the Mini SE vs Mini 2 vs Mini 2 SE



So that you’re seeking to purchase a drone, and your finances is lower than $500. You don’t need an inexpensive toy drone — you desire a high quality digicam drone that’s dependable, easy-to-use, secure and nonetheless has share-worthy picture high quality. On the subject of drones in that worth vary, actually just one drone maker delivers: DJI. Of the DJI drones below $500 in the marketplace now, your choices are the DJI Mini SE, DJI Mini 2 and the DJI Mini 2 SE.

Right here’s a breakdown of all three DJI drones below $500, and a comparability that will help you discover one of the best drone for you:

What DJI drones below $500 are on the market?

DJI has created had a handful of drones below $500. These in manufacturing and accessible new from the manufacturing unit now are the DJI Mini SE, DJI Mini 2 and the DJI Mini 2 SE.

You may have the ability to discover others which have since gone out of manufacturing, such because the DJI Mini, but it surely’ll doubtless be both used or from a third-party reseller. There’s additionally the now out-of-production, and really short-lived DJI Spark, which debuted at simply $499. DJI can be affiliated with one other less-than-$100 drone known as the Tello, which is made by a companion firm known as Ryze utilizing DJI components. And positive, you may also have the ability to purchase one in all DJI’s fancier, normally $1,000 drones used for below $500, however perceive the dangers of shopping for used drones.

The entire DJI drones on this information (the DJI Mini SE, DJI Mini 2 and the DJI Mini 2 SE) weigh lower than 250 grams. Drones below 250 grams are a giant deal as a result of many forms of federal drone laws don’t apply to drones of that dimension (within the U.S., drones below 250 grams don’t have to be registered with the FAA for leisure operations and don’t have to be Distant ID compliant). That makes drone-flying extra handy for worldwide vacationers who’re extra doubtless free to fly abroad, with out having to get registered or licensed in a spot they is likely to be visiting for just some days.

After all, it additionally means these drones are simply small and light-weight, making it way more handy to take out on a hike or anyplace else the place portability is necessary.

Right here’s a historical past of a number of the DJI drones below $500, each previous and current:

Sally French, The Drone Girl, rates the best DJI drones under $500. That includes the DJI Mini, which launched in 2020.
Sally French, The Drone Lady, with the unique DJI Mini in 2020.


The primary drone we ever noticed on this class was the Mavic Mini, debuted in 2019 for an incredibly low $399. On the time, DJI had actually been focusing in any other case on its Mavic drones, which usually value greater than $1,000. The following closest drone to the Mini on the time was the Mavic Air, which nonetheless began at a hefty $919. The Mavic Mini has since gone out of manufacturing, however DJI now producers a really comparable drone: the DJI Mini SE.

The DJI Mini SE launched in June 2021 and is basically a slightly-modified model of the now out-of-production Mavic Mini. It goes for an even-cheaper $299.

Its digicam nonetheless has a decently-large 1/2.3-inch CMOS. Picture high quality is sweet, although not nice, taking stills as much as 12 MP and video at 2.7K.

Whereas its physique continues to be far stronger than an inexpensive toy drone — as we’ll talk about later within the comparisons — it’s not fairly as highly effective as the opposite DJI drones below $500. Its max horizontal pace is 13 m/s (versus 16 m/s for many opponents) and has a most flight time of simply half-hour (versus 38-51 minutes for some opponents).

At simply $299, it’s the most affordable one of many bunch.

DJI Mini 2 drone

DJI Mini 2

The DJI Mini 2 launched in November 2020 for $449, turning into the primary DJI drone of that dimension and worth level to supply 4K video. It packs in 12-megapixel photos and a most video decision of 4K/30fps @100 Mbps.

It makes use of OcuSync 2.0, which is a transmission expertise developed by DJI and utilized in lots of its different drones, is included into the Mini 2 (it was not used within the unique DJI Mavic Mini). Not like the Mavic Mini, it doesn’t depend on Wi-Fi, thus it has a much more dependable connection.

Apart from higher digicam and a extra dependable connection, the Mini 2 provides one other necessary enchancment: it’s extra sturdy in tough situations with the power to face up to winds as much as 24mph (up from simply 18 mph beforehand).

Learn extra: DJI Mini 3 vs. Mini 2: which drone is healthier?

Buy the DJI Mini 2 beginning at simply $449 now from:

DJI Mini 2 SE

DJI Mini 2 SE

In February 2023, DJI introduced the DJI Mini 2 SE. At $369, it’s primarily a stripped-down model of the aforementioned DJI Mini 2.

The largest downgrade within the SE versus the unique DJI Mini 2 is decrease video high quality. It delivers 2.7K video, which a reasonably critical downgrade from 4K video. However for stills, it’s principally the identical — and the drone nonetheless has that very same 1/2.3-inch CMOS with 12MP of efficient pixels.

Take into account it the proper steadiness between ease of use, reliability, and affordability. Although, you received’t have the ability to purchase this one simply but. It received’t go on sale till March 22, 2023.

DJI Mini 3 Pro
Sally French, The Drone Lady, critiques the DJI Mini 3 Professional in Might 2022.

An honorable point out: the DJI Mini 3

I do wish to give an honorable point out to the DJI Mini 3, which launched on the finish of 2022. It prices $559, which places it above the factors to rank in finest DJI drones below $500.

