Best Drone Under $500

Mini 2

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Almost exactly a year after DJI came out with the Mavic Mini, the updated and improved successor, the Mini 2 was released. The Mavic Mini was a strategic release in response to the FAA requirement that any drone over 250g (0.55lbs) must be registered. The Mavic Mini of last year weighs in at 250g, and to remove any doubt of whether the newer model falls under the weight limit, the Mini 2 weighs in at 249g. For those who are concerned about registering a drone, this one lets you off the hook.

With the updated release comes a little bit of updated branding as well, with the Mavic dropped out of the name – now it’s just the Mini. In many ways very similar to the older version, the Mini 2 has a number of upgraded features such as an upgraded 4K/30p camera, the ability to capture Raw+JPEG files, and OcuSync 2.0 controller transmission instead of Wi-Fi. 
These features make it an obvious improvement over the Mavic Mini, and together with its ease of use and peppy, sturdy design, the Mini 2 is easily the best drone under $500.

Read full review: Mini 2 Review

Who is it for?

The Mini 2 is a great drone for beginners and hobbyists who want to play with a drone that will give them a smooth, easy flight experience and a reasonably good quality photo and video option. The 12MP camera with the option to save in Raw can produce images that are good enough for most everyday purposes. And the upgraded 4K video with a few fun flight features can get you some cool video shots.

Great drone for beginners

For those looking for a serious camera and intelligent flight modes that can achieve more sophisticated autonomous flight and camera shots, you won’t find them here. For object avoidance, .MOV video files and a bigger, better sensor, you will need to upgrade to something like the Mavic 2 Air or Mavic 2 Pro. 

What we like

  • Raw photo capture
  • 4K camera with zoom capabilities
  • Better flight performance (wind resistance, flight time)
  • Extended range with OcuSync 2.0
  • Less than 250g, no need to register

What we don’t

  • Lack of object tracking 
  • Limited intelligent flight modes
  • No internal storage

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