July 6, 2022

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 2: is it worth the upgrade?


It’s no secret: the DJI Mini 3 Pro is my favorite drone as of late. But it’s also quite a bit more expensive than its predecessor, the DJI Mini 2. Are its upgraded specs that much better to justify the cost? If you’re deciding between the DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 2, here’s what you need to know:

A quick breakdown of the DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 2 vs DJI Mini SE:

There are three drones in the Mini line right now, which started with the Mavic Mini. DJI dropped the word Mavic from the second model in its line. The third model got a Pro to go with its name — likely to indicate how much more superior the DJI Mini 3 Pro is vs. the Mavic Mini and Mini 2.

DJI Mini SE DJI Mini 2 DJI Mini 3 Pro
Starting Price $279 (originally $399 at launch as Mavic Mini) $449 $759
Takeoff Weight 249 grams <249 grams <249 grams
Max Photo Resolution 12 MP 12 MP 48 MP
Video Resolution 2.7K:2720×1530 24/25/30 p 4K: 2x
2.7K: 3x
FHD: 4x
4K HDR up to 30 ps
Sensor 1/2.3” CMOS 1/2.3” CMOS 1/1.3″ CMOS
Aperture f/2.8 f/2.8 f/1.7
Obstacle Avoidance None Downward (hovering) Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS 4.0)
Max Flight Time 30 minutes 31 minutes 34 minutes
Transmission System Enhanced Wi-Fi. O2 O3

So with those specs in mind, which drone should you get? If you don’t have any drones right now, here’s my analysis of these three, and my guidance of which one to get:

sally french dji drone brand building Fem founder entrepreneur
Sally French, The Drone Girl, reviews the DJI Mavic Mini drone in Hawaii.

Who the DJI Mini SE is best for

The DJI Mavic Mini (since slightly modified and improved as the DJI Mini SE) came out in 2020. While DJI has ceased production on this oldest model drone, the slightly newer DJI Mini SE is still available.

If you can manage to find one for sale, should you buy it? Maybe.

Related read: DJI Mavic Mini Review: DJI proves ‘smaller and cheaper’ doesn’t mean ‘worse’

At less than $300 these days, it’s a sweet deal that can be hard to pass up — especially if you’re new to the hobby and aren’t sure how committed you want to get to it financially. Taking drone photos of your kids playing in the backyard or on cool roadtrips sounds good in theory, but is it something you’ll realistically do? Maybe your kid’s soccer field actually has a private ban on drones. Perhaps you just don’t like packing more stuff on your trip than necessary. You don’t want to spend close to $1,000 on a high-end drone only to find you don’t fly it as much as you hoped you might.

Of course, the lower price tag means fewer features. This is a stripped-down version of most other DJI drones you can buy today. You get a 2.7K camera vs. 4K on the other Mini drones, which is fine if you’re only posting to Instagram or TikTok, but probably won’t work if you have ambitions of winning photography contests. There’s no obstacle avoidance, which is likely not necessary for flights in open fields or wide beaches, but wouldn’t work if you want to film yourself biking through dense forests (use the Skydio 2+ or other follow-me drones for that).

It’s still a solid drone with nice features, like CineSmooth mode and some pre-programmed flight maneuvers, called Quickshots. Just understand that you’re missing out on some super neat features that the second and third editions offer.

The DJI Mini is great if you’re looking to save as much money as possible, while still getting a higher-quality DJI drone than a cheap toy drone. If you want a camera drone but are on an ultra-tight budget, the DJI Mini is your pick.

Related read: Mavic Mini getting started guide: what you need to do and set up before flying your drone

Who the DJI Mini 2 is best for

The Mini 2 launched in November 2020 with one major improvement upon the original DJI Mavic Mini in particular: superior video quality. With the Mini 2, you’re packing in 12-megapixel images and a maximum video resolution of 4K/30fps @100 Mbps. That’s certainly not as good as what the Mini 3 Pro can offer, but it’s a giant upgrade from the original Mini.

