We were recently lucky enough to receive DJI’s newest drone, the Mini 3 Pro, for testing. This new entry into the world of recreational drones has just been launched and once again shows DJI’s lead over the competition when it comes to drones. DJI has put a lot of effort into creating a feature-rich drone, just under 250g, for beginners and experienced pilots alike – but does it all add up to the perfect recreational drone? Read on for our full review!
Introduction to the DJI Mini 3 Pro
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is a compact and lightweight drone designed for aerial photography and hobbyists. Weighing less than 250g in working order, this drone is designed for users who are looking to capture high quality photos and videos with increased ease of use.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro has an attractive design (especially when folded!) that makes it easy to carry and use. It is sleek and ergonomic, offering a comfortable grip for extended flying sessions. With its 4 legs unfolded, the Mini 3 Pro has a nice wingspan, but it can be criticised for being a bit short-legged, so it won’t enjoy taking off from grass, and we recommend finding a smooth area.
Its atypical design also gives it a very particular posture in flight, where it always seems to be a bit “backwards” on the hover. After these few purely cosmetic elements, let’s move on to the most important: DJI’s ability to offer a complete, autonomous and solid drone in only 249g.
Why 249g? Because this is the threshold for not having to register your drone with the authorities (in France anyway), you simply have to declare yourself as a recreational drone pilot, without any further steps.
As always with DJI, there are several packages available, with different accessories and options. We had the opportunity to test the Smart Controller version of the DJI Mini 3 Pro as well as the Fly More Kit, which includes 3 batteries and their charger, a practical carrying bag, two sets of propellers and the brand new Smart Controller which allows you to use your drone without a smartphone.
DJI Mini 3 Pro flight performance and range
It’s time to go flying with our Mini 3 Pro. Don’t make the same mistake as me, and update the drone and its remote control before you find yourself in 4G in the pampas… During the initial configurations, we really appreciated this new Smart Controller which offers a nice touch screen, and especially a really pleasant and modern interface.
You lose less time in the menus and you are quickly ready to fly! First observation, the silence is really present on this drone, which becomes difficult to hear in stationary beyond 70-80 meters, a good point to evolve at a distance from walkers without bothering them with our hum.
Secondly, the Mini 3 Pro is really responsive on the stick controls and goes where you want it to go without any resistance or lag. It doesn’t take long for us to feel completely at ease with this drone, which can easily be manoeuvred in tight spaces or over obstacles. Three flight modes are available: Movie, Normal or Sport.
So we switch to sport mode, stop recording, and it’s time to go “silly” and push the Mini 3 Pro to its limits, flying at almost 60km/h through the treetops. At this point, we’re really impressed with the level of stability and control this drone can offer, even in strong winds.
Advertised at 34 minutes, the actual range of our little drone will depend directly on how aggressive you are on the controls, but more importantly, on the weather. Our most turbulent flight only gave us 25 minutes, as the Mini 3 Pro had to constantly fight the wind; on the other hand, on another calmer and sunnier day, I was able to fly for a good 30 minutes before the drone asked to return.
If you take into account the concentration required for 30 minutes of flight, and the presence of 3 batteries in the pack, you have more than enough to fly for a day to make all the shots you want. All this autonomy and stability in 249g, I am impressed…
Safety and peace of mind
In addition to its ability to fly in bad weather, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is equipped with a reliable and efficient obstacle detection system, offering the possibility of avoiding or braking in front of any obstacle encountered, for more serenity for the pilot. However, these obstacle detection systems only work in the forward, reverse and downward directions.
The FocusTrack suite of technologies (Spotlight, Point of Interest 3.0, ActiveTrack 4.0) ensures smooth and efficient flight automation, while the various QuickShot modes allow for automated video shots along complex, predefined trajectories (such as Spiral, Circle, Rocket, Boomerang and Drone View).
This versatility and automated functionality makes it an ideal drone for photographers and videographers who want to capture high quality shots without worrying about technique, or even being great drone pilots.
Key technical features of the DJI Mini 3 Pro
The DJI Mini 3 Pro’s 3-axis pod houses a 24mm f/1.7 wide-angle camera, capable of capturing 48MP stills and 4K video at 60fps. The package offers increased stability during flight sessions to capture crisp and stable images, even in fast-moving or challenging weather conditions. The recording quality is Ultra HD (4K) thanks to the CMOS sensor. There is a 4x digital zoom available. The ISO range for still images is 100 to 6,400 (Auto) and (Manual) while for video it is 100 to 6,400 (Auto) and (Manual). Recording formats for photos are JPEG, DNG (RAW), and JPEG+DNG and for videos it’s MP4/MOV… and don’t be like me, who’s going flying without microSD…
The DJI Mini 3 Pro also takes advantage of the DJI app, which is available on iOS and Android. The app is easy to use and provides detailed information on the drone’s performance in real time, as well as its location and battery. In addition, the app allows you to customise flight settings, plan automated missions and share photos and videos with friends and family. In truth, it’s most useful if you don’t have the Smart Controller.
Our opinion on the DJI Mini 3 Pro
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is a compact, powerful and easy-to-use drone that offers really good flight performance, considering its size and weight. Its camera offers good image and video quality, even for amateurs in manual mode, while the obstacle detection system ensures a high level of safety during flight. Thanks to its small size and light weight, it is a drone that can be taken anywhere with you. Its use is ideal for anyone looking to take beautiful aerial photos without having to worry about mastering complex flight techniques.
It will also suit professionals who want to take advantage of its advanced features and options for more accurate shots without worrying about obstacles in the way or even having to manually adjust the settings during flight.
Overall, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is a powerful and easy to use drone that offers reliable obstacle detection systems, precise control, and automated video capture modes, making it an excellent choice for drone users, whether they are beginners or professionals. The only thing that remains is its price, all equipped at nearly 1200€ in the Fly More Kit version with the new remote control, it is certainly expensive, but there is hardly anyone else offering equivalent services.