The DJI Mini 3 isn’t an entirely new drone but rather an iteration of an existing model, the Mini 3 Pro. Here we will cover the differences between the two models as well as look at other mini drone models to help you decide what the best beginner drone for you might be.
What is the DJI Mini 3? What is a mini drone?
First, why is it important to have a drone under 250 grams? In the US it allows you to skip registering your drone and it exempts you from having to be remote ID compliant. It’s an important number in other countries also but we aren’t going to cover that. I want to look at what I think are the best mini drone options out there for consumers so that you can decide which one is best for you.
DJI Mini 3 vs Mini 3 Pro
Let’s start by trying to understand what the DJI Mini 3 is. It is very similar to the Mini 3 Pro with some important differences. The new Mini 3 doesn’t have obstacle avoidance, lacks active track and mastershots, and has some camera limitations. It doesn’t shoot 4K 60 like the M3P but rather maxes out at 4K 30. It also has a lower bitrate at 100 megabits/second vs the 150 that the Mini 3 Pro has. The Mini 3 also only records in the H264 format instead of having the option to record in H264 or H265 like the Pro version.
To help keep costs down the new DJI Mini 3 uses DJI’s O2 transmission system, giving it a range of 10km or 6.2 miles. The Mini 3 Pro however uses the new O3 and has a range of 12km or 7.5 miles. The new O3 system also allows the view to watch 1080p livestream video vs 720p on the O2 system.
The camera on both Mini 3 drones is the same but the limitations are software limited. DJI is holding some of these back to entice you to their more expensive Pro model. The camera on both drones is fantastic. The 1/1.3” sensor is great in most applications. Unless you are a professional you probably won’t miss some of these little differences. However, the missing obstacle avoidance and lack of active track may be a bigger deal to some beginner pilots.
While the Mini 3 may not have all the features of the pro it is roughly $200 less. With the drone itself costing $469 without a remote, $559 with a the RCN1 remote, and $699 with the DJI RC remote. To contrast that the Mini 3 Pro checks in at $669 by itself $759 the the RC-N1 remote and $909 with the DJI RC. The DJI RC is an excellent option and has a screen and a few extra buttons and dials that the RC-N1 lacks.
The new Mini 3 does have some advantages over the Pro version. The lack of obstacle avoidance helps improve the flight time from 34 to 38 minutes with a standard battery and from 47 to 51 minutes with an extended battery. That is the longest flight time from any consumer drone.
Mini 3 vs Mini 2 and DJI Mini SE
While I like the Mini 3 I think it is important for consumers to look at other options. For the professional user, I think the improvements the Pro model brings make sense. However, for a beginner pilot, I think there are two better options. The Mini 2 is very comparable to the Mini 3 in many ways. The range is identical and the camera quality is similar. The Mini 3 has the edge in lower light situations because it has the larger sensor but the Mini 2 is no slouch. The camera is fantastic. You’ll lose a few minutes of flight time with the Mini 2 as it maxes out at 31 minutes. But for most people that will be enough.
|Check the price of the DJI Mini 3||Check the price of the DJI Mini 3 Pro|
The Mini 2 is $110 less than the Mini 3 and I’d argue it might be a better deal. However, the best deal may actually be the Mini SE. It is nearly identical to the Mini 2 in every way, except for two. While the Mini 2 and Mini SE camera are the same it is limited to a top resolution of 2.7K. That is more than good enough for most people. The other limitation of the Mini SE is the 4000-meter range. That certainly is less but is still about 2.5 miles.
At the end of the day, it mostly comes down to budget and purpose. If your budget is $300 then you should opt for the SE. If your budget is $500 then go with the Mini 2. However if you can stretch to closer to 600 the standard M3 is an excellent option. However, if you are a professional I’d argue the M3 Pro is the way to go and makes the best backup drone you can get.
There certainly are other non-DJI options out there however they just aren’t on par with DJI. I’ve nearly flown them all. Hubsan, Zino, Fimi, Autel, Potensic, and MJX all make decent mini drone options but when it comes down to it they just don’t compete with DJI in terms of quality or value.
|Check the price of the DJI Mini 2||Check the price of the DJI Mini SE|
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