In-Depth Review DJI Mini 3 Pro

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DJI Mini 3 Pro – Move Over Everyone – A Professional Drone for Under $1,000

by Paul Rossi, DRONELIFE Contributor and Chief Operations Officer and Chief Pilot at Nine Ten Drones.

All prices are estimates as of time of publication and subject to change.

Earlier this year we saw manufacturers downsize their sUAS while also increase performance capabilities by introducing “upgraded” versions of already available models.

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In May of 2022 DJI released the Mini 3 Pro which started showing up in the wild throughout June and into July. The Mini 3 Pro with DJI RC is a huge upgrade to the Mini 2 which had no obstacle detection and required a cell phone or the expensive DJI Smart Controller to fly.

For so many folks the first drone they will ever fly is this miniature “ship” that weighs less than .55 pounds (Yes, this drone weighs just over half a pound and I did call a drone a ship, shoutout to the great Jon McBride). 28 years ago I played EA sports games on my brothers brand new Playstation and 26 years years after releasing the PS1, Sony released the playstation 5 in 2020. DJI released the Phantom in January 2013 and in a little over 9 years the company has reached its “Playstation 5” moment, with the release of the Mini 3 Pro.

In my opinion, when compared to Sony’s Playstation gaming console, DJI has developed its drone technology and products at a rate three times faster. Bringing this introduction back to the drone review; if your first flight is with the Mini 3 Pro, that is like starting your video game journey with a playstation 5, you may have little perspective on where it all started. No matter which drone you began your flying with, you will certainly enjoy the experience of flying the Mini 3 Pro.

Mini 3 Pro

Review DJI Mini 3 ProThe Mini 3 Pro is compact, yet powerful, requiring a small footprint for launch and recovery which is optimal for hobbyists and professionals performing work in environments with limited space. Throughout this review I will be diving into some of the details that make the Mini 3 Pro, pound for pound, the best prosumer drone currently available for purchase. DJI has taken the Mini 2 and made it significantly better with the addition of obstacle sensors, improved camera specs, a redesigned body, extended flight time and integration with the DJI RC smart remote.

Mini 3 Pro Battery Options

DJI is again raising the bar, keeping pilots in the air longer by engineering a drone that flies for over 40 minutes with the upgraded “Plus” battery, advertising up to 47 minutes of flight time and 40 minutes of hover time, in no wind. Important to note that the Mini 3 Pro is sold with a standard battery that provides roughly 32 minutes flight time. 

You may be asking yourself this question right now “How can a drone have two different flight times if the payload doesn’t change?”. The simple answer is the battery casing for both the “standard” and the plus is the same however the Li-ion cells they are putting inside the cases are different. The plus battery includes cells that are larger (heavier by 40.5 grams) which in turn provide an increased capacity for extended flight time.

When installed for flight, the “plus” model batteries will put your drone over 250 grams and outside the “Category 1” class which affords the pilot the option to operate over human beings and moving vehicles in a transient nature, never hovering and/or loitering over an persons over moving vehicles (See 14 CFR 107.39 FAR for regulations regarding operations over human beings). When flying the Mini 3 Pro to conduct “Category 1” operations always make sure to have your “standard” battery and prop guards installed.

If max endurance is the goal and the flight operations won’t be conducted over human beings you will want to have your “plus” battery installed to keep you airborne longer. It’s really exciting to be talking about a drone with “adjustable” battery options that are tailored toward specific flight operations. The term “max endurance” is something the FAA is testing remote pilots on during the written exam however it rarely comes up in operational conversation since battery charge percentage has zero impact on the weight of a battery.

Mini 3 Pro Intelligent Flight Battery “Standard”

– 80.5g weight (sub 249 gram drone weight when installed)

– 2453mAh capacity

– 32 minutes flight time

– 70 minute recharge (30w USB-C)

Mini 3 Pro Intelligent Flight Battery Plus

– 121g weight (drone exceeds 250 grams when installed)

– 3850mAh capacity

– 43 minutes flight time

– 110 minute recharge (30w USB-C)

After multiple test flights at the Nine Ten Drones training facility in Holly Springs, NC we averaged a max flight time just over 42 minutes while flying and 37 minutes hovering in little to no wind conditions with the Mini 3 Pro “Plus” battery. (Safety Note: In each of our test flights we flew the Mini 3 Pro battery down to 5% or less which we do not recommend anyone do on a regular basis.)

Currently, there aren’t many commercial-off-the-shelf drones that provide flight times in excess of 40 minutes. Whether you are using the Mini 3 Pro for real estate photography or sending it indoors to clear a structure you will most certainly appreciate the extended flight time it provides.

