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DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. Air 2S (All You Need to Know)

It’s Fight Night here at the DJI Frank Wang Arena. Tonight’s competitors are the DJI Mini 3 weighing in at only 249 grams. It will be flying into the ring against the current middleweight champ, the DJI Air 2S weighing in at 595 grams.

Each drone flying into the ring tonight has already shown it’s worthy of being a contender within its class.

The DJI Air 2S has a solid record of wins since starting its career and is the reigning champ in the middleweight class.

The plucky Mini 3 is at a clear disadvantage stepping up from the lightweight league to this middleweight bout.

Having shown the tenacity to have already unseated the lightweight champ the Mini 2, let’s see if the DJI Mini 3 can handle what this seasoned middle-weight class drone will dish out.

This will be a 5-round fight everyone, no hitting below the belt and when I say break, you break. If I send you to your corner, go to your corner.

If you’re in a hurry here’s the verdict: DJI Air 2S is our pick over the Mini 3 Pro.

The advantages that the Air 2S has easily outweigh the slight additional cost for the system and make it a clear winner over the Mini 3.

Please continue to read to find out the reasons why we picked Air 2S as the winner.

Editor's Choice
DJI Air 2S
$974.00

DJI Air 2S has the ability to perceive its environment in four directions: up, down, forward, and backward, allowing it to actively avoid obstacles, even in complex scenarios and at high speeds.

Buy from Amazon Our Review
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/24/2023 11:59 pm GMT

1. Round One – Camera

The fighters have left their corners. The DJI Air 2S and the Mini 3 both have excellent cameras. Right off we have a real puncher’s chance for the DJI Mini 3 by offering something the DJI Air 2S just doesn’t have.

The Mini 3 comes out swinging, by providing true portrait mode where the gimbal physically rotates to a vertical orientation, giving the portrait shots a wider field of view. 

The DJI Air 2S counters with a long sweeping uppercut, with its ability to record in 5.4K at 30fps. This leaves the DJI Mini 3 bobbing and weaving some as it is only able to reach 4K at 60fps recording.

The Mini’s not on the ropes yet, countering the Video Resolution hit with a Photo resolution blow of its own. The DJI Mini 3 has a 48mp resolution knocking the wind out of the DJI Air 2S with its 20 MP resolution.

DJI Mini 3 ProDJI Air 2S
Image sensor1 / 1.3” CMOS1” CMOS
Photo resolution48 MP20 MP
Video resolution4k @ 60 fps / 2.7K @ 60 fps / 1080p @ 60 fps / 1080p @ 120 fps5.4K @ 30 fps / 4K @ 60 fps / 2.7K @ 60 fps / 1080p @ 120 fps
Aperturef/1.7f/2.8
ISO range100 – 6400 (Auto)
100 – 6400 (Manual)
Photo:
100 – 3200 (Auto)
100 – 12800 (Manual)
Video:
100 – 3200 (Auto)
100 – 3200 (Manual)
10-Bit Dlog-M Video:
100 – 800 (Auto)
100 – 1600 (Manual)
Shutter speed2 – 1/8000 s8 – 1/8000 s
Max bitrate150 Mbps150 Mbps
Digital zoom range4K – 2x
2.7K – 3x
1080p – 4x
4K / 30 fps – 4x
2.7K / 60 fps – 3x
2.7K / 30 fps – 6x
1080p / 60 fps – 6x
1080p / 30 fps – 8x
HDR?Photo: Supported in Single Shot mode
Video: Supported when shooting at 24/25/30 fps
Supported in Photo mode
Redundant with 10-bit Dlog-M for videos
AEB?3/5 bracketed frames at 2/3 EV3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7 EV bias
Photo formatJPEG / DNGJPEG / DNG
Video formatMP4 / MOVMP4 / MOV
Color profileNormal
D-Cinelike
Normal
10-bit Dlog-M
10-bit HLG

This hit seems to have shocked the DJI Air 2S some. It counters with a flurry of body blows, such as shutter speed and digital zoom.

The DJI Air 2S offers a broader shutter speed than the DJI Mini 3, with the Mini 3 having a shutter speed of 2-1/8000s and the Air 2S having a shutter speed of 8-1/8000s.

Depending on which recording speed is chosen, the digital zoom range goes to the DJI Air 2S.

