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Is DJI Marketing talking to engineering at all???
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fans273d858a
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Feels like the DJI Mavic Mini was created by engineering for a specific purpose, and then marketing decided on something else once the product was ready to market.

Clearly, engineering wanted to create the lightest possible drone (below 250g requiring registration) in a shape of a Mavic series, with great battery life and great range.

However, when looking at the marketing/adverts, it now seems to be targeted as:

  • Something for beginners
  • Something to carry around for some casual drone footage
  • Something fun to use
  • Something to fly low and close to action/people, so safe
  • To be the everyday flycam...


If marketing had spoken to engineering from the start, and decision was to create a drone for beginners and casual flying, I think the Mavic Mini would have had:

  • As many sensors as possible to make the drone as safe to fly as possible, for beginners, and low altitude casual flying (e.g. between trees or close to people). I don't really get why my Mavic 2 Pro (not targeted at beginners at all, and usually flying quite high, not close to obstacles) has so many sensors, and why a beginner drone wouldn't have any. Clearly, Skydio have understood their market better.
  • If many sensors (or bigger processor) couldn't be accomodated in the 249g weight, then they would have sold it with a smaller battery (like in Japan), to same some weight. I am not sure beginners or casual flying really requires 30 min of flying, at the expense of safety
  • Would be been useable without a separate controller, from a smart phone, for some casual short-range shooting (carrying as little as possible). Again, the DJI Mavic Air or Spark are usable with a just smartphone (with much smaller range, but probably fine for casual flying)


I find quite annoying also that artificial limitations have been imposed, just for marketing reasons:

  • Active Track not available (whereas some of the special shots like dronie do use it, so it's not a hardware/software issue). Again, that sort of features seem to be more relevant to a casual drone flying close to action, so very relevant to a Mavic Mini. Again, Skydio are focusing on automation, tracking etc.
  • Resolution limited to 2.7K instead of 4k. Official position from DJI is that it's a heat dissipation issue. My Osmo Pocket has basically the same gimbal and camera, and can shoot at 4k. Probably more issues with heat on a pocket camera than a drone with many vents... Arguably, it's just a technical point. I have read that special effects on big budget movies are not even rendered in 4k. I don't think 4K makes any difference until people have a wall-size screen in their house, 10 years from now.


Thoughts?
11-2 02:23
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EdM
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Would have probably doubled the price.
11-2 04:56
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El Diabolico
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Amen... The sensors (or rather the lack of) bother me the most. This drone should be about flying without worrying, not having to be stressed every time you fly it.
11-2 15:07
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Mavic57pro2
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Its only £350 !
11-2 15:36
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HereForTheBeer
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you have it backward, usually what happens both marketing and engineering are informed of something and some goals.. engineering creates a product and marketing then takes over to sell it to us the rest of h way.  its frustrating on all ends because communication between departments in most companies is pretty terrible. i never worked in marketing, my GF however has before and she can go on and on about this.

lack of sensors was likely because it got in the way of one of the 4 top priority goals..  

1. 249 grams weigth limit.

2. 30 minute battery life

3. being as simple as simple gets.   

4. being "affordable".

if you want my vote i think it got in the way of 30 minute battery.  adding sensors would require more powerful and possibly more power hungry system on chip or even extra asic and hardware to calculate and potentially would create more heat and would need more cooling as well.   you be surprised how much extra power that stuff consumes.. probably be looking at closer to 20 minutes of flight time if it had to do all extra processing as well

i dont think would costed too much money to add pinhole cameras or IR blasters and receivers into this drone and up the CPU a bit to calculate it and cool it off.  i think could been done specially with IR since would have lowest requirement hardware wise and IR diodes and receivers can be found for stupid cheap.. fractions of a penny each part.   pinhole cameras a couple pennies each wholesale lot value depending on the quality..

i also do not think weight was a direct concern with avoidance systems either.. couple grams can be recovered shaving more materials or consolidating more parts without further compromising. im sure if they were tasked for 239 gram mavic mini they could do it then add in 10 grams of sensors. i think all comes back onto power draw
11-2 16:00
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The_Pedro
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The way I see it the lack of 4k, raw photos and chosen price point clearly position the Mavic Mini as a Drone for beginners.
Regarding safety I'd argue that the cage included in the fly more bundle is a far better addition than the front sensors in my Mavic Pro, which was my beginner drone. So far I've had no use for the sensors, other than the added peace of mind in case of a lost connection and subsequent automatic RTH. I agree that it shouldn't be marketed as something safe to fly near people, but no drone should, sensors or not.

I would love to have one of these as an everyday flycam... but the laws here are tricky.
You need an aerial images permission from the Air Force for every camera enabled flight. (even if you're just flying FPV)
This means I always have to plan a week ahead, rendering it useless to have a drone with me at all times.
11-2 16:03
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CemAygun
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I was very surprised when I learned that something constantly advertised as being exceptionally small (it is even in the name) can only be used with a remote that is as big as itself. That basically cuts the potability in half, let alone it's impact on ease and speed of deployment for casual, everyday use.