Additional batteries for the Mini 3 Pro will cost $95 for the plus model and $65 for the standard model.

Mini 3 Pro Remote Options

The Mini 3 Pro can be purchased three ways; with the DJI RC, RC N1 or without a remote.

The DJI RC is the latest remote controller to be released by DJI which works with the Mini 3 Pro and the Mavic 3 drones. The DJI RC leverages the newest OccuSync 3.0 technology that provides transmission ranges up to 7.5 miles according to DJI marketing. In testing we found the range of the DJI RC paired with the Mini 3 Pro to be just under 1 mile while flying at 400 AGL in a suburban environment. We found the battery life to exceed 3 hours, multiple commercial projects, before we decided to recharge the DJI RC battery which took just over 90 minutes. The 700 nit screen brightness on the DJI RC allowed us to see details easily even when holding the remote in direct sunlight. The DJI RC is a phenomenal remote controller that we highly recommend purchasing along with the Mini 3 Pro.

The RC N1 requires the pilot to use their cell phone as a screen in order to leverage the drones FPV camera while also allowing for the capture of photo/video data. The N1 remote is ergonomic and suitable for hobbyists pilots. Anyone looking to operate commercially should consider purchasing the Mini 3 Pro with the DJI RC.

Maybe you already own a DJI Mavic 3, Air 2 or Air 2S which came with the RC N1. In this case you could go ahead and purchase the Mini 3 Pro without a remote controller since the RC N1 can be used with more than one drone at different times, never pairing to or controlling more than one drone at a time. 

Mini 3 Pro Camera Specifications

  • 1/1.3” CMOS Image Sensor
  • Effective Pixels: 48MP
  • Fixed Aperture: f/1.7
  • 4K HDR Video @ 30FPS
  • 4k @ 60FPS
  • 1080p @ 120FPS
  • True Vertical Shooting
  • Gimbal Tilt: -135* to 80*
  • D-Cinelike Color mode

DJI brings back the vertical photo and video capture option that we saw in the original Mavic aircraft, with “true vertical shooting” allowing your digital content to be instantly share worthy. Gone are the days of cropping and/or rotating your landscape video in order to share it across the various social platforms.

Review DJI Mini 3 ProFlying the Mini 3 Pro

Every time I fly a new DJI aircraft or hold a newly released remote, I’m tempted to get involved with design/manufacturing but then I remember how I don’t have a big enough bag of cash to fund even the best of ideas. Unboxing the Mini 3 Pro ignited that “Master Builder” fire in a way no other drone has in the past.

In just a few years DJI has taken the “Mavic Mini” from hobbyist to professional with just a few improvements to the aircraft and remote. The first thing I did was fly the Mini 3 Pro straight at some obstacles to test the functionality of the newly integrated obstacle detection and avoidance system. Holy wow, I was impressed immediately, with the aircraft set to “bypass” mode it was effortlessly navigating tight spaces and avoiding obstacles with ease. The spatial awareness and avoidance provided by the six(6) visual sensors is second to none.

(Safety Note: The forward obstacle detection only works at speeds of 23 MPH or less, with the rearward obstacle detection working at speeds less than 18 MPH.)

The Mini 3 Pro detects and avoids obstacles in manual flight using its Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS 4.0) technology. Flying under the concrete bleachers was a great demonstration of how this vehicle can be used to assist in confined space asset inspections.

The live feed presented on the DJI RC is crisp. The colors are clear, bold and sure to make you believe you could be filming for the next big blockbuster movie in Hollywood. The “smart remote” for the Mini drone is a huge upgrade and makes the flying experience all the more enjoyable. Less fumbling with a phone means less time setting up and a zero percent chance that a phone call interrupts your next flight.

DJI has taken inexpensive to the professional level with the Mini 3 Pro. This very affordable drone is capable of capturing both photo and video that can be used for marketing at all levels as well as support lower budget video productions. Nine Ten Drones is currently leveraging the Mini 3 Pro to provide commercial real estate services and to support the creation of our own marketing/social media content. Here is a link to a video produced for a leading commercial real estate firm in the Sandhills, North Carolina region:

Intelligent Flight Modes

The Mini 3 Pro has various flight modes that will allow for intelligent automated flight making your job of capturing the scene and subject easier than before. These flight modes include;

– MasterShots is a group of automated flight maneuvers the Mini 3 Pro will perform while also capturing video at the same time. Once the flight maneuver is completed you will be left with a fun cinematic video to share and integrate into your projects. This series of flight modes is great for folks just learning how to fly.

