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DJI Mini 3 vs. Mini 3 Pro (Which Drone Is Better?)

Hi there, and welcome to this review and comparison of the DJI Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro.

The Mini drones are a pilot favorite, as they should be! They’re versatile, lightweight, portable, and ready for anything.

DJI continually equips them with state-of-the-art cameras and technology to make them fun and rewarding to use, yet they’re beginner-friendly in flight and price (well, most of the time).

Being stuck between these drones is an unenviable position to be in, but don’t worry. I’m not going to leave you hanging. Quite the contrary!

I’m here to reveal the best (and worst) of these drones to help you with your decision-making.

This guide will examine the two drones in the Mini 3 series in areas like performance, flight times, cameras, video and image quality, and Intelligent Flight Features. You will soon see why I declared the Mini 3 Pro the winner.

Let’s put you on the path toward finding the right drone for you by uncovering every nook and cranny of these drones and learning what makes them tick.

You will feel readier and more confident with your purchasing decision.

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Brief overview

DJI Mini 3

The Mini 3 was like an early Christmas present from DJI, releasing in early December 2022.

Its low cost immediately drew me to it, as did my loyal love of the Mini drones that had come before this one.

The Mini 3 checks so many boxes for what a great drone should be, especially with its well-established and beloved predecessors.

This drone contains mind-bending features (especially for its size!), such as:

  • Lightweight at 248 grams, allowing you to forego FAA drone registration if flying in the United States recreationally.
  • The option to extend the drone’s battery life to 44 minutes with the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus. While this does make the drone heavier, it also increases its efficiency, a must for social media stars obsessive about footage quality and pro drone pilots making bank.
  • Vertical Shooting, another favorite of social media stars and influencers who only take footage in this orientation. The Mini 3’s three-axis gimbal supports horizontal and vertical shots.
  • 4K HDR video and 48 MP image quality, thanks to the 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor. That quality is crazy good for a drone of this price!
  • 4x zoom, so you’re always close to the action, even if you’re not physically as near as you seem.  

» MORE: DJI Mini / Mini 3 Pro – How to Live Stream on YouTube (Video)

DJI Mini 3 Pro

The Mini 3 Pro came out a few months before the Mini 3, in May 2022, so it’s about six months older.

This drone may have the word Pro in its name, but it’s not only geared toward commercial pilots.

It’s beginner-friendly for many reasons, such as its weight of under 249 grams, freedom to fold its wings, Vertical Shooting, and Intelligent Flight Modes.

Let’s review what else got people talking about this drone so much:

  • Its great battery right out of the gate is certainly worth mentioning. The Mini 3 Pro has a baseline flight time of 34 minutes, upgradable to 47 minutes if you buy the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus.
  • The 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor shoots images in 48 MP and 4K HDR video for crystal-clear clarity and quality when planning recreational and especially commercial videography and photography projects.
  • Included tri-directional obstacle sensing (downward, backward, and forward) with APAS 4.0, making for safer flights and a great set of features for beginners.
  • A suite of Intelligent Flight Modes, including 4x Digital Zoom, Hyperlapse, FocusTrack, Panorama, and MasterShots. These modes facilitate more effortless and professional flights and footage.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro: One-Year Review (Video)

Quick verdict

Picking between the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro is like choosing a favorite child.

Okay, so it’s not quite that serious, but it’s definitely difficult, considering these drones are the spitting images of one another in myriad ways.

Video quality? Check.

Image quality? Check.

Weight? Practically identical.

The list goes on.

However, you’re only looking for the best, and that’s what we do here at Droneblog – recommend the best. Although it wasn’t an easy choice, I’m confident with what I picked.  

Here is your winner.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro edges out the Mini 3 because of its obstacle avoidance system. Although it’s not the most advanced obstacle avoidance DJI offers in drones these days, it’s better than the Mini 3, which has no obstacle avoidance whatsoever, only vision systems.

But to recommend the Mini 3 Pro is also to recommend the Mini 3 in a way since these drones share so much in common.

And if it weren’t for the lack of obstacle detection, I feel like the Mini 3 could have won this.