Seems like an incredible beginner drone though...
11-2 20:24
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HereForTheBeer
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CemAygun Posted at 11-2 20:24
I was very surprised when I learned that something constantly advertised as being exceptionally small (it is even in the name) can only be used with a remote that is as big as itself. That basically cuts the potability in half, let alone it's impact on ease and speed of deployment for casual, everyday use.

Seems like an incredible beginner drone though...

i think the controller size is totally okay i mean yea it can take away from portability a bit.   i think the real issues is dji over simplified it somewhat i think?  i mean the middle area looks weird without anything there, no buttons or flight mode switch or anything..
11-2 20:50
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HereForTheBeer Posted at 11-2 20:50
i think the controller size is totally okay i mean yea it can take away from portability a bit.   i think the real issues is dji over simplified it somewhat i think?  i mean the middle area looks weird without anything there, no buttons or flight mode switch or anything..

That also attracted my attention. Funny enough Mini has a sports mode. Don't know why they removed the sports switch, or the pause button for that matter (which saved my Air couple of times at least), especially on a beginner drone.

By the way I also think the controller size is perfect. Having to use it is what surprised me. Being able to fly with the phone only would have been a great option for a drone this size
11-2 22:08
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AntDX316
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No follow me activetrack is pretty crazy.  It's amazing on the Spark.
11-3 00:16
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KREMi
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agree it's software limitation to kill it before even  come to market
atm it's way overpriced - as they limit it's possibilities so much, it's not worth it... maybe 250$/299$ would be ok
1. should be travel drone, yet those 2 versions: one You can't fly legally (5.8 only), other 2,4+5,8 but so weak power.... also not user friendly)
2. photo drone - and no panorama? Not asking 360 from start, but cmon... at last horizontal one should be possible
3. tracking is possible in some modes, yet not possible in normal flight?...
4. no info about will it be compatibile with SDK (litchi, etc)
5. that 2,7k only and lower bitrate - would accept it if other points were ok, but with all this fails... NO
6. as controller is even simpler - why did they still keep it's bulky size... :/ would prefer something even smaller if we go mini
7. not sure it losing part of power after reaching less then 40% of battery, or that were beta bugs (a lot of reviews got such problems) so let's wait and see

good things are flight time, size of drone  - that's it

11-3 03:33
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It’s all about the weight, with that said I think the only thing they could have done to add all the features you described was a smaller battery which would have reduced flight time. A mavic mini with obstacle avoidance with say 20 minute flight time would have been fine?
11-3 04:07
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nywrecker
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The original poster has very valid points.
11-3 05:20
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KlooGee
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CemAygun Posted at 11-2 22:08
That also attracted my attention. Funny enough Mini has a sports mode. Don't know why they removed the sports switch, or the pause button for that matter (which saved my Air couple of times at least), especially on a beginner drone.

By the way I also think the controller size is perfect. Having to use it is what surprised me. Being able to fly with the phone only would have been a great option for a drone this size

Anything extra that moves (like a sport mode switch) increases the costs.  Not only does the extra switch add manufacturing costs, but it also adds warranty and support related costs.

And of course, for a $400 entry level drone, keeping costs down is imperative.  

In relation to the size of the RC, I think once it starts getting much smaller, the ergonomics start to get less comfortable.  Keep in mind that it essentially has to stay roughly "phone size" as well due to it needing to hold an actual phone.  Maybe they could go a bit slimmer though?
11-3 05:52
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KlooGee
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fans273d858a said:
"Clearly, engineering wanted to create the lightest possible drone (below 250g requiring registration) in a shape of a Mavic series, with great battery life and great range."
That sounds much more like a marketing goal statement to me than it does an engineering statement.

fans273d858a said:
"If many sensors (or bigger processor) couldn't be accomodated in the 249g weight, then they would have sold it with a smaller battery (like in Japan), to same some weight. I am not sure beginners or casual flying really requires 30 min of flying, at the expense of safety"

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are proposing, but I don't see how that would work.  I believe the Japanese version with the smaller battery has an estimated 18min flight time.  Then you add the additional weight of the obstacle avoidance cameras and processing chips, that flight time will drop dramatically.  Then take into account the power consumption on top of that and you get horrendous battery life.

fans273d858a said:
"Would be been useable without a separate controller, from a smart phone, for some casual short-range shooting (carrying as little as possible). Again, the DJI Mavic Air or Spark are usable with a just smartphone (with much smaller range, but probably fine for casual flying)"

I remember when the Spark first came out.  Its base package did not include a controller.  The controller only came with the Fly More package.  I don't think very many people found the phone only (no controller) experience to be very enjoyable or useful.  It was after too many months when DJI started giving away the controller with the drone only option because of this...  I think DJI learned well from that experience and adjusted for the Mini.  But that is just my perception.  

I do find it annoying that DJI artificially has limited the software in many aspects, but I'm not surprised at all.  The Spark was capable of much more than they allowed it to do as well.

I personally don't think we'll see the 2.7K ever get upgraded to 4K (due to marketing reasons, not engineering reasons), but I'm optimistic that they'll add active track and manual video settings with future firmware updates.
11-3 06:40
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KlooGee Posted at 11-3 05:52
Anything extra that moves (like a sport mode switch) increases the costs.  Not only does the extra switch add manufacturing costs, but it also adds warranty and support related costs.

