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

Final 12 months, DJI confirmed what was potential in a small drone with the Mini 3 Professional by becoming loads of know-how and a high-quality digital camera right into a sub-250g drone. Holding observe of it has by no means been straightforward, however now (after quite a few leaks) the Mini 4 Professional has been revealed with a protracted record of recent options.

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


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


  • It’s nonetheless removed from shockproof
  • A bit costly
  • Not the perfect for evening 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 break in a collision. With all of the enhancements, the Mini 4 Professional is best and safer than its predecessor – at the least on paper. Now, let’s discover out if it lives as much as it in the actual 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 modifications all over the place. The 4 entrance and rear sensors are actually positioned to allow them to see to the perimeters as effectively, and the physique turns into just a little extra streamlined. It has bigger cooling vents, barely smaller rear arms, and new touchdown toes up entrance. The cam/coax protect 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 digital camera flips 90 levels to offer 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 one among 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 when you can afford it. DJI additionally affords an 18mm wide-angle equal lens accent ($40), nevertheless it has vital barrel distortion and might 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 no have to obtain footage to your smartphone.


Given its small measurement and maneuverability (and the identical sensor as DJI’s Motion 4), you’ll be able to consider the Mini 4 Professional as a flight digital camera. 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 might probably deal with winds of as much as 24 mph, which is a powerful quantity for a drone weighing lower than 250 grams. Throughout operation, it may possibly appear to be it is getting hit by the wind, however you would not realize it from the footage because of DJI’s proprietary gimbal and stabilization know-how.

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 perimeters, however the Mini 4 Professional affords safety throughout just like the Mavic 3 Professional and Air 3 – because of 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 supplies automated braking and impediment crossing for added security.

For those who’re spending greater than $760 on a drone, you might not wish to take a look at the boundaries of impediment detection. That is my job, so I had him observe me whereas I walked and biked by means of bushes and different potential obstacles. I’ve had a couple of crashes, however here is what I’ve realized about easy methods to keep away from them.

The sensors are optical, so they don’t work in low mild. Dense forests with positive 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 transferring sideways, and worst of all when flying backwards.

This method has labored effectively round well-spaced bushes with thick branches and considerable leaves, close to buildings, and customarily round well-defined obstacles. He was capable of maneuver round these things, select acceptable routes, and retrieve the objects in the event that they went lacking. It helped me seize some nice motion photographs, though one should at all times 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 digital camera actions to common topic monitoring to create thrilling photographs. It could appear complicated at first, however the concept may be very easy. You should use what’s known as a steering wheel to “draw” a route on concentric circles, and the drone will observe it, avoiding any obstacles it encounters.

You may change parameters together with internal and outer radius, internal and outer top, digital camera pace and proximity to the bottom. This makes it potential to acquire a variety of photographs. The tough half was figuring out which facet the drone was ahead and backward – DJI ought to be engaged on this to make issues clearer.

For those who plan fastidiously, you will get some nice ActiveTrack and swoop photographs. Nonetheless, the same old impediment warnings apply, and so they add complexity – as a result of it’s a must to know the place the drone shall be when it reaches the top level. With all that mentioned, it is best to follow in an open space earlier than attempting it in a fancy atmosphere.

After all, the Mini 4 Professional nonetheless has DJI’s automated modes aimed toward social media customers, resembling MasterShots, QuickShots, and Panorama in addition to Hyperlapse. It additionally contains the Mavic 3 Professional’s Waypoint function, which helps you to pre-program and replicate complicated 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’ll be able to activate the drone and choose the Waypoint perform, then transfer to the focal point and set the right digital camera angle. As soon as there, press the “+” on the display screen (or press the C1 button on the RC2 distant) to program the waypoint. Repeat this course of by means of all of the factors of curiosity to you, and as soon as completed, you’ll be able to 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 evening, 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 supplies 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 ought to be even higher within the US, the place you’ll be able to 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.

When you have the Mini 3 Professional, its cells seem like suitable with the brand new drone, in order that’s an excellent factor when you already personal that mannequin. Within the US, you will 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 screen, higher really feel, and extra exact controls. The opposite possibility is the RC-N2 with no display screen (requires smartphone), which has similarities to the RC-N1 mannequin however with O4 compatibility.

digital camera

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 hard and fast 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 sluggish movement at as much as 100fps, or 1080p at 200fps. The motion is included at 30fps, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a fantastic 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 occasions the digital zoom at 4K and 4 occasions the digital zoom at 1080p, with a slight loss in sharpness.

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

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