It’s still a fine drone if you’re not as new to flying and can confidently maneuver your way around a drone.

However, even more experienced pilots benefit from obstacle avoidance.

You can’t always see everything around you, and knowing your drone can do that for you prevents you from needlessly spending $400+ on a replacement.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 vs. DJI Air 2S (Which One is Right for You?)

What are the main differences?

DJI Mini 3/Pro

I love a good comparison, but the differences between the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro are hard to come by, as I’m sure you can probably guess.

However, I discovered enough differences to prove how distinct each entry of the DJI Mini line is.

  • Gimbal: DJI remade its gimbal between the release of the Mini 3 Pro and Mini 3. The newly improved gimbal gives low-angle videography and photography a wider range of rotation. It also supports True Vertical Shooting, but both drones have that.
  • Obstacle avoidance: The Mini 3 might have a downward vision system, but there’s a difference between detecting obstacles and avoiding them. The Mini 3 cannot do the latter. The Mini 3 Pro has tri-directional obstacle sensing by comparison. This is not DJI’s most sophisticated obstacle avoidance system, but it’ll do for beginners. The drone also has APAS 4.0 – again, not the newest, but more than sufficient.  
  • No MasterShots: MasterShots are one of DJI’s leading Intelligent Flight Features. It’s an automated shooting feature that can operate in Portrait, Landscape, and Proximity modes, taking great automated videos after you choose a subject. It’s an excellent feature, but one the Mini 3 is sadly missing. It comes standard in the Mini 3 Pro. 
  • No FocusTrack: The Mini 3 Pro also has FocusTrack, a feature that’s conspicuous in its absence in the Mini 3. The FocusTrack suite included with the Mini 3 Pro is Point of Interest 3.0, Spotlight 2.0, and ActiveTrack 4.0 for accurately locking onto subjects.
  • Richer colors: The Mini 3 Pro boasts D-Cinelike Color to crank up the rainbow of beauty that exists in everyday life without making your photos oversaturated. This feature applies to your photos and videos and gives them that special something. Your competitor’s shots will look dull and lifeless by comparison. Unfortunately, the Mini 3 doesn’t have such color richness.
  • Slow motion: You also can’t achieve your slo-mo aspirations when flying the Mini 3. This is a feature reserved for the Pro. You’ll feel like a master cinematographer selecting when to slow down the drone versus flying it at normal speed. 

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

DJI Mini 3

The Mini 3 is a leading drone from DJI and one of its best sellers.

DJI Mini 3

Following in the proverbial footprints of the Mini 2 (you know, because drones don’t have footsteps or feet to follow in), the Mini 3 raised the bar in many ways, especially image quality (12 MP in the Mini 2 versus 48 MP in the Mini 3).

That leading image quality is one feature of many that caught my eye and inspired me to buy the Mini 3.

Its 1.1/3-inch CMOS sensor also amazed me, especially when it comes to photography.

That sensor is exceptional at daylight and nighttime photography alike. You can’t always legally take nighttime photos, but if you can, this is the drone camera to have by your side.

The degree of detail you’ll achieve by day is something else, and it’s all due to the camera’s HDR and dual native ISO.

Its four-in-one pixels don’t hurt, nor does the f/1.7 aperture.

You can’t adjust the aperture to the same degree you can other DJI drones, but it’s in a good enough spot as it is.

The 4x zoom is a great feature, especially if you’re into wildlife, real estate, or land surveying drone photography.

Drones are already such a safety benefit in those situations since you needn’t get too close, but with 4x zoom, you can stand even further away and still capture immersive shots.

The Mini 3’s sophisticated gimbal swaps between vertical and horizontal shooting modes. If you’re in the influencer and social media crowd, you’ll love how you can shoot vertically.

The more old-school of us will appreciate horizontal shooting. I just love how you can do both!

» MORE: How to Connect DJI Mini 3 / Mini 3 Pro to Wi-Fi (Step by Step Guide)

I know the Mini 3 lacks the same Intelligent Flight Modes the Mini 3 Pro has, which is definitely a bummer.

