DJI Mini 3 review: Vertical video for less

Vertical video and great battery life at a good price

DJI Mini 3
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The DJI Mini 3 combines some of the best elements of the DJI Mini 3 Pro — namely, its ability to shoot vertical video — along with epic battery life in a device that costs just under $500.

Pros

  • +

    Can shoot vertical video

  • +

    Extremely long flight time

  • +

    Easy to fly

  • +

    Light and agile

Cons

  • -

    Fewer obstacle avoidance sensors than Mini 3 Pro

  • -

    Light weight makes is susceptible to wind gusts

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DJI Mini 3 specs

Size (folded): 5.8 x 3.5 x 2.4 inches
Size (unfolded): 9.9 x 6.7 x 2.8 inches
Weight: 249 grams
Camera sensor: 1/1.3-inch CMOS, f/1.7 aperture
Field of view: 82.1 degrees
Max image size: 12MP
Max video resolution: 4K/30 fps
ISO range: 100-3200
Flight time: 38 minutes (51 w/extended battery)

DJI is further segmenting its drone lineup with the DJI Mini 3. This small drone costs less than $500 in the US, yet incorporates some features from the $760 DJI Mini 3 Pro — like recording vertical video and HDR — but at a price closer to that of the $449 Mini 2. 

Like all of DJI’s drones I've tested, the Mini 3 was effortless to fly, and its 4K camera took excellent photos and videos. Moreover, with the right battery, it can fly for nearly an hour — the longest time of any drone of its size. Read the rest of our DJI Mini review to see if this model hits the sweet spot between its price and features.

DJI Mini 3 review: Price and availability

The DJI Mini 3 is on sale as of today (Dec. 9), and will be available in a few configurations:

  • DJI Mini 3 (Drone Only): $409 / AU$699
  • DJI Mini 3 with the DJI RC-N1 Remote Controller: $499 / AU$829
  • DJI Mini 3 with the DJI RC Remote Controller: $639 / AU$1,019
  • DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo (includes the DJI RC-N1 Remote Controller, Shoulder Bag, Two-Way Charging Hub, and two extra Intelligent Flight Batteries): $658 / AU$1,188
  • DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo (includes the DJI RC Remote Controller, Shoulder Bag, Two-Way Charging Hub, and two extra Intelligent Flight Batteries): $798 / AU$1,378

DJI Mini 3

(Image credit: Future)

For the purposes of this review, DJI sent me the pricier of its two Fly More Combos, which includes the DJI RC Remote Controller, which has its own built-in display. The DJI RC-N1 remote does not have a screen, and requires you to use your phone instead.

DJI Mini 3 review: Design

DJI Mini 3

(Image credit: Future)

The Mini 3 looks just like DJI’s other pint-sized drones. When folded, it sits neatly in your hand, and is a featherweight 249 grams — just light enough so that you don’t need to register it with the FAA. The Mini 3 is the same battleship gray as the rest of the drones in DJI’s fleet. 

As with the company’s other drones, the Mini 3’s arms fold out for flight; a camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal hangs out in the front, with two forward-looking eye-like sensors just above. 

The drone’s battery slides out the back of the drone; just above it is a microSD card slot and a USB-C port. 

DJI Mini 3

(Image credit: Future)

DJI Mini 3 vs. DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. DJI Mini 2: Specs compared

Swipe to scroll horizontally
DJI Mini 3DJI Mini 3 ProDJI Mini 2
Starting price$499 / AU$829$759 / AU$1,119$449 / AU$749
Image sensor1/1.3-inch CMOS1/1.3-inch CMOS1/2.3-inch CMOS
Aperturef/1.7f/1.7f/2.8
ISO range100-3200100-6400100-3200
Image size12MP48MP12MP
HDRYesYesNO
Max photo resolution4K/30FPS4K/60 fps4K/30FPS
Slo-mo videoNone1080p/120 fpsNone
Vertical cameraYesYesNo
SensorsDownwardForward, backward, downwardDownward
Flight time38 minutes34 minutes30 minutes

The Mini 3 gets a few of the DJI Mini 3 Pro’s most notable features — mainly, its ability to record vertically-oriented video. Press a button on the remote and the Mini 3’s camera rotates 90 degrees, 

However, DJI does reserve some more advanced features for the Pro. For instance, the pricier model can record 4K video at up to 60 fps, whereas the Mini 3 maxes out at 30 fps. In addition, the Pro can shoot slo-mo 1080p video at 120fps. And, the Pro model has front, rear, and downward-facing sensors, so it can better avoid objects while in flight. 

DJI Mini 3 review: Camera and video quality and features

DJI Mini 3 sample photos

(Image credit: Future)

Like the Mini 3 Pro, the Mini 3’s camera can rotate 90 degrees so you can take portrait-oriented photos and videos. It’s handy for those who plan to use the drone for social accounts like TikTok, where vertical video is the order of the day. I also found it was really helpful if you’re trying to shoot something that’s very tall, like a skyscraper or a tree.

DJI Mini 3 sample photos

(Image credit: Future)

The 4K videos I shot with the Mini 3 were crisp and clear. On the late fall day I flew the drone, it accurately captured the reds and yellows of the few trees that still had leaves, and the bright green grass of playing fields stood out among the brown and gray trees. 

While not as capable at tracking subjects as DJI’s pricier Mavic series, the Mini 3 has a few flight modes, called QuickShots, where the drone locks onto a subject, and then flies in a pre-set pattern away from the person. It’s nothing new — these have been around for several years — but they’re fun to play around with. Since the Mini 3 doesn’t have as many sensors as the Mini 3 Pro or the Mavic 3, you have to be careful where you use QuickShots, or else the drone will unwittingly crash into a tree. 

DJI Mini 3 review: Flight time

The Mini 3 can fly for up to 38 minutes, or up to 51 minutes with the extended flight battery. That’s the longest of any DJI drone by far. The Mini 3 Pro can stay aloft for up to 34 minutes, or 47 minutes with the extended battery. 

With the regular battery, I was able to keep the Mini 3 aloft for around 30 minutes; your time will vary based on how you fly the drone, how long it hovers, and the ambient temperature. 

Anything longer than 30 minutes is great, and as of late, drones that can stay in the air for up to 40 minutes are becoming more common. 

DJI Mini 3: Verdict

DJI Mini 3

(Image credit: Future)

While DJI touts the Pro-like features of the Mini 3 as the major selling point, I would argue that the Mini 3’s amazing flight time (with the extended battery) is one of the best reasons to pick up this drone. Vloggers and influencers who want to film themselves will also like that they can record vertical video for a much lower price than the Mini 3 Pro. 

If you want to save yourself some money among the best drones, I recommend the DJI Mini 2, which starts at $449, or the DJI Mini SE, which is just $299. But if you’re looking for a great balance between features and price, the Mini 3 is definitely a drone to consider.  

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.