The consumer drone market is a crowded one, with many new models hitting the market every day. If you’re new to drones, choosing the best model for you can seem like an impossible task. Thankfully, there’s the DJI Mini series, which is perfect for beginners. In this review of the DJI Mini SE, we will cover everything you need to know about this mini drone. The DJI Mini SE is the perfect drone for beginners who want a drone that’s easy to fly, compact and cheap.
DJI Mini SE Review
The DJI Mini SE is a drone that comes with many of the same features as its predecessor, the DJI Mavic Mini but in the body of the Mini 2. What this means is that you’re getting all of the same great features and functions that made the Mavic Mini so popular with the added benefit of the drone being a little bit more resistant to windy conditions.
The DJI Mini SE weighs less than 250g and measures 245x289x56mm in its unfolded form, this makes it slightly bigger in height than the Mavic Mini. You can easily carry it around with you and it makes for an excellent drone to travel with.
As the drone weighs less than 250g, you will not need to register it with the FAA, however, you will still need to take the new FAA TRUST exam. This is for people who fly drones for recreational use, it’s a test that will make sure that you are fully aware of the safety and regulatory details with regard to flying drones.
The drone has infrared and optical flow sensors on its belly and has a dual GNSS receiver that allows it to connect with GPS and GLONASS satellite systems.
Its HD camera is stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal and there is a micro SD card slot on the back that can take a maximum capacity of 256GB. DJI recommends SD cards with a rating of UHS-I speed class 3 or above.
It’s powered by a 2S lithium-polymer battery that provides it with around 30 minutes of flight time, although usually, you will get slightly less than the officially stated time. It’s still a very good flight, especially for a drone that costs less than $300.
There are some LED lights on the back that will indicate the status of the aircraft and also helps with any troubleshooting.
DJI Mini SE – Controller
The controller is the same as the Mavic Mini, it’s small and has a pair of clamps that fold out from the bottom to hold your smartphone.
It uses enhanced WiFi technology for a transmission range of 4km and allows you to stream HD video footage to your mobile device.
The controller is comfortable to hold and has a nice ergonomic design, it’s powered by an internal battery and lasts around 4.5 hours with an iOS phone and just under 2 hours with an Android phone.
For FPV, camera settings and other features, you will need to download the DJI Fly app. The DJI Fly app is easy to use and comes with some helpful tutorials and gives you quick access to SkyPixel which is DJI’s own social sharing platform for videos and images captured by DJI products.
DJI Mini SE – Camera
As I mentioned earlier in the article, the camera is the same as the original Mavic Mini, it has a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor with a fixed aperture, 24mm lens and 83°FOV.
The camera can capture 12MP images in JEG format only, which may be a disappointment for photographers. If you want a good starter drone for photography/videography, the DJI Mini 2 is the best option.
As for videos, the camera records in 2.7k at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps with a maximum bitrate of 40Mbps.
It’s stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal which will reduce any sort of distortion from your images and videos and with the enhanced WiFi technology of the controller, you will be able to stream live video in 720p.
There are drones within the same price range as the DJI Mini SE that can record videos at a higher resolution, like for example the very popular Holy Stone HS720E, however, I still prefer the Mini SE because the footage and images are much smoother, the colour accuracy is better and none of its competitors come with a 3-axis gimbal.
DJI Mini SE – Flight Features
The Mini SE comes with three flight modes, they are Position mode, Sport mode and CineSmooth mode.
The Position and CineSmooth are nearly identical flight modes except for the speed, in Position mode the maximum speed of 17.8 mph while in the CineSmooth, the speed is reduced to just 8.9mph.
In the sports mode, the controls are more sensitive, and the maximum speed is around 29 mph.
There is also the ATTI mode, this is activated whenever the vision sensors are disabled, and GPS is weak or not available. In this mode, the drone is hard to control and should only be flown by experienced drone pilots.
The drone has an automatic return to home feature that can be manually activated via the controller or app, and it is automatically triggered whenever the drone goes out of range or when the battery is low on charge.
A cool intelligent feature of this drone is the Quickshot mode that is accessed via the DJI Fly app.
This mode will allow you to create short HD videos from different angles completely autonomously.
Can The DJI Mini SE Follow You?
Like the other drones in the DJI Mini series, there is no feature within the DJI Fly app that allows the Mini SE to follow you.
However, if follow me mode and the other popular intelligent flight modes like point of interest and waypoint are something that you really want, then there is an app that will give you access to these features.
The app is called Litchi and it is very popular with DJI drone pilots, it’s a good alternative to the DJI Fly app and will give you access to the follow me mode with the DJI Mini SE.
It’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices, but there is a price for this app, on the App Store it costs $22.99, while on the Google Play Store it costs $24.99.
The DJI Mini SE is a fantastic little drone that comes with the same features as its predecessor but costs a lot cheaper. It is the best drone in its price range, and I highly recommend it, if you want some alternatives, then click on the button below for the best drones under $300.
FAQ About The DJI Mini SE
Is the Mini SE Worth It?
In my opinion, absolutely, this is DJI’s cheapest drone and the best drone in its price range.
What Is The Difference Between the Mini and Mini SE?
The main difference is the body, the Mini SE is more similar to that of the Mini 2 and so comes with improved performance in windy conditions. Other than that, everything else remains the same, camera, flight time, transmission range and the controller.
How Far Can The DJI Mini SE Fly?
Its maximum transmission range is around 4km, however, it should be noted that all drones must be kept in your visual line of sight. So, unless you have permission to operate drones with a BVLOS certificate, you cannot fly this far out.
Does The Mini SE Have Obstacle Avoidance?
No, it does not, if you are worried about crashing, you should purchase propeller guards to minimise any damage, if you do crash. It is rumoured that the DJI Mini 3 will have this feature when it is released, it will be the first DJI Mini drone with an obstacle avoidance system.
Do You Need To Register The DJI Mini SE?
This will depend on where you live and what you intend to do with the drone. If you live in the USA and plan on using the drone purely for recreational purposes, then you do not need to register it. You will need to take the new FAA TRUST exam for recreational use.
However, if you have plans on using the Mini SE to make money, you will need to obtain the FAA Part 107 certificate and register the drone.
In the UK, you will need to register the drone, it doesn’t matter if you intend to fly it for recreational or commercial purposes. You must obtain a Flyer ID, which will require you to take an online test and an Operator ID to get your registration details. For more information please visit the CAA website.
If you live in any other country, please check with your aviation authority to see what is required to legally operate drones.