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DJI Mini 2 SE – Beginner’s Guide

Congratulations on becoming the proud owner of a DJI Mini 2 SE.

DJI Mini 2 SE – Beginner’s Guide
Image: Dan Bayne

This is especially a smart choice if you’re seeking a dependable drone to kickstart your professional ventures, from filmography to social media stardom.

Since it’s so easy to use, many pilots who fly the Mini 2 SE are complete beginners. I put together this guide with you in mind.

Join me as I cover all the basics of the Mini 2 SE, including how to charge it, activate it, update it, and fly it. You’ll be completely confident and comfortable proceeding with that all-important first-time launch, and you’ll feel like more of a drone expert (which is always a plus!).

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What is the DJI Mini 2 SE?

The Mini 2 SE debuted on February 9th, 2023. It’s the latest and greatest Mini drone DJI has put out (as of the time of this publication), but it’s not a continuation of the recent Mini line, such as the Mini 3 Pro and Mini 4 Pro.

Instead, as the name suggests, the Mini 2 SE picks up where the original Mini 2 left off. It’s also packed with some of the most beginner-friendly features DJI has yet to offer in a drone.

» MORE: Is DJI Mini 2 SE Good for Beginners? (Hands-on Review)

Let’s unpack what this drone is made of.

  • Three flight modes: Use the DJI Fly app to toggle between CineSmooth, Sport, and Position mode.
    • CineSmooth or Cine Mode reduces the drone’s rotating and braking, keeping its movements smoother so you can take A+ video footage.
    • Sport Mode provides a more accelerated flight experience, although the Mini 2 SE still cannot exceed 35.8 miles per hour.
    • Position Mode is for setting up the correct position. Since the Mini 2 SE can hover reliably, using P Mode is especially handy.
  • 4x Zoom: Now, you can get closer to the action without physically having to be there with the Mini 2 SE. Whether taking HD-quality videos or photos, you can expand the parameters of your drone photography and videography with this feature.
  • 1/2.3-inch CMOS camera: This capable camera maybe doesn’t win many points for image and video quality among more experienced drone pilots, but beginners should be perfectly contented with the 2.7K video quality and 12 MP image quality. The Mini 2 SE also includes a mechanical three-axis gimbal.
  • On-the-go editing: The Mini 2 SE is equipped with LightCut, a DJI app for beginner-friendly video editing. You can slap effects, filters, styles, and music on your drone footage to improve engagement. Templates are even available for faster editing, as are AI-driven one-tap changes.
  • Panorama: This mode is fantastic for taking open-environment photos. Think of this like the pano on your phone, but way better, since this is a DJI drone, of course. You can select between three types of panoramas: Wide Angle, 180 Degrees, and Sphere.
  • QuickShots: Another major Intelligent Flight Mode is QuickShots. Toggle between modes like Boomerang, Helix, Circle, Dronie, and Rocket, taking awesome cinematic videos automatically. You can look like you have years of drone skills and experience, even when you’re just starting out!
  • Return to home: Substantially reduce the chances of losing your drone with RTH. The Mini 2 SE has three RTH modes: Failsafe, Low Battery, and Smart RTH.
    • Failsafe RTH kicks in automatically if the remote controller and Mini 2 SE lose connection. The RTH activates in 20 seconds when on Wi-Fi and three seconds when operating the drone with the included remote.
    • Low Battery RTH works when your drone is ready to peter out due to low battery. The Mini 2 SE lands without any intervention on your part.
    • Smart RTH only activates when you want it to. You have to choose the RTH option in the DJI Fly app or on the remote controller. The Mini 2 SE will automatically come back to its preset Home Point.  
  • Hovering: The hovering capabilities and accuracy of the Mini 2 SE are truly something special. This drone uses a combination of downward vision, infrared sensing, and GNSS systems to stay in one spot for a while.
  • Single-touch takeoffs and landings: Now, here’s something handy for beginners. The Mini 2 SE can launch and land without more than a single push of a button. These processes happen automatically, smoothly, and reliably every time.
  • Good wind resistance: Don’t let the diminutive size of the Mini 2 SE fool you. This drone has Level 5 wind resistance, enough to handle 38 kph or 23.6 mph winds!
  • 31-minute battery life: The Mini 2 SE might not fly long enough for involved professional projects, but for recreational photography and videography­ – its principal purpose – its 31-minute projected time in the sky is fine.
  • HD video transmission: The 10 kilometers of transmissible range and HD video quality the Mini 2 SE promises are two areas where it shows its newer age. This video transmission system is awesome for submitting projects on the go, especially if you’re an influencer or popular on social media and don’t want to skip a beat.
  • Lightweight: Of course, I can’t forget to mention one of the Mini 2 SE’s biggest selling points – its weight! This drone weighs under 250 grams, so if you only fly for fun, you don’t have to register it with the FAA (or most other drone agencies in other parts of the world, but please always check your local laws).

