back to top

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs DJI Air 3: Choosing Your Ideal Drone

Choosing Between DJI Air 3 and Mini 3 Pro: Which Drone is Right for You?

DJI Mini 3 Pro: Compact and Powerful

Priced at $759 on Buydig.com and available on Amazon, the DJI Mini 3 Pro offers impressive upgrades to the Mini series. Boasting a larger sensor, built-in obstacle avoidance, and intelligent flight modes, it delivers high performance within a convenient, compact design. While novice fliers will appreciate its features, the higher cost places it in a more exclusive category.

Pros:

  • Impressive low-light performance
  • Handy obstacle avoidance
  • Useful automated flight modes

Cons:

  • Pricier compared to previous Mini models

DJI Air 3: Enhanced Performance

With prices ranging from $1,099.05 to $1,549 on Amazon, the DJI Air 3 presents a significant upgrade from the Air 2S. If you’re already flying the Mini 3 Pro and seek better wind resistance, a 3x zoom, and features like Waypoint Flight, the Air 3 is a suitable choice. Notably, the drone excels in image quality and offers an impressive 46-minute flight time. However, the C1 European rating and a fixed aperture might limit some users.

Pros:

  • Dual cameras for enhanced functionality
  • Excellent wind resistance
  • Generous 46-minute flight time

Cons:

  • Falls under C1 European rating
  • Fixed aperture poses challenges for ND filter users
  • Protruding camera design increases vulnerability to accidents.

In summary, both the DJI Mini 3 Pro and Air 3 offer remarkable features, making your decision a matter of priorities and preferences.

In July 2023, DJI introduced its latest drone, the Air 3, earning a 4.5-star review for its significant upgrade over the 2021 predecessor, Air 2S. This upgrade includes a new dual-camera system, excellent wind resistance, a generous 46-minute flight time, and improved safety features.

If you prefer a smaller drone, consider the DJI Mini 3 Pro, falling into the sub-250g category, granting more freedom than the C1 European category of the new Air 3. To aid your decision-making, we’ve compared these two models.

Should you opt for the newest drone with extensive features and prolonged flight time? Or would you rather choose the slightly older, smaller, and more affordable model, which offers the ability to fly without registration? Our DJI Mini 3 Pro review, matched the Air 3 with a 4.5 out of 5 rating.

Below, we examine the features and specifications of each drone to help determine the best fit for your needs.

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Air 3: Size, Weight, and Design

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Air 3: Size, Weight, and Design
(Image credit: DJI)

Both drones showcase DJI’s foldable design, allowing all four arms to fold inward, significantly reducing their size and enhancing portability – even fitting into a pocket, as with the Mini 3 Pro.

The Mini 3 Pro, when folded, measures 145 x 90 x 62mm, while the new Air 3 stands at 207 x 100.5 x 91.1mm. However, the crucial distinction lies in weight and its impact on flight locations.

Weighing just under 250g, the Mini 3 Pro can be flown nearly anywhere (except near airports and sensitive spots flagged by DJI’s flight systems) without requiring registration. Conversely, the Air 3 weighs 720g, earning a C1 rating in Europe and the UK, applicable to drones up to 900g.

Consequently, the Air 3 carries extra flying restrictions, like avoiding crowds. For further insight into drone laws, consult the CAA website.

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Air 3: Camera Comparison

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Air 3: Camera Comparison
(Image credit: DJI)

Significant camera improvements mark the Air 3 from DJI. In contrast to other single-lens DJI drones, the Air 3 incorporates a pair of 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensors within the same gimbal. One sensor is positioned behind a wide-angle, 24mm equivalent lens, while the other adopts a 70 mm-equivalent medium-telephoto lens, granting 3x zoom capability.

The zoom lens may not suit all users. However, as highlighted in our Air 3 review, it proves valuable when the drone’s C1 restriction hinders close access to crowded events or when observing undisturbed wildlife from a distance.