Nevertheless, it may get below $500 — sort of. DJI will promote you the Mini 3 for simply $469 in the event you decide out of the controller. You’ll desire a controller someway, so this selection actually solely works in case you have a controller, doubtless from proudly owning a earlier mannequin of a DJI drone. You may also simply come by a controller in a state of affairs the place the drone itself broke (or flew right into a tree) however the controller continues to be good.

With a 1/1.3-inch CMOS and 12 MP of efficient pixels, this has the highest-quality digicam of the bunch. There’s additionally a downward imaginative and prescient system and the DJI O2 transmission system. That’s not so good as the Mini 3’s large sibling, the Mini 3 Professional (that one provides a ahead, backward and downward imaginative and prescient system alongside DJI O3 transmission), but it surely’s fairly spectacular for the value level.

Learn extra: DJI Mini 3 vs. Mini 3 Professional: which drone is healthier?

Buy the DJI Mini 3 beginning at simply $469 (no controller) or $559 with controller now from:

Evaluating all of the DJI drones below $500

Now that you simply’ve gotten an summary of all three (nicely, possibly 4 relying in your accounting) DJI drones below $500, let’s put them aspect by aspect to raised perceive their variations:

DJI Mini SE DJI Mini 2 SE DJI Mini 2 DJI Mini 3
Beginning worth (worth contains lowest-price controller) $299 $369 (goes on sale March 22, 2023) $449 $559 (or $469 in the event you don’t want a controller)
Takeoff Weight < 249 g < 249 g < 249 g < 249 g
Dimensions Folded (with out propellers): 138×81×58 mm (L×W×H)

Unfolded (with out propellers): 159×203×56 mm (L×W×H)

Folded (with out propellers): 138×81×58 mm (L×W×H)

Unfolded (with out propellers): 159×203×56 mm (L×W×H)

Folded (with out propellers): 138×81×58 mm (L×W×H)

Unfolded (with out propellers): 159×203×56 mm (L×W×H)

Folded (with out propellers): 148×90×62 mm (L×W×H)

Unfolded (with propellers): 251×362×72 mm (L×W×H)

Max Flight Time half-hour 31 minutes 31 minutes 38 minutes (with Clever Flight Battery)
51 minutes (with Clever Flight Battery Plus *)
Max Horizontal Velocity (at sea degree, no wind) 13 m/s 16 m/s 16 m/s 16 m/s
Max Ascent Velocity 4 m/s 5 m/s 5 m/s 5 m/s
Max Descent Velocity 3 m/s 3.5 m/s 3.5 m/s 3.5 m/s
Max Takeoff Altitude 3000m 4000m 4000m 4000m (or simply 3000m with Clever Flight Battery Plus)
Max Wind Velocity Resistance 10.7 m/s (Stage 5) 10.7 m/s (Stage 5) 10.7 m/s (Stage 5) 10.7 m/s (Stage 5)
Picture Sensor 1/2.3-inch CMOS 1/2.3-inch CMOS 1/2.3-inch CMOS 1/1.3-inch CMOS
Efficient Pixels 12 MP 12 MP 12 MP 12 MP
Video 2.7K HD 2.7K HD 4K HD 4K HDR
Video Transmission System Enhanced Wi-Fi DJI O2 OcuSync 2.0 DJI O2

Clearly the DJI Mini 3 is one of the best of the bunch in the event you don’t think about the price. However for folk who prioritize saving cash, then it won’t essentially be one of the best.

If you happen to’re a videographer, it’s best to at the very least go for the Mini 2 over the Mini 2 SE. The Mini 2 SE’s 2.7K video is a reasonably critical downgrade from 4K video on the Mini 2. If you happen to can afford to go simply above the $500 threshold, go for the DJI Mini 3. There, you’ll discover the bigger sensor to supply even-higher picture high quality. (If you happen to’re superb going over-budget, you may even think about the DJI Mini 3 Professional versus the Mini 3, because it provides even higher picture high quality, together with 48 MP versus 12, and 150 Mbps Max video bitrate versus simply 100).

Then once more, in the event you solely care about aerial pictures and don’t take movies, then you definitely may as nicely save the $80 and simply get the DJI Mini 2 SE versus the DJI Mini 2.

If you happen to’re in search of the finest DJI drone below $400, go for the DJI Mini 2 SE over the DJI Mini SE. Whereas each have comparable cameras, the Mini 2 SE is much extra highly effective than the Mini SE by way of the physique itself. It could possibly face up to stronger winds, it flies sooner, it’s able to taking off in increased altitudes, and its transmission system is much extra dependable than merely Wi-Fi because of using DJI O2. Principally, it’s far much less doubtless your drone will crash or fly away. For most folk, that reliability is value paying the additional $70 for.

If you happen to’re merely in search of the most affordable potential drone, then the DJI Mini SE can be just right for you. The DJI Mini SE is sweet in the event you match into one of many following molds:

  • You’re model new to drones and don’t wish to decide to one thing you’re not completely sure about.
  • You’re flying in quite simple environments like open fields over comparatively brief distances (nicely inside your line of sight).
  • You are taking pictures, not movies. Or in the event you do take movies, picture high quality just isn’t a precedence (e.g. you’re filming for small cellphone screens, quite than giant TV screens).

Which DJI drone below $500 do you advocate? Are there different components people ought to think about when selecting an entry-level DJI drone? Share your ideas and experiences within the feedback under!