Tech company DJI recently launched the Mini SE drone, a compact and portable drone that’s suitable for beginners. It’s available at a more affordable price point than the DJI Mini 2, which we previously named the best drone on the market based on expert guidance. The DJI Mini SE drone is also relatively lightweight at about 242 grams — since it’s less than 249 grams, you don’t need to register it with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to fly in the U.S. However, be aware that if you’re using the drone recreationally, you’ll have to take an FAA safety test beforehand.
The Mini SE drone supports 12MP aerial photos and 2.7K Quad HD videos. It’s built with a 3-axis motorized gimbal that stabilizes the camera to make for smooth footage, as well as vision sensors that allow the drone to hover precisely. While you can take photos and videos without a microSD card, DJI said one is required to store content.
The drone comes with a remote controller that maintains an HD video feed at a distance of up to 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles). Its detachable control sticks can be stored inside the remote controller, too. The drone’s light weight allows it to stay in the air longer than other models, according to the brand, and it offers up to 30 minutes of flight time on a full charge. You can charge the device using any USB Type-C cable, the DJI Charging Base or the DJI Two-Way Charging Hub.
This drone offers multiple QuickShot modes including Dronie, Circle, Helix and Rocket, all of which direct the drone to fly in a preset motion while it’s recording. And CineSmooth mode slows down the drone’s flight speed and movements, which the company said is especially useful when flying in narrow spaces.
Additionally, the drone pairs with the DJI Fly app, allowing you to learn how to use the device as well as take photos and videos. It also offers templates to help you create and edit videos. The app gives users access to SkyPixel, a social media platform for drone users to share photos and videos.
The DJI Mini SE has a relatively similar design to the Mavic Mini and Mini 2 drones, according to the company. It said the Mini SE uses the aircraft design of the Mini 2 but supports higher wind speed resistance, and it delivers a similar performance to the Mavic Mini. Notably, however, the Mini SE has stronger aircraft arms and a USB-C charging port, which differentiates it from the Mavic Mini. The Mini SE also does not have "4K" printed on the lens and the rear aircraft status indicator is not clickable. Additionally, the Mini SE’s remote controllers are interchangeable with the Mavic Mini’s, but not the Mini 2’s.
Select accessories are compatible with the Mini SE, like DJI’s 360-degree Propeller Guard, which protects the drone’s propellers. You can also attach the Snap Adapter to the drone, which allows you to use a range of compatible accessories. And while the drone is only available in a light grey color, you can purchase DJI’s DIY Creative Kit to personalize and decorate it.
As we previously reported, brands like Tello and PowerVision also offer easy-to-use drones for beginners. Other drones are designed to be used in specific circumstances — the Parrot Anafi, for instance, can be used to race.