DJI Mini 3 Long-Term Review

Welcome to my review of one of DJI’s most popular options, the DJI Mini 3.

As a long time recreational and commercial flyer, I can say the DJI Mini 3 has become one of my favorite drones of late, and it has even played a larger and larger role on some of my projects recently.

There are some really good reasons for that, from its size to its flight time and much more. We’ll get to it all as we take a detailed look at the DJI Mini 3.

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By reading, I hope to give you all the information you’ll need to make the best choice of drone for yourself.

I do think you’ll agree that the DJI Mini 3 is a contender and possibly the right choice for you.

Our Pick

DJI Mini 3 Fly More

DJI Mini 3 Fly More

  • RC-N1 Controller (No Screen)
  • Fly More Kit
  • Deco Gear Backpack + Accessories
  • 4K Video, 38min Flight Time, True Vertical Shooting, Intelligent Modes

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03/07/2024 09:31 pm GMT

✅ Pros

  1. Sub 250g Weight: The DJI Mini 3 Pro falls under the 250-gram weight limit, making it easy to fly without requiring registration in some regions.
  2. Vertical Shooting: It supports vertical shooting, allowing you to capture both landscape and portrait shots.
  3. New Plus Batteries: The upgraded batteries provide extended flight time.
  4. 4K 30fps Video: You can record high-quality video at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second.
  5. 10-Bit Video Color: Offers improved color depth for professional-grade footage.

❌ Cons

  1. Price: The DJI Mini 3 is priced similar to the DJI Mini 3 Pro version while getting downgraded features.
  2. 48mp Camera, but it’s digitally enhanced to reach 48mp.
  3. No Obstacle Avoidance Sensors: Unlike some other drones, the Mini 3 lacks sensors other than downward and no real obstacle avoidance system.
  4. Limited Internal Storage: It provides only 1.2GB of internal storage for media files.

As you can see, the DJI Mini 3 is lacking when compared to the Mini 3 Pro or even the newly released Mini 4.

Let’s take a step back however and consider what DJI was thinking when they released this system, as it holds as true now as it did then.

The DJI Mini 3, following the success of the Mini 2, was always meant to be a slimmed-down variation of the Mini 3 Pro—a budget-friendly beginner drone system that would allow more pilots to get into the air.

The DJI Mini 3 delivers on what it is. As with any drone, there are plusses and negatives. The DJI Mini 3 is no different.

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Quick verdict

The DJI Mini 3 is one of the lower-end drone systems that DJI offers. Let’s just start there.

If you start with reasonable expectations of what it is and what it can do, the DJI Mini 3 will provide a great flying experience for those just starting out and thinking budget-consciously.

It offers much of what is the best of a DJI drone, with some caveats.

Lacking any true obstacle avoidance system can be a blessing in disguise, as it will require the pilot to be even more aware of their environment than, say, a system that is more designed to protect itself.

It still offers the use of the DJI RC controller and the extended-life battery option. The only real fault would be in its pricing.

By pricing at nearly the same cost as that of the DJI Mini 3 Pro, they sort of put out a product that would be a shelf sitter.

For just a little more, you can jump to the more impressive DJI Mini 3 Pro.

I have found that the lack of a built-in obstacle avoidance system can be beneficial in some circumstances.

It’s also good to keep in mind that even as a low-end system from DJI, it still has more in it than similar systems from other companies.

Who is the Mini 3 for?

This is probably the most valuable question we could ask when we look at the DJI Mini 3. Who is it for?

The DJI Mini 3 is for beginner pilots. DJI even says so! They market it as a Premier Entry-Level Camera Drone. That’s exactly what it is.

For that, it’s impressive with the 38- or 50-minute flight time, which would be unheard of from any other company’s similar entry-level systems.

It provides a 1/1.3 CMOS camera sensor with an F/1.7 aperture capable of recording 4K/30fps video.

For anyone starting out in the skies as a new drone pilot, this really is all you need, and it is priced at a price point that is attainable for most.

For more seasoned pilots, they may find the DJI Mini 3 fun to fly and have around, although, for their more practical needs, they would most likely jump to the DJI Mini 3 Pro or even the DJI Mini 4.

DJI Mini 3 Long-Term Review

Product Overview

The Mini 3 remains a great option for anyone who wants to jump into drone flight without the high-end cost of doing so. Currently it is the very best option for under $500.

So, what’s in the box?

First and foremost is the DJI Mini 3 itself. With that you can receive the DJI RC-N1 controller.