Plus, those aren’t the only upgraded features. Rather than simply relying on Wi-Fi transmission, there’s now OcuSync 2.0, which provides a more stable and reliable connection between the remote controller and the drone — especially over long distances — and offers a maximum transmission range of 10 km (that’s a 150% increase in transmission range vs. the original Mavic Mini). It’s still inferior to the even-better O3, but makes for a more reliable flying experience than no OcuSync at all.

Related read: DJI Mini 2 maintains 249-gram weight, while improving on video

One notable reason why I don’t love the Mini 2: no obstacle avoidance (of course, the Mavic Mini doesn’t have this either). This is such a solid safety feature. Even if you don’t need it for your manual flight and consider yourself a pro pilot, or you’re primarily flying in open fields, there are still situations where obstacle avoidance is such a game changer: namely, return to home. Maybe your battery encounters issues and the drone needs to return home earlier than expected. If that gets initiated, you want to ensure a clear path (not to mention the shortest-possible path!) for your drone to return.

Purchase the DJI Mini 2 starting at just $449 now from:

The Mini 2 is definitely a better camera than the Mavic Mini. If you have a budget under $500 and want the best-possible camera, the Mini 2 is what you want.

But if you can afford more, then read on as the Mini 3 Pro — though about $300 more — has far more to offer.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro with DJI RC.

Who the DJI Mini 3 Pro is best for

If you want the best-possible drone in the smallest-possible package, then the DJI Mini 3 Pro is best for you. Other than the form, the Mini 3 Pro hardly resembles its older Mini siblings.

Whereas the Mavic Mini and Mini 2 are more like entry-level drones, the DJI Mini 3 Pro actually most closely resembles the DJI Air 2S. It’s the only Mini drone that includes obstacle avoidance, which you’ll find in the Air 2 and Air 2S drones. It’s improved video quality more closely aligns with the Air 2 and Air 2S.

Read more: DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Mavic Air 2 and Air 2S: which is better?

Of course, it’s more expensive than the other Minis — priced more similarly to the Air 2 and Air 2S drones.

If you have the means to pay for a more expensive drone though, you absolutely should. This is my favorite drone to date. I’m a frequent traveler, and I want to pack my drone with me, but with bigger drones it’s sometimes not possible. To have ultra-high video quality and obstacle avoidance packed into a sub-249 gram drone is incredible. I value small size, but I also value improved safety features and a 4K camera. The Mini 3 Pro drone is the only one that does it all.

If you value those things as I do, there’s no better drone you can buy. It’s well worth the $759 price.

Read my full review of the Mini 3 Pro here.

Is the DJI Mini 3 Pro worth upgrading your DJI Mavic Mini or Mini 2?

Maybe. The camera quality is way better, the transmission is more reliable and the obstacle avoidance is a godsend. If you’re a current Mini or Mini 2 owner then you already get the benefit of the Mini 3 Pro’s small size. You’ll have to value those other specs and put your own price tag on it. Personally, the Mini 3 Pro provides a huge upgrade from the Mavic Mini that I would make the leap if I’m committed to the drone life.

As far as upgrading from the Mini 2 to the 3 Pro, you’ve got a bit tougher of a decision. If you can sell your old Mini 2, or you have disposable income, I’d do it. But don’t panic if you can’t afford the upgrade, as DJI constantly iterates on its drones that there will likely be an even better one on the horizon soon.

That said, if you are upgrading from the Mini 2 to the Mini 3 Pro, you won’t have to pay the full $759 price. You can buy it for just $669 (assuming you don’t sell the Mini 2). That’s because DJI will sell it for $669 without the controller (it uses the same controller you already have with the Mini 2). You can get a ew drone, while giving the older controller a second life.

The bottom line

If you value the same specs I do in a drone — small size, quality camera, strong safety features including obstacle avoidance, and ease of use — then there’s no better drone out there than the DJI Mini 3 Pro.

Purchase the DJI Mini 3 Pro starting at just $669 (no controller) or $759 with controller now from:

The post DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 2: is it worth the upgrade? appeared first on The Drone Girl.


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