Is DJI Mini 3 Pro Actually Worth The Splurge? (Updated Review)
The most popular palm-sized drone in America just got better, with a larger sensor, obstacle avoidance system and intelligent flight modes. It’s top-rated by both beginners and experts, and highly recommended by travelers.
FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.
DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC) – Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone
Top-rated: 1,638 ratings | 203 answered questions
Highlight: Tri-directional obstacle sensing for unrivaled safety.
Most helpful review: "I have been waiting for DJI to create a Mini drone that included obstacle avoidance since the first Mini drone was released. This review is based on my experience with the drone after a total flight time of 24 hours. I have provided a quick pros and cons list followed by an expanded discussion.
-Personalize Controller Setup
-Binding of the Fly-away Refresh coverage
-Sound of the controller
But despite my four-star review given the outweighing con factors, the Mini Pro 3 is a great drone for beginners to learn how to fly while capturing breathtaking images that include a decent number of safety features. I recommend that new users purchase DJI’s 2-year Refresh warranty that includes fly-away coverage for $125. When writing this review, this can be bought within 48 hours of turning on your drone through DJI’s website.
Weight: The weight of DJI's Mini series can easily avoid registration in most jurisdictions and comes ready to fly out of the box. This is why I wanted my first drone to be under the 250g weight threshold to avoid registration and avoid obtaining a certification/license while I am still learning. You will see that opting for DJI's Fly More Kit Plus (extended range batteries) pushes you over this limit and may subject the user to the registration process. I suspect the DJI app would know that you have inserted the heavier-extended range batteries and would require you to enter your certification/clearance permit before taking flight. I truly am impressed by the weight of this drone. Even the controller is heavier than the drone itself!
Geo-restrictions Built-in: From what I can tell, the DJI Fly app is robust and includes local geo-restrictions that may prevent you from taking off in a restricted area. I still use apps such as the B4UFly app to ensure that there are no local or temporary ordinances I may violate before taking off. But having geo-restrictions built into the app helps beginners who don’t understand the hazards a drone may cause to not fly in an area until it is safe. I am also certain this feature has something to do with DJI’s eventual remote ID to comply with any future FAA drone registration requirements.
Camera: The camera on this drone is a BEAST! It takes breathtaking videos and pictures. You would expect the standard night shooting results on a camera when taking a video (though a word of caution when flying in low-light environments). However, night pictures using the 48mp camera easily capture the hidden scenery. The various pano settings also generate beautiful views regardless of time and makes you wish you were actually in the area observing everything below.
Battery Life: Can I just say WOW! The battery life is very impressive. Even though I would like to purchase the Fly More Kit Plus to utilize the longer-flight time batteries, the extra weight would kick this drone out of the 249g range. Fortunately, DJI has done a fantastic job with its sub-250g batteries. The flight time always depends on conditions (e.g., wind), but I have averaged anywhere from 25-30 minutes in a single flight. Given how fast these batteries charge, having a few extra spares charging while you fly would give you unlimited flight time! Of course, ignoring the standard longevity of lithium batteries when discharged fully between cycles, haha.
Personalize Controller Setup: The controller has on function button that can quickly change two settings that would normally take several clicks in the app to reach. Pressing this button once or twice in quick succession would trigger two different functions of your choice. In addition, the app has allowed me to flip the flight control of the joysticks. Growing up, I played many games where flying a plane was required. The default flight settings were inverted to what I am used two. I was very surprised that DJI included this feature which has made me learn to fly a drone easily.
Binding of the Fly-away Refresh coverage: I purchased DJI’s 2-year Refresh Plan that includes fly-away coverage. But for some reason, the setup has always been confusing. The app appears to know that I have an active subscription because I needed to include my drone’s serial number when purchasing the plan. However, I am randomly stopped from taking off because my plan has unbounded from my drone, and I would have to restart the system before it would bind properly. I am sure this is an easy software fix, but I do not understand why the plan does not simply remain bound in-between some flights.
Sound of the controller: The speakers on the controller are loud and grabs your attention. This is great when you are so caught up in the breathtaking views that you may miss important warnings like your drone is low on battery. However, there have been multiple occasions where I simply turn on my controller, which beeps continuously, even after the drone is connected. I have no idea why but it gets annoying very fast. There is no hard switch on the controller to silence this beeping, and restarting everything does not help. Eventually, it will go away unless there is something wrong with the drone. When you finally connect to the drone, you may finally see notifications that need your attention.
Return to home ("RTH") Inconsistency: The GPS feature on these drones is great. You can visually see on the app how many drones are currently connected to your drone. However, if you use the RTH feature, BE VERY CAREFUL and watch it closely. You can still maneuver the drone after enabling RTH. So when your drone begins to descend on your neighbor’s roof instead of your driveway, gain some altitude and cancel RTH. Then manually land where you need.
Runs Hot on Idle When Transferring Recordings: DJI should implement sensors in the drone to turn off certain flight features, like the gimbal, when the drone's props are folded in. While transferring footage to my phone, the drone can run extremely hot because it is not air-cooled as it would when flying. Even when my props are folded, the power-hungry flight components are still being used. I normally stick my drone in front of a fan when I am transferring to cool it down. This method works, but I shouldn’t need to do it in the first place.
Inconsistent Transfer Speed: The app offers a quick-transfer feature by allowing your phone to connect to the drone directly via WiFi. You can turn off the controller in this mode and get a theoretical transfer speed of 25 mb/s. But for some unknown reason, the transfer speed can get stuck at five mb/s or bounce between 5-10 mb/s. I am not sure what is causing this difference. When I get the advertised 25 mb/s, it is under the same conditions as the 5-10 mb/s transfer rate. Just be mindful of your drone running too hot with slower transfers and reference the header above.
Final verdict: very easy to learn, creates breathtaking content!" — TeeHeCee
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