However, I highly recommend upgrading to the DJI RC controller as it is available for the DJI Mini 3 and hands down you won’t regret it, although it does push the price point past the $500 mark.

It’s well worth the cost.

Also in the box will be four short connector cables, USB Type C, Mirco USB, Type C to Type C PD cable, and a lightning connector cable.

The box will also have an extra set of props, some spare screws, a screwdriver and gimbal protector. In the standard package, there will be one intelligent flight battery.

Here again there is the option to purchase the Fly More Package, which would provide you with three batteries total.

It is also highly recommended that you chose this option, as the more flight time you have the better.

Just what is it that makes the DJI Mini 3 so worthwhile?

Beyond the low cost, of course! This is because it is just as high quality as DJI’s higher-end units.

It offers a staggering amount of flight time per battery with the option for an extended life battery, giving you either 38 minutes from the standard battery or up to 51 minutes with the optional extended flight battery.

Using the DJI O2 transmission system, the mighty DJI Mini 3 can reach ranges up to 10km.

This provides a rock-solid signal between the controller and the aircraft, so you need not worry about the distance it may travel.

It’s equipped with a 1/1.3inch 48mp sensor and is capable of recording up to 4K 30fps. The sensor works great in full daylight or in low light conditions as well.

The DJI Mini even offers the ability to shoot in vertical orientation, which is a first for any of DJI’s aircraft.

The best part however is that DJI was able to shove all this advanced technology into an aircraft weighing less than 250 grams. For the hobbyist pilot, this is quite the boon.

I need to mention that if using the extended flight time battery, the battery does put the DJI Mini 3 over the 250-gram limit.

Personal Opinion

I’ve had the DJI Mini 3 for some time now, having picked one up shortly after its release in December of 2022.

The reality is I picked one up just as a fun drone to have and enjoy flying and as a drone system that I wouldn’t mind handing off to others with me to fly as well.

Why risk one’s Mavic 3 with a new pilot, right?!

The DJI Mini 3 left me so impressed that I found it to be more than capable of finding a place in my drone services business.

Much like the reasoning for sharing it with others, I found I could send the DJI Mini 3 places where I just wouldn’t feel comfortable risking a larger aircraft.

Say, for example, on a property shoot where the home and property have many trees. And I could achieve those low-level shots without the fear of risking too much.

Since then, I’ve found that I use the DJI Mini 3 quite often, even when there’s no need to.

It takes wonderful stills, and unless it’s for something really special, the video at 4K 30fps is more than enough for most of my needs.

That’s not to say though, that there are not times where the DJI Mini 3 just isn’t enough for the task. It is after all an entry level system, and one should keep that in mind.

There are very good reasons why a professional pilot like myself might require a more professional system.

Below, I point out some reasons to give the DJI Mini 3 the green light or the red light if you’re thinking of buying one.

What I like

  1. Cost. The Mini 3 is one of the lowest-priced DJI systems available. It will get you into the air and flying without completely breaking the bank.

    Also, as a lower-cost system, taking some risk won’t leave you crying as much as if it were a higher-cost system.

    You’ll still cry, just not as much, in the event of a crash.

  2. Quality. It would be easy to think that with such a low-cost system, DJI would have skimped a little on the quality of the aircraft. That simply couldn’t be further from the truth.

    The DJI Mini 3 is a very high-quality build. You can feel it when you unfold the arms; you can see that quality in action with how well it responds to the controller commands.

    No, the DJI Mini 3 is just as good quality as any of their other systems.

  3. Weight/Size. One of the best benefits of the DJI Mini 3 is its weight. Being under 250 grams means most new and hobbyist pilots won’t even have to register the DJI Mini 3.

    As a professional pilot, with a Part 107, I still have to register any drone I use. So, that benefit is naturally limited for me. The size of the aircraft, though, when unfolded, is 251×362×72 mm (L×W×H).

    This is astounding, and it means I can fly this aircraft places I just wouldn’t be comfortable flying something smaller, such as down a hallway or in a yard that has many obstacles.

  4. Vertical Shooting. This is one thing I thought I wouldn’t have any use for and didn’t really care to have, as it meant another area where something could go wrong.

    That is until I tried it.

    That changed perspective can come in really handy sometimes, such as when shooting a really tall structure or for ease of use when looking for something for one of the social media platforms, such as TikTok or Instagram.

    No extra editing is involved there. It’s a feature I didn’t know I wanted, DJI though seems to live in my head.

