Drone

Which One is Right for You? – Droneblog


The DJI Air 3, Air 2S, and Mini 3 Pro all have something in common, aside from being manufactured by DJI. They are all classified as “Advanced” drones by the drone manufacturing market leader.

As advanced drones, sporting advanced safety features and capable of delivering professional-level content, all three of these offerings by DJI have something for everyone.

  • If you’re looking for the newest in drone technology, while doing professional work, the Air 3 might be for you.
  • If you’re looking to save a little money, while being able to shoot 20 MP photos, and take 5.2k videos on a 1″ sensor camera, the Air 2S fits the bill.
  • Alternately, if you’re looking for a sub-250g drone, perfect for travel and social media content, the Mini 3 Pro is a great fit.

In this article we will be taking an in-depth look at the features of the Air 3, Air 2S, and Mini 3 Pro to help you decide which drone is best for you.

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Pricing & Combo Options

What’s nice about these three drones is that DJI has continued to offer various packages, making their lines of drones accessible to many.

Below are the various available packages and combo options for each of the drones.

Air 3

Air 3 Standard RC-N2 Combo

Includes:

  • DJI Air 3
  • DJI RC-N2 Remote Controller
  • 1 x Intelligent Flight Battery
  • USB-C Cable
  • Front Sensor and Gimbal guard
  • 2 Spare Props
  • Connection Cables


DJI Air 3 (RC-N2)

Drone with Medium Tele & Wide-Angle Dual Primary Cameras, 46-Min Max Flight Time, Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, 48MP Photos, 4K/60fps HDR, up to 20Km Video Transmission


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08/26/2023 12:04 am GMT

Air 3 RC-N2 Fly More Combo

Includes:

  • DJI Air 3
  • DJI RC-N2 Remote Controller
  • 3 x Intelligent Flight Battery
  • 3-Battery Charging Hub
  • Shoulder Bag
  • USB-C Cable
  • Front Sensor and Gimbal guard
  • 8 Spare Props
  • Connection Cables

Air 3 DJI RC2 Fly More Combo.

Includes:

  • DJI Air 3
  • DJI RC2 Remote Controller
  • 3 x Intelligent Flight Battery
  • 3-Battery Charging Hub
  • Shoulder Bag
  • USB-C Cable
  • Front Sensor and Gimbal guard
  • 8 Spare Props
  • Connection Cables

Air 2S

Air 2S Standard RC-N1 Combo

Includes:

  • DJI Air 2S
  • DJI RC-N1 Remote Controller
  • 1 x Intelligent Flight Battery
  • Charging brick and cable
  • 1 Pair extra thumbsticks
  • Gimbal Guard
  • 6 Spare Props
  • Connection Cables


DJI Air 2S

DJI Air 2S has the ability to perceive its environment in four directions: up, down, forward, and backward, allowing it to actively avoid obstacles, even in complex scenarios and at high speeds.


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Our Review

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08/25/2023 03:21 pm GMT

Air 2S Fly More Combo

Includes:

  • DJI Air 2S
  • DJI RC-N1 Remote Controller
  • 3 x Intelligent Flight Battery
  • Shoulder Bag
  • ND Filter Set (ND4, 8, 16, 32)
  • Charging brick and cable
  • 3-Battery charging hub
  • Dual-USB Charging attachment
  • 1 Pair extra thumbsticks
  • Gimbal Guard
  • 8 Spare Props
  • Connection Cables


DJI Air 2S Fly More Combo

Drone with 3-Axis Gimbal Camera, 5.4K Video, 1-Inch CMOS Sensor, 4 Directions of Obstacle Sensing, 31-Min Flight Time, Max 7.5-Mile Video Transmission, MasterShots, Gray


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08/25/2023 06:12 pm GMT

Mini 3 Pro

Mini 3 Pro RC-N1 Combo

Includes:

  • DJI Mini 3 Pro
  • DJI RC-N1 Remote Controller
  • 1 x Intelligent Flight Battery
  • USB-C Cable
  • 1 Screw Driver
  • 6 Screws
  • 4 Spare Props
  • Gimbal Guard
  • Connection Cables

Mini 3 Pro DJI Combo

Includes:

  • DJI Mini 3 Pro
  • DJI RC Remote Controller
  • 1 x Intelligent Flight Battery
  • USB-C Cable
  • 1 Screw Driver
  • 6 Screws
  • 4 Spare Props
  • Gimbal Guard
  • Connection Cables


DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone with 4K/60fps Video, 48MP Photo, 34-min Flight Time, Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing, Integrated RC and screen, Ideal for Aerial Photography and Social Media


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08/24/2023 05:17 pm GMT

Different from the Air 3 and Air 2S, the DJI Mini 3 Pro sells with separate Fly More Combos, the standard battery version, and the battery Plus version.

