The DJI Mini SE could be a $299 drone thanks to some Apple strategy

DJI may be readying its most affordable drone yet, with the DJI Mini SE tipped to land at just $299. As you might expect, given the rumored price tag, this won't be the most advanced or most capable drone on the market; however all signs are pointing to it being based on some reliable – and familiar – tech.

DJI's cheapest model at the moment is the DJI Mini 2, priced at $449. It promises up to 31 minutes of flight time, a 4K camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal, and over 6.2 miles of wireless range for HD video transmission.

However it seems DJI may be taking a leaf out of Apple's playbook, with the as-yet-unannounced DJI Mini SE. Like with the iPhone SE and the Apple Watch SE, the new drone seems to recycle some older, pre-existing tech so as to hit a more affordable price point. In this case, the likely donor could be the DJI Mavic Mini, a palm-sized drone first launched back in October 2019.

DroneDJ made the connection first, comparing leaked specifications for the Mini SE with the Mavic Mini. The Verge spotted the new drone on Walmart's site, priced at $299, and Twitter users have reportedly caught it in at least one physical store, already.

According to the specs there, the Mini SE is foldable and weighs 0.54 pounds. It offers up to 30 minutes of flight time, and as a 12-megapixel sensor that can shoot 2.7K video. As with the Mini 2, that camera is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal.

Range is where things start to show the big difference, however, with up to 2.5 miles of HD, low-latency transmission claimed. That could be an indicator that the DJI Mini SE uses the company's older wireless system, rather than the newer Ocusync. DJI bills that as not only supporting greater distances, but being more reliable as well.

Nonetheless, the idea of a new DJI drone – rather than a refurbished model – for under $300 is a mighty appealing one, especially given so much of the overall experience is software-led. While the Mavic Mini may not have been the most capable drone on the market, it's a solid base from which to build a budget option and allow DJI to compete with some of the cheaper rivals widely available from lesser-known brands. As for when it might actually go on sale, that's unclear, but the presence of Walmart listings suggests it'll be sooner rather than later.