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DJI Mini SE review: Fun beginner drone

DJI Mini SE review: Fun beginner drone

Buying and flying a drone can be daunting for first-timers. As a beginner, three questions were at the top of my mind. Will the drone be: legal to fly, easy to fly, affordable to fly? The DJI Mini SE checks these boxes. At under 249g, you can legally fly it without a permit in many countries, including Singapore. Controlling it is simple, with the dedicated controller and DJI app, similar to its larger, more expensive DJI siblings. Finally, it's also the most affordable DJI drone that comes with many of the company's advanced features.

Quick specs:

  • Weight: Under 249g
  • Max flight time: 30 minutes
  • Up to 4,000 x 3,000 pixels still image capture
  • Up to 2.7K 24fps / Full-HD 60fps videos

I got the most basic DJI Mini SE package, which includes the drone with one removable battery, a controller, and other bits like extra propellers and cables. You charge the drone battery by plugging a USB-C cable to the Mini SE. Unfortunately, it uses a micro-USB cable to charge the controller's built-in battery — infuriating when almost everything else uses USB-C these days. The controller folds out to connect a smartphone, which acts as a viewfinder through the DJI Fly app. You can use almost any modern smartphone since adapters for USB-C, micro-USB, and Lightning are provided. 

Credit: John Chan/Can Buy or Not

For complete beginners, video tutorials are available in the DJI Fly app. These teach you how to connect your drone on first use and basic controls. The two joysticks control movement, while the smartphone touchscreen gives access to advanced settings and special camera features. Through the app, I was able to use the QuickShots feature to shoot “drone-like” videos without having to learn how to do them manually. For example, the Rocket QuickShot will automatically move the drone upwards, tilting the camera down at the same time so the subject stays in the shot while revealing more of the surroundings. 

Credit: John Chan/Can Buy or Not

I was able to fly the DJI Mini SE for about 25 minutes before it returned due to low battery. This is close to the advertised 30-minute battery life. Those who want to get more flying time can opt for the bundle with three batteries and an external charger. Used outdoors in good lighting, I found image and video quality from the drone to be excellent. 

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The DJI Mini SE is great for beginner drone users who want to capture aerial shots easily. While the S$449 starting price tag is reasonable, you will likely end up spending more (bag, required microSD card, spare batteries) for a complete experience. Note that you can only fly drones in permitted areas in Singapore — check here for the locations. You can get the Mini SE from DJI. It's also available on Lazada and Shopee.

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Fun, easy way to enter the drone world.

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