What I don’t like

  1. No obstacle avoidance. It’s true that the DJI Mini 3 does have downward sensors.

    This is of minimal use and is really intended for the return-to-home feature and positioning more than anything else.

    It’s also not surprising that DJI just couldn’t get everything, such as obstacle avoidance, into such a small package.

    They did, after all, jam a whole heck of a lot in there.

    As an entry-level system, such obstacle avoidance could keep the aircraft from harm and is just nice to have in some cases.

  2. Size. I know what you’re thinking; he just told us the size was a good thing. And it can be. It can also be a drawback.

    Allow me to explain.

    As a smaller aircraft, the Line of Sight can be limited as you will not be able to go out as far as a larger aircraft would be able to (you lose sight of it sooner).

    It also means that in a moderate wind, you’ll be grounded, as the aircraft doesn’t have such a high tolerance for higher winds and will be able to be pushed around more easily than if it were a higher-weight drone with a larger profile.

    It’s one of those double edge sort of deals, where it can be a good thing or a bad. You have to decide for yourself and the situation you find yourself in.

  3. No Onboard Memory. Maybe I’m spoiled; it’s just that I’ve come to really appreciate DJI making some storage available within most of their models.

    But the DJI Mini 3 has none, at least not really. It has just what’s needed for the flight system programming.

    I’ve found that there are sometimes cases where having that built-in memory is quite useful. If the DJI Mini 3 had just some, it might have been the perfect drone.

  4. Cost. Believe me, I know! Here again, I have this in both areas. In this case, though, it’s not me. This one is totally on DJI.

    When shopping for the DJI Mini 3, you will see there is a slightly upgraded model, the DJI Mini 3 Pro.

    The DJI Mini 3 Pro is without a doubt a better choice for the slight price difference.

I really enjoy the DJI Mini 3, although I probably should have waited and got the DJI Mini 3 Pro. As I just stated, it is a better drone and only slightly higher-priced than the DJI Mini 3.

Either one is a great system for the cost, and that’s the important factor here.

If you’re new to drone piloting or even if you’re a seasoned longtime pilot like myself, it’s an absolute pleasure to have and fly around.

Its diminutive size and weight make it the perfect travel companion, whether you’re hitting the hiking trails or traveling by air. It’s really just an easy take everywhere system.

Features Breakdown

The DJI Mini 3 is a compact and lightweight drone that packs a punch with its impressive features, that’s for sure.

Weighing just under 250 grams, it falls within the sub-250g category, making it easy to carry around and exempt from certain regulations if flying as a hobbyist.

Despite its small size, the DJI Mini 3 boasts a range of advanced capabilities that make it an ideal choice for both beginners and experienced drone enthusiasts.

In terms of imaging capabilities, the Mini 3 comes with a 12-megapixel camera that can shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second.

The camera is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal, which helps to stabilize footage and allows for smooth and professional-looking shots, even if you’re not a professional.

Additionally, the DJI Mini 3 offers a variety of intelligent shooting modes, such as QuickShot, Dronie, and Helix, which makes it easy to capture stunning aerial footage without requiring advanced piloting skills.

Another key feature of the Mini 3 is its exceptional battery life, which allows for up to 31 minutes of flight time on a single charge.

This is made possible by the drone’s efficient design and intelligent battery management system, which maximizes the use of each battery cycle.

This can be even longer if using the extended flight time battery with potential flight times of 51 minutes.

Overall, the DJI Mini 3 is a feature-packed drone that offers impressive performance in a compact and portable package.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to get started with aerial photography or a seasoned pilot in need of a reliable and versatile drone, the Mini 3 has something to offer everyone.

Conclusion

The DJI Mini 3 is a remarkable drone that combines portability, performance, and advanced features in a compact package at a price never seen before for such systems.

Its lightweight design, improved flight performance, and impressive imaging capabilities make it an ideal choice for both beginners and experienced drone pilots alike.

The Mini 3’s long battery life and intelligent flight modes further enhance its appeal, allowing users to capture stunning aerial footage with ease.

Despite its small size, the Mini 3 does not compromise on quality or functionality, offering a level of performance that rivals larger and more expensive drones.

Whether you’re looking to explore the world of aerial photography or simply want to experience the thrill of flying a drone, the DJI Mini 3 is sure to exceed your expectations.

Overall, the DJI Mini 3 sets a new standard for the compact drone market, demonstrating that size does not have to limit performance.

With its impressive features and capabilities, the Mini 3 is a worthy successor to its predecessors, the DJI Mini and the DJI Mini 2.

Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!

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