And of course, for a $400 entry level drone, keeping costs down is imperative.  

I agree with cost considerations, and DJI obviously did a great job bringing the price down. I just could not understand the lack of a pause button on a drone with quick shots and no sensors. It seems to be the most crucial thing to have, unless of course there are other fast ways to cancel the the quick shots or the RTH in case of an emergency. We will see when the drone comes out.

I also agree with the remote size; even though I have small hands, I would not want the controller any smaller. I know there are not many of us, but I personally find a lot of use for the remoteless, phone only flight. Lack thereof it, and how that affects the portability (in contradiction with the craft size) was my point...

Anyways, I am sure this drone will make a lot of people very happy

Cheers,


11-3 17:20
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BumblerBee
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My first reaction when getting news of Mavic Mini was "yes, I want this one!" Below 250g opens up a lot of possibilities, not to speak that its form was promising some of the benefits of a true Mavic.

By its look alone, those two black dots on its front told me that there were forward sensors. And I kind of assumed 4K

Then I went to the forums looking for detail. No forward sensors mean that it's not much better than Tello (which I have and enjoy flying low and "dangerous"). The need for a controller is baffling, I agree. No such requirement in Tello (though I went on buying GameSir T1S for it) and even on my Mavic Pro I can switch into Wi-Fi mode (used that on a couple of occasions).

All in all, I think I am going to hedge. My Mavic Pro (the original that I bought over 2 years ago) is quieter at close quarters for cinematic needs, flying with the AirScrew props, while Tello covers the niche for just-for-fun quick flights.

If I am not mistaken, DJI will come with a below 250g drone with a bit more functionality as technology continues to develop (and I wouldn't mind 10 minutes less of flight time if it means making the battery smaller or the power draw larger - never leave your home without a couple of spare batteries, anyway!)

I see Skydio was mentioned. It's, indeed, a beautiful piece of engineering, though its still in quite a large form factor. But the real downside to it, is that it's only sold in just one small corner of the world - the US - while DJI is global!
11-4 07:09
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KlooGee
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CemAygun Posted at 11-3 17:20
I agree with cost considerations, and DJI obviously did a great job bringing the price down. I just could not understand the lack of a pause button on a drone with quick shots and no sensors. It seems to be the most crucial thing to have, unless of course there are other fast ways to cancel the the quick shots or the RTH in case of an emergency. We will see when the drone comes out.

I also agree with the remote size; even though I have small hands, I would not want the controller any smaller. I know there are not many of us, but I personally find a lot of use for the remoteless, phone only flight. Lack thereof it, and how that affects the portability (in contradiction with the craft size) was my point...

I'm assuming the pause button will just be a soft button in the DJI Fly interface similar to what DJI Go 4 also has when in an automated flight mode.  It's convenient to have a hard button when in a panic, but honestly, I usually just use the soft button.  So for me personally, its a non-issue.

I'm excited to play with it next week, but its certainly not perfect.

I'd just love to see what DJI could do with a tiny little drone like that if they didn't hold themselves back for marketing and price reasons.  
11-4 07:16
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I’m not entirely sure your way of marketing would or is any better than what is already out there.

Sensors for beginners, well it’s probably useless to fit front sensors as Murphy’s law would see it crashing backwards side wards etc, so unless you put minimum 8 sensors, two will make no difference.

You will often see members here offering advice which appears sound to newbies, go out and buy a toy drone learn to fly it and you will have a lot less problems flying your expensive drone.
So toy drones with no sensors which can only be flown at low altitude and are basically harmless seem like a good idea.

If it had sensors all over ala skydio it would be 5 times the size, you would have to carry it around in a fairly big backpack it would cost 5 times the price and you would learn nothing about controlling a drone and most likely spend 90% of your time doing selfie videos that absolutely no one wants to watch.

I’m not to sure that AT won’t be available in future updates, 2.7k is pretty good at this price range and 1080p 60fps, again both of these are quite suitable for beginners.

Any new “pilot” will learn a lot more from this drone than he would ever from a skydio which is really a one trick pony, it’s basically an over priced mirror you can go daily to to find out who is the fairest of them all .
11-4 08:11
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hallmark007 Posted at 11-4 08:11
I’m not entirely sure your way of marketing would or is any better than what is already out there.

Sensors for beginners, well it’s probably useless to fit front sensors as Murphy’s law would see it crashing backwards side wards etc, so unless you put minimum 8 sensors, two will make no difference.

I 100% agree about getting a cheap no-frills drone to really learn how to fly.   Any drone operator should learn these skills regardless of how fancy of a drone they have.  

However, I disagree with the "one trick pony" comment for the Skydio.  I really think that the people who think that way are being short sided on the possibilities the vision system opens up.   With a controller, this will be able to be used in most of the same use cases that nearly any other drone can be used in addition to the new use cases the vision system opens up.  I think in the future, drones like the current DJI/Autel/Parrot drones will be the ones viewed as "one trick ponies".  
11-6 07:35
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KlooGee Posted at 11-6 07:35
I 100% agree about getting a cheap no-frills drone to really learn how to fly.   Any drone operator should learn these skills regardless of how fancy of a drone they have.  

However, I disagree with the "one trick pony" comment for the Skydio.  I really think that the people who think that way are being short sided on the possibilities the vision system opens up.   With a controller, this will be able to be used in most of the same use cases that nearly any other drone can be used in addition to the new use cases the vision system opens up.  I think in the future, drones like the current DJI/Autel/Parrot drones will be the ones viewed as "one trick ponies".

I’ve seen very few demos using RC so skydio seem to be selling hard as an auto drone, for a price in around $1200\1300 it comes with a very second rate controller almost an after thought a borrowed controller from a drone no longer for sale.
I suspect skydio did this to save costs, I only hope the lack of demonstrations of footage using RC is not because of some problems, yes they have really pushed hard how good the camera is, but if I watch any company display great footage it’s usually down to heavy editing, so we won’t know how camera really is until we see general user footage.
I have watched footage from auto usage by you tubers and it looks good, but using auto feature without RC skydio nearly always has subject in one corner of the frame and has great difficulty keeping subject centered , not sure why this is, we also have seen very little of how connection works in demos , I wonder why, but if signal is not great when flying with RC then a one trick pony it might be.
In the real world skydio1 had many problems and it’s one biggest success was it was almost impossible to crash but had great problems getting stuck behind obstacles.

In a world were drones are becoming more compact and travel is a huge selling point, skydio has decided to basically ignore this because it seems to see its future is in Active Track, I wonder if another company was to make a compact drone with as many sensors would skydio end up like karma.

As of now we have seen very little of how the drone operates with RC how reliable signal is, how it works in the wind (remember skydio had big trouble with wind) I also wonder why we have seen so little demos with RC, but let’s wait and see when it demos with general users .
11-6 08:32
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djicheaha
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Good discussion. I look forward to reports on "user" experiences once in hand next week. I ordered the MM Combo and will use it to compliment my MA (6 batteries) for a fun afternoon flying with my nephew, taking closeup pictures and videos of our drones in flight, etc. Safe flying.
11-6 09:57
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hallmark007 Posted at 11-6 08:32
I’ve seen very few demos using RC so skydio seem to be selling hard as an auto drone, for a price in around $1200\1300 it comes with a very second rate controller almost an after thought a borrowed controller from a drone no longer for sale.
I suspect skydio did this to save costs, I only hope the lack of demonstrations of footage using RC is not because of some problems, yes they have really pushed hard how good the camera is, but if I watch any company display great footage it’s usually down to heavy editing, so we won’t know how camera really is until we see general user footage.
I have watched footage from auto usage by you tubers and it looks good, but using auto feature without RC skydio nearly always has subject in one corner of the frame and has great difficulty keeping subject centered , not sure why this is, we also have seen very little of how connection works in demos , I wonder why, but if signal is not great when flying with RC then a one trick pony it might be.

Yep, wifi is definitely going to be its potential constraint for the controller just like it is for all non-ocusync devices (Mavic Air/Mini, Anafi, etc).  But just to be clear, the controller is the same as the Anafi and it is still very much in use and in the marketplace with the Anafi.

I personally think it was the right strategy for a small startup company to use existing devices for the controller rather than having to expend all the resources (money, engineering time, manufacturing, etc) to build something that is already exists and is in the market.  

Hopefully with the next version, they put resources towards a new remote that can get past the limitations of Wifi.  If they could match the capability of the Autel Evo, that would be fantastic (although still not as good as OcuSync).
11-6 11:16
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KlooGee Posted at 11-6 11:16
Yep, wifi is definitely going to be its potential constraint for the controller just like it is for all non-ocusync devices (Mavic Air/Mini, Anafi, etc).  But just to be clear, the controller is the same as the Anafi and it is still very much in use and in the marketplace with the Anafi.

I personally think it was the right strategy for a small startup company to use existing devices for the controller rather than having to expend all the resources (money, engineering time, manufacturing, etc) to build something that is already exists and is in the market.  

I don’t think we will rightly know until we see it in the hands of general users, I haven’t seen 1 video on YT where there is a single con mentioned about this drone , except for some you tubers who don’t actually have one, which to say the least is a bit sketchy, skydio have not allowed you tubers to demonstrate how good signal is using only RC, yet I have already seen two videos demonstrate same with MM, I haven’t seen any reviewer speak of video profiles ie cine like d-log etc why?, this drone while it may do what it says on the tin has been sold to buyers through propaganda marketing and unless it’s perfect then they may have problems going forward.
A very simple obvious detail is short battery life for a drone this size, how if you want to film yourself mountain biking for 1 hour do you manage, carry 3 extra batteries and change every 15 minutes, yes the coverage will be great, but your mountain bike ride will be ruined, from what I have seen I still think this drone has its limitations and remember its highly unlikely that you will be allowed to video any sporting event with this drone unless you are in full control, and even then risk assessment will be massive, making it very much a selfie drone .
11-6 11:40
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KlooGee Posted at 11-3 05:52
Anything extra that moves (like a sport mode switch) increases the costs.  Not only does the extra switch add manufacturing costs, but it also adds warranty and support related costs.

