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DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. DJI Mavic 2 (Here’s My Choice)

It’s a battle of the “classic” drones! I say “classic” in quotes because neither of these drones are old, but you know how time moves with technology. If a piece of tech is more than six months old, it’s practically ancient. 

Image: DJI

The birthdates of these drones belie how good they still are for commercial and recreational applications. Don’t believe me? Let me convince you. 

Buying an older drone is an excellent choice, as you get dependability, reliability, and support (in most cases). You can also be sure all the kinks have been worked out. Yet despite their age, these are DJI drones we’re talking about, so you can’t expect them to be dirt cheap.

On that note, you probably only need one over the other – either the Mini 3 Pro or the Mavic 2. How do you choose? I’m here to help!

Join me in this guide to the critical differences between the DJI Mini 3 Pro and Mavic 2, including in-depth comparisons of their strengths and weaknesses. You’ll find out why the Mini 3 Pro is one of my favorite drones of all time. 

You deserve to feel confident that you’re making the right drone purchase. That’s exactly what I want to assist you with today, so let’s get right into it. 

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Brief overview

DJI Mini 3 Pro

Allow me to introduce you to what may be my all-time favorite drone, the DJI Mini 3 Pro

The Mini line has always been a reliable flight choice, but DJI solidified that with the release of the Mini 3 Pro in May 2022. This drone has it all, including many features the OG Mini 3 lacked. 

When the Mini 4 Pro came out later, it unsurprisingly had many features from the Mini 3 Pro. It’s that much of a fan favorite. 

Why is that? Only for about a million different reasons. I’ll give you the most important ones.

  • It’s super travel-friendly with its weight of under 249 grams, small size, and folding design. Of course, you’ll have to register your drone if you’re using it commercially, no matter how much it weighs, but a lighter drone makes a difference in all your tasks. 
  • The option to extend the battery life to an advertised 47 minutes with the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus. It’s a bummer you have to buy it separately, but it’s worth it to get out of 30-minute flight territory. 
  • A doozy of a camera that takes 48 MP images (in RAW, no less!) and 4K video (unless you’re shooting in slow-mo, then it’s 1080p at 120 frames per second). I mean, that kind of quality in a drone camera is still very acceptable today. 
  • Three cheers for obstacle detection and avoidance, both of which the Mini 3 Pro has. The tri-directional obstacle sensing works robustly, and the Advanced Pilot Assistance System, edition 4.0, is still intelligent enough to be up-to-date.
  • Only the coolest Intelligent Flight Modes, including three times the Panorama modes and True Vertical Shooting, for all you social media aficionados out there. 

» MORE: Autel EVO Lite vs. DJI Mini 3 Pro (Which One Is Better?)

DJI Mavic 2

That brings us to the DJI Mavic 2, an entry in a drone series released in 2018 that still remains DJI’s flagship.

Two versions were released, the Zoom and Pro editions. I’ll focus on the Pro version, since it’s the better of the two (if you ask me) and more comparable to the Mini 3 Pro. 

Here’s what’s included:

  • A high-end one-inch CMOS sensor with 20 million pixels that takes 20 MP images and 4K video. This drone came out after DJI’s partnership began with Hasselblad, so it’s an elegant, impressive Hasselblad camera (woohoo!).
  • Excellent omnidirectional obstacle sensing and avoidance, with sensors on the right, left, and underneath (plus an infrared sensor) of the camera that activate when using ActiveTrack and Tripod modes. 
  • A still-very-usable ActiveTrack 2.0 introduces the power of 3D mapping and is a perfect complement when tracking subjects like vehicles, animals, or people for your next commercial drone project.
  • The camera shoots in RAW, which means you get more detail and clarity in your images right out of the gate (oh, and less noise too, which is always great). 

» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mavic 2 Pro (Here’s My Choice)

Quick verdict

Deciding on the right drone is tough stuff! 

So, which is the better drone, the DJI Mavic 2 or the Mini 3 Pro?

