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DJI Mini 4 Professional evaluate: The most effective light-weight drone will get extra energy and smarts


Sep 25, 2023
DJI Mini 4 Pro review: The best lightweight drone gets more power and smarts

Final 12 months, DJI confirmed what was attainable in a small drone with the Mini 3 Professional by becoming numerous expertise and a high-quality digicam right into a sub-250g drone. Holding monitor of it has by no means been straightforward, however now (after quite a few leaks) the Mini 4 Professional has been revealed with an extended listing of recent options.

Apart from one enchancment, the digicam is just about the identical. Nevertheless, it has new omni-directional impediment sensors that eradicate the Mini 3 Professional’s blind spots. It additionally comes with a brand new function referred to as ActiveTrack 360 which helps you to program digicam actions when monitoring a topic.


  • Maneuver
  • Enhance impediment avoidance
  • The brand new ActiveTrack 360 function is nice
  • Strong picture high quality


  • It’s nonetheless removed from shockproof
  • A bit costly
  • Not one of the best for night time scenes

Small drones are one of the simplest ways to trace fast-paced occasions, as a result of they’re extra maneuverable and fewer vulnerable to wreck in a collision. With all of the enhancements, the Mini 4 Professional is healthier and safer than its predecessor – at the least on paper. Now, let’s discover out if it lives as much as it in the true world.


The Mini 4 Professional nonetheless weighs lower than 250 grams, so it may be flown with no license or registration in lots of areas, nevertheless it has delicate design adjustments in all places. The 4 entrance and rear sensors are actually positioned to allow them to see to the edges as properly, and the physique turns into somewhat extra streamlined. It has bigger cooling vents, barely smaller rear arms, and new touchdown toes up entrance. The cam/coax defend is smaller, simpler to put on, and has a brand new guard that protects the propellers when saved.

As earlier than, the gimbal tilts up 60 levels and down 90 levels, and the digicam flips 90 levels to provide you full vertical decision for social media. On the again is a microSD port, and the Mini 4 Professional has 2GB of inside storage for emergencies.

The Mini 4 Professional comes with certainly one of two controllers, the fundamental RC-N2 controller that requires a smartphone, and the RC2 controller with a built-in show. Because it makes use of DJI’s new Ocusync 4 transmission, which was first launched with the Air 3, it solely works with new controllers and never older fashions — for now, anyway.

Gallery: DJI Mini 4 Professional evaluate photographs | 34 pictures

You should buy it with a $55 ND filter set for sunny days, which I like to recommend in case you can afford it. DJI additionally gives an 18mm wide-angle equal lens accent ($40), nevertheless it has important barrel distortion and may trigger focusing points.

The drone additionally helps DJI’s Lightcut, an enhancing app that allows you to create fast movies for social media. As DJI says, it permits “one-click creation of participating movies by combining ActiveTrack, MasterShots and QuickShots,” automating sound results and extra. It additionally works wirelessly, so there is not any have to obtain footage to your smartphone.


Given its small measurement and maneuverability (and the identical sensor as DJI’s Motion 4), you possibly can consider the Mini 4 Professional as a flight digicam. And the lighter weight (and cheaper price in comparison with the Mavic 3 Professional, for instance) makes malfunctions much less of a priority.

Prime pace is 35 mph in Sport mode, or 26 mph in Regular operation. It may deal with winds of as much as 24 mph, which is a formidable quantity for a drone weighing lower than 250 grams. Throughout operation, it could possibly seem like it is getting hit by the wind, however you would not realize it from the footage due to DJI’s proprietary gimbal and stabilization expertise.

DJI Mini 4 Pro review: The best lightweight drone gets more power and smarts

Steve Dent for Engadget

The Mini 3 Professional was successfully blind from the edges, however the Mini 4 Professional gives safety throughout just like the Mavic 3 Professional and Air 3 – due to 4 new omni-directional sensors on the prime and two on the backside (together with a time-of-flight sensor). It additionally makes use of DJI’s APAS system, which offers automated braking and impediment crossing for added security.

In the event you’re spending greater than $760 on a drone, it’s possible you’ll not wish to take a look at the bounds of impediment detection. That is my job, so I had him observe me whereas I walked and biked via bushes and different potential obstacles. I’ve had just a few crashes, however this is what I’ve discovered about the way to keep away from them.

The sensors are optical, so they don’t work in low gentle. Dense forests with high quality branches are a no-go – all-round sensors can miss them, however propellers will not. Lastly, the Mini 4 Professional detects obstacles finest when touring ahead, much less so when shifting sideways, and worst of all when flying backwards.

This method has labored properly round well-spaced bushes with thick branches and ample leaves, close to buildings, and usually round well-defined obstacles. He was in a position to maneuver round these things, select applicable routes, and retrieve the gadgets in the event that they went lacking. It helped me seize some nice motion pictures, though one should all the time stay cautious of accidents.

