DJI Mini 3 Pro: our full review

dji mini 3 pro test review

The long awaited DJI Mini 3 Pro is finally out! After three commercially successful models, we can expect a big refresh from DJI with this new opus, and its “Pro” name leads us to believe that there will be great improvements. So what is it really like? What does he have that his predecessors do not? The answer in our full test!

DJI Mini 3 Pro: key features

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Let’s start with a look at the main features of the DJI Mini 3 Pro:

  • Weight: 249g (with standard battery)
  • Dimensions: 145 x 90 x 62 mm (folded), 171 x 245 x 62 mm (unfolded)
  • 1/1.3-inch 48MP CMOS sensor
  • 24 mm lens, fixed aperture f/1.7 and 82.1° field of view
  • Maximum video resolution 4K at 60 fps
  • Digital zoom up to 4X
  • H.264 and H.265 recording at 150 Mbps
  • Landscape and portrait shooting with 3-axis rotating gimbal
  • Smart video modes Quickshots, Hyperlapse and Mastershots
  • Autonomous flight modes Spotlight, Points of Interest, ActiveTrack
  • Three-dimensional obstacle avoidance (forward, backward and downward)
  • Maximum speed: 16 m/s (mode S), 10 m/s (mode N), 6 m/s (mode C)
  • OcuSync 3.0 (O3) image transmission
  • 12 km transmission distance
  • Flight time: 34 minutes

DJI Mini 3 Pro: design and remote control

Design

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With its foldable design and light grey finish, the DJI Mini 3 Pro has the characteristic look of the Mavic drones designed by DJI. But while the Mini 1, 2 and SE are almost identical visually, the Mini 3 Pro arrives with a completely new design: its body is larger and wider, its propellers longer and its lines more rounded. The aim of the new design is to give the Mini 3 a longer flight time.

Despite being slightly larger than its predecessors and having a larger sensor, DJI has managed to keep the weight of its newborn under 250g, thanks to a lighter frame. Impressive.

Obstacle sensors have also appeared on the top, bottom and rear of the camera, with the DJI Mini 3 Pro now armed with a three-way obstacle detection system.

Remote control

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The standard package comes with the DJI RC-N1 remote control, which is the same as the one supplied with the Mini 2, Mavic 3, Mavic Air 2 and Air 2S. This controller does not have a built-in screen, but has a telescopic stand to hold your smartphone on which you can simply download the DJI Fly application.

DJI is also introducing a new optional remote control with its new baby: the DJI RC. To get it, however, you will have to buy the more expensive pack. This controller offers a large 5.5 inch touch screen and has the advantage of being ready for use more quickly, not requiring pairing with a smartphone. Just screw on the joysticks and you’re done.

The DJI RC’s display has a brightness of 700 nits, which is lower than the 1000 nits of the DJI RC Pro offered with the Mavic 3. However, the screen is still bright and brightness was never an issue in our tests.

The DJI RC is much lighter than the RC Pro (390g vs. 680g), which is equivalent to combining an RC-N1 remote control with a smartphone.

It is also very ergonomic and has a large number of controls: knobs on the top to adjust the gimbal and zoom, which is very useful for manoeuvring the camera, two programmable buttons on the back, and separate photo and video buttons for quick access. The photo button is a two-step button, as on conventional cameras: a light press focuses, a full press takes the desired picture.

We found the DJ RC to be a pleasure to handle, with the rubberised parts coming in handy to keep it from slipping out of our hands. The only small negative point we found was that the joystick resistance is a little light and could be a little harder for greater precision when driving.

DJI Mini 3 Pro: features and flight performance

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Steering

As with most DJI consumer drones, the DJI Mini 3 Pro offers three flight modes: Normal, Sport and Cine. Cine mode limits the top speed to 21.6 km/h and makes the controls less sensitive for smoother video sequences. The Normal mode, certainly the most used, allows a speed of 36 km/h. The Sport mode, on the other hand, completely unleashes the drone by disabling its collision avoidance and allowing it to fly at up to 57.6 km/h.

Setting up and locking onto the GPS signal is quick. In less than a minute you are ready for take-off. So how does the Mini 3 perform in flight? We put the Mini 3 to the test and to be honest we were not disappointed!

Firstly, it’s worth pointing out that as each generation of the DJI Mini passes, the experience improves. The original Mavic Mini was rather noisy for a mini drone. DJI has improved with the Mini 2, and is taking it to the next level with this new release. There are no shrill sounds on take-off, and the drone flies as smoothly and consistently as the Mavic 3 or Air 2S.

