It may look familiar, but the new DJI Mini 3 Pro introduces some of the biggest changes to the Mavic line in a long, long time. The biggest change? You can unfold the propeller arms in any order you choose.
This iteration in the Mini line offers 4K video at 60 fps, greatly improved battery life, and a far more flexible camera gimble, all while maintaining the important 249g weight of previous Mini drones. A few additional advanced features backup the ‘pro’ moniker as well, let’s check it out.
DJI Mini 3 Pro overview
DJI Mini 3 Pro
May 10, 2022Release Date
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is an impressive update in the Mini line. For that matter, the Mini 3 Pro is an impressive update in the Mavic line, and one of the most drastic airframe changes we've seen to date. Overall, the Mini 3 Pro employs the same design and flight philosophy, you still get a compact, folding drone with a nose mounted camera, but for the first time in the Mavic line you can unfold the propeller arms in any order you choose.
The new camera gimbal suspension system allows more flexibility than before, allowing you to swivel the 1/1.3-inch camera in a greater range of motion, all the better to capture your 4K video at up to 60fps, and 48 MP stills.
The standard Mavic 3 Pro weighs less than 250g, so you can skip some drone laws in some countries. However, DJI knows that there are folks that don't mind the laws, a Battery Plus is available that brings the drone over weight, but increases flight time to 47 minutes!
At launch, the Mini 3 Pro with the RC-N1 controller runs $759, save some cash by skipping the controller, if you've already got an RC-N1 controller, or bump up to the Mini 3 Pro with DJI RC controller for $909.
From first glance, you’ll notice that something has changed. The overall form-factor of the Mini 3 Pro is similar to previous Mavic drones, offering a compact, folding design in a rectangularly shaped fuselage with the camera up front. Unlike most other Mavic drones, however, the propeller arms are not also the landing gear, and the camera does not hang under the nose of the craft.
The landing gear is built into the airframe on the front, and is a part of the battery on the rear. This is similar to the DJI Spark from back in the day, with four small feet on the bottom of the drone itself. Without the foot on the front propeller arm, the front and rear arms are now able to operate in any order without bumping into each other. That said, DJI swapped their orientation. The front propeller arms swivel under and out to the front, and the rear arms flip straight out.
Typical Mavic drones have a long nose that acts as a canopy for the camera gear. From that, the camera gimbal usually hangs downward from the nose of the craft. The Mini 3 Pro changes that up, the camera mounts to small arms on either side, more like the forks holding the front tire on your bicycle. Giving the camera two mounting points is a delicate balance, it provides more stability and strength, but it also doubles the necessary dampening required.
With the new camera mounting, DJI was able to cut away some of the nose canopy, making way for the camera to point much further upwards.
DJI did an interesting thing with the obstacle avoidance sensors. Instead of skipping the rear-facing sensors, or running wires to sensors mounted on the back of the drone, they kept all the sensors together on bubbles on the front. Forgive me the comparison, but they remind me of the exophthalmos of frog eyes, if frogs had two eyes per socket. APAS 4.0 is available from this mini drone, a first for the line, and of the size of the sensors mean anything, the forward obstacle avoidance should prove very effective.
Our last visual observation is that the Mini 3 Pro is reasonably taller than previous Mini drones. The rear is about the same height, but the nose sits a good 25% taller.
Other than all that, the Mini 3 Pro appears to be made of the same materials as the earlier mini drones, and the propellers are two parts that attach on via screw. Speaking of the propellers, they are much larger than previous, and the orange tips are a soft rubber. We can only imagine the rubber adds weight as compared to the normal plastic build of the propeller, which would add stability and reduce vibrations, but also the soft texture might help with noise levels.
The orientation of the drone is a little different as well. The motors and propellers align a little forward, instead of being perpendicular to the fuselage. The result is that the nose of the drone is much higher than the tail when the drone is at hover. We’re surprised that DJI has not done this sooner, as drones that are level at hover tend to be nose down when in forward motion, which creates a downforce. Instead the Mini 3 Pro will have the wind bounce off its belly during forward flight, providing a little bit of lift.
DJI Obviously learned something from the DJI FPV, which also has a a bit of tilt to it.
Finally, DJI has opted for a new battery design. The battery on the Mini 3 Pro doubles as the rear landing gear for the drone. Despite being larger, the default battery is approximately the same capacity as the original Mavic Mini, but it feels like it weighs far less. The Mini 3 Pro is rated for up to 34 minutes of flight time, which lands it on our best battery life list. The real treat is that DJI is offering the Battery Plus, which is a far more substantial battery, increasing flight time to 47 minutes. The trade-off is that the larger battery puts the overall weight of the drone above 250g, so you will have to follow all applicable laws in order to fly.
Related reading: International drone laws
DJI Mini 3 Pro camera
If you are like us, we fly drones for the joy of putting a camera into the sky. The Mini 3 Pro offers a 1/1.3-inch camera sensor that shoots 4K video at up to 60fps, and the 48MP sensor that shoots great images pixel-binned to 12MP.
Something DJI has rarely done before, the camera on the Mini 3 Pro is able to rotate 90 degrees sideway, so you can shoot portrait oriented images.
True to form for DJI’s growth, the camera is able to capture HDR video. This limits video to 4K at 30 fps. The f/1.7 aperture allows more light, improving your low light experience even without HDR. Those features also enable 1080p slow motion capture.
Another exciting tidbit, DJI is adding zoom to more and more drones, the Mini 3 Pro gets 2x at 4K video, 3x at 2.7K video, and 4x when recording 1080p.
Related reading: Best camera drones
DJI Mini 3 Pro features and performance
The early mini drones from DJI lacked some of the fun features that Mavic owners have come to enjoy. The original Mavic Mini still does not have the full suite of MasterShots, for example. The Mini 3 Pro comes better equipped, with FocusTrack, Quickshots, MasterShots, and Hyperlapse capture.
Most of these features are thanks to the three-direction obstacle avoidance sensors. APAS 4.0 is only possible with this collection of sensors as well.
The larger propellers on the Mini 3 Pro promise more speed and power from the drone.
Flight time of drones is a huge factor in their value, and the Mini 3 Pro delivers! 34 minutes of flight time from the standard battery is top notch performance, but the 47 minutes of the Battery Plus option is a new record for Mavic drones. Know the law on drones that weigh more than 250g, but if you’re good with that, it’s hard to argue with this huge flight time.
DJI RC remote control
In addition to the new drone, DJI is announcing the DJI RC controller. This multi-function controller is equipped with all the buttons you need to fly a Mavic drone, plus a 5.5-inch display. The display offers up to 700 nits of illumination, which is good for those sunny days.
The RC Pro is exclusive to the Mini 3 Pro for now, but there’s no reason it couldn’t be updated to operate other Ocusync 3.0 drones in the future. The remote is an Android powered system that comes with DJI Fly pre-installed.
We always appreciate the ability to leave our phone in our pocket when we go to fly, but users can opt for the RC-N1 controller as well, if they prefer to connect their own mobile device.
DJI Mini 3 Pro price and availability
The DJI Mini 3 Pro will sell in three packages, based on the controller. The DJI RC is included in the most expensive package, the RC-N1 controller is the middle offering, or get the drone without a controller at all.
Like the Mavic 2 experience, you can get the Fly More kits separate from the drone. In addition to a bag, more propellers and some other tidbits, the DJI Mini 3 Pro Fly More kit offers two additi