When DJI announced that their newest drone — the DJI Mini 4 Pro — would feature omnidirectional obstacle sensing, it quickly became one of the best (and safest) drones for most people.
The DJI Mini 4 drone was launched in September 2023 as the next edition of the DJI Mini line, a line that frequents Drone Girl’s ‘best of’ list quite often (see follow me drones and best photography drone).
Both the DJI Mini 3 Pro and the Mini 3 launched before the Mini 4 Pro.
The Mini 3 is the cheapest of the three, starting at $469 (and even cheaper at $379 if you don’t need the RC). That low price is perhaps unsurprising given its positionas an older model. What’s bizarre though is that the new Mini 4 Pro starts at $759 — which is the same price that the Mini 3 Pro is still going for.
You may be able to find the Mini 3 Pro on certain retailers or from used drone exchanges as sellers seek to offload last year’s model. But given their similar prices, the Mini 3 Pro vs. Mini 4 Pro comparison is kind of odd (the Mini 4 Pro) being a clear winner.
There are certain drone pilots who will find themselves asking two key questions, though:
- In the battle between Mini 3 vs Mini 4 Pro, which is better?
- If you already have a DJI Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro drone, should you upgrade?
This guide to the DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro vs. Mini 3 illuminates what exactly has been improved in this newest Mini model — and should help you decide if you should upgrade to the DJI Mini 4 Pro.
How to decide between the DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro vs. Mini 3
- Comparing price and key specs: DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro vs. Mini 3
- Which drone is the safest? Winner: Mini 4
- Which drone has the best video transmission? Winner: Mini 4 (thanks to its O4 Transmission)
- DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro vs. Mini 3: comparing other specs
- DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro vs. Mini 3: What drone is best for most people?
- Is it worth upgrading to the Mini 4 Pro?
Comparing price and key specs: DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro vs. Mini 3
Here’s a rundown of how the DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro vs. Mini 3 breakdown by specs:
|DJI Mini 4 Pro
|DJI Mini 3 Pro
|DJI Mini 3
|$469 (or $379 with no RC)
|Wide Angle Camera
|1/1.3 inch CMOS, 48 MP, 24mm, f1.7
|1/1.3 inch CMOS, 48 MP, 24mm, f1.7
|1/1.3 inch CMOS, 48 MP, 24mm, f1.7
|Max Transmission Distance
|Obstacle Avoidance Tech
|Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing
|Tri-Directional Obstance Sensing
|Downward Vision Sensing
|Max Flight Time (standard battery)
|Max Fight Time (Intelligent battery)
So what do all these DJI drone specs mean in actuality? Here is a deeper dive into the DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. DJI Mini 3 drones:
Which drone is the safest? Winner: Mini 4
For anyone purchasing their first drone, or frankly anyone looking to purchase a drone, a primary question you should ask is: how safe is this drone?
The DJI Mini 4 Pro drone features Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing — a first for the Mini line. With four-way directional obstacle sensors, the Mini 4 Pro no longer has any blindspots — and although DJI won’t market it as crashproof — it is safe to say it practically is. If you are a first-time pilot or someone looking to use their drone as a follow-me drone, then this safety feature upgrade is major.
That said, the Mini 3 Pro’s obstacle avoidance is still pretty good. The Mini 3 Pro features Tri-Directional Obstacle Avoidance Sensing, which allows the drone to have forward, backward, and downward vision.
The biggest lower here though is the Mini 3. The Mini 3 only has Downward Vision Sensing which is basically only enough to land safely — but won’t stop the drone from flying right into a tree.
Obstacle avoidance might very well be the biggest deciding factor between these drones besides only the price difference. Paying the extra money for the DJI Mini 4 Pro will be worth it to some pilots (especially those who are ultra risk-averse), though not others. Think of it like a great insurance policy. That said, many people might opt out of insurance. After all, how often are you really at risk of flying into trees anyway? Pilots flying in open fields may find obstacle avoidance unnecessary.
