We called the DJI Mini 2 the best drone you can buy under $500, but what if you don’t have $449 to spend? Walmart has leaked a new entry in DJI’s Mavic Mini line that might start at just $299, which should make it the company’s most affordable drone ever.
Here’s the thing, though: as far as we can tell, this isn’t actually a less-expensive DJI Mini 2 — it appears to be a less-expensive first-gen DJI Mavic Mini, a drone from 2019. As DroneDJ points out, all the specs seem to line up with the original Mavic Mini, including its lower-res 2.7K-resolution camera (compare to 4K) and its inferior 2.5-mile wireless range, which strongly suggests the Mini SE doesn’t have Ocusync.
As Vjeran discusses in our Mini 2 review, the Ocusync wireless link is perhaps the biggest reason to pick it over the Mavic Mini. It’s not just range: Ocusync is far more reliable and responsive, too. And though Walmart’s online images seem to suggest the DJI Mini SE might come with the Mini 2’s new-and-improved controller, the back of Walmart’s in-store reservation card makes it look like you’re still getting the original folding pad:
As internet sleuths are pointing out, it looks like the primary differences here are simply a $100 lower price and a slightly improved plastic chassis, which may or may not make it compatible with the Mini 2’s batteries.
Bargain hunters will know that $299 isn’t completely unheard of for a DJI drone — I’ve seen refurbished and closeout Phantom 3 Standard kits for $299, and I believe there was a one-time $299 deal on the Mavic Mini. But if the DJI Mini SE actually retails for $299, that’d be a deal right out of the gate. It’d be extremely tempting to would-be drone buyers looking for something they can easily stuff in a bag and (at sub-249g) one they won’t need to register with the FAA.
It’s not clear when the Mini SE might go on sale. DJI declined to comment.