Mini 3 Pro Standard Battery Fly More Combo

Includes:

  • 2 x Standard Intelligent Battery
  • 3-Battery Charging Hub
  • USB-C Cable
  • 12 screws
  • 8 Spare props
  • Shoulder Bag

Mini 3 Pro Plus Battery Fly More Combo

Includes:

  • 2 x Plus Intelligent Battery
  • 3-Battery Charging Hub
  • USB-C Cable
  • 12 screws
  • 8 Spare props
  • Shoulder Bag


DJI Mini 3 Pro Fly More Kit Plus

Includes Two Intelligent Flight Batteries Plus, a Two-Way Charging Hub, Data Cable, Shoulder Bag, Spare propellers, and Screws, Black


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08/25/2023 12:42 pm GMT

Design & Portability

The Air 3, Air 2S, and Mini 3 Pro follow similar design queues taken from the original DJI Mavic Pro. They are all foldable drones with four (quad) propellers and 3-axis gimbal camera systems.

However, there have been a ton of advancements in the foldable quadcopter market since the release of the Mavic Pro back in October 2016, as can be seen by all three of these drones.

Air 3

Weight:
720 g
Dimensions:
Folded (without propellers): 207×100.5×91.1 mm (L×W×H)
Unfolded (without propellers): 258.8×326×105.8 mm (L×W×H)

The Air 3 is the immediate successor to the ever-popular Air 2S drone. In addition to being an upgraded model, the Air 3 has a completely modernized and sleek new look.

Looking quickly at the Air 3, there are definite design queues taken from the flagship Mavic 3 series. The Air 3 has a more aggressive stance while retaining the same folding arm and leg sequence as the Air 2S. Those upgrading to the Air 3 from the Air 2S will appreciate that their muscle memory while folding and unfolding the Air 3 will remain intact.

New to the Air 3 is a redesigned rear end. Where the Air 2S previously had two rear-facing sensors, the Air 3 has a rubber-covered port that houses a multi-use USB-C port and an SD card slot. Additionally, the Air 3’s battery is inserted here, unlike the top-loading battery of the Air 2S.

This redesign is quite beneficial because it is no longer required to partially unfold the arms and legs of the drone in an effort to access the SD card.

Best SD Cards for DJI Air 3

Likewise, having a USB-C multi-use port, like the Mini 3 Pro, means you can charge the battery already inserted in the rear battery compartment, without owning a DJI charging hub (if you have not purchased the Fly More combo).

For comparative purposes, the Air 3 is not only heavier than the Air 2S but taller and longer as well.

For previous Air 2S owners, the added weight and size might make it slightly more cumbersome to pack and travel with, although not impossible in the least. For those who own the Mavic 3 series, the Air 3 is a welcomed, smaller addition for travel and outdoor use.

Another design change, that might be overlooked, but is welcomed, is the new gimbal guard. Many complained about the gimbal guard on the Air 2S, as it was slightly difficult to attach.

The gimbal guard on the Air 3 is easier to put on and it covers not only the camera but also the front sensors. This is similar to the gimbal guards aftermarket and 3rd-party manufacturers developed for the Air 2S.

Air 2S

Weight:
595 g
Dimensions:
Folded (without propellers): 180×97×77 mm (L×W×H)
Unfolded (without propellers): 183×253×77 mm (L×W×H)

The Air 2S was released back in April of 2021 and is still a fine-looking drone with many of the modern options and safety features we see on its successors.

When the Air 2S was released, it was lauded due to its manageable and relatively small size while housing a true 1″ CMOS Camera (more on this later).

Coming in behind the Mavic 2 Pro, the Air 2S was a refreshing option for professional and commercial drone operators who needed a reliable and powerful drone that was physically smaller than the Mavic 2 Pro.

Although a couple of inches longer and double the weight of the Mini 3 Pro, the Air 2S is still a reasonably sized drone that can be tucked away in a travel or shoulder bag and brought almost anywhere the adventurous drone pilot would want to go.

Sadly, everything was not all perfect with the Air 2S. There are two things that have and continue to irritate many Air 2S owners.

The first is the fact that the SD card slot is housed on the side of the drone, which puts it behind the arms and legs on the right-hand side, making it slightly time-consuming to access the slot, when the Air 2S is folded. For those comfortable with the Phantom and Inspire lines, this took a little getting used to.

The second irritation is the gimbal guard. In theory, it was a good idea, much better designed than any gimbal guards on prior Mavic lines. In practice, it was an exercise in patience and frustration. Thankfully there are still aftermarket gimbal guards that cover the camera as well as the front sensors, eliminating this problem.

Although the Air 2S is indeed 2 years old, as of the writing of this article, it is still an excellent drone for travel and professional drone work.

