DJI Mini 4 Pro review
DJI’s latest mini drone is yet another step forward!
Last week, DJI launched the Mini 4 Pro. We at Dronesfy.com were quick to order the new mini drone and thoroughly put it to the test. In this review, we share our experiences. For novice drone pilots who are overwhelmed with options, we also compare it with other recent DJI drones.
In 2019, DJI was the first to introduce a mini drone weighing less than 250 grams. It was unheard of at that time! DJI did it with a purpose, anticipating a high demand for mini drones due to the introduction of new drone regulations in the European Union (and in many other parts of the world), imposing restrictions on the use of drones weighing 250 grams or more. These regulations have been in effect in the EU since December 31, 2020.
Mini drones weighing less than 250 grams are subject to EU drone regulations, comparable with the FAA regulations, but they allow for (much) more freedom compared to heavier drones. Drone pilots only need to register, and no training is required to fly drones under 250 grams.
However, mini drones have their limitations: every gram counts, and the focus is on saving weight. This is primarily achieved by using a thin plastic casing, which makes the drone feel less sturdy than heavier drones. The built-in electronics are also compromised: adding more sensors would mean a heavier drone, which isn’t feasible to stay under the 250-gram limit.
4 years of DJI mini drones
When DJI introduced the Mavic Mini in 2019, it was a revolution in the drone industry. However, it was clear that there were significant differences compared to heavier drones. The Mavic Mini had an inferior video transmission system, couldn’t shoot in 4K resolution, and lacked Obstacle Avoidance functionality. Many software features, such as automatic flight modes, were also absent.
A year later (late 2020), DJI released the Mini 2 with an improved video transmission system and the ability to shoot in 4K resolution. This was a significant improvement, but there were still clear differences compared to heavier DJI drones.
Technological advancements continued, and a year and a half later, in the spring of 2022, DJI launched the Mini 3 Pro. The addition of ‘Pro’ was not without reason, as the differences with heavier drones became minimal after the introduction of the Mini 3 Pro. (Tri-directional) Obstacle Avoidance was added, and more advanced automatic flight modes were mostly available. The Mini 3 Pro was very well received. However, its price was significantly higher, almost doubling compared to the Mini 2. Consequently, DJI also released the Mini 3 at the end of 2022, which lacked Obstacle Avoidance and many automatic flight modes but filled the gap between its predecessor, the Mini 2, and the Mini 3 Pro.
DJI mini drones have been immensely popular for years due to the aforementioned advantages, especially the Mini 3 Pro, as it made minimal compromises compared to the heavier drones. Now, DJI has introduced the Mini 4 Pro, further narrowing the gap with the heavier drones!
I did not write this review with the intention of delving extensively into all the technical improvements that the Mini 4 Pro brings. You will not find comprehensive tests discussing the (improved) photo and video quality of the Mini 4 Pro in this review. Instead, this review focuses on purchasing advice for consumers who are overwhelmed by the numerous options. I have gained extensive experience with all recent consumer drones from DJI, such as the Mini (1), 2, 3 Pro, and 4 Pro, as well as the heavier DJI drones like the DJI Air, Air 2(S), Air 3, Mavic 2 Pro, and Mavic 3.
There is currently a wide range of options in the DJI mini drone market. Even second-hand options are plentiful if you want to make a cost-effective purchase. In this article, I will discuss the differences between the Mini 3 Pro and the Mini 4 Pro and compare the last three DJI mini drones with each other. I will also include the recently introduced DJI Air 3 drone, which falls into a heavier weight category. This purchasing advice will help you determine which DJI (mini) drone is the right choice for you!
DJI Mini 4 Pro: From Revolution to Evolution
At first glance, the hardware and software improvements of the Mini 4 Pro compared to the Mini 3 Pro might seem small, but appearances can be deceiving. Much more has been improved than initially meets the eye. While the steps taken by DJI with previous mini drones were more significant, there are still plenty of enhancements that have made the Mini 4 Pro a highly comprehensive drone. It has become a case of evolution rather than revolution!
