With DJI set to launch a new drone this week, it looks like another clumsy leak from a retailer has given away key details before the official event.
Last year, UK retailer Argos accidentally published the specification of the Mavic 2 and Mavic 2 Zoom days before both were unveiled. This time, the Canadian store of tech retailer Newegg has revealed the Mavic Mini ahead of schedule.
DJI’s Fly As You Are event is set for 9am ET on October 30. Full details will be revealed then. But here’s what we know so far.
What we know about the Mavic Mini so far
The brief specifications on the product listing confirm some of our previous suspicions.
It seems that yes, the Mavic Mini will come in just under the weight threshold specified by the U.S. FAA and the UK’s CAA, among other aviation regulators.
That means owners will, in theory, not have to register their drones or pass online safety tests.
The product description also suggests a massive 30 minutes of flight time – well ahead of any other drones of this size – and a range of 4km.
The camera provides an upgrade on the DJI Spark without treading on the toes of the Mavic Air. It sits on a 3-axis gimbal and shoots videos in 2.7k.
We also now know that the new drone comes with a ‘vision sensor’ and ‘GPS Precise Hover’. The former probably means a similar obstacle detection system to the Spark, which stops short of obstacles directly in front of it.
How much will the Mavic Mini cost?
The initial listing shows the Mavic Mini at a price of £384 (US$494). There will no doubt be a fly more combo revealed by DJI, which usually includes extra batteries and accessories for another $200 or so.
A release that will raise eyebrows?
It’ll be interesting to see how regulators respond to the slightly cheeky weight of DJI’s new drone. This has clearly been designed to come in just under the 250-gram threshold.
However, the drive to register drones isn’t only based on the potential damage they could cause in the event of an accident. Besides the kinetic energy derived from their mass and velocity, measures to encourage more responsible drone use have come as a response to their technical capability.
Here we have a drone that will have similar technical capabilities to larger models in terms of range, flight time and camera quality – and therefore similar potential for misuse. But it will not have to be registered and, in the case of the UK at least, its pilots will not have to pass a safety test that reinforces the rules of the sky.
There’s no doubting DJI’s engineering brilliance if these specifications prove to be true. But this release may cause raised eyebrows from a few aviation authorities.