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is the clear winner between this and the Mavic 2 Pro or Zoom editions. It has a newer camera that, despite not being a Hasselblad, is extraordinarily capable. It boasts sterling image and video quality, good Intelligent Smart Modes, excellent obstacle sensing and avoidance, and a great size and weight.

It’s one of the most reliable drones on the market and just such a good all-around choice for getting commercial projects done fast. 

That’s not to dump on the Mavic 2 Pro. It’s still a handy drone, even in this day and age, but its limited features do hurt it compared to the more modern Mini 3 Pro. 

» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro (Here’s My Choice)

What are the main differences?

Some of the drones we review on this blog are confusingly similar, making your choice that much harder. But don’t worry, that’s not the case with the Mavic 2 and Mini 3 Pro. These drones are as different as can be.

Take a look, and you’ll see what I mean. 

  • Age: The Mavic 2, at least the original iteration, is from 2018. By comparison, the Mini 3 Pro is from 2022, making it lightyears ahead in terms of features, tech, and advancements. 
  • Weight: The Mavic 2 Pro weighs 907 grams. That weight isn’t bad in its own right but it makes the drone feel like a rock compared to holding the ultra-light Mini 3 Pro, which weighs under 250 grams. 
  • Size: I’ll admit, the Mavic 2 Pro is smaller than you’d think, especially when folded. However, it’s still not as small as the Mini 3 Pro, folded or unfolded. 
  • Image quality: The Mini 3 Pro has awesome 48 MP image quality, sharp enough to capture the rich details of the world around you for any drone project (remember, it also shoots in RAW!). By comparison, the Mavic 2 Pro’s 20 MP image quality is not as great. 
  • CMOS sensor size: The one-inch sensor size of the Mavic 2 Pro is not as large as the 1 1/3-inch CMOS sensor the Mini 3 Pro has. However, as you’ll see, one drone lets you adjust the aperture, and the other does not. 
  • Intelligent Flight Modes: These two drones diverge in the available Intelligent Flight Modes. Due to its age, the Mavic 2 has fewer of the smart modes you’re used to cutting your teeth on when you buy a DJI drone. 
  • Aperture adjustments: Here’s something interesting. You can set the aperture for the Mavic 2 Pro between f/2.8 and f/11. You can’t set the aperture of the Mini 3 Pro. It’s stuck at f/1.7, a light setting unachievable by the Mavic 2 Pro. 

» MORE: When Should You Upgrade Your Drone? (Read This First)

DJI Mini 3 Pro

Image: Droneblog

The DJI Mini 3 Pro made a splash upon its debut for its advanced safety features. Before then, DJI hadn’t implemented them regularly across the Mini series. 

Even though these drones are tailored toward beginners looking for an easy, effortless first-flight experience (and many after, hopefully), the lack of safety features has always been their most egregious lack. 

Until the Mini 3 Pro. 

You have to think about the inclusion of APAS 4.0 at the time. That was practically revolutionary. And today, although not the newest technology, APAS 4.0 still gets the job done well.

It helps that it’s bolstered by the triple-directional obstacle sensing system. The dual-vision systems can read what is below, behind, and in front of the drone, and then rely on APAS to navigate deftly and safely.

This drone’s impeccably good camera system still holds up against any DJI drone released in 2023.

I’d go so far as to say it holds up against any new drone today, what with the 48 MP image quality and 4K HDR video.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 vs Mini 3 Pro (Which Drone Is Better?)

That’s just scratching the surface, by the way. The awesome camera and CMOS sensor can take slow-motion videos, albeit at the expense of a quality reduction. 

However, in everyday shooting scenarios, the Mini 3 Pro is more than well-equipped. Its D-Cinelike Color camera inclusion loads this drone with oodles of colors.

The f/1.7 aperture lets in more light, and while it’d be cool if you could adjust it, I like how much brightness the camera allows in.

Expand the parameters of your photography and videography, as the Mini 3 Pro has a nighttime shooting mode that slashes noise to immerse your viewers into your world when you shoot after dark (only if you’re legally allowed, of course). 

