Update! The DJI Air 3 did, in fact, come out on Tuesday, July 25, 2023! Read my full DJI Air 3 review here.
- Order the DJI Air 3 drone from Amazon now, starting at $1,099.
- Order the DJI Air 3 drone from B&H Photo now, starting at $1,099.
DJI is set to launch a new product on Tuesday, and it’s all but a secret that it’s going to be a drone. And what’s also hardly a secret is what the new drone will be called. If the myriad of other tech blogs haven’t already tipped you off, it looks like the next drone to come from DJI will be the DJI Air 3, extending the family of DJI Air drones which are known for their light, portable design yet impressively high-quality cameras.
None of that is official, of course. But what is official are the details of DJI’s next product drop. It’ll be dubbed “Double Up,” and it’s set for Tuesday, July 25 at 9 a.m. ET. DJI announced the product alongside a compelling graphic of an image of someone stand on a rock, appearing to be looking up into the sky (at perhaps a drone). See that image below:
But what’s more interesting than what is in the image is how it’s framed. It appears to be framed by that appears to be framed by DJI’s dual camera system, which we’ve already seen in other products like the DJI Mavic 3 drone. A dual camera system is exactly what it sounds like: two separate cameras on one drone. In the case of the DJI Mavic 3, you get both a Hasselblad L2D-20c aerial camera and a 28x Hybrid Zoom Tele Camera.
Here’s a look at the dual camera on the DJI Mavic 3, to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
The benefit is that, rather than having to manually switch lenses (as is the case on drones like the DJI Inspire 3), or worse, being stuck with one lens all the time, you get both in one go. You can even swap which lens is recording mid-flight, so you don’t need to land your drone to change the lens.
DJI has increasingly leaned into building dual lenses into its products. In fact, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro, which launched in April 2023, has an impressive three cameras on the single drone (the Mavic’s renowned Hasselblad camera, plus two tele-cameras of varying degrees of zoom capabilities). It seems pretty likely that this drone will have dual cameras — probably a standard camera (wide angle is pretty common for drones) as well as some sort of telephoto camera.
But what about other features and upgrades? Here are the three features we want most in DJI’s new product — assuming it is, in fact, a drone:
Longer battery life
So far, the premier drone in DJI’s Mavic Air line is the DJI Air 2S. The Air 2S drone stands out for its camera, but it falls flat in terms of max flight time, capable of 31 minutes. That’s far less than DJI’s newer (and often cheaper) drones. The Mavic 3 Pro can get 43 minutes. The DJI Mini 3 can get 38 minutes with its standard battery, but can offer an impressive 51 minutes if you use it with the more-expensive Intelligent Flight Battery Plus.
The new DJI Air 3 should offer at least 40 minutes of flight time to stay relevant.
Omnidirectional obstacle sensing
The DJI Air 2S, which the new drone dropping next week is theoretically is set to follow, offers obstacle avoidance via a forward, backward, upward, and downward vision system. But the even-better DJI Mavic 3 Pro offers a full omnidirectional binocular vision system.
Even though the DJI Air line is typically lower-cost than the Mavic line, it would be nice for the tech to catch up here, considering that drones almost always get features from predecessors at lower costs. IT’s tie for the Air to have even better obstacle avoidance, making it safer for more people. Especially given that the Air line reaches more entry-level pilots than the Mavic Pro line, it’s crucial to reduce crash risk among the people, well, most at risk.
Improved video transmission
It’s tough to compare the DJI Air 3 to the top-of-the-line item in DJI’s current arsenal, the DJI Inspire 3. But it’s hard not to wish that the drone’s cinema-grade O3 Pro video transmission wouldn’t show up in an upcoming, consumer-oriented drone as well.
When it comes to the DJI Inspire 3, there’s a max transmission distance of 15 km in single control mode and 12 km in dual-control mode. Both the gimbal camera and FPV camera support 1080p/60fps live feeds and an ultra-low latency of 90 ms. And the Inspire 3 was the first to offer a max 5km transmission distance on 4K/30fps live feeds, which was critical for UHD monitoring and livestreaming on set.
While it feels unlikely that a consumer-oriented DJI Air 3 would match all those specs, one can hope, especially given the pace upon which DJI has improved its transmission range technology.
Now comes the fun part! It’s time for you to be an armchair DJI drone designer! If you could pick only one new feature in a new DJI consumer drone, which would it be? Leave a comment below!
And don’t forget to check back in next Tuesday. The Drone Girl will closely following DJI, ready to share details on whatever DJI launches as soon as we get them. Hopefully it’s good enough to make our list of best camera drones. Don’t forget to follow TheDroneGirl on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to ensure you don’t miss any of the news (and set your alarm for 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday).