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About a year ago, I owned a DJI Mini 2, which I sold and decided to get the Air 2S. This will not be a comparison between the Mini 4 Pro and the Air 2S.
I loved the Mini 2 and could bring it anywhere I went to create memorable footage.
However, there were features that I wished it had, and several other pilots shared the same thought. DJI tried introducing these features in the Mini 3 Pro, which was and is still a great release.
But now DJI has knocked the Mini drone game out of the park with the new release, the DJI Mini 4 Pro.
In this review, I’ll share more about these drones, their similarities and differences, and why I prefer the Mini 4 Pro over the Mini 2.
DJI Mini 4 Pro Overview #
The DJI Mini 4 Pro is the latest release from DJI and the ultimate Mini drone at the moment.
Below is a highlight of its features.
- Two flight time options allow for a wide range of activities and are longer than those of previous drones.
- 360-degree obstacle avoidance for safer flight.
- A follow-me feature for creating stunning footage of outdoor activities.
- Vertical shooting mode for creating high-quality portrait shots.
- Weighs less than 250 grams, making it very portable.
- Advanced intelligent flight modes for creating stunning footage with ease.
- Improved transmission system for better performance for short and long-range flights.
- D-Log and HLG capability offer more room for post-processing.
- 1/1.3-inch sensor size, a decent size for a drone of this size.
» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro Review (Is It Worth to Upgrade?)
DJI Mini 2 Overview #
The DJI Mini 2 was one of the best Mini drones for a long time, offering a wide range of features while maintaining an ideal weight.
Even with the release of the Mini 3 Pro and the Mini 4 Pro, below are the features that would still make this drone a good option.
- High-quality maximum footage resolution for a drone its size at the time of release.
- Weight of less than 250 grams for portability.
- RAW and JPEG footage options depending on what you want to do with the footage.
- Intelligent flight modes like Quickshots and Panoramas for creating cinematic shots more easily.
- OcuSync 2.0, which offers decent connectivity for short-range flights.
- Basic safety features like vision sensors, GPS, and automatic RTH to ensure a safe flight.
- Compatibility with third-party apps thanks to the SDK availability.
» MORE: DJI Mini 2 Review
Quick Verdict #
The DJI Mini 4 Pro is the better drone of the two.
It combines all the features we wished all the other Mini drones had.
These features include ActiveTrack, Obstacle Avoidance, Waypoints, a larger sensor, and even added features like Vertical Shooting, Cruise Control, Waypoints, and Night Mode.
The DJI Mini 4 Pro and the DJI Mini 2 target the same audience: casual users looking for a drone that can do more without spending thousands of dollars, but the Mini 4 Pro comes with even more features.
While the Mini 4 Pro looks like it obliterates the DJI Mini 2, people with less than $500 looking for their first drone could still use it.
But if you can save up for the Mini 4 Pro, you’ll get much more for your dollars.
» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro – Initial Setup (Unboxing to First Flight with Video)
What are the differences? #
DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 2: What’s new?
As mentioned earlier, the DJI Mini 4 Pro is a much more upgraded version of the DJI Mini 2:
- Longer flight time – The DJI Mini 2 has a decent flight time, but the DJI Mini 4 Pro offers even more flight time with its two battery options.
- More flight modes – The Mini 4 Pro packs even more intelligent flight modes, some of which we previously only saw in more advanced drones like the Mavic 3 series drones.
- Upgraded flight modes – Besides adding new modes, the Mini 4 Pro also upgrades existing ones.
- Larger sensor – While the size difference isn’t that large, it still counts and shows that DJI may one day add an even bigger sensor without compromising the weight and design of the Mini drones.
- Vertical shooting mode – A feature we first saw in the Mini 3 Pro, it takes Mini drones to a whole new level, considering even more advanced drones don’t come with it.
» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mavic 3 Series (Here’s My Choice)
DJI Mini 4 Pro #
DJI has been upgrading their Mini line drones for a while now, and released in 2023, the DJI Mini 4 Pro is currently the pinnacle.
The Mini drones are designed to be compact, lightweight, and user-friendly, making them accessible to a broader audience, including beginners and recreational users.
These drones appeal to users who may not require the advanced features found in DJI’s higher-end models but still want a reliable and capable drone for capturing aerial footage.
» MORE: Does DJI RC Pro Work with Air 3 (Answered)
The reduced weight and compact design also make these drones fall within specific regulatory categories that may exempt them from more stringent requirements in some regions.
DJI started with the DJI Mini drone in 2019, and they have been on a constant ascent. At its peak, the Mini 4 Pro presents the most features we have seen in a drone.
DJI Mini 2 #
Released in 2020, we could regard the DJi Mini 2 as the Toyota Corolla of Mini drones.
It was not the first in the series; it came second, improving on the features of the first DJi Mini.
The camera, flight features, safety features, and ease of use are exactly what some drone users are looking for in a drone.
And despite DJI releasing other drones, the DJI Mini 2 is still considered a very reliable drone and a workhorse.
Head-to-Head Comparison #
Weight and Design #
As highlighted a few times, DJI did not change the weight when upgrading these drones. They both weigh less than 250 grams and feature a foldable design.
However, they did make the DJi Mini 4 Pro a few inches larger to accommodate the sensors and gimbal design, but not as big as the Air 2S, Air 3, or the Mavic 3 drones.
But the rest, including the flight ergonomics like speed, are similar. Both models will be ideal if you prioritize a drone’s weight and portability.
» MORE: Drone Laws in the United States
Photo and video recording #
Winner: DJI Mini 4 Pro
All things considered, you stand to get better footage with the DJI Mini 4 Pro than you would with the DJI Mini 2. Below are the main reasons why.
- Sensor size – For starters, it has a larger sensor (1/1.3) than the DJI Mini 2’s 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. A bigger sensor is always better. It performs better under low light, gives you higher-quality footage, and gives you more room for editing since it captures more colors. Even though both the Mini 2 and the Mini 4 Pro capture 12MP stills, the larger sensor makes a huge difference in the quality of footage you get. However, the Mini 4 Pro also captures 48MP, which is still the 12MP enhanced by the Quadbayer technique. There’s always a debate on whether the Quadbayer 48MP is better than the true 12MP, so you’ll have to test them. I found the 12MP of a larger sensor would suffice in many applications.
- More room for gimbal movement – The DJI Mini 2’s gimbal didn’t move enough to be able to take vertical shots. And if you forced it to, you would notice some twitching. DJI changed the gimbal design with the DJI Mini 4 Pro, allowing it to move even further. This design change also allowed the gimbal to change from landscape to portrait orientation to take vertical shots.
- Vertical shooting – Speaking of vertical shooting, one of the reasons I got the Mini 2 is to create stunning footage of the places I visit. However, I often had to crop to post on social media, which consumed time and sometimes lowered the footage quality. With vertical shooting inbuilt, you can quickly capture and share footage without much editing.
- 10-bit D-Log M and HLG capability – The DJI Mini 2 comes with the standard color profile, which doesn’t give you enough flexibility for post-processing tasks like adding new colors. DJI Mini 4 Pro changes that by introducing HLG and D-Log M.
- Advanced camera features – The Mini 2 comes with 4K at 30fps, which is good enough since most platforms handle 25 to 30 fps. The Mini 4 Pro, on the other hand, can shoot in 4K at 60fps HDR and 4K at 100fps. Many media productions use 60 fps, and if you want cinematic slow-motion footage, the 100 fps would come in handy.
- Night mode – Another feature that we only saw in more advanced drones, the Night Mode reduces noise and adjusts the ISO automatically to give you better nighttime or low-light shots. So you not only get a bigger sensor but low-light imagery is also enhanced.
As much as you may be looking for a beginner drone, the latest technological advancements have made it possible to fit more advanced features in smaller drones.
A bigger sensor, better footage, and more camera features make the Mini 4 Pro worth the higher cost.
» MORE: Camera Technology in Drones (Explained)
Third-party compatibility #
Winner: DJI Mini 2
This is one reason I still wish I would have kept the DJI Mini 2.
While it didn’t have some features that some pilots wanted, DJI released SDK capability, enabling it to work with third-party apps like Litchi.
I used Litchi to initiate Follow Me and Waypoints to create footage, which worked great.
There are a lot of other features that you could unlock with a third-party app.
Most of the features you needed an SDK to unlock in the Mini 2 are now built in the Mini 4 Pro, but if you can’t get the Mini 4 Pro, having the option to unlock some of the features helps.
It will be some time before DJI releases the SDK for the Mini 4 Pro. And since they released the Mini 3 Pro’s SDK almost a year later, we may not get it soon.
While the Mini 2 wins in this category, it lacks some safety features that limit how well you can utilize the features you unlock.
If the SDK capability is a deal breaker, consider the Mini 3 Pro, which is not as advanced as the Mini 4 Pro but is a few steps ahead of the Mini 2.
» MORE: DJI Fly App Compatible Devices (& Troubleshooting)
Intelligent flight modes #
Winner: DJI Mini 4 Pro
DJI went all in with the DJI Mini 4 Pro, adding intelligent flight modes we had wished they would add but never thought possible.
The DJI Mini 2 only came with Quickshots and Panoramas.
The QuickShots feature allows you to automatically create footage in pre-built flight patterns such as Helix, Dronie, Orbit, Circle, and Boomerang.
The Mini 4 Pro comes with Quickshots and Panoramas and the following additional features:
- Cruise control – I was surprised to see this feature on the Mini 4 Pro and didn’t know I needed it until I got to use it. This feature allows the drone to fly at a constant speed continuously. In times when I want to maintain a constant speed for a shot, this feature comes in handy.
