DJI Mini 3 Review – Budget Camera Drones Have Gotten GREAT
What's going on, guys, Billy here, and DJI has added yet another drone to their lineup, and it is this right here, the DJI Mini 3.
This is now DJI's least expensive drone, so it's their entry-level coming in at a starting price point of $469 dollars for just the drone.
DJI Mini 3 Review Video
There of course is other packages with the ability to bundle the RC-N1 or the DJI RC. And there's also an accessories bundle called The Fly More Combo which comes with a case extra batteries a charging Hub and other helpful items.
Now, if this drone looks familiar, it's because this is the same airframe as the Mini 3 Pro, and it shares a lot of the same specs and characteristics.
You can think of the Mini 3 here as a stripped-down version of the Pro to help bring down the cost and make it more affordable for those that are looking to get into flying drones.
I'll have a video coming out in the next few days comparing these two drones, both the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro.
But for now, I want to focus solely on the Mini 3 so you can get a better understanding of its capabilities if you plan on purchasing one.
So the biggest draw to buying a mini class drone like the Mini 3 here is its size and weight; coming in at under 250 grams means that you won't need to register with your local agency in most Countries, like the FAA here in the United States in order to fly it.
And the overall size of it just means that it's more portable. I mean, the Mini 3 is no bigger than the DJI RC the remote controller itself, which means that it doesn't take up much space in your bag if you want to bring it with you while you're traveling or shooting.
To comment on a few other aspects of the design of this drone. The two front legs swing outwards while the two back legs unfold back.
The propellers at the end of each arm, unfortunately, aren't quick-release so they're mounted by tiny screws.
Something that the Mini 3 improves upon on the mini 3 Pro's design is these front legs that have little feet that distribute the weight of the drone across the entire wingspan.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro only sat on the middle of the body which led to some uneven takeoff and landings.
You'll notice that unlike the Mini 3 Pro there is no obstacle avoidance sensors at the front that point forwards or backward.
They've kind of just been hollowed out and replaced with ventilation points.
So it's important to note that the only sensors on this drone is the downward vision positioning sensors.
To wrap up our walk around the battery slides in the back here and there's also an SD card slot and a USB-C port for charging.
Overall for the size and price, it's really impressive what DJI was able to pack inside of the Mini 3 as it goes toe to toe with some of their higher-end drones that make up their lineup.
For example, the flight time with the extended battery actually exceeds that of the DJI Mavic 3 and Mini 3 pro at 51 minutes, which officially makes this the longest-flying drone that DJI manufactures.
Even if you use the smaller battery, the flight time on this drone is 38 minutes which still ranks as one of the longest-lasting drones on the market.
The speed is also right on par with previous mini camera drones that DJI has released.
So, it has a top speed of 36 miles per hour and can withstand winds of up to 23 miles per hour, which is really really good for a drone of this size.
It gives you peace of mind, knowing that you can rip through some pretty heavy winds and generally get around to take your photos and videos in an efficient manner.
Now one area that has seen a downgrade from other drones available in D'JIs current lineup is the use of the Ocusync 2.0 transmission system.
This still delivers a maximum range of 6.21 miles but more importantly it has a very strong signal across your entire flight that is uninterrupted from close to medium distances.
There is nothing worse than having a constant disconnect or lag when trying to fly it.
Really just totally ruins the experience now with Ocusync 2, this video feed being transmitted back to the DJI Fly App is maxing out at 720p, which is perfectly acceptable.
But having used drones for the past year and a half now the transmit 1080p video live back to my controller, this seems a little bit fuzzy to my eyes.
Which by the way most of the drones available right now in DJI's lineup use O3 or Ocusync 3.0 as their transmission system.
Nonetheless, Ocusync 2.0 is still a great transmission system it's just a little bit on the older side.
Like, there's newer technology out now with the newer drones that gives you a better experience, but your flight experience on the Mini 3 is going to be just fine using Ocusync 2.0.
It's going to give you a nice strong signal again from close to longer distances.
And just think about where we've come from these budget drones always having kind of like a crappy afterthought Wi-Fi transmission system to being here now with the Mini 3 as DJI's budget drone having Ocusync 2.
Like the title said, these budget drones have gotten really good.
To continue this trend of budget drones being great, the camera on this drone keeps all of the great specs and features that the previously released Mini 3 Pro offered.
This is literally the same exact camera hardware that comes shipped on the DJI Mini 3 Pro, but is slightly limited in the software department to extend the gap between both of the drones.
With that said, the core functionality is still here to give us a great shooting experience.
Like, the sensor size is the same with the ability to capture 12-megapixel photos you can still capture 4K video with a maximum frame rate of 30 frames per second and the bitrate is a respectable 100 megabits per second.
