DJI Mini 4 Pro

DJI Mini 3 vs. Mini 4 Pro: is it worth the upgrade?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about the DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 4 Pro pricing, as well as possibly exchanging the Mini 3 in favor of a better drone. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

I was generously gifted a DJI Mini 3. It was just the base kit with the regular controller, the drone, and one battery, etc, and it cost less than $400.

My concern: without obstacle sensors, am I setting myself up to fail?

I can exchange it (and pay the difference) for a DJI Pro 3 Bundle, which comes with 3 batteries, the standard controller, and DJI’s charging hub, and MicroSD card for $700 on sale. Is it worth it? Is it too much for an entry drone?

Also confounding me further is that the Mini 4 Pro has been out now for three months yet is priced similarly to the Mini 3 Pro.

I would greatly appreciate any insight and recommendations, as I am at my wits end after reading so many reviews and watching test videos.

Ah ha! The Christmas and Black Friday 2023 drone sales were good this year, and it sounds like Santa got you a Mini 3 at a great price. After all, the DJI Mini 3 is usually $469 with the RC-N1 remote controller without screen. Since you got it for less than $400, that’s great!

But it sounds like you’re second-guessing this deal — and for good reason.

Now you’ve laid out tons of good questions here, and I’ll tackle them in order. But before I do, I’ll point you to two great guides:

DJI Mini 3 vs. Mini 4 Pro
The DJI Mini 4 Pro (left) and DJI Mini 3 (right)

DJI Mini 3 vs. Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro: how to choose

It really seems like you’re debating between the following three drones, the DJI Mini 4 Pro, Mini 3 Pro and Mini 3. So let me lay out a quick comparison table here:

DJI Mini 4 ProDJI Mini 3 ProDJI Mini 3 
$759$759$469 (or $379 with no RC)
Takeoff Weight249g249g249g
Wide Angle Camera1/1.3 inch CMOS, 48 MP, 24mm, f1.71/1.3 inch CMOS, 48 MP, 24mm, f1.71/1.3 inch CMOS, 48 MP, 24mm, f1.7
Video Resolution 4K/100fps 4K/60fps 4K/30fps 
Transmission SystemO4O3O2
Max Transmission Distance 20 km 12 km10 km 
Obstacle Avoidance TechAPAS 5.0APAS 4.0N/A
Obstacle Sensors Omnidirectional Obstacle SensingTri-Directional Obstance Sensing Downward Vision Sensing 
Max Flight Time (standard battery)34 minutes34 minutes38 minutes
Max Fight Time (Intelligent battery)45 minutes47 minutes51 minutes

The questions you call out specifically are super interesting though, so let’s dive in individually.

How important are obstacle sensors?

The Mini  doesn’t have any sort of obstacle avoidance sensor. It merely has a downward vision sensing system, which really only aids with landing. For a $469 drone (or sub-$400 in your case), that’s to be expected.

The two “Pro” versions, the Mini 3 Pro and Mini 4 Pro, are superior in this department.

The Mini 3 Pro’s tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing provides forward, backward, and downward vision. Should you fly straight toward a tree, it’ll simply stop and hover in place.

The Mini 4 Pro does one better with Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing. Now it can see even beyond those points without any blindspots, making it truly crash proof.

The biggest decision you’re facing here is the importance of obstacle sensing. Is obstacle sensing worth the extra $300? Alas, this is really a personal question based on how impactful $300 is to you — and how risk-averse you are.

Now to be clear, the Mini 4 Pro’s obstacle sensing is far superior to the Mini 3 Pro’s. Given that, let’s just rule out the Mini 3 Pro as an option. Your real consideration here is between the Mini 3 vs. Mini 4 Pro.

If $300 won’t make a dent in your budget, then go for the Mini 4 Pro. Consider it the ultimate insurance policy in protecting your drone from ending up in your neighbor’s tree.

But just as people opt out of insurance for financial reasons, you might opt out of the Mini 4 Pro and stick with the Mini 3. How likely is it that you would crash into a tree? If you’re frequently flying in forests, then it feels more likely than if you’re primarily flying over open fields or water.

Consider it this way: you could buy a second Mini 3 for not much more than the price of one Mini 4 Pro. Alas, I recommend you start your drone journey on a cheap, toy drone just to understand what kind of pilot you are.

Is the DJI Mini 3 Pro a good entry-level drone?

Aside from my recommendation that you always just start on a toy drone to get the hang of flying before you put many hundreds of dollars in the air, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is a great entry-level drone.

The image quality is excellent. You’ll want to use it again and again to take photos that you can then show off to your pals via social media or physical prints. It’s simple to set up, and it’s safe and stress-free to fly. (It’s truly one of the easiest possible drones to fly).

It’s also incredibly small and light, which is great for portability. And that’s not the only good reason. Because it weighs just 249 grams, it doesn’t fall under the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration when you fly it for hobby purposes. Yep, that means no need to register, nor do you need to comply with complicated Remote ID rules. It’s true. Drones under 250 grams are a big deal.

Unlike cars, where you’d never put a first-time driver in a BMW (start them off with the old, beat-up Toyota Corolla), the more expensive drones tend to be far easier and safer to fly versus the cheap ones. (The car analogy doesn’t kick in until you start to handle the $1,000+ drones with enterprise functions. We’re not talking about those here.) Don’t be afraid to be a new pilot with a Mini 3 Pro in your hands.

Why does the Mini 3 Pro cost the same as the Mini 4 Pro?

You mentioned being confused how the Mini 4 Pro has been out now for three months yet is priced similarly to the Mini 3 Pro. I am confused too.

The Mini 4 Pro is better than the Mini 3 Pro by every metric. When the Mini 4 Pro launched in March 2023, we wrongly predicted that the Mini 3 Pro would quickly drop in price. Yet months later, it hasn’t (on DJI’s website, both go for $759 with the base model controller).

The 4 has upgraded camera capabilities and intelligent features. It’s easier to use and more stable. Both the battery and range are more powerful. 

In short, my whole spiel above about the DJI Mini 3 Pro being a good entry-level drone is true. But, it’s even more applicable to the Mini 4 Pro.

If you’re already thinking about upgrading your Mini 3 to the Mini 3 Pro, go all the way and just upgrade your Mini 3 to the Mini 4 Pro.

The only reason you might go for the Mini 3 Pro is if you can find it on sale (which it sounds like you have) through third-party sellers. If you can find it for, say, $100 less, then the Mini 3 Pro suddenly does become more appealing than the Mini 4 Pro.

Purchase the DJI Mini 4 Pro now from: 

Purchase the DJI Mini 3 now from:

How would you compare the DJI Mini 3 vs. Mini 4 Pro drones, especially given the cost? Share your thoughts below!

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