The Air 2S has the DJI Mini three back-peddling some here and just keeps coming, throwing a heavily landed lead hook with its color profiles.

The DJI Air 2S has a more diverse color profile than the Mini 3 and is one of the main reasons those who have the Air 2S enjoy them so much.

Ding, ding, ding.

Round one clearly goes to the DJI Air 2S. It has a larger camera sensor and video resolution and advanced zoom features.

The DJI Mini 3 has no shame here – it handles its own fairly well against the Air 2S.

If you are more into photography over videography the judges may have even given the round to the Mini 3 with its 48 MP resolution over the Air 2S’s 20 MP.

Had DJI put a 1″ sensor in the Mini 3, it very well could have been an Air 2S killer as some were speculating.

That lack of a 1″ sensor really removes it as a usable commercial drone system as most companies require a 1″ sensor and a system 20 MP or higher.

2. Round Two – Weight & Size

The DJI Mini 3 knew stepping into the ring against the DJI Air 2S it would be outweighed and outsized. One is after all a lightweight and the other is a middle-weight contender.

Here the Mini 3 leads with the only advantage it has. Ease of use and portability. It’s only a glancing blow and it’s not long before the Air 2S has the Mini 3 on the ropes here, as it too offers ease of use and portability.

Its heavier weight and its larger size provide for better wind resistance and more stable flight.

DJI Mini 3 ProDJI Air 2S
Weight< 249 grams595 grams
Dimensions unfolded (L x W x H)171 x 245 x 62 mm183 x 253 x 77 mm
Diagonal length247 mm302 mm

Here again, this round would go to the DJI Air 2S, as it is similar in design to the Mini 3 and that means the advantage the Mini 3 had here in round 2, really applies to both.

I know there’s this idea out there that if you have a 250-gram or under drone, it doesn’t have to be registered.

That is very true if you’re a hobbyist. But, if you are a commercial pilot, every drone you fly has to be registered.

Here we can’t just say the Air 2S wins the round flat out though. The DJI Mini 3 does have some new design features that allow it to fly more like the Air 2S than the Mini 2 did.

These design features, such as the propeller arms no longer being parallel to the ground, provide added stability during flight.

3. Round Three – Battery & Flight Time

The short break between rounds seems to have revitalized the DJI Mini 3. It comes out of the corner swinging, throwing jabs and crosses.

It would appear the DJI Air 2S just wasn’t expecting that. The Air 2S is just rolling with the punches here and blocking the Mini 3’s assault.

Looks like the Air 2S might have a losing round on this one. As the chart here shows, when it comes to battery life and flight time, the Mini 3 can actually surpass the Air 2S with its larger Plus battery.

DJI Mini 3 ProDJI Air 2S
TypeLi-ionLi-Po 3S
CapacityStandard: 2453 mAh
Plus: 3850 mAh
3750 mAh
WeightStandard: 80.5 g
Plus: 121 g
198 g
Flight time, hovering (advertised)Standard: 30 minutes
Plus: 40 minutes
30 minutes

Otherwise, if just comparing the Standard Battery for the Mini 3 to the Air 2S, they are equally matched, with both showing a 30-minute flight time.

When we take into account the Plus battery, the DJI Mini 3 lands a good solid uppercut onto the DJI Air 2S and leaves it staggering. The Mini 3 backs off for its own head-clearing moment and then DING, DING, DING.

Round three is a clear win for the DJI Mini 3. Even if you don’t take the benefit of the larger Plus battery, the Mini 3 is right up there with the Air 2S on its battery flight time.

Having an option to increase that and having a dual battery system sets the DJI Mini 3 apart from the Air 2S just too much for the Air 2S to have a win here. Mini 3 wins this one for sure.

4. Round Four – Obstacle Avoidance

Our fighters are looking a little weary and seem to be just squaring off at the moment. It’s been a tough fight so far. The DJI Mini 3 has really been holding out against the DJI Air 2S. Many thought it would be a quick KO fight, but they’re still going, folks!

The DJI Air 2S is opting to work the body on this one, throwing out little rabbit jabs and locking up the Mini 3 when possible. The Mini 3 is set back and getting pushed towards the ropes.

The DJI Air 2S has one advantage here in this round. As it has an upward obstacle avoidance sensor the Mini 3 lacks. This provides a near omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system.