Which drone has the best video transmission? Winner: Mini 4 (thanks to its O4 Transmission)
The DJI Mini 4 Pro offers O4 video transmission that entails a maximum transmission distance of 20 km (assuming low interference, such as flying at most beaches). Previous iterations of the Mini line had notably lesser capabilities. The DJI Mini 3 has O2 transmission, offering a live feed of 720p/30fps within a range of merely 10 km. This DJI Mini 3 Pro improved upon this by integrating the upgraded O3 transmission.
Having the O4 technology elevates the Mini 4 Pro close to the higher-end drones like the Air line, giving videographers the ability to shoot from far ranges.
Additionally, the DJI Mini 4 Pro offers 4k video shooting up to 100 fps. The Mini 3 Pro offers 4k video shooting at 60 fps and the Mini 3 at 30 fps. The differences between the Mini 4 Pro and the Mini 3 Pro are important if you are a videographer looking to film in slow motion. That said, the frame rate likely won’t make a huge difference in other types of videography.
DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro vs. Mini 3: comparing other specs
Which drone has the best camera specs? Winner: Mini 4 Pro
Here’s one area where these three drones have the exact same specs. The wide-angle camera has a 1/1.3 inch CMOS with photos in 48 MP.
Annoyingly for many though, all three drones leave you stuck with a fixed aperture. Given that, more serious photographers should look to the Mavic or Air lines for the best camera drones.
Though the Mini 4 Pro wins out by a narrow margin for one reason. It offers some new shooting modes including an upgrade to the focus track suite. If anything, this just makes the Mini 4 Pro a slightly safer and better follow-me drone.
Which drone has the best battery life? Winner: Mini 3
Here the Mini 3 wins out with 38 minute flight time. The Mini 3 Pro and Mini 4 Pro have a flight time of 34 minutes. It’s not much of a difference, but that additional 4 minutes might be what stands between you and the perfect shot.
Additionally, all three drones have two separate flight times. DJI has built a completely separate battery that it calls the “Intelligent Flight Battery Plus”. This battery comes with an additional cost but offers an increase of 13 minutes with the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro and 9 minutes with the Mini 4 Pro.
Which drone is most portable? Winner: Tie
DJI has stuck below 250 grams for the Mini line (and for many good reasons), which is critical as drones under 250 grams do not need to be registered with the FAA for recreational operations and do not need to be Remote ID compliant.
The size, shape, and overall design of all three drones are virtually the same. They are all portable, travel-friendly drones.
DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro vs. Mini 3: What drone is best for most people?
Given all the new specs, the DJI Mini 4 Pro is the best drone for most people.
That’s even despite the price difference between the Mini 3 vs. DJI Mini 4 Pro. That’s primarily due to one major factor: omnidirectional obstacle sensing. Beyond that, you are also getting better video transmission, slow motion, and smart shooting upgrades.
For me, the peace of mind of knowing my drone is protected and (basically) crash-proof is worth the nominal price difference, especially if you are a beginner drone pilot or looking for a budget-friendly follow-me drone.
Purchase the DJI Mini 4 Pro:
Then again, if price is the most important factor, go with the DJI Mini 3. It’s a solid drone if you are mostly taking drone videos for fun and planning to post on outlets like social media, and if you’re willing to accept the risks of minimal obstacle sensors (and you’re confident you can fly without crashing even without them), then the DJI Mini 3 is an excellent avenue to get your hands on a DJI drone for less than $500.
Purchase the DJI Mini 3 Pro:
Purchase the DJI Mini 3:
Related read: DJI Mini 3 vs. Mini 3 Pro: which drone is better?
Is it worth upgrading to the Mini 4 Pro?
For folks who already own a Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro, then the top question is: is it worth the upgrade? Unless you’re looking to spend money, don’t rush to purchase a DJI Mini 4 Pro. You still have a quality drone, with some impressive specs. And chances are, if you already own the drone, you feel pretty confident in flying without crashing.
That said, the camera on all three drones is largely the same, so you are not losing in that regard. If you are looking to take higher-quality photos, then consider the DJI Mavic 3 Pro rather than a drone in the Mini line. Find a more detailed look in this guide to the best drones for photographers.