However, it’s unfair to gloss over those it does have.

It can use all the basic QuickShots features you need, including Rocket, Dronie, Circle, and Helix.

Each sends the Mini 3 on its own unique (but predictable) flight path, whether it ascends rapidly, then descends nearly as fast, or moves circularly.

Beginners benefit most from QuickShots and other automated features, as they take the difficulty of learning to maneuver a drone out of your hands.

You can work your way up to that point through flying, but until you feel like a pro, you can look like a pro, and aren’t looks everything these days?

QuickTransfer is DJI’s handy mode for getting your footage ready to share. We all live on the internet these days, and with the Mini 3, you can keep up with the competition.

DJI Mini 3 (DJI RC)
$609.00

Lightweight and Foldable Mini Camera Drone with 4K HDR Video, 38-min Flight Time, True Vertical Shooting, and Intelligent Features.

Buy from Amazon
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03/06/2024 05:46 pm GMT

DJI Mini 3 Pro

Although the Mini 3 Pro is the older of the two, it’s the better all-around drone.

With a name like Pro, it’s designed for a slightly different audience. Casual pilots and beginners can easily pick this one up, but more experienced pilots also benefit from this choice.

The Mini 3 Pro is only about $200 more expensive than the Mini 3, yet it crams in so many more features that you won’t believe it doesn’t cost thrice or four times more.

Sharing the same lightweight profile as the Mini 3 (under 249 grams) and taking images and videos in identical quality, the Mini 3 Pro is anything but a copy.

DJI renovated more than its gimbal but changed the blueprint for what Mini drones would become going forward.

For example, DJI cut the bulk from the Mini 3 Pro. That’s not to say the Mini 3 is heavy, but the Pro is even less so. It’s also designed for better flight safety and aerodynamics.

Oh, and DJI boosted up the size of the props to augment performance, because why not?

Despite this, the Mini 3 Pro can still fold and stow in your pocket!

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro – How to Factory Reset (Step-by-Step Guide)

Like the Mini 3 after it, the Pro has the capability to shoot seamlessly by day or night.

It promises to capture more of the immersive, rich details of the world around you while cutting down on the noise that so often plagues photos and videos after the sun goes down.

You won’t believe what you spent on the Mini 3 Pro, considering there are some cameras out there within the same price range that don’t excel as much at noise reduction.

There is way more in store with the Mini 3 for photographers. Its HDR and dual native ISO set the stage for the features the Mini 3 would offer.

This drone has slow-mo video, which is so cool! It experiences a video quality reduction when in that mode, swapping to 1080p at 120 frames per second, but that’s okay.

You won’t use slow-mo the entire time you’re shooting, only to emphasize specific moments and make your footage more memorable.

Slow-mo is an epic feature for differentiating your footage from others, whether you’re growing your drone business or YouTube channel.

APAS 4.0 and tri-directional obstacle sensing gives you peace of mind, especially as a newer pilot afraid of hitting the control stick the wrong way and borking your drone.

Beginners also won’t mind that this isn’t the most up-to-date APAS and obstacle avoidance DJI has ever released.

More experienced pilots might take umbrage with that, but hey, that’s what the Mini 4 Pro is for. It has omnidirectional obstacle sensing.

You can also take your shots further with 4x digital zoom (yes, it beats the Mini 3’s zoom, although not by much), Hyperlapse for ultra-fast photography and videography, three Panorama modes, and DJI’s esteemed QuickTransfer. 

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

Head-to-head comparison

Camera system

Winner: Tie

Usually, there are enough disparate elements between two drones to assign a winner, but not so much in this battle of the Mini 3 versus the Mini 3 Pro.

They have the same high-quality image resolution at 48 MP and promise 4K HDR video.

That image resolution is among the best DJI offers for its consumer drones and more than allows you to capture every incredible detail for all your drone projects.

The 4K HDR video is high for DJI drones and also promises unyielding detail and quality for expanding your portfolio.

These drones have the same sensor size, horizontal and vertical shooting modes due to the mechanical three-axis gimbal, aperture size, and pixel support.

