DJI’s Mini 3 drone is its best value yet — even without 60 fps video
After we got our hands on the Mini 3 Pro, we were waiting to see what a Mini 3 would look like.
DJI is closing out the year by bringing yet another drone to market. The Chinese drone maker released the Mini 3, the more affordable, non-pro version of the Mini 3 Pro that was released in May.
With the Mini 3, DJI is clearly trying to fill out its drone lineup. DJI also just released the Mavic 3 Classic last month, but you can argue that these drones were an improvement from their predecessors. The Mavic 3 Classic gave us a drone without the oftentimes unnecessary telephoto lens on the Mavic 3 and this Mini 3 gives us a solid starter drone without the obstacle avoidance features and at a cheaper price point.
Fewer features, lower price — The main difference between the newly-released Mini 3 and the Mini 3 Pro is the lack of obstacle avoidance. That means you won’t have the crutch of beeping alerts to let you know your drone is about to hit something.
Otherwise, the Mini 3 has most of the specs that the impressive Mini 3 Pro has. It has the same 1/1.3-in CMOS sensor that can record up to 4k30p — down from the Mini 3 Pro’s 4k60p video — and capture 48-megapixel photos. The sensor opens up to f/1.7 and has the True Vertical Shooting Mode that rotates the lens 90 degrees so you get full resolution when shooting for social media feeds that often suit vertical photos.
Even though it doesn’t get 4K video at 60 frames-per-second, the Mini 3 actually has a better max flight time of 38 minutes. You can even boost the max flight time to 51 minutes if you use DJI’s Intelligent Flight Battery Plus. Just keep in mind that these batteries will increase your Mini 3’s weight to more than 249 grams, so you’ll have to register it with the Federal Aviation Administration.
Like its predecessors, the Mini 3 will get the QuickShots feature that gives you professional-looking drone shots with the click of a button. DJI also put in intelligent features like Auto Takeoff and Return to Home.
Killer price point — The Mini 3 with the RC-N1 remote controller that pairs with your smartphone is available now for $499. You can upgrade to the DJI RC standalone remote controller package, which is also already available for $639. DJI’s Fly More Packages for the Mini 3 are out now too, with the RC-N1 Fly More Combo going for $658 and the DJI RC Fly More package going for $798. If you want just the Mini 3 drone, it’ll cost $409 but won’t be available until early 2023.
Considering how good DJI’s obstacle avoidance features are, it’s a major selling point for the Mini 3 Pro and its Mavic 3 drones. If you feel like you don’t need the obstacle avoidance or 60 fps video, the Mini 3 is a great pick. As DJI keeps expanding its drone lineup, it’s getting a lot easier to find the perfect drone for your budget and needs.