- Waypoints – This is one of the features that one could unlock with a third-party app on the Mini 2. It allows you to pre-program complex maneuvers, which the drone will efficiently execute. It also works great when you need to create a time-lapse of a feature taken at the same angle but at different times to showcase the progress.
- ActiveTrack 360 – DJI not only added a follow me feature, but they added a more upgraded version that allows you to track the subject from any direction. The Mini 3 Pro or even my Air 2S can’t do that.
- Mastershots – Mastershots works similarly to Quickshots, but instead of separating maneuvers like Dronie and Helix, it combines them all into one shot, creating some dynamic footage in one click.
While the Mini 2 excels in keeping things manual, where you have to execute most of the maneuvers yourself, having them built in makes things easier and even more accurate, saving you time and battery life.
» MORE: Smart Features in Drones (Explained for Beginners)
Flight time #
Winner: DJI Mini 4 Pro
The DJI Mini 2 came with a 31-minute battery, which would go for about 25 minutes in actual use, which was still great.
But the DJi Mini 4 Pro improves on that by introducing a 34-minute and 45-minute battery, though the latter is only available in select regions.
You still get about 28 to 31 minutes of flight time in an actual flight, which is decent.
And if you are lucky to be in areas where the 45-minute battery is allowed, you get even more flight time.
However, the latter makes the drone weigh more than 250 grams, but that’s a compromise I’d be willing to accommodate.
» MORE: Drone Batteries (In-Depth Information)
Obstacle avoidance #
Winner: DJI Mini 4 Pro
While you could unlock features like ActiveTrack and Waypoints on the DJI Mini 2 with third-party apps, one thing was still an issue: it lacked obstacle avoidance.
This limits how well you can use it since the whole point of automatic flight is the drone should be able to avoid obstacles on its own.
DJI changed all that by adding 360-degree obstacle sensors and an upgraded APAS system that makes avoiding the obstacles smoother.
This makes the intelligent modes more practical since you don’t have to worry about crashing into obstacles on the way.
Still, exercising caution when flying in areas with obstacles is a good idea since these systems are not always 100% accurate.
» MORE: Obstacle Avoidance in DJI Drones (Explained for Beginners)
Winner: DJI Mini 4 Pro
The DJi Mini 2 came with OcuSync 2, which allows a range of up to 6.2 miles in optimal conditions.
However, this can be significantly reduced by interference from trees, power lines, cell towers, or any other obstacle.
When using it in an open area for short-range flights, I never experienced many issues with the range, but all that would quickly change with the slightest amount of interference.
The Mini 4 Pro introduces the OcuSync 4.0, which promises a range of up to 12 miles. This improved system comes with 6 antennas, a huge upgrade from the OcuSync 2.0 that has two.
This, coupled with the upgraded hardware and software, improves the drone’s performance in areas with obstacles and allows better quality transmission in more adverse conditions.
» MORE: Long Range Drones: Ultimate Guide
Winner: DJI Mini 4 Pro
The DJI Mini 2 is only compatible with the DJI RC-N1, a very ergonomic controller where you place a smartphone at the top instead of at the bottom, as we saw in previous drones like the Mavic 2 Pro.
However, DJI has been upping their controller game too.
They started by introducing the DJI RC with the DJI Mini 3 Pro. The DJI RC has an inbuilt screen, eliminating the need for smartphones and making deploying the drone much easier.
With the Mini 4 Pro, they have introduced the DJI RCN2, an upgrade to the RCN1, and the DJI RC 2, an upgrade to the DJI RC.
These controllers look similar, but the newer versions have a few design changes, including extra antennas and compatibility with the new O4 system.
Unfortunately, these newer controllers are not compatible with the DJI Mini 2.
» MORE: DJI RC 2 Review (Everything You Need to Know)
Having used both of these drones, I can confirm that the Mini 4 Pro is the Mini drone everyone wishes they had.
A better camera, more intelligent flight modes, advanced safety features, longer flight time, and tracking while still maintaining portability make it the perfect drone for casual users, beginners, and anyone looking for an affordable drone to accompany them in their activities.
The Mini 2 still goes down as one of the most reliable drones.
And if you don’t think you will use the Obstacle Avoidance, vertical shooting, or any other upgrades that come with the Mini 4 Pro, or you’re on a budget and can’t afford the Mini 4 Pro, the Mini 2 is still worth a shot.
You can also opt for the Mini 3, which is a bit more expensive than the Mini 2, and you get the same sensor size as the one in the Mini 4 Pro without the other upgrades.
If you already own the Mini 2, the Mini 4 Pro is a worthy upgrade.
And if you are in the market for a mini drone and have the budget for it, the Mini 4 Pro is still the best choice.
» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Air 3 (Here’s My Choice)