– FocusTrack is going to allow you to track and follow subjects flawlessly with very little user input. The three options for flight when piloting in the FocusTrack flight mode include ActiveTrack 4.0, Spotlight 2.0 and Point of Interest 3.0. Check out this video to see how the drone performs in FocusTrack:

– Hyperlapse will allow you to capture those beautiful rolling clouds and moving cars with a drama induced ‘high speed” effect that previously required a high level of piloting and video editing skills. With very limited input you now get the perfect hyper lapse video straight from the Mini 3 Pro.

– Digital Zoom is providing professional users with the improved payload capabilities to maintain a safe standoff distance while still inspecting and capturing the asset or point of interest.

Mapping & 3D Modeling

The photos you capture with the Mini 3 Pro can be turned into high resolution 2D maps and 3D models using photogrammetry software you currently use, however you will need to capture the images manually at this time since the Mini 3 does not integrate with any current autonomous photo capture softwares. SkyeBrowse, DroneDeploy and/or Pix4D will most likely not be integrating the Mini 3 Pro into their software.

The Mini 3 Pro will produce a high resolution map and/or model at an altitude at or below 200ft above ground level(AGL) thanks to the 1/1.3” CMOS sensor. Nine Ten Drones did manually capture a series of images which we processed into a map and 3D model.

It is important to note that the Mini 3 Pro camera has an electronic (“rolling”) shutter, so when the CMOS sensor is turned “On”, the sensor scans line by line sequentially which will result in a rolling shutter distortion that may impact the quality of map/model. My take from years of mapping with both mechanical and electronic shutters, the impact is negligible unless you are mapping and modeling  for high precision surveying purposes.

Here is a link to a 3D model created using photos captured with the DJI Mini 3 Pro and processed with DroneDeploy by Nine Ten Drones – https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/wilson-county-nc-school-bus-dji-mini-3-pro-f0f06d58ccca4b8bb773fb49584845da

Mini 3 Pro Pricing Breakdown

Mini 3 Pro  – $759.00

  • Mini 3 Aircraft
  • Remote Controller N1
  • Intelligent Flight Battery
  • Battery Charger
  • Spare Propeller Pair
  • Charging/Device Cables

Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC) – $909.00

  • Mini 3 Aircraft
  • Remote Controller DJI RC
  • Intelligent Flight Battery
  • Battery Charger
  • Spare Propeller Pair
  • Charging/Device Cables

Mini 3 Pro (No RC) – $669.00

  • Mini 3 Aircraft
  • Intelligent Flight Battery
  • Spare Propeller Pair
  • Charging/Device Cables

Mini 3 Pro Fly More Kit Plus – $249.00

  • Intelligent Flight Battery Plus x2
  • Two-Way Charging Hub
  • Spare Propeller Pair x2
  • Screws x12
  • Shoulder Bag
  • USB 3.0 Type-C Data Cable

Mini 3 Pro Fly More Kit Plus – $189.00

  • Intelligent Flight Battery x2
  • Two-Way Charging Hub
  • Spare Propeller Pair x2
  • Screws x12
  • Shoulder Bag
  • USB 3.0 Type-C Data Cable

DJI RC – $309.00

Mini 3 Pro Intelligent Flight Battery Plus – $95.00

Mini 3 Pro Intelligent Flight Battery – $65.00

Mini 3 Pro ND Filter Set (16/64256) – $55.00

Mini 3 Pro Summary

Purchase the Mini 3 Pro if you are looking for a recreational drone, to add aerial photography to your real estate services, to conduct room clearing for law enforcement purposes, to inspect infrastructure/construction projects and so much more. At a price tag under $1,500 you are picking up a fully loaded Mini 3 Pro drone with all the extras that will be sure to provide you a worthwhile return on your initial purchase when you apply it appropriately. 

I highly recommend picking up the DJI RC Pro which comes with built in screen that prevents you from having to fumble with your cell phone which is required when flying with the N1 remote controller. Purchase the fly more kit or additional batteries in order to stay in the air longer, allowing you to capture more of the family moments/memories or provide a superior commercial service to perspective clients. 

If you started flying drones with the Phantom 1 or are just picking up the remote controller today, I can guarantee you will find the value packed inside the powerful little DJI Mini 3 Pro. I am excited to see how much further the industry will grow over the next 8 years. Where do you think the UAS industry might be in the year 2030?

Read more about DJI:

nine ten dronesPaul Rossi is the Chief Operations Officer and Chief Pilot atNine Ten Drones, a N. C.-based drone services company, training center, and reseller.  Rossi is also the Outreach Coordinator for the North Carolina Chapter of AUVSI.  A graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the U.S. Army Aviation Logistics School, Rossi is passionate about the aviation industry.  He holds both a private pilot’s license for manned aircraft and a Part 107 Remote Pilot’s Certificate.  You can see more videos and product information on the Nine Ten Drones YouTube channel.