Recording-wise, the Mini 3 Pro achieves 4K video at 60 frames per second. Outperforming this, the Air 3 raises the frame rate to 100 fps at the same resolution. While the former uses the D-Cinelike color profile, the Air 3 employs D-Log M or HLG with both cameras, offering enhanced post-production flexibility.

Both drones capture images at up to 48MP and feature a camera angling from 90 degrees downwards to 60 degrees upwards. The former proves beneficial for satellite-style images of buildings, rivers, and other points of interest.

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Air 3: Battery Comparison

DJI claims the new Air 3 offers a remarkable 46-minute flight time on a single charge – a substantial 48% improvement over its predecessor. While we advise allowing for extra time to manage strong winds and ensure a safe return, we found this claim to hold true in our testing.

The Mini 3 Pro is advertised with a 34-minute flight time by DJI, but our review suggests a more accurate estimate of 20 to 25 minutes. Its smaller, lighter design is advantageous on calm days. Yet, when faced with gusty winds, the Mini 3 Pro’s battery life can diminish rapidly. In select markets (excluding Europe), the Mini 3 Pro can accommodate a larger battery, extending flight time to 47 minutes, but this also pushes its weight beyond the crucial 250g limit.

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Air 3: Controller, Range, and Transmission

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Air 3: Controller, Range, and Transmission
(Image credit: DJI)


Both drones come standard with DJI’s RC-N1 controller, utilizing a connected smartphone as the display and camera viewfinder. The Mini 3 Pro offers an alternative with the DJI RC controller, featuring an integrated 5.5-inch touchscreen for smartphone-free operation.

In contrast, the Air 3 offers the option of the enhanced RC-2 controller. This version retains the original RC’s display while introducing a more powerful processor, upgraded video transmission, and an improved antenna system, ensuring a more stable connection.

DJI claims a 20km transmission distance for the Air 3 at 1080p and 60 frames per second, outperforming the Mini 3 Pro’s 12km at 1080p and 30 fps. While flying a drone that far from the controller is unlikely, the extended range benefits video streaming reliability in challenging environments like dense forests.

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Air 3: Safety Systems and Flight Modes

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Air 3: Safety Systems and Flight Modes
(Image credit: DJI)

The pricier Air 3 boasts DJI’s latest ‘omnidirectional obstacle sensing’ technology, an upgrade from the older Mini 3 Pro’s tri-directional system. Both systems excel at obstacle avoidance (except in Sport mode), yet the Air 3 uniquely detects objects from all directions.

Flight modes are similar between the two models, with the Air 3 featuring DJI’s upgraded ActiveTrack 5.0 compared to ActiveTrack 4.0 on the Mini 3 Pro. Both aim to center the subject while avoiding obstacles and offer a return-to-home function.

Both drones incorporate DJI’s MasterShots for effortless professional-level videos. However, only the Air 3 supports flying between pre-programmed waypoints, while the Mini 3 Pro can rotate its camera 90 degrees for portrait videos on platforms like Instagram Stories.

Slightly faster, the Air 3 reaches a top speed of 42.5mph in sport mode, while the Mini 3 Pro reaches 35.7mph. Both offer normal and ‘Cine’ modes, with the latter reducing speed for smoother cinematic shots.

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Air 3: Price Comparison

The new Air 3 starts at $1,099 / £962 / AU$1,699 for a kit including the drone, one battery, and the RC-N2 remote, which utilizes your smartphone as its display.

Comparatively, the Mini 3 Pro is notably more affordable, priced at $759 / £709 / AU$989 for a kit containing the drone, a battery, and the RC-N1 controller.

The Air 3’s increased cost might be justified by its extended battery life and a dual-camera setup with 3x zoom. However, potential buyers should consider that the Air 3’s added weight limits its freedom compared to the smaller, more budget-friendly Mini 3 Pro. Despite its similar camera (sans zoom), the Mini 3 Pro offers decent battery life, a range of safety systems, and content capture modes.

Choosing between them hinges on individual needs, budget, and flying experience. Novice fliers will likely find the Mini 3 Pro appealing, while the Air 3 suits experienced pilots with specific use cases.

More like this