» MORE: DJI Air 2S – A Complete Real-World Review

Mini 3 Pro

Weight:
Under 249 g
Dimensions:
Folded (without propellers): 145×90×62 mm (L×W×H)
Unfolded (without propellers): 171×245×62 mm (L×W×H)
Unfolded (with propellers): 251×362×70 mm (L×W×H)

The Mini 3 Pro is the undisputed king of the DJI line of Advanced drones when speaking of size and weight.

Prior to the Mini 3 Pro, there was not a Mini-sized DJI drone that could hold its own with the more expensive prosumer drones.

One of the major additions to the Mini 3 Pro, which changed its look from the previous Mini 2 line, is the addition of the front and rear obstacle avoidance sensors. These sensors give the Mini 3 Pro a slightly frog-face appearance.

Still focusing on the front of the Mini 3 Pro, there is a 1/1.3” CMOS camera that not only takes pictures and videos in landscape orientation but also vertically. This is something content creators and those who frequently post on Social Media greatly appreciate.

Looking even closer at the Mini 3 Pro, there is a feature that may be overlooked by some but is a slight timesaver. This is the omission of the vertical landing gear on the front arms. In the Air 3 and Air 2S, the front landing gear houses the antennas. That same landing gear also dictates a certain sequence for folding and unfolding the drone.

The Mini 3 Pro has no such limitations when it comes to folding and folding the drone. You are able to use whatever sequence you’d like to get the drone unfolded and deployed, as there is no front landing gear standing in the way.

Of course, the biggest draw of the Mini 3 Pro is its weight and size. Coming in at sub-250g, the Mini 3 Pro does not need to be registered in the United States, as long as it is not being used for commercial (paid) purposes.

» MORE: Become a Commercial Drone Pilot in 6 Easy Steps (Beginners Guide)

Complimenting the weight of the Mini 3 Pro is its tiny size. Because of its small and compact size, the Mini 3 Pro is ideal for travel. It can easily be slipped into a purse, shoulder or photography bag, and even a side pocket on a pair of cargo pants or cargo shorts.

With the proper gimbal and propeller guards, the Mini 3 Pro can be taken pretty much anywhere.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro: One-Year Review (Video)

Propellers

With three different-sized and powered drones come three different sizes of propellers, all with varying pitches and sounds.

Which of the three drones have the least annoying pitch, and least amount of sound volume? That would be the Mini 3 Pro, with the Air 3 closing in on it.

» MORE: When to Change Drone Props? (Explained for Beginners)

Air 3

With each new model of drone released, there appears to be work done on DJI’s drone propellers. The Air 3 is no exception.

The Air 3 has a lower and softer pitch than the Air 2S. This is extremely evident when launching. While in the air, the Air 3 can barely be heard above 50 feet. Considering the size of the Air 3, this is impressive.

While flying the Air 3 in a fairly busy downtown park, the Air 3 barely garnered any attention and when it did, it was from individuals in the vicinity who saw it being removed from the photography bag that it was housed in and being set up. While in the air, no attention was given.

At 4 feet away and a height of 5 feet, the Air 3 registers 65/66db.

Air 2S

Over the past two years, the Air 2S has been one of my favorite drones to fly and an absolute workhorse for my business.

While there is much to love about the Air 2S, the sound and pitch of the propellers are not one of them. The Air 2S is not what you’d consider stealthy, especially compared to the Mini 3 Pro and Air 3.

The Air 2S props are extremely loud, with a higher pitch than either of the drones mentioned. Because of this, the Air 2S garners a fair bit of undo attention.

This is easily seen every time I fly the Air 2S, either at a fairly calm and quiet park or even when doing client work. There are always plenty of stares and looks of disdain while the Air 2S is launching or under 100 feet. I almost never take it out to fly recreationally at busy locations.

For comparative purposes, the Air 2S definitely has that “hoard of angry bees” sound.

At 4 feet away and a height of 5 feet, the Air 2S registers between 70-74db, the loudest of the three drones.

Mini 3 Pro

With its smaller propellers, the Mini 3 Pro is the quietest drone of the group here.

The Mini 3 Pro is so quiet that once or twice after arming it from a fairly slight distance I checked to make sure the propellers were actually spinning. That is a great problem to have.

The Mini 3 Pro is my drone of choice when flying downtown in parks, at the area’s local springs, or pretty much anywhere for that matter.

Because of the Mini 3 Pro’s small size, I find myself hand launching, oftentimes near people. Only those who see the Mini 3 Pro in my hand acknowledge it. When it is out in the environment, no one bats an eye. Children don’t even seem to notice it and they notice everything.

Because of the pitch and overall quietness of the propellers on the Mini 3 Pro, it is ideal for travel. