You might have seen the rumours already, but they’re true: DJI has launched a more affordable version of the Mini 3 Pro.
As you’d expect, it doesn’t have all of the Mini 3 Pro’s features but it does have the same camera, which can shoot horizontally and vertically. However, there are certain limitations which we’ll get to in a bit.
When is the DJI Mini 3 release date?
- 9 December 2022
As usual, DJI has made the Mini 3 available to buy as soon as it is officially announced. That means you can head to DJI’s website or one of its partners and buy one right now.
How much does the DJI Mini cost?
- From $469/£439 (without remote controller)
There are five different bundles, although not all are available in every region.
As with the Mini 3 Pro, there’s the option to buy the Mini 3 on its own with no controller (you still get a battery and spare propellers), but you can also get it with the RC-N1 controller or the DJI RC, which is the remote that has a built-in screen and doesn’t require your phone.
Even that bundle is about the same price as the Mini 3 Pro bare drone.
There are two Fly More Combo bundles, one with the RC-N1 controller, and the other with the DJI RC (below).
Jim Martin / Foundry
The Fly More Combo Plus is available only in Australia.
Most people won’t already have a compatible remote controller, which means the real base price of the Mini 3 is $559/£519.
That’s quite a lot more than the price of a Mini 2, which is currently $449/£419 from DJI, but cheaper at other retailers. It’s about twice the price of a Mini SE, although this seems to have been discontinued, and shoots only 2.7K video.
|DJI Mini 3 (Drone Only)||£439||€489||$469||$699|
|DJI Mini 3 (RC-N1)||£519||€579||$559||$829|
|DJI Mini 3 (DJI RC)||£669||€749||$699||$1019|
|DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo (RC-N1)||£678||€768||$718||N/A|
|DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo Plus (RC-N1)||N/A||N/A||N/A||$1188|
|DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo (DJI RC)||£828||€938||$858||N/A|
|DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo Plus (DJI RC)||N/A||N/A||N/A||$1378|
If the Mini 3 is too expensive for you, then take a look at our roundup of the best drones for a couple of alternatives.
DJI Mini 3 vs Mini 3 Pro and Mini 2
Of course, the big question is which features has DJI chopped in order to reduce the Mini 3 Pro’s price for the Mini 3.
There are quite a few. One of the most noticeable is the lack of sensors for obstacle avoidance: the Mini 3 has only downward-facing sensors, which aren’t the same as those on the Mini 3 Pro.
This means you have to be more careful when flying the Mini 3: it won’t brake and avoid crashing into trees and other things automatically, unless you’re descending the the obstacle is below.
Unfortunately, it means that ActiveTrack is another casualty: the Mini 3 has no tracking capabilities at all, just like the Mini and Mini 2 before it. Aside from QuickShots and return-to-home, which will trigger if the battery is too low or the signal from the remote is lost, there are no automatic flying modes.
The Mini 3 also has DJI’s O2 video transmission system, which means a reduced-quality video feed (720p at 30fps) from the Mini 3 over a shorter distance (10km in the US and 6km in the UK / EU) than the Mini 3 Pro. However, this is a sensible compromise to bring the price down which most people won’t care about.
Some shooting modes are missing: there’s no timelapse, no slo-mo, no MasterShots and no Asteroid mode within QuickShots (fun automatic video clips).
Although the camera sensor and lens is the same as the Mini 3 Pro, the Mini 3 is limited to shooting at 4K at 30fps, rather than at 60fps, but still offers the option of HDR video at 24, 25 and 30fps, including in 4K.
Jim Martin / Foundry
If you do want to shoot at 60fps, you’ll need to drop down to 2.7K. 60fps is the highest frame rate on offer at any resolution.
Quality isn’t quite the same as from the Mini 3 Pro because the Mini 3’s video bitrate is limited to 100Mbps, rather than 150Mbps, and there’s no option to shoot in the flat D-Cinelike colour profile for editing later. Nor is there an option to record in H.265: only H.264. There’s no on-board storage, either, so you can’t forget to insert a microSD card.
While the missing shooting modes aren’t ideal, for the vast majority of people looking for an entry-level drone, none of the other camera differences will matter at all: the Mini 3 still offers a noticeable upgrade over the Mini 2’s camera thanks to a larger f/1.7 aperture which should mean better quality video at night.
It’s possible to use digital zoom up to 2x at 4K30, 4x in 1080p and 2x in 12Mp photos.
Plus, like the Mini 3 Pro, the Mini 3’s camera can rotate to a vertical orientation for shooting video for social media, and taking ‘true vertical’ photos.
Talking of a photos, there are options for 180°, Wide, and Sphere panorama, HDR single shot, auto exposure bracketing, and the choice of saving in JPEG and RAW (DNG) format.
Here’s how the Mini 3 compares to the Mini 3 Pro and older Mini 2 (which was released in 2020):
|DJI Mini 3 Pro||DJI Mini 3||DJI Mini 2|
|Camera, max video resolution||1/1.3’’ CMOS, 24mm, f/1.7 4k/60fps||1/1.3’’ CMOS, 24mm, f/1.7 4k/30fps||1/2.3’’ CMOS, 24mm, f/2.8 4k/30fps|
|True Vertical Shooting/ Large-angle Tilt||Yes||Yes||No|
|Video Transmission||DJI O3, 12 km||DJI O2, 10 km||DJI O2, 10 km|
|Intelligent Features||QuickShots, Panorama, Timelapse, MasterShots||QuickShots (No Asteroid), Panorama||QuickShots (No Asteroid), Panorama|
|Obstacle Sensing||Forward, Backward, Downward||Downward||Downward|
|Wind Resistance||Level 5||Level 5||Level 5|
|Remote Controller (DJI RC)||Yes||Yes||No|
As you can see, the Mini 3 has the longest flight times of all three, with up to 38 minutes from a standard battery. It’s possible to fly for 51 minutes only if you buy the optional Battery Plus, which has a higher capacity and pushes the weight up over 250g. These batteries aren’t sold everywhere: you can’t buy them in the UK or EU, for example.
In terms of accessories, the Mini 3 is compatible with the same ND filters as the Mini 3 Pro, and you can buy a set of prop guards to make indoor flights safer.
The Mini 3 also supports QuickTransfer, for video downloads over Wi-Fi up to 25MB/s.