One of the bigger things to note here is that with the same camera design also comes the same gimbal design that was kept from the Mini 3 Pro here on the Mini 3.
So the entire camera unit rotates to allow you to capture portrait photos and videos these are great to share on social media sites that display vertical content better, like Instagram and TikTok on your smartphone.
Personally, I think it's only a matter of time before all of DJI's drones have the ability to capture vertical photos and videos. Portrait photos and videos. Even their higher-end drones are going to have this function.
Personally, I think it's a great design it gives you a lot more flexibility with the gimbal to look up and down.
But it's very obvious that vertical video is here to stay at least for the short term because as long as we have these smartphones in our pockets and we're consuming content on a vertical screen, vertical video is going to be important.
And also, in terms of like portrait photographs, I think it's great to be able to use the full field of view of your camera.
Take a full-resolution photograph, say a portrait image of maybe a building in the city, because it fits that aspect ratio perfectly.
Now the images from this drone, like many of DJI's drones, really speak for themselves.
The only issue is that the weather currently sucks in my area so all the pictures I was really able to capture in my time testing this drone were drab gray photos with no leaves on the trees and a crappy overcast sky.
Considering these conditions, I would say the camera handles itself really well. But just for the sake of sharing more images, I want to pull awesome shots I captured with my Mini 3 Pro from my time using it over the summer.
All these photos were captured at 12 megapixels and the videos were taken in 4k at 30 frames per second.
So because these two drones have the same exact camera you get the same looking images between the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro.
Where you start to see a difference between the drones is when you enable the 40-megapixel shooting mode on the mini 3 Pro for a much sharper image, and when you capture video at higher frame rates.
This means that while the Mini 3 Pro still has more features, the core functionality is the same between both cameras on both drones.
If you want to download these photos and videos for yourself to play around with them, I'll leave a link in the description below so that you can bring them onto your own device and try editing them for yourself.
I think that you'll be really impressed by the results despite this being an entry-level drone.
Now at this point in my review is usually when I would take a look at all the features that make up this drone.
But unfortunately, with the removal of the obstacle avoidance sensors, they also removed a good amount of the features built into this drone.
For example there's no Focus Track, so no Active Track, no Point of Interest, and no Spotlight Light. And there's also no APAS built in. Again because it doesn't have any obstacle avoidance sensors.
If you look at some of my previous videos, like with my DJI Mavic 3 or my Mini 3 Pro, where I've got the drone tracking me, say on my skateboard or on my one-wheel.
The reason it's able to do that and fly by itself is because it has those sensors around the drone, and it can make decisions on its own to dodge obstacles and continue to stay with me and track me.
And therefore, with the Mini 3, because it doesn't have any of these sensors, it's not able to fly on its own because it would likely crash almost immediately because it can't see.
Now it does, however, retain a few of the Quick Shot shooting modes like Dronie, Helix, Circle, Rocket, and Boomerang which all allow you to capture cool-looking videos with the press of a button.
These are really dynamic shots that are easy to capture, which is great to include in a drone like the Mini 3 that is aimed at beginners.
So you can get awesome results right out of the box with very little practice.
There's also other shooting modes that don't rely on obstacle avoidance sensors, that let you get creative with how you shoot, like Panorama, Auto Exposure Bracketing. And it even has a HDR photos and video functions.
So while we can sit here and be sad and think it's a bummer that, oh this drone doesn't have Focus Track, and it can't capture 4K video at 60 frames per second, and oh why does it use Ocusync 2 over O3…
Look, it's filling a void in DJI's lineup that is currently open, and that is their entry-level, beginner-level drone. Right?
You can't look at their cheapest drone and expect it to have all the functionality and all the features as the rest of their drones, because then what's the point of having a drone lineup if the least expensive drone can do it all?
So with that said, I think that if you're somebody looking at the Mini 3 and you think it's a little bit too basic, look at the Mini 3 Pro. Look at the DJI Air 2S. Look at the DJI Mavic 3 Classic.
They've got other drones that are new, that offer a great experience that give you all of that functionality that you might be looking for.
And really, if you think about it, the price difference between the Mini 3 and the Mini 3 Pro is only a couple of hundred bucks, and you get a lot of extra features added, like Focus Track, like obstacle avoidance, like 4K 60 and O3.
So that upgrade right there kind of seems worth it in my opinion but we'll be going over a full in-depth look a full in-depth comparison between the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro in a future video. So be sure to stay tuned for that.
Anyway guys, that wraps up my review here of the Mini 3. It is now DJI's least expensive beginner-level, entry-level drone coming in at $469, which I think is a great price for what you get here.
It gives you the absolute basics, everything you absolutely need to get a great aerial photo and video experience.
Anyway, thank you again so much for watching let me know your thoughts on the DJI Mini 3 in the comment section below, and as always I'll talk to you later.
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