The adjustable gimbal moves an awesome 90 degrees for True Vertical Shooting, but that’s only the start regarding Intelligent Flight Modes. Toggle between Vertical, Wide-Angle, Sphere, and 180-degree Panoramas. 

Get closer to your subjects without moving your feet with 4x digital zoom.

FocusTrack – which includes Spotlight 2.0 and ActiveTrack 4.0 – makes it easier to find your targets and hone in on them.

MasterShots is for creating your own cinematic marvels that will be the talk of social media.  

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)
$909.00 $799.95

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone

  • 4K/60fps Video
  • 48MP Photo
  • 34-min Flight Time
  • Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing, Integrated RC and screen
Buy from Amazon
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03/06/2024 03:36 pm GMT

DJI Mavic 2 

Image: Gabriel Mihalcea

Older and so much wiser, the Mavic 2 (Pro and Zoom editions) is another stellar drone to consider adding to your commercial fleet

You would think, considering its age, that it might be lacking in many areas, but it’s still incredibly competent to this day. 

It has obstacle avoidance sensors, just like the Mini 3 Pro, although its obstacle detection and avoidance system isn’t nearly as advanced.

The omnidirectional detection system that comes with this drone was considered cutting-edge when it first appeared. 

It has 4K video quality, enough to put it on even footing with the Mini 3 Pro in that respect, and 20 MP image quality. To be sure, that quality isn’t miraculously great, but it’s still more than passable. 

» MORE: DJI Air 3 vs. Mavic 2 Pro (Here’s My Choice)

If you’re beginning your drone career, the Mavic 2 can carry you through some critical and instrumental early projects.

You might decide after a while that you need better image quality to go to the next level. In that case, you could upgrade to the Mini 3 Pro

Experience the Hasselblad difference with its camera, which makes any image and video look crisp and appealing thanks to its one-inch CMOS sensor and 28-millimeter lens. 

The ActiveTrack edition included with the Mavic 2 is not as new as what you get in the Mini 3 Pro, but it’s still excellent at finding your subjects. 

Point of Interest lets you mark events and landmarks, sending the Mavic 2 on a predetermined flight route. Hyperlapse, although a standard in DJI drones now, was new at the time of this drone’s release. 

DJI Mavic 2 Pro
$1,398.00

Drone with Smart Controller, Hasselblad Camera, 3-Axis Gimbal, HDR 4K Video Adjustable Aperture, 20MP 1" CMOS Sensor, up to 48mph, Gray.

Buy from Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/06/2024 07:56 pm GMT

Head-to-head comparison

Camera system

Image: Dan Bayne

Winner: DJI Mini 3 Pro

It’s rare that Hasselblad technology loses out, but to declare the Mavic 2 the winner just wouldn’t be right. Its camera system is excellent, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not as good as what the Mini 3 Pro offers. 

This drone has one of the most remarkable camera systems around, with high-end photo and video resolutions, noise reduction, RAW photo files, natural colors, and night mode.

Each photography and videography mode implemented into the Mini 3 Pro reduces the time you spend editing. 

The Mavic 2 has some of those features, but not to the same degree as the Mini 3 Pro. Its newer technology is superior. 

» MORE: Camera Technology in Drones (Explained)

Performance

Image: Dan Bayne

Winner: DJI Mini 3 Pro

That’s right, I’m also selecting the Mini 3 Pro here. 

Many factors roll into what makes a drone perform well, such as size and weight, of which the Mini 3 Pro has in spades over the heavier Mavic 2. 

Obstacle detection and avoidance also play a role. Both these drones have obstacle avoidance systems, and since they use DJI technology, they’re better than the norm. 

However, this is another undeniable age gap. The Mini 3 Pro has a stronger, more robust obstacle avoidance system with newer APAS technology. It may not be the newest APAS edition anymore, but its obstacle detection is still a lot more up-to-date than the Mavic 2 offers. 

Sure, the Mini 3 Pro might not be as wind-resistant because it’s smaller, but its advanced technology makes it easier to fly.

This drone is also touted as being beginner-friendly.

Maybe it’s not quite to the degree of the Mini 2 SE, which lets you launch and land your drone with the push of a button, but the size, automated features, and easy handling of the Mini 3 Pro are still undeniably traits of a beginner drone.