Hardware Improvements and Adjustments
The Mini 4 Pro has managed to pack more technology into its lightweight frame while still meeting the weight regulations. The design of the drone remains largely unchanged, although the Mini 4 Pro is slightly heavier than the Mini 3 Pro, mostly due to the additional sensors and upgraded camera system. The battery life has also been improved, offering a longer flight time.
One of the significant hardware improvements is the inclusion of additional obstacle sensors, which greatly enhances the drone’s safety and obstacle avoidance capabilities. The Mini 4 Pro now has a total of six sensors strategically placed around the drone, allowing for a more robust obstacle avoidance system compared to its predecessors. This feature will be particularly beneficial for novice pilots or those flying in more challenging environments.
The camera system of the Mini 4 Pro has also received some notable upgrades, including improved image sensors and enhanced image processing capabilities. The Mini 4 Pro can capture stunning 4K video footage at higher frame rates and supports a wider range of shooting modes. The overall image quality has been significantly enhanced, making it a more versatile tool for content creators and hobbyists alike.
Software Enhancements and New Features
In terms of software, the Mini 4 Pro benefits from the latest updates and improvements to the DJI Fly app, providing users with a more intuitive and user-friendly experience. The app now offers a range of intelligent flight modes and creative shooting options, allowing users to capture unique and dynamic shots with ease. The Mini 4 Pro also benefits from enhanced stability and flight performance, thanks to the advanced flight control algorithms and improved stabilization systems.
The Mini 4 Pro incorporates intelligent flight modes such as ActiveTrack, QuickShots, and Cinematic Mode, which enable users to capture professional-looking shots without the need for advanced piloting skills. These features make the Mini 4 Pro an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced pilots looking to capture stunning aerial footage and images.
Comparison with Previous DJI Mini Drones
When comparing the Mini 4 Pro with its predecessors, it becomes evident that DJI has made significant strides in improving the overall performance and capabilities of its mini drone lineup. The Mini 4 Pro offers a more refined and polished experience, with enhanced safety features, improved image quality, and a more intuitive user interface. While the Mini 3 Pro was already a highly capable drone, the Mini 4 Pro takes the experience to the next level, offering a compelling combination of portability, performance, and versatility.
The Mini 4 Pro also outperforms the Mini 3 Pro in terms of obstacle avoidance and image quality, making it a more reliable and robust option for users who prioritize safety and content quality. The upgraded hardware and software features of the Mini 4 Pro contribute to a more immersive and enjoyable flying experience, allowing users to unleash their creativity and capture breathtaking aerial footage with confidence.
Comparison with DJI Air 3
While the Mini 4 Pro is designed for portability and lightweight performance, the DJI Air 3 offers a more robust and feature-rich experience, catering to users who require advanced capabilities and professional-grade performance. The DJI Air 3 features a more powerful camera system, longer flight time, and a wider range of intelligent flight modes, making it a suitable choice for professional filmmakers, photographers, and content creators.
However, the DJI Air 3 is significantly heavier than the Mini 4 Pro and may not be as convenient for users who prioritize portability and ease of transport. The Mini 4 Pro offers a more compact and lightweight solution without compromising on performance, making it an ideal choice for users who value versatility and agility.
The Mini 4 Pro builds upon the success of its predecessors and sets a new standard for mini drones, delivering an exceptional flying experience and unparalleled image quality. Whether you’re capturing stunning aerial footage or exploring new creative possibilities, the Mini 4 Pro offers a reliable and user-friendly solution that is sure to impress even the most discerning users. With its compact design, advanced features, and competitive price point, the DJI Mini 4 Pro is a top contender in the mini drone market and a must-have for any drone enthusiast.
Overall, the DJI Mini 4 Pro is a highly capable and feature-rich mini drone that offers an excellent balance of portability, performance, and versatility. With its advanced obstacle avoidance system, improved camera capabilities, and intuitive flight controls, the Mini 4 Pro is well-suited for a wide range of users, from beginners to experienced pilots and content creators.