DJI Mini 4 Pro review: The best lightweight drone gets more power and smarts

Steve Dent for Engadget

ActiveTrack 360 provides digicam actions to common topic monitoring to create thrilling pictures. It might appear complicated at first, however the concept may be very easy. You need to use what’s referred to as a steering wheel to “draw” a route on concentric circles, and the drone will observe it, avoiding any obstacles it encounters.

You possibly can change parameters together with inside and outer radius, inside and outer peak, digicam pace and proximity to the bottom. This makes it attainable to acquire a variety of pictures. The tough half was figuring out which facet the drone was ahead and backward – DJI must be engaged on this to make issues clearer.

In the event you plan rigorously, you may get some nice ActiveTrack and swoop pictures. Nevertheless, the standard impediment warnings apply, and so they add complexity – as a result of you must know the place the drone might be when it reaches the tip level. With all that mentioned, it is best to follow in an open space earlier than making an attempt it in a posh setting.

In fact, the Mini 4 Professional nonetheless has DJI’s automated modes geared toward social media customers, akin to MasterShots, QuickShots, and Panorama in addition to Hyperlapse. It additionally consists of the Mavic 3 Professional’s Waypoint function, which helps you to pre-program and replicate advanced drone actions – a cutting-edge function for a small drone.

DJI Mini 4 Pro review: The best lightweight drone gets more power and smarts

Steve Dent for Engadget

For the final function, you possibly can activate the drone and choose the Waypoint operate, then transfer to the focus and set the proper digicam angle. As soon as there, press the “+” on the display (or press the C1 button on the RC2 distant) to program the waypoint. Repeat this course of via all of the factors of curiosity to you, and as soon as completed, you possibly can play the sequence. The drone will fly easily to every level the identical approach each time, so you should utilize it to view a scene in the course of the day after which later at night time, for instance.

The Mini 4 Professional makes use of the Ocusync 4 transmission first seen on the Air 3 which sends 1080/60p video as much as 20km away, in comparison with 1080/30p at 12km with the Ocusync 3. These distances are decrease right here in Europe attributable to energy guidelines Transmitter.

When in use, it offers a noticeable enchancment in connectivity, with fewer dropouts and far larger vary – even when the drone navigates obstacles. The change has turn into very noticeable right here in Europe, the place video has turn into a lot smoother and interruptions are a lot rarer. It must be even higher within the US, the place you possibly can ship the Mini 4 Professional on a really lengthy journey.

DJI Mini 4 Pro review: The best lightweight drone gets more power and smarts

Steve Dent for Engadget

The usual 2,590 mAh Good Flight battery has a barely bigger capability than the Mini 3 Professional’s 2,453 mAh cell, however the vary stays the identical at 34 minutes. In real-life flying, we noticed about 25 minutes earlier than listening to the return-to-home warning, so plan accordingly.

In case you have the Mini 3 Professional, its cells look like appropriate with the brand new drone, in order that’s a great factor in case you already personal that mannequin. Within the US, you may get Plus batteries that supply as much as 45 minutes of vary, however native guidelines stop their use in Europe.

First seen on the Air 3, the RC-2 is DJI’s third on-screen controller after the RC and RC Professional. It is a lot better than the RC, with a brighter display, higher really feel, and extra exact controls. The opposite choice is the RC-N2 with no display (requires smartphone), which is analogous to the RC-N1 mannequin however with O4 compatibility.


DJI Mini 4 Pro review: The best lightweight drone gets more power and smarts

Steve Dent for Engadget

The Mini 4 Professional has the identical twin 1/1.3 ISO sensor as its predecessor, utilizing an an identical 24mm lens with a set f/1.7 aperture. This can be a very massive sensor for such a small drone, and is barely smaller than the 1-inch sensor discovered on the Mavic Air 2S.

The distinction is that it now helps 4K gradual movement at as much as 100fps, or 1080p at 200fps. The motion is included at 30fps, nevertheless it’s nonetheless an incredible function for wildlife, crashing waves, and extra. That is along with 4K at as much as 60 fps and 1080p at 120 fps. It has two instances the digital zoom at 4K and 4 instances the digital zoom at 1080p, with a slight loss in sharpness.

There’s additionally assist for DJI’s D-LogM, which boosts dynamic vary and provides you extra deployment flexibility. DJI has a LUT that makes it straightforward to transform to common video – however some enhancing is required to get one of the best outcomes. You too can shoot in DJI’s HLG mode, which once more boosts the dynamic vary. You possibly can see the outcomes instantly in your HDR TV, however you will have to carry out a coloration area conversion from HLG to REC.709 to make use of with common video. Each assist 10-bit 4:2:0 seize for improved decision and decreased banding.

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