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE – Unlock GEO Zones (Step-by-Step Guide)

In the box with the DJI Mini 2 SE

Image: Dan Bayne

You can select from two versions of the DJI Mini 2 SE.

There’s the base edition, which includes the Mini 2 SE, one Intelligent Flight Battery, screws, a screwdriver, propellers, a gimbal protector, three RC cables, a USB-C cable, and the DJI RC-N1, the Mini 2 SE’s remote controller.

The Fly More Combo adds extra props, the DJI Two-Way Charging Hub, a prop holder, a shoulder bag, additional screws, and more Intelligent Flight Batteries.

The Mini 2 SE is a folding drone with a three-axis gimbal. It will come with a gimbal protector attached if purchasing it new. You should remove the protector before turning on the drone for the first time.

If you don’t, when the gimbal tries to run a standard self-check, it might be damaged; the motor can also incur harm!

The only way this doesn’t happen is if you turn the Mini 2 SE on without having activated it, as then the gimbal check won’t occur.

It’s easy to take the gimbal protector off. It will have a buckle facing the camera. Press on it and the protector should pop right off, allowing you to store it for safekeeping.

You can then turn on the Mini 2 SE by pressing its Power button and holding it for several seconds.

» MORE: Is the DJI Mini 2 SE Worth It?

Charging DJI Mini 2 SE

Image: Dan Bayne

Although the Mini 2 SE looks like it’s ready to use right out of the box, looks can be deceiving. DJI batteries all enter what’s called Hibernation Mode when new.

There is no way to manually turn them on or use them except by charging them fully.

This is must-know information. Otherwise, you can think there’s something wrong with your battery right out of the gate.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE Battery Won’t Charge (Here’s How to Fix It)

Here’s another piece of handy information: the Mini 2 SE lacks a charger unless you buy the Fly More Combo.

You can purchase a DJI-supported charger like the Two-Way Charging Hub, either with your initial purchase of the Mini 2 SE or after, or you can use a USB PD or QC fast-charging device with an input power not exceeding 29 watts.

Devices like the Android GaN charger, Apple USB-C power adapter, and the DJI 18-Watt USB Charger will also get the job done.

Even Type-C port chargers are applicable here, albeit without the faster charging speed of the above devices.

» MORE: Does DJI Mini 2 SE Come with a Charger? (See Our Recommendation)

Okay, so let’s get into the charging steps, shall we?

  • Connect the Mini 2 SE to your charger of choice.
  • Allow the battery to fully charge. This can take between an hour and a half to three and a half hours depending on your charging wattage. Expect a shorter charging time if you charge at 18 watts and a slower charging time at 10 watts.

Activating DJI Mini 2 SE

Now that you’ve charged the Mini 2 SE’s battery, it’s all ready to fly, right? Well, not exactly. You also have to activate the drone before you can use it.

This will require you to download the DJI Fly app.