And of course, for a $400 entry level drone, keeping costs down is imperative.  

Common man, the controller already exists in stripped down versions for the Spark and the Air. No great development cost. Also the drone is made in China so manufacturer costs are already low.

IMO, they made a marketing decision to have a Mavic Mini Pro with the added features in the near future and avoid canibalizing the Air. The Osmo Pocket has a similar sensor size and processor and shoots 4K no problems so the limited 2.7K is also artificial AND they could have added some basic front sensors and cut 5mn of flying time.

DJI should have a look at what is happening with the competition and the camera market. Nikon & Canon are making small incremental changes for years to their product lines and finally they paid the price as Sony is killing them (Nikon user here by the way). I believe DJI will soon have some serious competition and will also have to make some exponential changes. I have a gut feeling that the new M3P will be much better after Skydio 2...
11-7 04:49
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El Diabolico Posted at 11-7 04:49
Common man, the controller already exists in stripped down versions for the Spark and the Air. No great development cost. Also the drone is made in China so manufacturer costs are already low.

IMO, they made a marketing decision to have a Mavic Mini Pro with the added features in the near future and avoid canibalizing the Air. The Osmo Pocket has a similar sensor size and processor and shoots 4K no problems so the limited 2.7K is also artificial AND they could have added some basic front sensors and cut 5mn of flying time.

The funny thing is that everybody wants to look at a product design from one particular viewpoint.  The fact of the matter is that it is a 3-dimensional teeter-totter of variables that come together to define the end result of a product that makes it to the market.  Targeted price, costs, marketing, engineering, weight, battery life, features, etc, etc

I 100% agree that a large part of the design decisions that ultimately shaped the Mini was marketing purposes to slot it at the low end of their lineup and to not cannibalize other products.  I've said multiple times in multiple places that in my opinion, their choice to go with 2.7K on the Mini is 100% a marketing decision, not an engineering decision.

However, if you don't think that costs played a massive part of what we are getting with the Mini, I think you're absolutely crazy.  After their supply chain fraud that came to light over the past year as well as the fact that it is their entry level product, I would venture to say this product was probably their most tightly cost controlled drone they've ever released.

Each moving part increases the materials costs, increases the manufacturing complexity and the time to assemble  It will also significantly increase warranty and support costs again in both materials as well as time.  And yes, it is made in China and those items are much cheaper than if done in the US or Germany, but they are still real costs that a business has to balance in their design decisions.  

Keep in mind that here in the US (DJI's largest market), the Mini is still selling for $399 when every other one of their drones recently had huge price jumps due to the new tariffs.  With those tariffs, their margin is significantly smaller.

I would also argue that DJI very much looked at the competition in their design of the Mini.  Look no further than the Parrot Anafi.  Dead simple controller, no obstacle sensors, 25 minute flight time, non-quick change props, super light-weight, WiFi, etc, etc.  Sounds very much like the Mini, eh!?  Of course the big difference the Anafi has is 4K and 21MP vs. the Mini's 2.7K and 12MP.  But the Mini has the significant price advantage and <250g (which is of minimal benefit to most in reality).

I'm excited to see what the Mavic 3 will eventually look like.  I really think the Skydio 2 is the first drone that has really pushed DJI to have to innovate.  It will be great for all of us if the Mavic 3 does end up being much better as you speculate.

But first, I can't wait to play with my Mini here in a few days and then my Skydio 2 in a few weeks!

Cheers!
11-7 06:25
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KlooGee Posted at 11-7 06:25
The funny thing is that everybody wants to look at a product design from one particular viewpoint.  The fact of the matter is that it is a 3-dimensional teeter-totter of variables that come together to define the end result of a product that makes it to the market.  Targeted price, costs, marketing, engineering, weight, battery life, features, etc, etc

I 100% agree that a large part of the design decisions that ultimately shaped the Mini was marketing purposes to slot it at the low end of their lineup and to not cannibalize other products.  I've said multiple times in multiple places that in my opinion, their choice to go with 2.7K on the Mini is 100% a marketing decision, not an engineering decision.

First of all, I do follow your channel and I think your content is great.

However in this instance I will have o disagree regarding the cost. PROFIT yes, cost no.
Using exactly the same controller as on the already developed and amortized Spark / Air wouldn’t increase the cost more than making a new controller only for the Mini. The same applies to 2.7K vs 4K as you already acknowledged.

Regarding the sensors, a replacement part for the Spark costs 50$ on Amazon. That’s the retail price. Want to pass it to the final consumer? Fine with me, I’d rather pay 450$ than 399$ to get some peace of mind. The weight is 20-25gr in total and that was back in 2017 so I guess today they might have better options and again, I would gladly sacrifice 10mn flight time (smaller / lighter battery)  for 4K and front sensors.

