DJI Mini 3 drone

DJI Mini 3 marks most affordable (but still quality) drone out there yet

Just in time for Christmas comes a drone that is set to top wishlists — and might not even break the bank either. DJI today announced the DJI Mini 3, a new drone that’s very similar to the already-existent DJI Mini 3 Pro, but with some of the features stripped out.

It also has a much more affordable price point: just $559 (and an even-cheaper $469 if you just want the drone only, no controller).

Most of what drone pilots loved about the DJI Mini 3 Pro, which was announced in May 2022, still exists in this lower-cost version: a compact, ultra-lightweight camera drone that still takes impeccable images and offers a generally safe flying experience. For context, the Mini 3 Pro cost $759, or $669 without the controller). That makes the Mini 3 drone about 26% cheaper than the Pro version,

On almost any metric, the Mini 3 still outpaces the Mini 2 drone, effectively making the old version of the Mini 3 moot. Consider it a sweet spot of offering more than what the Mini 2 does, but also not hitting the steep $759 price point of the DJI Mini 3 Pro.

Some key specs on the new DJI Mini 3 include:

  • 249 gram weight
  • 38 minutes of flight time (and up to 51 minutes with the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus)
  • 10.7 m/s wind resistance
  • 1/1.7-inch camera sensor
  • 4K HDR video
  • 12MP photos
  • True Vertical Shooting (designed for vertical video formats like TikTok and Instagram)

The transmission technology uses DJI O2 digital video transmission, which delivers a 720p/30fps live feed from up to 10 km away and also promising anti-interference capabilities. (The Pro version has the more advanced O3).

It’s not just the low price point that is set to make the Mini 3 a wildly-appealing drone to the mass market. The Mini 3, like the Pro version before it, weighs under 250 grams. Drones under 250 grams are a huge deal for a few reasons, including:

  1. Drones under 250 grams do not need to be registered with the FAA for recreational operations.
  2. Drones under 250 grams do not need to be Remote ID compliant.

That removes a bunch of legal friction that has deterred many from wanting to fly drones. For many, it’s not that they don’t want to follow the laws, it’s just that they’re afraid of breaking them. With a sub-250 gram drone, you don’t need to worry about whether your drone is Remote ID compliant or whether your registration identification number is displayed correctly. Drones under 250 grams are exempt from most drone regulations in not just the U.S., but several parts of the world.

Of course, there’s also the safety component (a small object hitting you won’t cause as much force as a larger object).

Purchase the DJI Mini 3 starting at just $469 (no controller) or $559 with controller now from:

DJI Mini 3 drone

The DJI Mini 3 camera

The camera specs on the DJI Mini 3 are almost exactly the same as what you’ll find on the DJI Mini 3 Pro. Those include:

  • 4K/30fps in HDR
  • 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor
  • f/1.7 aperture
  • 4-in-1 pixel technology can create photos from 48MP to 12MP in size
  • Dual native ISO and chip-level HDR technology
  • True Vertical Shooting

That True Vertical Shooting is a nod to Instagram Reels and TikTok, where vertical video is the de facto video style on social media. To enable True Vertical Shooting mode, simply press a button to rotate the camera 90 degrees for True Vertical Shooting — no need to zoom in or crop your original image.

Like most other DJI drones, pre-programmed flight modes using the QuickShots feature automate the drone’s flight path to capture better, smoother, more precise video. QuickShots filming modes include:

  • Dronie: Aircraft flies back and up with the camera locked on the subject.
  • Helix: Aircraft flies up and spirals around the subject.
  • Rocket: Aircraft flies up with the camera facing down.
  • Circle: Aircraft circles around the subject.
  • Boomerang: Aircraft flies around the subject in an oval path, ascending as it flies away and descending as it returns.

What it lacks against the DJI Mini 3 Pro: So what’s missing on the DJI Mini 3 camera versus the Pro edition?

For starters, this version has 12 MP Effective Pixels as opposed to 48 MP on the Mini 3. ISO capabilities aren’t quite as powerful either.

The Mini 3 Pro also has the more elevated Focus Track Suite, with even more shooting modes. The Mini 3 also lacks other advanced filming features like MasterShots and Hyperlapse.

DJI Mini 3 drone

Flying the DJI Mini 3

Like all recent DJI drones, the DJI Mini 3 is among the safest consumer drones you can fly, with safety features including Low Battery Return to Home (RTH), and Failsafe RTH. If the aircraft runs into issues, it’ll automatically return to its starting point.