That’s not to say the Mini 3 is going down though – one major improvement the DJI Mini 3 received was rearward-looking sensors and compared to the Air 2S, it is only one sensor away from being the same.

The Air 2S ends out the round with a devasting right hook just as the bells ring. The Air 2S comes equipped with ADS-B, but the Mini 3 does not offer that. Ding, Ding, Ding!

Here in round four, we can say that the Mini 3 really did its best but most of the round it spent just blocking with little to show for any punches landed. The Air 2S wins the round with its upward sensor that the Mini 3 lacks and its ADS-B ability.

Having the ADS-B just provides better situational awareness that the Mini 3 doesn’t offer. If you are unfamiliar with what ADS-B is, DJI has used this feature to implement the Air Sense system for all of their drones released after 2020. That is except for the Mini line.

The Air Sense system allows drone pilots to receive notifications when there are manned aircraft nearby, giving them allowance to give right of way. It is a very useful feature and one that sadly the Mini 3 lacks, giving the round to the Air 2S.

5. Round Five – Price

Our fighters seem anxious to have this ended. Both have come out of the corner throwing everything they have. The DJI Mini 3 is standing off directly against the Air 2S by offering several purchase options.

DJI Mini 3 ProDJI Air 2S
Drone only$669
Drone + RCN1 controller$759$999
Drone + DJI RC controller$909
Fly More Combo+ $189$1299
Fly More Combo Plus+ $249
Fly More Combo w/ Smart Controller$1499

DJI, since its first drone system, has always offered the standard system and then a Fly More Combo for that system with sometimes a pro version as well. DJI really outdid themselves here, as the DJI Mini 3 has a total of five ways it can be purchased.

The first option is drone only, no controller. Next would be the drone and RCN1 controller. The next is the drone with the RC controller instead of the RCN1.

DJI also offers the Mini 3 with two types of Fly More Combos – one for the standard battery and one for the Plus battery. Certainly, a variety of purchasing options.

The Air 2S, on the other hand, is limited to three – the standard package, the standard package with the Fly More Combo, or the Fly More Combo w/Smart controller.

When we add up the cost of the DJI Mini 3, it comes in at around $1,100 to $1,200 dollars. Of course, we went all out with the Mini 3, going with the RC controller and Fly More Combo Plus.

The equivalent package for the DJI Air 2S is $1499. There’s a difference of $300 to $400 between the two.

So, both of our drones really punched it out blow for blow here in the fifth and final round of our fight tonight.

Looks like our judges are ready with the round judgment. Round five is a draw! Both systems here in round five have fought so hard that the judges have declared a draw for round five.

The few hundred-dollar difference between the two is not enough of a factor to point in either direction.

The Winner!

The fighters have returned to their corners and are awaiting the judge’s final decision. The Mini 3 is looking beat and rough over in its corner having a hard time maintaining a hover. Looks like there’s just a tiny hope though that they may squeak out a win.

The mighty Mini, no matter the outcome, can leave this ring with the knowledge it has a bright future ahead.

The reigning Champ is winded from the five-round bout and it’s showing. Its hover is a bit unstable. It came into this fight thinking it would have a win in the first round, but it never thought there would even need to be a judge’s call on the fight.

The results are in: The DJI Air 2S wins by TKO. The Air 2S won three out of five rounds and had one round as a draw. The advantages that the Air 2S has easily outweigh the slight additional cost for the system and make it a clear winner over the Mini 3.

Editor's Choice
DJI Air 2S
$974.00

DJI Air 2S has the ability to perceive its environment in four directions: up, down, forward, and backward, allowing it to actively avoid obstacles, even in complex scenarios and at high speeds.

Buy from Amazon Our Review
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/24/2023 11:59 pm GMT

The Mini 3 has left us impressed nevertheless, stepping up to an opponent that never was really meant to be.

The DJI Mini 3 was always intended to stay in the lightweight class as a competitor against the Autel Nano series.

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)
$905.00

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone with 4K/60fps Video, 48MP Photo, 34-min Flight Time, Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing, Ideal for Aerial Photography and Social Media

Buy from Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/24/2023 09:20 pm GMT

Seeing it stack up so well against the Air 2S, well, it’s always a personal choice but DJI has left you the consumer with a hard choice.

Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!