Obviously this is my opinion and not everyone is obliged to agree. I wouldn’t also mind a Deluxe version that is above the 250gr limit as in EU it doesn’t gives us a huge advantage BUT would be a great addition to my camera bag when the M2P is too “big” for long distance hiking ;)
11-8 01:11
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El Diabolico Posted at 11-8 01:11
First of all, I do follow your channel and I think your content is great.

However in this instance I will have o disagree regarding the cost. PROFIT yes, cost no.

Not to sure why you need front sensors on this drone, I learned to fly drones without sensors I passed my test using atti mode, I’m not sure of the benefit in having a drone full of sensors so it cannot be crashed, this won’t help anyone fly , in fact it can curb the learning process, I can’t think of two times I have ever needed OA sensors and I always fly like I don’t have any.
Skydio may be the drone for people who don’t want to learn how to fly .
11-8 01:53
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I don't think people are going to learn how to fly a drone on a $400 drone. They would probably buy a $50 one without GPS and any automation.

Surely, if DJI is keen to keep selling drones, then they need to be as safe as possible, particularly for beginners, and I think they made a mistake on the mini.
11-8 06:43
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I don't mean to be overly critical but I find these complaints about the Mavic Mini somewhat annoying...

Phantom 2 Vision+ - $1259
Phantom 3 Standard - $499
Mavic Mini Fly-More - $499

The Mini bests the former two in EVERY category.  The Fly-More Combo is $499 & would be even less were it not for the tarriff situation.  Folks, it's an entry-level drone!  What is the point of Spark-style, forward-only, Obstacle Avoidance that works at 7 mph or less?  I keep OA disabled on my OA-models.  Spend 10 seconds properly setting the RTH altitude & you'll never have an issue!  Who cares about controlling the Mini from a phone at 100' max distance?  Are gimicky "wow" features like Gesture Control really of concern to most users?  

The Skydio is currently an unproven vapor product that costs $999 with a single battery & no controller.  If this is what you really desire, pony up, get in line, & pray sometime next year your Skydio arrives & performs as advertised.  By the time you add an RC, case, & a few extra batteries what have you spent?   I wish DJI made a drone that had every imaginable feature, a broadband RC/FPV connection, 360° obstacle avoidance at any speed, 60 minutes flight time per battery, & accepted voice commands so I could say "Drone, go get me a pepperoni pizza!" & off she goes to bring one home.  I wish I could get all that for $199, with three batteries, case, multi-charger, & ND filters!  

We have it so good now that we complain about the most ridiculous things & want everything for nothing.  If you want more features, buy a model that offers them!


11-8 08:28
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hallmark007 Posted at 11-8 01:53
Not to sure why you need front sensors on this drone, I learned to fly drones without sensors I passed my test using atti mode, I’m not sure of the benefit in having a drone full of sensors so it cannot be crashed, this won’t help anyone fly , in fact it can curb the learning process, I can’t think of two times I have ever needed OA sensors and I always fly like I don’t have any.
Skydio may be the drone for people who don’t want to learn how to fly .

My post has nothing to do with learning to fly it is about peace of mind.
The drone is quite small even when flying in line of sight.

For me the sensors play a big role when things aren't visible in my iPhone screen (like power cables, small branches, etc) and obviously when returning to home. new cars have anti-collision sensors for a reason. Humans tend to do mistakes, even the best fighter pilots do mistakes and crash. Here we are talking about the average Joe and we all know that it is extremely easy to crash a drone specially without any sensors. It only takes a little mistake or bad luck and don't forget that this drone is aimed to beginners and newcomers to the hobby.

One example where the sensors saved my M2P was when filming in Algarve. My drone was attacked by seagulls (believe it or not) and I only noticed this because the sensors were beeping like crazy. It was a hazy afternoon and I was flying close to the coast so I must have bothered a nest or something with the noise...

11-11 04:55
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El Diabolico Posted at 11-11 04:55
My post has nothing to do with learning to fly it is about peace of mind.
The drone is quite small even when flying in line of sight.

For things like power lines & small tree branches the current iteration of OA is ineffective, even on the more expensive drones.  I think many of us are drawn to the Mini for its excellent price-to-performance ratio.  Personally I find it's simplicity rather refreshing.  
11-11 14:06
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Dirty Bird Posted at 11-11 14:06
For things like power lines & small tree branches the current iteration of OA is ineffective, even on the more expensive drones.  I think many of us are drawn to the Mini for its excellent price-to-performance ratio.  Personally I find it's simplicity rather refreshing.

Hello there, I have a different experience flying the M2P through the woods. Obviously it doesn't 'read' the smallest branches but it works pretty well in back-light situations when the image on the phone isn't clear enough.

Regarding simplicity are you referring to the lack of the front sensors? Otherwise it does pretty much what every other DJI drone can do. The app is simpler, sure.
I believe the biggest mistake here from DJI's part is that they are targeting newcomers to drone flying assuming that a new operator doesn't need sensors as he will use the cage. In reality, I believe the majority of possible customers will come from the existing database (that is quite big already) and the majority are used to some features considered 'standard' on a DJI product today. For me, this is like taking away the ABS from my bike. Of course I can still go fast, I started riding in 1986 and doing track days on 1999 BUT I definetely feel more comfortable and safe knowing that the bike has my back in case I do a mistake...