The app is free and available for Android and Apple devices, including smartphones and tablets. You must have Android 7.0 and iOS 11.0 or later to use it. Click here for the download link.

Next, follow these steps.

  • Step 1: Open the DJI Fly app. You need a DJI account to log into the app. Supply DJI with an email address and a password that’s eight to 20 characters. You will also have to pass a CAPTCHA, then you can register your account.
  • Step 2: Link the Mini 2 SE to your intended mobile device (smartphone or tablet) and the RC-N1. If you link them correctly, you will see an activation option when you’re in the DJI Fly app.

The app will provide prompts to fully activate the drone. Follow the prompts, double-check you have a working internet connection, and voila, you’ll have activated the Mini 2 SE.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3/Mini 3 Pro: How to Create a DJI Account (Video)

Updating DJI Mini 2 SE firmware

Image: Gabriel Mihalcea

The longer you use a drone, the more times you’ll inevitably update its firmware.

Although the Mini 2 SE is a newer DJI drone than most, it’s still had some firmware updates already, and I would bet more are on the horizon.

Since updating the firmware affects how well the drone operates, you shouldn’t skip an opportunity to upgrade. Allow me to explain how it’s done.

  • Step 1: Link the RC-N1 and Mini 2 SE. Then, turn on the DJI Fly app.
  • Step 2: Check the DJI Fly app for updates. The app will prompt you to download an update only if one is available.
  • Step 3: Apply the firmware update. Your drone should be well-charged and have a stable internet connection so the download and update can be completed.

A Mini 2 SE firmware update generally takes about 10 minutes to complete, but it can sometimes be longer, especially for big updates.

Don’t panic if yours is taking longer than usual to upgrade, and certainly, don’t disconnect the drone or turn it off.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE: How to Update Firmware (Step-by-Step Guide)

Before-flight tips for DJI Mini 2 SE

Image: Dan Bayne

You’re ready to finally get this show on the road and launch the Mini 2 SE into the air. I hear ya! However, before you fly, I recommend this checklist full of tips and advice. This way, you won’t get in any hot water!

Charge the battery

This is a given. You already know you have to charge the Mini 2 SE’s battery to 100 percent before you use it for the first time, as the battery is in Hibernation Mode otherwise.

The Intelligent Flight Battery will gradually discharge when not in use, just as most batteries today do.

Even though you left your battery at 75 percent the last time you flew, depending on the discharge rate and how long you left the Mini 2 SE idle, you might turn the drone on to find its battery is at 50 percent.

Always charge before you fly. Build it into your routine.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE Battery (All You Need to Know)

Open the drone

The Mini 2 SE is foldable, as mentioned, and requires you to unfold its wings to prepare it for flight.

Always go gently when handling this and any other drone component to avoid breaking them.

Take the gimbal protector off

Did you remember to take the gimbal protector off the Mini 2 SE before you launched it? It’s not worth the internal damage you can cause by leaving it on.

Take a minute to pop off the protector before you take to the skies.

Check for firmware updates

You don’t want to find out when you’re already in the sky that the Mini 2 SE is overdue for a firmware update. Check for the updates before you fly, not during.

Consider insurance

Accidents happen, even among more experienced drone pilots. You’re at a higher risk of a crash as a new pilot. I’m not saying that to scare you, but only so you know.

If you’re not already using drone insurance, I can’t stress its value enough. Most policies protect against injuries to others caused by your drone and property damage. You can reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

DJI also offers its own plan called DJI Care Refresh. This service is available for one or two years. You get longer warranty coverage and protection if your drone breaks or is damaged. You might consider a plan, but keep in mind that it’s not liability insurance.

» MORE: How Much Does Drone Insurance Cost?

Register your drone (as needed)

One of the best parts of the Mini 2 SE is its featherweight status. If you use the drone purely for enjoyment, you don’t have to register it in most countries and territories since it weighs under 250 grams.