Its wind resistance on paper is 10.7m/s or 38.5 km/h (level 5). We were able to test it in a remote and windy location and it performed wonderfully despite 50 km/h wind gusts. It really surprised us despite its small size and lightness.

The controls are responsive and the connection between the drone and its remote control is reliable: we did not lose the connection once during our tests.

Smart modes

The usual Quickshots modes, including Dronie, Circle, Rocket, Helix, Asteroid and Boomerang are, as expected, available on the DJI Mini 3 Pro. Hyperlapse and Panorama modes are also included and can be used in different sizes and orientations.

There is also the MasterShots mode, introduced with the Air 2S and also present in the Mavic 3. This feature performs a mix of automated Quickshots, stitches them together and adds music to create a clip that can be shared instantly on social networks.

For more details on each of these automated modes, you can find a description of each function in our test of the Mavic Air 2S.

The Mini 3 Pro is also equipped with the FocusTrack suite for automated flight with subject tracking. There are three ways to use this function: Point of Interest, Spotlight and ActiveTrack.

  • In Point of Interestmode, you draw a circle around the subject and your drone will fly around it at a predefined radius and speed
  • In Spotlight mode, you fly the drone manually and it keeps the subject in the centre of the frame
  • In ActiveTrack mode, the Mini 3 Pro tracks the subject in two possible ways: either by keeping it at a constant distance (Track mode) or by flying alongside it at a constant angle and distance (Parallel mode)

All these modes work quite well. Our only real surprise was the orientation of the camera: DJI has given the Mini 3 a 90-degree rotating camera that can capture landscape and portrait images, the aim being to adapt to social network formats such as TikTok or Instagram stories, yet modes such as QuickShots, MasterShots or Hyperlapse only work horizontally. Curious. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future update.

Security

Safety is certainly the point where the greatest improvement has been made on the DJI Mini 3 Pro, compared to its predecessors. The latest addition to the Mini series features a three-way obstacle avoidance system with wide-angle sensors pointing forward, backward and downward.

This feature, combined with the Advanced Pilot Assist System 4.0 (APAS 4.0), allows the drone to avoid obstacles and can be set to automatically stop or fly around detected obstacles.

Unfortunately, there is no upward facing obstacle sensor, so be careful if you take off under trees! But this is undoubtedly a big step forward for the Mini series, which is getting closer and closer to the most advanced models produced by DJI.

Battery and flight time

It seems that DJI is making a real effort to improve the battery life of each of its drone series, and the Mini 3 Pro is no exception. The manufacturer claims a flight time of 34 minutes for its new 2453mAh smart battery.

Of course, the reality is often a little less optimistic and if you take into account the minimum load required for automatic return to the starting point, temperature variations and wind, this figure is bound to be lower. In our tests, we achieved flights of between 20 and 25 minutes, which is still a big improvement when you remember the first Mavic Mini.

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DJI Mini 3 Pro: the camera

The camera of the DJI Mini 3 Pro gets a considerable upgrade. It features a large 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor with a 24mm equivalent fixed aperture F1.7 lens that offers an 82.1° field of view.

The Mini 3 Pro is also the first drone to feature native dual ISO technology (two conversion gain modes) that extends the camera’s dynamic range, reduces noise and produces sharper images in low-light environments.

The whole thing is based on a 3-axis mechanical gimbal that is very different from those of other DJI Mini drones as it has the particularity of being able to rotate in portrait orientation. Already seen on the Mavic Pro, this feature allows users to take vertical photos suitable for social media without sacrificing quality when cropping an image in landscape orientation. DJI’s aim is clearly to satisfy users of platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.

Photo

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is capable of capturing 12 and 48MP images in JPEG and RAW formats. The 48MP images contain more data and are of better quality, unfortunately they are only available in single shot mode. Burst, AEB and self-timer modes will automatically give you 12MP images.

Overall, the image quality is impressive, with good dynamic range and noise management. The colours are also very nice right out of the box, both in RAW and JPEG. As is often the case with consumer drones, there is a small loss of sharpness at the edges of the frame but this is not a major problem.

The Mini 3 Pro’s ISO handling is excellent. There is virtually no additional noise visible in the raw files for all settings above ISO 100, up to a maximum of ISO 6400. Natural colour reproduction is also preserved, so you can shoot with confidence at any ISO setting. The ISO management combined with the fast f/1.7 aperture makes the Mini 3 Pro a real powerhouse in low light.

The lens also handles backlit scenes very well and maintains contrast well beyond our expectations, even in particularly difficult situations.