11-12 01:30
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El Diabolico Posted at 11-12 01:30
Hello there, I have a different experience flying the M2P through the woods. Obviously it doesn't 'read' the smallest branches but it works pretty well in back-light situations when the image on the phone isn't clear enough.

Regarding simplicity are you referring to the lack of the front sensors? Otherwise it does pretty much what every other DJI drone can do. The app is simpler, sure.

That almost like you are saying that children or adults riding bikes would be better off keeping their stabilisers on , it definitely stops them from falling off.
It’s well known and if I’m not mistaken mentioned in your manual, Not to depend on sensors to save your drone, so in other words know where your flying before you fly, check that your RTh is above all obstacles in your flight path, if your a beginner fly in that mode you also have the completely safe option of using guards, in all my time flying I can only remember using OA once and that was on the back of the craft, in the woods it’s almost impossible to fly with them on because craft keeps stopping.
I think you give very little regard to new flyers I was one myself once and no OA didn’t hamper how I learned to fly, and when I got them it made very little difference to how I flew, We had the same alarmist saying if you hand caught the spark you would lose your fingers Never Happened and this was a newbie drone
11-12 01:59
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El Diabolico Posted at 11-12 01:30
Hello there, I have a different experience flying the M2P through the woods. Obviously it doesn't 'read' the smallest branches but it works pretty well in back-light situations when the image on the phone isn't clear enough.

Regarding simplicity are you referring to the lack of the front sensors? Otherwise it does pretty much what every other DJI drone can do. The app is simpler, sure.

I mean the Mini is back to drone basics.  I learned to fly RC way in the 70s.  We had no stabilized flight, no return to home, no telemetry or FPV.  No camera!  The Mini has all of these features & more, with incredible flight times, at a bargain price.  I drool imagining the Mini was available five years ago at the time I was spending $1259 on the P2 Vision+!  Frankly it's pretty incredible.

I disable the OA sensors during flight.  I have them enabled during RTH but I still set my RTH altitude appropriately so they never come into play.  Often I will disable the sensors entirely, hit RTH, then I use the stick & gimbal wheel to render the drone into a dolly cam of sorts.
11-12 08:05
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hallmark007 Posted at 11-12 01:59
That almost like you are saying that children or adults riding bikes would be better off keeping their stabilisers on , it definitely stops them from falling off.
It’s well known and if I’m not mistaken mentioned in your manual, Not to depend on sensors to save your drone, so in other words know where your flying before you fly, check that your RTh is above all obstacles in your flight path, if your a beginner fly in that mode you also have the completely safe option of using guards, in all my time flying I can only remember using OA once and that was on the back of the craft, in the woods it’s almost impossible to fly with them on because craft keeps stopping.
I think you give very little regard to new flyers I was one myself once and no OA didn’t hamper how I learned to fly, and when I got them it made very little difference to how I flew, We had the same alarmist saying if you hand caught the spark you would lose your fingers Never Happened and this was a newbie drone

Hallmark with you it always has to be black or white. in addition, no one is entitled to say anything against DJI or you feel 'personalty' offended...

1. Who said that I depend on the sensors to fly? Your words, not mine. What I said is that in many instances, having the front sensors like in the Spark can save your drone. Is that illogical in your mono-dimensional thinking? ...and obviously DJI will have a statement on the manual regarding liability, what do you expect?

2. So you never needed the sensors and they bothered you. GREAT, you are the best amateur drone operator in the planet. Others aren't so gifted as you and don't have the same sharp reflexes that you got after years and years of impeccable flying record. To make this clear: do you represent the majority of drone owners in the planet? Did someone voted you as our representative while I was away? Has your opinion a bigger weight than anyone's else?

3. Regarding catching drones I won't even go there. The majority of DJI drones are not made for catching them, they are made for landing them. Some folks got very used to do this and that is fantastic. big boys can risk a finger if they wish, their finger, their problem. I have a friend that can swallow a cigarette while lighted... cool trick. An alarmist would say that you could burn your mouth... he laughs at it.

So closing. I, as many others here, have the right to disagree with DJI's decisions regarding the Mini. the only thing I can do obviously is not buy it if I don't like it OR, buy it and take my chances if anything goes wrong. YOU, on the other hand, shouldn't go around criticizing INDIVIDUALS because of their opinion on DJI. We are all fans of DJI here so I don't need you to patronize me and actually and don't consent with it. You can give your opinion in a nice way if you wish but talking like a guru in the drone industry makes you look silly. You have been exposed multiple times by members with far more experience and intelligence than you. Don't start with me.
11-12 08:20
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Dirty Bird Posted at 11-12 08:05
I mean the Mini is back to drone basics.  I learned to fly RC way in the 70s.  We had no stabilized flight, no return to home, no telemetry or FPV.  No camera!  The Mini has all of these features & more, with incredible flight times, at a bargain price.  I drool imagining the Mini was available five years ago at the time I was spending $1259 on the P2 Vision+!  Frankly it's pretty incredible.

