Update for Nov. 4, 2021 (as this article was originally written in October 2020): The official DJI Mavic 3 release date was Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021.
With the official launch, we learned that the DJI Mavic 3 included many of the similar specs we speculated on here — plus some specs that were far better than we expected. So much for that ’40 minutes of light time’ we speculated on. We underestimated DJI (the new DJI Mavic 3 has 46 minutes of flight time on one battery). Read my complete guide to the DJI Mavic 3 here.
DJI’s Mavic 2 line has largely been a hit, thanks to its Hasselblad camera, compact and foldable design, and powerful battery life of 31 minutes. It’s even considered one one of the best VR drones available. But hungry drone fans are already eager for a DJI Mavic 3, with hopes that it’ll build on the sturdy platform you’ll already find in the Mavic 2.
It’s hard to say when the Mavic 3 release date will actually be, but here’s what we know so far:
Everything we know (or think we know) so far
DJI Mavic 3 release date
Mavic 3 rumors were initially spurred by DJI patents that were filed for a folding design, a landing system that uses magnets, a camera module, and an optical image stabilization system. Industry insiders initially speculated about a fall 2020 release after learning about the patent documents, but we’re into fall already and there has been no word from DJI about the Mavic 3. At this point, it isn’t clear whether the Mavic 3 will even be released this year, and many suspect it may be released in early 2021.
Rumored DJI Mavic 3 specs
An improved Hasselblad camera: The Hasselblad camera that launched with the Mavic 2 was a big hit. The Mavic 3 will almost certainly include an improved camera from Hasselblad. Drone fans are hoping for 4K, 60 fps video with quality on par with the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. This camera is also rumored to have optical image stabilization (OIS). It may even support interchangeable lenses.
Flight: The Mavic 3 is expected to have 10 visual-sensing cameras, with a longer flight time of 40 minutes. In addition, the drone may have an upward-facing obstacle avoidance sensor to prevent it from crashing into objects above it such as birds and trees.
That could make the DJI Mavic 3 competitive with other major recent players, including the Skydio 2, which has significantly more sensors than DJI’s drones and qualifies a bit more as a truly crash-proof drone.
The controller: The Mavic 3 may ship to customers bundled with a smart controller. With the new, upgraded smart controller, pilots will get a high-quality screen integrated into the controller. That negates the need for pilots to have to connect their smartphones to the controller if they wish to see video output when flying for that first-person view, showing a live-feed of the flight. That’d make the Mavic 3 more akin to something like what we saw with the Yuneec Typhoon H — and it was a feature we loved there, so we’d welcome it here.
The only aspect of this that makes a nervous: that likely means the Mavic 3 drone will be more expensive than the Mavic 2.
DJI currently offers a DJI Smart Controller with a 5.5” screen built into the controller itself. It’s compatible with a few of DJI’s newest drones including the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro, which use DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 video transmission system, displaying vivid images in Full HD resolution. The big drawback: it’s $750.
Design: The Mavic 3 may also feature an improved frame. It may use an H frame design for increased stability, speed, and accuracy, which would harken back to the design of most early-day drones.
There is also talk about the possibility of a detachable camera. This would be welcome given DJI’s acquisition of Hasselblad, enabling you to not only have a great camera on your drone, but to also have a great handheld device. This would allow you to have a great camera on your drone and as a handheld device.
With the Mavic 2 line, there was a cheaper Mavic 2 Zoom model, but it isn’t clear if DJI will do something similar with the Mavic 3. There might just be one Mavic 3 model (Mavic 3 Pro) which contains a camera with zoom functionality.
Challenges ahead of the DJI Mavic 3
The release of the DJI Mavic 3 won’t necessarily be easy, and the Chinese drone manufacturer has had a rough go this year.
DJI reportedly suffered substantial losses due to fraud committed by a group of its employees. These losses are said to be in the region of hundreds of millions of dollars. It is thought that this fraudulent activity is affecting the release of new products since it forced the company to look for new component manufacturers in some cases.
It is also possible that a trade war between the U.S. and China could affect the release date. DJI may be searching for a way to get around tariffs that currently exist for DJI products sold in the U.S. DJI needs those tariffs to drop if they want to sell their new Mavic 3 at a competitive price point against others like Skydio.
What’s more, the US government has recently expressed elevated concerns about possible data security violations that may be occurring with some Chinese products, including DJI drones. That’s since resulted in a huge resource burden on DJI which has launched its own PR campaigns, lobbying efforts and even conferences to help mitigate the issue.
The bottom line
Despite all the delays and challenges that 2020 has sent, it’s likely DJI has a number of new products in the pipeline, and the release of the Mavic 3 will most likely happen sometime soon. With possible specs such as an improved Hasselblad camera, longer flight time, a more stable frame, and a detachable camera, the Mavic 3 could certainly be quite a catch.
What features would you like to see in the DJI Mavic 3? Leave a comment below!
-By Mohammad Abid
The above piece is a guest post by Mohammad Abid. Mohammad is as passionate about writing as he is about Drones and electronics, and his fervor has led to tech article contributions in a variety of online publications including Examiner.com, 2D-X.com, and Tech.co.
If you’re interested in writing for The Drone Girl, contact her here.