The DJI Mini 4 Pro, the latest consumer drone from the Chinese drone maker, may look like its predecessor but comes with a number of upgrades that should be handy for any beginner or traveller.
What has been kept constant, notably, is the same in-flight weight as the Mini 3 Pro. This means the 249g foldable package is neat and compact for bringing on your travels.
There are some significant improvements as well. The new drone has a better sensor system. Instead of having the sensors look straight, DJI has rotated them to cover the sides of the drone, giving it a 360-degree view of an environment.
During my tests, I had the drone navigate through tree branches around lamp posts while following and tracking subjects. The DJI Mini 4 Pro managed to sense the obstacles in various directions, even to the sides and the top, and found its way through a tree, avoiding its branches.
There is also a new tracking wheel you can use to instruct the drone on how to fly around a moving subject, like from the front to the back, while tracking the subject from a further distance.
This new tracking method works with the sensor to allow beginners to shoot cinematic shots without worrying about hitting buildings, trees or light installations.
For seasoned flyers, there is also another significant improvement. The Mini 4 Pro’s hyperlapse feature now has a task library that saves all your previous hyperlapse’s waypoints. I can easily recall any previous hyperlapse session and replay the same sequence.
The task library makes it very useful for shooting the same scene at different times of the day and in different seasons while maintaining the exact framing and duration of the video. This takes out a lot of the manual effort.
The DJI Mini 4 Pro has kept the same vertical shooting mode as well. This is great for content creators who want to capture video and photos at the highest resolution without the need to crop them for TikTok or YouTube reels.
The flexibility of the gimbal is another plus. Its ability to shoot straight up allows the Mini 4 Pro to create perfect 360-degree spheres with no missing parts. This is something even the more capable DJI Air 3 and Mavic 3 cannot achieve.
The new drone also has the same 1/1.3-inch 48-megapixel CMOS sensor that produces excellent JPEG/DNG images and H.264/H.265 MP4 video footage.
DJI has included the night video mode, which means the drone can use a higher ISO 12800 setting without adding significant noise to the footage. That’s also thanks to the Dual Native ISO feature.
The new video feature includes 4K/100 and 4K/60 formats for capturing slow-motion sequences. This helps expand the various types of shots available on this drone.
The new drone also comes with the new DJI RC 2 controller with two antennas. The drone has two landing pegs attached to the two front arms that house antennas, and together with the new Ocusync 4 (O4) protocol, the drone promises better transmission quality when in flight.
My flight tests confirm DJI’s claims. For example, I was able to maintain a video feed to the controller with no interference.
In contrast, the Mini 3 Pro struggled in the same area with intermittent breaks in communication. The strong connection gave me the confidence to fly the Mini 4 Pro in built-up areas.
The new drone is slightly bigger to accommodate the new sensors, but it can still maintain the same flight time as its predecessors. I completed a hyper-lapse sequence that used up 20 minutes, did a 360-sphere shot and captured a minute night video on a single battery charge, with power to spare.
If that’s not enough, you can get a charging hub to house additional batteries and buy the larger-capacity Intelligent Flight Battery Plus that pushes the flight time to a maximum of 45 minutes.
Note that using the bigger battery will mean the drone’s weight will pip over the 250g regulatory limit. In Singapore, it is best to register your DJI Mini 4 Pro if you are considering using the expanded power pack during your flights.
On the whole, the DJI Mini 4 Pro has improved on the Mini 3 Pro, which in itself is an excellent drone for beginners and avid flyers. For those using older drones like the Mavic Air, Mini 2 or even the Mavic 2, the Mini 4 Pro is an excellent and worthy upgrade if you want something small and capable.
For owners of the Mini 3 Pro, things might not be as straightforward. You can still use the older drone with the DJI Integra Goggle or DJI Goggle 2 and the DJI RC Motion 2 to give you a First Person View (FPV) experience that feels like flying in an aircraft.
There is no word on whether the Mini 4 Pro will be compatible with the DJI Goggles and motion controller in the future. If you want the most flying options with your drone, the older Mini 3 Pro is the better choice for now.
The Mini 4 Pro is on sale in Singapore from S$1,079. The bundle I would recommend, however, is the S$1,549 Fly More Combo that adds the new DJI RC 2 controller, extra batteries and propellers.