Connex Mini Wireless HD Downlink Review

We love using our Amimon Connex system, whether it’s on our aerial rigs or on the ground for gimbal operation and film set monitoring. Now we have the Connex Mini, which is essentially the size and specs of the Connex cut in half. This means the Mini air unit weighs only 60 grams, or just over 2 ounces! This incredibly lightweight HD wireless downlink system is great for smaller aerial systems where every gram matters.

Build Quality & Design

  1. connex-vs-connex-miniSize: As you can see, the mini air unit is roughly half the size of the standard, but the mini ground unit is only slightly smaller. The size of the ground unit is obviously not nearly as important as it will likely live on the back of your monitor without getting in the way. The mini air unit, however, allows for much more discrete placement on a gimbal, adding to the options of places you can mount it without getting in the way.
  2. Build Quality: Both the transmitter and receiver are encased in an aluminum housing which helps protect the modules when out in the field. For the price, the build quality is quite good.
  3. Power: The Mini can take between 8 and 26 volts to both units, making it even more flexible than the standard Connex version.
  4. Antennas: The Mini transmitter uses two SMA connectors and the receiver uses three. The included transmitter antennas are similar to those found on the standard Connex, though not as large, but it’s also great to have the option to connect other antennas. The ground unit antennas are identical except there are two less than are on the standard Connex.
  5. connex-mini-hdmiSignal Input: Sadly, the Connex only supports HDMI input. From a pro level, this is a strong negative. In the film industry, we’re accustomed to using SDI connectors and cables. However, a quick fix is to setup a simple SDI to HDMI converter when needing a SDI only output such as with the black magic.

Purchase Connex

Performance

  1. Range: Obviously the most important question is, how well does the transmission work? The Mini is rated for up to 1600 feet, or 500 meters, line of sight, whereas the full-sized Connex is rated for up to 3300 feet, or 1000 meters. So the transmission range is basically cut in half on the Mini. 1600 feet shouldn’t be too much of an issue for most aerial shots, as that’s about as far as we are willing to fly away, and the Mini seems to live up to its rating under optimal circumstances.
  2. Image Quality: Despite some confusion in early information and on the packaging, the Connex Mini is in fact capable of full 1080p HD. As you can see, inside the specified transmission range the quality is very high when given a clear line of sight. One thing we really love about the Connex that is carried over to the Mini is that, when signal degradation occurs, the Connex prioritizes frame rate over image quality, which enables you to continue framing your shot.
  3. Temperature: Even after lots of use, the standard Connex never gets too hot in normal conditions. But the Mini doesn’t have a built in fan like its big brother, only a heat sink. However, after about an hours use in a 70 degree F environment, the Connex Mini rose to 113 degrees F. Not bad.
  4. connex-mini-receivers-4Multiple Receivers: One of the great features of the Connex is that it can be used with up to 4 receivers with no image degradation. Fortunately this is also the case with the Mini. Unfortunately, it appears that Mini and standard transmitters and receivers are not compatible with each other. When we tried to pair our standard receiver with the Mini transmitter, we received an incompatibility error. Hopefully this is something that Amimon could fix with a firmware update, as it would be incredibly useful to be able to mix and match to suit your needs.

Conclusion

connex-mini-sizeIn conclusion, the Connex Mini offers many of the same features of its predecessor while offering a significantly smaller transmitter at the cost of a 50% range decrease. This will be a fair trade for many users wanting to cut down on weight, especially since this is the smallest HD system of its class on the marketplace. Currently, the Connex Mini retails for $1299, which is $300 less than the cost of a full sized Connex at $1599.

Pros

  1. Size and Weight of Transmitter
  2. Flexibility of Power
  3. Flexibility of Transmitter Antennae
  4. 1600 Feet is Fine for Most Aerial Uses
  5. Full HD, Retains Framerate Over Quality (Just Like Connex)
  6. Up to 4 Receivers
  7. Affordable Price Compared to Other HD Downlinks

Cons

  1. Range Limitation Doesn’t Give Buffer
  2. Not Compatible With Standard Transmitters and Receivers
  3. Only $300 Less Than Full-Sized Connex
  4. Only HDMI, no SDI

Recommended Uses

We recommend the Mini for aerial users who are concerned about size and weight. The Mini is also great for ground gimbal because it is low-profile. It may not perform as well as the full-sized Connex in film set monitoring situations if there are many obstructions such as walls, which can severely weaken the signal. Overall, we would recommend the Connex Mini if are really concerned with size and weight, but would otherwise suggest spending the minimal extra cost for the full Connex, which is the best HD downlink at its price point.

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