We called the DJI Mini 2 the best drone you can buy under $500, but what if you don’t have $449 to spend? Walmart has leaked a new entry in DJI’s Mavic Mini line that might start at just $299, which should make it the company’s most affordable drone ever.
Not only did we just find that price at Walmart’s website, it’s apparently migrated to at least one set of Walmart store shelves already:
Here’s the thing, though: as far as we can tell, this isn’t actually a less-expensive DJI Mini 2 — it appears to be a less-expensive first-gen DJI Mavic Mini, a drone from 2019. As DroneDJ points out, all the specs seem to line up with the original Mavic Mini, including its lower-res 2.7K-resolution camera (compare to 4K) and its inferior 2.5-mile wireless range, which strongly suggests the Mini SE doesn’t have Ocusync.
As Vjeran discusses in our Mini 2 review, the Ocusync wireless link is perhaps the biggest reason to pick it over the Mavic Mini. It’s not just range: Ocusync is far more reliable and responsive, too. And though Walmart’s online images seem to suggest the DJI Mini SE might come with the Mini 2’s new-and-improved controller, the back of Walmart’s in-store reservation card makes it look like you’re still getting the original folding pad:
As internet sleuths are pointing out, it looks like the primary differences here are simply a $100 lower price and a slightly improved plastic chassis, which may or may not make it compatible with the Mini 2’s batteries.
Bargain hunters will know that $299 isn’t completely unheard of for a DJI drone — I’ve seen refurbished and closeout Phantom 3 Standard kits for $299, and I believe there was a one-time $299 deal on the Mavic Mini. But if the DJI Mini SE actually retails for $299, that’d be a deal right out of the gate. It’d be extremely tempting to would-be drone buyers looking for something they can easily stuff in a bag and (at sub-249g) one they won’t need to register with the FAA.
It’s not clear when the Mini SE might go on sale.