DJI, they need no introduction. Their products have changed photography and the movie industry forever. Everyone from elite film-makers and career Youtube celebrities like Casey Neistat to the enthusiasts who enjoy new technology have benefited from being able to fly a camera hundreds of feet into the air and capture incredible, stabilized video footage of our world as we see it. What a time to be alive!
As anyone who operates a drone knows, or should know, state (or provincial) and federal laws all have a say in what and where you can fly. In Canada, drone regulations are so strict, that anything weighing 250 grams or over requires at minimum, a basic license that can be obtained online ($10 CDN) or an advanced license that requires an in-person flight review as well as an advanced examination.
This is where the DJI Mini 3 ($419USD w/ RC-N1) and Mini 3 Pro ($759USD w/ RC-N1) come in. A few things have changed since the Mini 2 was released in 2020. Most notably, the improved imaging system features a bigger 1/1.3 inch camera sensor supporting dual native ISO and Chip based HDR technology giving you full 4K HDR capabilities. All of this essentially means that the camera captures more details, higher quality and a better all around shooting experience. The gimbal has also been updated to allow for True Vertical Shooting mode specifically designed for TikTok, Instagram content and perfect for capturing vertical height and tall buildings.
Battery life has gotten a boost as well, but it does come with a slight compromise. I can take longer flights (51 mins) now that the Mini 3 battery system supports the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus along with the standard battery (38 min flight time). However, for some this may be an issue as using the Intelligent flight battery increases the weight which may require licensing depending on where you are flying (check country/state/provincial laws wherever you are flying your drone).
Another helpful feature upgrade is DJI RC remote controller compatibility. While the DJI RC-N1 works fine integrating with your smartphone or a tablet with a 3rd party tablet adapter, the DJI RC controller is next level! Because of its 5.5 inch HD touch screen, details are beautifully nuanced and perfect in every way. The DJI Fly app also comes pre-installed and with a nice bright display (700 nits), it’s a worthy upgrade and highly recommended. If you’re on the fence about this and you’ve not used the RC controller before, I strongly suggest getting your hands on one. It’s an absolutely incredible flight experience. I found it very convenient to have my phone in my pocket to answer the occasional text message or phone call while keeping everything related to my current flight on the RC Remote controller’s absolutely gorgeous screen.
The flying experience is about as simple as it gets and beginners will have no trouble getting up and running for the first time especially with the DJI RC controller. With DJI’s Fly app built in, there’s no pairing your phone or messing around with the phone attachment etc. When the action hits, you can be ready in a flash!
Even seasoned drone pilots should seriously consider the Mini 3 or its slightly smarter brother, the Mini 3 Pro simply for portability and flying under the radar (so to speak) to avoid the red tape that goes along with flying a drone requiring licensure.
The Mini 3’s range is absolutely amazing and I’m not going to lie, it’s still terrifying to think that I can fly it many kilometers away from where I stand and still transmit incredible HD video thanks to Ocusync 2.0 video transmission technology (up to 10km/6.2 miles). Also, with level 5 wind resistance (up to 38kmph), the drone stays rock steady. It’s freakishly good at maintaining a solid steady shot in some pretty crazy wind conditions. After getting back from a friend’s house and looking at the video I had shot, I noticed that the video wasn’t moving, it appeared that my computer had crashed while playing back the video. It wasn’t until my friend walked by the window that I realized the drone footage was so stabilized it appeared to be frozen!
One thing to note is that the Mini 3 does not have the obstacle avoidance technology that the Mini 3 Pro has, so you’ll always want to be within line of sight to ensure safety of your drone and those nearby.
As always, DJI offers a Fly More bundle for the Mini 3 which includes two Intelligent Flight batteries, a two way charger, 3 pairs of spare props and a beautiful DJI padded carrying case. Hard shell cases like the Nanuk 915 are amazing if you are looking for something more robust and airport worthy, but for the Mini 3, I actually enjoy DJI’s included bag for convenient portability.
The DJI Mini 3 is a tiny beast and it has elevated my drone flying game to a new level (see what I did there?). Because my larger drone is great, but the Mini 3 goes everywhere easily and getting it quickly up in the air means that I get more footage quicker. That’s why I wholeheartedly recommend it for anyone wanting something portable and without the red tape of a larger, heavier drone. The DJI Mini 3 is really love at first flight.
Note: Our reviews are always 100% independent but Gearadical receives a small affiliate amount if you purchase the product on Amazon.