I disable the OA sensors during flight.  I have them enabled during RTH but I still set my RTH altitude appropriately so they never come into play.  Often I will disable the sensors entirely, hit RTH, then I use the stick & gimbal wheel to render the drone into a dolly cam of sorts.

That's great man BUT, how many hours of flying do you have under your belt? Can you really compare yourself with the average newcomer to the hobby? Problem is IMO that if anyone spends his 1st 400$ on a drone and crashes it after a few flights, chances are he will never buy a drone again. In my case and as I stated before, it is all about peace of mind, not replacing my skills or awareness. They should be there for the only time you need them.

I really hope DJI launches a Pro or Plus version of this drone with no weight limitation, 4K and sensors. That I could see taking on my photo bag instead of the Mavic for long hikes. As it is, I need to 'sacrifice' my 70-200mm f/4 every time to keep the total weight I am carrying while hikking below 6kg.

I salute you.
11-12 08:29
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We can't help that there are some people who are careless, spatially uncoordinated, or open the box & send a bird aloft without RTFM, but these birds are so simple to fly that flying one hardly warrants the designation of "pilot".  Let off the sticks & the bird stops & hovers, lose contact or press a button & she comes home, one doesn't even need to know how to take off & land!   Untold numbers of people took to the skies for the first time with a Phantom, Phantom 2, or Phantom 3.  All of those birds cost far more than the Mini, yet not one had obstacle avoidance.  Many of those older birds are still flying.  The Mini is an entry-level bird that costs only $500 in its Fly More iteration.  People who desire more advanced features like Obstacle Avioidance can opt for the more expensive models.   I don't want the entry-level Mini costing $200 more because they add in all kinds of extra features that don't get used.  It's like an affordable basic car gets fitted with 8 airbags, GPS navigation, & collision avoidance.  Suddenly that basic car isn't so affordable.  If someone wants a basic car they get one.  If they want a Cadillac they have to step up.  This is the Mini's niche.  It's not like there aren't options for folks who desire more features.

My very first drone flight with the Vision+...



11-12 09:10
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El Diabolico Posted at 11-12 08:20
Hallmark with you it always has to be black or white. in addition, no one is entitled to say anything against DJI or you feel 'personalty' offended...

1. Who said that I depend on the sensors to fly? Your words, not mine. What I said is that in many instances, having the front sensors like in the Spark can save your drone. Is that illogical in your mono-dimensional thinking? ...and obviously DJI will have a statement on the manual regarding liability, what do you expect?

Of course you have a right to disagree just like the rest of us, it doesn’t make you or I right, but it seems when reasons are pointed out to you you are completely steadfast in your ideas.
I never criticized you nor did I get personal nor did I say you shouldn’t have an opinion, but it appears that even though I purchased I should have less of an opinion than you for some unknown reason .

1/ as someone who own a spark still and follows its discussions on the forum here, you are completely wrong in saying spark has on many occasions been saved by OA, and if this was the case for any user he needs to very carefully look at how he flies, but it’s just not true and I would say that with all dji craft that OA is extremely occasionally called into play.

2/ You have a hard neck demeaning other dji users give them some credit, these drones are not beyond anyone and can be flown pretty easily, i for one have every faith in them, and those who think they can basically do what they want, it’s their drone and they will reap what they sow.

3/ it goes to show how little you actually know about spark, but I’ll explain , you can fly a spark without RC, in order to start the craft you must hold it in the palm of your hand while pressing back button 3 times this starts the motors and yes it’s designed to be done in the palm of your hand, so many were up in arms telling all that people would lose fingers because they got no guards with craft , well low and behold nobody has lost a finger yet .

11-12 09:20
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Dirty Bird Posted at 11-8 08:28
I don't mean to be overly critical but I find these complaints about the Mavic Mini somewhat annoying...

Phantom 2 Vision+ - $1259

I completely agree! My first drone was the Phantom 3 SE at $600 dollars... with all the extras, around $1000. It was a pain to carry around, the transmission was poor compared to the Mavic Mini, there was only GPS tracking and it was really bad. The position hold wasn't as precise as the Mavic Mini. etc. etc. etc. I could go on and on. Only the individuals who have owned previous DJI drones really appreciate the Mavic Mini, its capabilities, and the price point.

The ones that want obstacle avoidance are spoiled to think that that's the standard. We Phantom 3 Pilots never had sensors and we learned how to fly that way and honestly, it wasn't that difficult to learn even with the poor transmission of the Phantom 3 Line.

Phone control is an absolute joke. I never owned the Spark but I can't imagine flying the drone 100 ft max. It didn't really work and the controller is so much better. It takes like an extra minute to set up. Relax.

The only gripe I have is the fact that DJI didn't give us ActiveTrack. ActiveTrack should be the standard for these drones because it's, in my opinion, the most useful feature. Some others argued that this would cause too many crashes and too many people would make use of the DJI Care Refresh... well then DJI, make it so that the replacement cost for crashes using ActiveTrack are doubled... I don't care. Give us ActiveTrack. I've learned a lot from the time I spent with the Phantom 3 SE to understand the limitations of a feature and to safely plan out a flight in my head.

11-12 09:53
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