I’m thinking this category is a toss-up.

» MORE: Photography with Mini 3 Pro (For Beginners)

Performance

DJI Mini 3 Pro Return to Home (Explained for Beginners)

Winner: DJI Mini 3 Pro

This category, on the other hand, was not.

The Mini 3 Pro excels in one major performance-driven area the Mini 3 doesn’t: obstacle avoidance.

The Mini 3’s lack of an obstacle avoidance system isn’t that surprising, considering DJI has implemented this feature inconsistently across the Mini line.

However, it feels especially egregious for a drone touted as being so beginner-friendly. New pilots benefit most from obstacle avoidance, after all!

The Mini 3 Pro, on the other hand, has a solid obstacle avoidance system. It’s not the newest or best from DJI, but it gets the job done, especially for beginners.

These drones both have Level 5 wind resistance, and since they weigh about the same, you’ll find that in winds of around 25 miles per hour, they still perform unobstructed.

However, in heavier winds, these Mini drones become more unstable.

The Mini 3 Pro has the edge in Intelligent Flight Modes, offering an expansive library of options, from Digital Zoom to MasterShots, Hyperlapse, FocusTrack, and Panorama.

The Mini 3 has fewer.

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

Portability

Winner: Tie

These two ultra-foldable, lightweight drones both dodge recreational registration requirements with the FAA, although you must register them for commercial operation.

With barely a gram’s difference in weight between them, I couldn’t assign a winner in this category either.

However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Whether you own the Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro, you can rest assured you’re traveling with one of the best DJI drones for all your personal and professional adventures.

You’ll have a reliable drone camera for capturing once-in-a-lifetime memories, streaming live to your social media audience, and editing on the go. What could be better?

» MORE: Drone Part 107 Vs Recreational Rules: Here’s What You Need To Know

RC compatibility and flight range

Winner: DJI Mini 3 Pro

Both drones can use the DJI RC controller or, in the case of the Mini 3 Pro, also the DJI RC-N1.

The DJI RC utilizes O3+ transmission for one of the best transmission systems DJI has available as of this writing.

The controller weighs 390 grams, making it perfect to carry with the Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro for lightweight adventuring and backpacking.

It features a 5.5-inch FHD screen (non-touch) with up to 700 nits of brightness and can operate for four hours at a clip.

So, bearing in mind that these two drones use the same remote, why did I give this category to the Mini 3 Pro?

Well, for one, it has more remote controller compatibility than the OG Mini 3. It also has a greater transmission distance, 12 kilometers versus the Mini 3’s 10 kilometers.

Is it a groundbreaking difference?

No, and I can’t see a scenario in which a social media influencer or professional pilot would clamber for 2 extra kilometers specifically.

That said, the Mini 3 Pro is just that much better.

Battery life

Winner: DJI Mini 3

Flight time is a major determining factor when shopping for any drone.

These two Mini drones are relatively evenly matched in battery life, at least if we compare the basic batteries the drones are equipped with.

The Mini 3 Pro flies for 34 minutes initially, and the Mini 3 for 38 minutes.

However, if you upgrade to each drone’s respective Intelligent Flight Battery Plus, the Mini 3 gains about 13 minutes of flight time for an overall time in the sky of 51 minutes.

The Mini 3 Pro goes from 34 to 47 minutes, a 13-minute increase.

Those numbers aren’t set in stone, and you’ll always get several minutes less in real-life applications.  

That said, even flying close to 50 minutes with a consumer DJI drone is incredible! You will have more than enough time to tackle your workload with confidence.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 / Mini 3 Pro Battery (All You Need to Know)

Conclusion

With so many similarities between the DJI Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro, it was hard to narrow it down to a definitive winner.

The inimitable Mini 3 Pro might have come first, but it perfects what a Mini drone of today should be, with awesome battery life, high-res imagery and videography, Intelligent Flight Modes, a great transmission range, and obstacle avoidance.

It’s not only the greatest of the two but one of DJI’s overall best!

» MORE: Best DJI Alternatives – What Drones Are Better Than DJI?