Video

The DJI Mini 3 Pro can capture video in three resolutions: 4K (up to 60p), 2.7K (up to 60p) and FHD up to 120p. The latter allows for slow motion video when filmed at 120 frames per second. The maximum video bit rate is 150 Mbps, and you can choose between two colour profiles, D-Cinelike or Normal. Basically, the Mini 3 Pro is suitable for both home and professional video.

When you look at this little drone and its mini camera, it’s hard to believe that the video quality will be very good. And yet, the videos captured by the Mini 3 Pro are simply excellent. And even in high wind situations, the results exceeded our expectations: the resulting videos were smooth and rich in detail.

It should also be noted that the D-Cinelike colour profile is included for the first time in the Mini series. With this profile, you can recover more shadows and highlights in post-processing.

In short, with this new and larger sensor, the quality of the images captured by the DJI Mini 3 Pro is clearly superior to those obtainable from a Mavic Air 2 or Mini 2. The colour profile is comparable to that of the Air 2S. Quite impressive.

Digital Zoom

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is also equipped with a digital zoom that offers the possibility to zoom up to 2x in 4K resolution, 3x in 2.7K resolution and 4x in 1080p.

As is often the case with consumer drones, this option should be used with caution because of the loss of quality it causes. We have noticed that the higher the resolution used, the more the quality deteriorates when zooming in. So capturing 4K video with the x2 zoom is best avoided, and you’ll lose less quality if you zoom in when shooting in 1080p.

DJI Mini 3 Pro: the price

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Let’s be clear, the DJI Mini 3 Pro represents a big price increase over the Mini 2. While the standard package of its predecessor is priced at €459, the bill rises to €829 for the new Mini 3, almost the price of the Mavic Air 2.

At the time of writing, DJI offers the Mini 3 Pro in three versions:

  • a version without remote controlat 739€.
  • a version with the standard RC-N1 remote control for 829€
  • a version with the DJ RC remote controland its integrated screen at 999€.

As the DJI Mini 3 Pro is compatible with the RC-N1 controller already supplied with the Mini 2, Mavic 3, Mavic Air 2 and Air2S drones, DJI is offering a first “economy” pack that will allow you to use your remote control if you already own one of these drones.

All packs include a smart battery, a pair of spare propellers, cable(s) for charging and data transmission (depending on the remote control supplied), a protective cover for the gimbal, a screwdriver and screws. The only difference between each pack is whether or not it contains a remote control.

DJI also offers a Fly More pack in some countries with a range of additional accessories, and even a Fly More Kit Plus pack incorporating a larger capacity smart battery allowing the Mini 3 Pro to achieve, according to the manufacturer, a flight time of 47min, however these packs are not available for France, at the time of writing.

If you’re looking for accessories for your DJI Mini Pro 3, don’t hesitate to check out our shop! 😁

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Conclusion: should you buy the DJI Mini 3 Pro?

With the DJI Mini 3 Pro, DJI takes the popular Mini drone series to new heights. Each new Mini has come with its own improvements, but this new model is a huge step forward for a sub 250g drone.

Offering three-way obstacle avoidance, a new 1/1.3-inch sensor with f/1.7 aperture greatly enhancing video capabilities, a new remote control (for those who invest in the more expensive package), increased battery life and more stable flight performance, the DJI Mini 3 earns its “Pro” designation.

The main drawback is the big jump in price compared to the DJI Mini 2. This is to be expected given all its new features, but a drone that was once affordable enough to attract beginners is now closer to the DJI Air 2S, a drone that has a 1-inch sensor and is clearly one of the best drones on the market. So the choice will be difficult between the two, and the DJI Mini 3 Pro may be the better option for those whose priority is portability.

Buy it if…

… it’s your first drone, or you’re a professional videographer or video enthusiast looking for a compact drone to take anywhere easily. The DJI Mini 3 Pro is a great option for beginners, as well as for those who are demanding in terms of image quality and need to add an ultra portable drone to their arsenal. Its image quality is impressive even in low light conditions. And if you already have the Mini 2 or Mini SE, the Mini 3 is a major upgrade that is totally worth considering.

Don’t buy it if…

… you need the best possible image quality. If size and budget are not an issue for you, then the Mavic 3 is the best option, its image quality is much better. Similarly, if you already have the DJI Air 2S or even the Air 2, investing in the Mini 3 Pro may not be worth it. Despite some shortcomings, the Air 2 remains a very capable drone with qualities very similar to the Mini 3 Pro.

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