The new DJI Mini 3 is aimed at beginners but has plenty of pro features

All new DJI Mini 3

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

If you’re looking for a starter drone, I highly recommend checking out the all-new DJI Mini 3, the successor to the highly popular Mini 2, and an entry-level version of the very capable Mini 3 Pro.

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I make no secret of the fact that out of all my drones, the Mini 3 Pro is my favorite (yes, even beating the Mavic 3). I like the portability and freedom that the compact sub-249g drone offers.

The Mini 3 takes many of the good bits of the Mini 3 Pro, adds more battery life, and drops the starting price by $200. 

DJI Mini 3 specs

  • Take-off Weight: 248g
  • Max Horizontal Speed: 16 m/s
  • Max Flight Time: 38 mins with Intelligent Flight Battery/51 mins with Intelligent Flight Battery Plus (sold separately)
  • Max Wind Speed Resistance: 10.7 m/s (Level 5)
  • Image Sensor: 1/1.3-inch CMOS, 12-megapixels
  • Lens: 82.1° field of view, 24 mm equivalent, f/1.7
  • Photo Format: JPEG/DNG (RAW)
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K (3840×2160)@24/25/30 fps
  • Sensors: Downward-facing

So what you get when you buy a Mini 3 is a flying, stabilized 4K/12-megapixel camera with a theoretical range of 10km (way beyond what you should ever take it), and a rated flight time of 38 minutes with the included battery and 51 minutes with the optional Intelligent Flight Battery Plus packs.

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DJI’s quoted flight times are, in my experience, very optimistic, and I’d say you’re going to get real-world flight times closer to 28/40 minutes.

Those are still very good flight times.

The standard kit comes with the DJI RC-N1 controller with no screen (you use your smartphone), but there’s an option to upgrade to the DJI RC controller that has a built-in display that adds $140 to the price.

There’s also a “Fly More Combo” option that adds two additional 38-min Intelligent Flight Batteries, a two-way charging hub, a shoulder bag, spare propellers, and a few other bits.

So, where does the Mini 3 differ from the Mini 3 Pro?

Drone flying in front of mountains with words DJI Mini 3 superimposed

The Mini 3 is a highly capable drone, but doesn’t have the obstacle avoidance sensors found in the Mini 3 Pro


Well, in exchange for a few minutes more flight time, you lose two main things: 4K recording at 60 frames per second and the forward/read-facing sensors.

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Yes, just like the Mini 2, the Mini 3 doesn’t have obstacle avoidance sensors and only has a downward-facing sensor for landing. While I never trust sensors, they’re nice to have, especially when flying close to the tree line or around buildings.

Are those sensors worth the extra $200? That’s something for you to decide. Or do you want to save even more money and pick up the Mini 2, starting at $449? 

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