Oh, and let’s talk about Intelligent Flight Modes. Both drones have ‘em, but the Mini 3 Pro has more, and more contemporary versions. That’s another reason I awarded this category to the Mini 3 Pro. 

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro and How Well It Handles Winds

Portability

Image: Dan Bayne

Winner: DJI Mini 3 Pro

This one was a no-contest, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. It’s just that the Mini 3 Pro is about 600 grams lighter than the Mavic 2 Pro.

I could understand if we were talking about a difference of 90 grams, or even 200 grams maybe, but this is a vast enough difference in weight that it might as well be a chasm between these two drones. 

Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but you get the point.

It’s not like the Mavic 2 is going to break your back if you travel with it, but it’s nowhere near as travel-friendly as the Mini 3 Pro. This DJI drone is light enough that carrying it feels effortless, which is why it’s my go-to travel choice.

The Mini 3 and Mini 4 Pro are also great to travel with, but the Mini 3 Pro is the best of the three if you ask me. 

It’s airport-friendly, and you can fit it in any luggage and carry-on bag your airline allows. Please always do that to avoid getting your drone smashed during handling! 

» MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with a Drone

RC compatibility and range

Image: Dan Bayne

Winner: DJI Mini 3 Pro 

As if I didn’t love the Mini 3 Pro enough, it also has one of the best DJI controllers for everyday flights, the DJI RC

This attractive, light, easy-to-handle remote features an HD screen at a reasonable 5.5 inches. I know what you’re going to say, it’s not quite as large as today’s smartphone screens, but do you know what?

This remote controller doesn’t make you use your phone, which means you can spare your battery. The DJI RC has a four-hour battery and uses DJI’s O3+ transmission system to transfer video footage in 1080p quality at 60 fps. 

And, best of all, the Mini 3 Pro’s remote works with many other drones! If you already own the OG Mini 3, Mavic 3, Mavic 3 Pro, Mavic Air 2, or Air 2S, you can use the DJI RC. 

You can also opt for the DJI Mini 3 Pro in a bundle with the DJI RC-N1, which is in all ways similar to the DJI RC except that it does not come with a screen and requires the use of a smart device as a screen. This is less convenient but makes the drone that much more affordable.

The Mavic 2’s older remote lags behind in many of the above areas, with a transmission range of only 10 kilometers versus 12 kilometers for the Mini 3 Pro. 

» MORE: DJI RC vs DJI RC-N1 (All You Need to Know)

Battery life

Image: Dan Bayne

Winner: DJI Mini 3 Pro

Yes, it’s been a clean sweep, with the Mini 3 Pro winning in every category, including this one.  

The Mavic 2’s base Intelligent Flight Battery only flies for 31 minutes, and that’s the advertised time. In real life, you can expect closer to 25 minutes.

The default battery life of the Mini 3 Pro isn’t much better, as it’s advertised as 34 minutes. However, you can upgrade the battery to fly for 47 advertised minutes.

Once again, it’s not quite that long, with the battery logging under 45 minutes every time I’ve had the pleasure of flying the Mini 3 Pro.

I know some of you reading this feel like it might be unfair to give this category to the Mini 3 Pro because its extra battery doesn’t come with this drone by default.

I can see that logic, but even if we compare base batteries, the Mini 3 Pro still wins. 

» MORE: Flight Time of All DJI Drones (Explained)

Conclusion 

And now you’re ready to choose between these two capable DJI drones, as you have all the facts you need to proceed with your purchase.

While the Mavic 2 still holds up remarkably well for its age, the Mini 3 Pro – although not the newest drone out there anymore – flies head and shoulders above this Mavic model. 

It has a lighter frame, a better flight time, and more Intelligent Flight Modes.

There’s a reason this drone is the classic, the standard, the blueprint against which most people compare DJI drones. The Mini 3 Pro is just one of those perfect drones, and it’s truly tough to beat. 

» MORE: DJI Air 3 vs. Avata (Here’s My Choice)