 12MP
  • Max video resolution: 2.7K 
  • Max speed: 46.8 kph
  • 3-axis gimbal 
  • Photo mode: Single Shot and Interval 
  • Photo resolutions: 4:3 4000×3000 16:9 4000×2250 
  • Video resolutions: 2.7K: 2720×1530 25/30p FHD: 1920×1080 25/30/50/60p 
  • QuickShot modes: Dronie, Circle, Helix, and Rocket 
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3 bracketed frames at 2/3 EV Bias 
  • Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Dimensions (unfolded): 159×203×56mm
  • Take-off weight: 242g

The brand new DJI Mini SE has officially launched, retailing for $299, which makes it roughly £215. This is great news for those who wish to enter the world of cinematographic drones but don’t have an extra kidney to sell, as at £215 this makes it a very attractive and affordable price. However, DJI has made the strange decision to not release it in either USA or Europe. 

Instead, the new DJI Mini SE will only be available, for the time being, in a select few countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Singapore and ofcourse the company’s motherland, China. 

This comes as an unfortunate blow, as I am sure the new budget drone’s offerings of a 12MP camera on a 3-axis gimbal, boasting a maximum resolution of 2.7k@30fps all in a 249g weight and with a 4km range would have been very popular amongst US and European based drone enthusiasts. 

It seems that the official reason why DJI chose not to release the new affordable drone to the USA or Europe is due to it being “a specialized product tailored for entry-level drone pilots in markets where consumer drone use is emerging”. In other words, those in countries with potentially more moneybags will have to settle for the DJI Mavic Mini 2 price if they want something slightly more affordable than the Mavic Pro lineup. 

We can only hope that DJI sees eventually how big the budget drone could be in European and US markets, as there are currently plenty of users who for the same price, pick up a sketchy off-band drone on sites like AliExpress, and get questionable quality for the low money spent. 

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