Do you plan on using the Mini 2 SE commercially? You have to register it even though it’s under the 250-gram mark. FAA drone registration is available for three years and costs $5.

Check your license

Whether commercially or recreationally, you can’t legally fly a drone without a valid license. The TRUST certificate, the FAA’s hobbyist license, never expires, but the commercial license known as the Remote Pilot Certificate is only valid for two years.

If your license has expired, don’t fly until you recertify.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE for Commercial Use (Explained)

Charge your phone (to run the DJI Fly app)

The DJI RC-N1 is a perfectly fine controller. I like how it handles and how it’s compatible with DJI drones, from the Mini 3 Pro to the Mavic Air 2.

That said, it doesn’t have a built-in screen, which means you’ll have to rely on your smartphone to catch all the action when the Mini 2 SE is in the sky.

Charge your phone while you’re recharging your battery so all your devices are ready to go at once.

» MORE: Can You Fly DJI Mini 2 SE Without a Phone (Answered)

Look at the weather forecast

Stormy weather can ruin your drone flight plans in a hurry.

Even if you’re prepared to brave the weather, the FAA and other drone organizations make it illegal to fly your drone in certain inclement conditions.

Those can include high winds, so use a weather app that has wind speeds as well as daily temperatures.

Find a place to fly

Where in the world will you fly the Mini 2 SE? This is a consideration for more than aesthetics (although they matter, too!).

You need to know if you’re flying in legal airspace. DJI has geofencing initiated automatically, meaning the Mini 2 SE will ground itself if you enter a restricted area.

Still, you can face penalties for entering some airspace, so learn where you can and can’t be and stay out of restricted airspace.

» MORE: Where Can I Fly My Drone (United States)?

Inspect the drone components

Do the Mini 2 SE’s drone arms open with ease? Are its propellers straight instead of bent?

Does the DJI Fly app show any warnings when you open it? If everything is right as rain, you’re ready to go.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE Won’t Turn On (Here’s What to Do)

Flying the DJI Mini 2 SE for the first time – What to expect

Image: Dan Bayne

Since the Mini 2 SE launches automatically, you can be up in the air in a flash. Now, suddenly, you’re left piloting this awesome drone.

Now what? Here are some pointers for navigating the drone as a first-timer.

Toggling between drone modes

The RC-N1 makes it easy to switch from one flight mode to another, even on the same flight. If you hold the controller in front of you with both hands, you will see a black switch in the center.

Adjust the switch positioning to select between CineSmooth and Sport Modes. You can tell which flight mode you’re in because the black switch has a red line.

Using Intelligent Flight Modes

Activating the Mini 2 SE’s Intelligent Flight Modes is as easy as opening the DJI Fly app in most instances.

For example, to use the 4x Zoom, open Photo or Video Mode in the DJI Fly app, then zoom between 1x and 4x.

You can also press the FN button on the RC-N1, which is located on the upper left of the remote controller, directly adjacent to the left control stick.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE – Active Track (Explained)

Saving footage

The Mini 2 SE doesn’t have any internal storage but will send videos and photos to your smartphone.

If you’d like a go-between so you don’t fill up your phone with footage, use a microSD or SD card with a limit of 256 gigabytes.

» MORE: Best SD Cards for DJI Mini 2 SE

Understanding the DJI Mini 2 SE’s OSD

The Mini 2 SE doesn’t have an on-screen display or OSD via its remote, but you can still track diagnostics through the DJI Fly app on your smartphone or tablet.

» MORE: DJI Fly App (Everything You Need to Know)

Here is an overview of the OSD, including what you can do with it.

