The DJI Mini SE rumors have been rumbling for weeks, and now we finally have some official word on the curious mini drone – it's on sale, but only in very selected markets.
If you're not aware of the DJI Mini SE backstory, the drone was leaked by US retailer Walmart back in early June and appeared to be a reworked version of its DJI Mavic Mini model (the predecessor to the DJI Mini 2) with a cheaper price tag.
But following a succession of further leaks, DJI has now officially filled us in on the DJI Mini SE and clarified that it's not going on sale in the US or Europe (apart from in Russia). This would explain why it's now appeared on some DJI sites, such as DJI Brazil.
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In a statement, DJI Europe told us that the DJI Mini SE is "a specialized product tailored for entry-level drone pilots in markets where consumer drone use is emerging".
According to DJI, "it uses the internal components of the Mavic Mini in the shell of the Mini 2, which generates slightly higher wind resistance but provides much of the performance of the original Mavic Mini at a very attractive price".
Unfortunately for many prospective buyers, though, DJI added that "there are currently no plans to sell this product in the US or Europe (apart from Russia)." Instead, for those markets, "the DJI Mini 2 remains our flagship entry-level drone, with its superior 4K/30fps resolution and up to 10km image transmission (subject to local rules and regulations).”
While these statements clear up a lot of confusion, some questions remain. Why, for example, did Walmart have the drone temporarily listed on its site if there are no plans to sell it in the US? Some leaked photos (below) even showed an in-store card for the drone and a shot of its apparent $299 price tag on a shelf.
So either these photos were very convincing fakes, or DJI is only "currently" (as it says) not planning to launch the Mini SE in the US and Europe.
pic.twitter.com/OumYkOzwZ6June 11, 2021
The DJI Mini SE saga is a very strange one without any real precedent for the world's biggest drone brand, as it hasn't previously separated its models by geographical region.
When we asked DJI for a full list of countries that the Mini SE will be available in, it said the drone will be "sold mainly in emerging market countries in Southeast Asia and South America".
Launching its most affordable drone in regions where consumer drones are still in their infancy makes sense, but it doesn't explain why US retailer Walmart had both listed the drone and been home to its first sightings.
While this is just speculation, it's possible that there's been a last-minute change of plan due to the supply chain issues or global chip shortages that have resulted from the pandemic. The fact that DJI said there are "currently" no plans to sell the DJI Mini SE in the US or Europe doesn't rule out its potential arrival in those regions at a later date, either.
Still, given that the DJI Mini SE is so similar to the existing DJI Mavic Mini, it's ultimately not a huge deal for potential buyers in the US or Europe. If you want a small, affordable drone that can shoot 2.7K video, the Mavic Mini remains a very good choice – particularly as we have seen some decent discounts recently during the likes of Amazon Prime Day.
The Mavic Mini is also compatible with third-party apps like Litchi, which deliver extra features like subject-tracking – and if you can wait, it's possible that the drone's Prime Day prices will return during the Black Friday shopping event in November.
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.