Features to help you fly include Auto Takeoff, and you can also opt to have your drone automatically fly back to its home point using Smart RTH.

What it lacks against the DJI Mini 3 Pro: So what’s missing on the DJI Mini 3’s flight capabilities versus the Pro edition?

The big feature lacking here is Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing. There’s also no APAS and FocusTrack, all features that help the better Pro version be all-but crash-proof. That said, the Mini 3 does have some smart flight capabilities including a combination of GNSS with the downward vision system, plus an infrared sensing system to hover stably and accurately.

DJI Mini 3 vs DJI Mini 3 Pro: which is better?

At a more-than 30% discount, the Mini 3 is certainly cheaper. The question is: are the reduced specs worth the trade? I’ve got a deep dive comparing the Mini 3 vs. Mini 3 Pro right here, but if you’d prefer the tl;dr version, then here’s a comparison table of the two drones, digging into some of their most relevant specs:

DJI Mini 3DJI Mini 3 Pro
Takeoff Weight< 249 g< 249 g
DimensionsFolded (without propellers): 148×90×62 mm (L×W×H)
Unfolded (with propellers): 251×362×72 mm (L×W×H)
Folded (without propellers): 148×90×62 mm (L×W×H)
Unfolded (with propellers): 251×362×72 mm (L×W×H)
Max Flight Time38 minutes (with Intelligent Flight Battery)
51 minutes (with Intelligent Flight Battery Plus *)
34 minutes (with Intelligent Flight Battery)
47 minutes (with Intelligent Flight Battery Plus *)
Max Wind Speed Resistance10.7 m/s (Level 5)10.7 m/s (Level 5)
Global Navigation Satellite SystemGPS + GLONASS + GalileoGPS + Galileo + BeiDou
Image Sensor1/1.3-inch CMOS, Effective Pixels: 12 MP1/1.3-inch CMOS, Effective Pixels: 48 MP
ISO RangeVideo: 100-3200
Photo: 100-3200
Video: 100-6400
Photo: 100-6400
Max Image Size4000×30008064×6048 (48 MP)
Max Video Bitrate100 Mbps150 Mbps
Sensing TypeDownward vision systemForward, Backward and Downward vision system
Video Transmission SystemDJI O2DJI O3

Clearly the DJI Mini 3 Pro outperforms the Mini 3 on every metric (except flight time). It’s got a slightly better camera, improved O3 transmission, and obstacle avoidance. It’s also a lot more expensive — and only you can value your own budget.

How DJI takes popular drones and makes them cheaper

The practice of taking a beloved drone and stripping out some of the pricier features so that it can be sold at a lower price point has become increasingly common at DJI. Just last month, DJI launched the Mavic 3 Classic, which is to the Mavic 3 drone as the Mini 3 is to the Mini 3 Pro.

At $1,599 for the DJI Mavic 3 Classic with RC-N1 remote controller, it’s about 20% cheaper than the $2,049 Mavic 3. Its most-notably missing feature is the telephoto lens, which offers an incredible 28x Hybrid Zoom to the Mavic 3.

DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo
The DJI Mini 3 drone with Fly More Combo

How to get your hands on a DJI Mini 3 drone

The DJI Mini 3 drone is already on sale, making for an excellent opportunity to put DJI’s newest drone under a beloved drone pilot’s Christmas tree. The one bummer? The cheapest version, which does not include a Remote Controller (ideal for owners of existing DJI drones) won’t be available until sometime in early 2023.

That said, here are the various DJI Mini 3 configurations, and how much they cost:

DJI also offers up the following accessories:

  • DJI RC: A remote controller with a built-in screen and built-in DJI Fly app (unless you purchase the Drone Only version).
  • Intelligent Flight Battery: Up to 38 minutes of flight time.
  • Intelligent Flight Battery Plus: Up to 51 minutes of flight time.
  • Two-Way Charging Hub: To charge the remote controller and three batteries in sequence.
  • ND Filters Set
  • 360° Propeller Guard
  • Propeller Holder

DJI also gives the option to purchase DJI Care Refresh, which is DJI’s extended warranty plan. What do you think of the DJI Mini 3 drone? Do you know someone who needs this on their Christmas list?

Purchase the DJI Mini 3 starting at just $469 (no controller) or $559 with controller now from:

How does the Mini 3 compare to the older DJI Mini 2? Check out my guide comparing the DJI Mini 3 vs. Mini 2 drones here.

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