  • Change flight modes using the Flight Mode feature
  • Manage restricted zone warnings with the System Status Bar
  • Review the Mini 2 SE’s remaining battery in the Battery Information section
  • Determine signal strength with the Video Downlink Signal Strength feature
  • See the Forward Vision System and Backward Vision System statuses using Vision System Status
  • Gauge your GPS strength and/or change your Home Point (only with a sufficient signal) via the GNSS Status
  • Adjust control, camera, and data features in System Settings
  • Configure your degree of zoom in Zoom mode
  • Record videos via the app with the Shutter/Record Button
  • Set the degree of focus through Focus Mode with the Focus Button
  • Review your photos and videos before they go through post with Playback
  • Set up your video and photo options with the Shooting Parameters function
  • Double-check which SD or microSD card you have in the Mini 2 SE without having to take it out by using the MicroSD Card Information feature
  • Adjust your horizontal and vertical speeds (including to and from the Home Point) with Flight Telemetry
  • Review your flight coordinates within the map, then use the Altitude Indicator for more information
  • Automate flight features with the Auto Takeoff/Landing/RTH button
  • Find new places to fly with Fly Spots recommendations
  • Check out tutorials in The Academy
  • See your latest photos and videos in the Album
  • Scope out the works of other DJI pilots in SkyPixel
  • Review your account information in Profile

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE No GPS (Explained)

After-flight tips for DJI Mini 2 SE

Image: Dan Bayne

Woohoo! You just landed, and you’ve never felt more alive.

Flying the Mini 2 SE was a blast, and you already can’t wait until you can do it again.

To ensure your next flight goes just as smoothly, check out these awesome tips:

Check your drone components

Yes, I know you just reviewed everything before you launched, but a lot can change between now and then. Even if you didn’t ding anything while flying the Mini 2 SE, check for external damage.

If you find any, consider getting your drone professionally repaired before flying it again. If the Mini 2 SE is still under warranty, DJI might be able to repair specific components.

Recharge the battery

Between flying, using Intelligent Flight Modes, and taking oodles of photos and videos, your Mini 2 SE Intelligent Flight Battery will run out of juice. That’s fine, as that’s what it’s designed to do: be used!

Charge the battery using the Two-Way Charging Hub or your charging method of choice.

If you’re not planning to use it again for a few days, charge it to only 70-80% and wait to fully charge it up only when you’re getting ready to fly.

Replace the gimbal protector

The gimbal protector takes mere moments to put back on and can go a long way toward preserving the gimbal between flights. Always put yours back on before you use the Mini 2 SE again.

Just don’t forget it’s there.

Remove the SD card

You’ll want to dump all the contents of the SD or microSD card onto your computer anyway, so there’s no sense in keeping it connected to the Mini 2 SE.

Get those photos and videos ready for post so you can polish them up and publish them.

Store your drone in a safe place

If you don’t opt for the Mini 2 SE Fly More Combo with the included case, I recommend a drone case of some kind.

A good drone case should be large enough to fit your make and model, with molded components that prevent batteries, cords, cables, and props from shaking around when you’re on the go.

Store your drone away from direct sunlight and avoid extreme high and low temperatures. Your drone would probably survive a stint in your uninsulated basement, but is it worth it? If you ask me, it’s better not to take the chance.

» MORE: Best Drone Backpacks (And Tips for Traveling with Your Drone)

Accessories compatible with DJI Mini 2 SE

Does DJI Mini 2 SE Come with a Charger? (See Our Recommendation)
Image: Dan Bayne

The Mini 2 SE is compatible with many of the same accessories you might already know, use, and love with the OG Mini 2 and the Mini SE.

Here’s the full list:

  • DJI Mini Bag+
  • RC-N1 Remote Controller Tablet Holder
  • RC-N1 Remote Controller Monitor Hood     
  • RC-N1 Control Sticks
  • DJI 18-Watt USB Charger
  • Mini 2 360-Degree Propeller Guard
  • Mini 2 Two-Way Charging Hub
  • DJI Shoulder Bag
  • Mini 2 Propellers
  • Mini 2 Intelligent Flight Battery
  • RC-N1 RC Cable

» MORE: Best Accessories for DJI Mini 2 SE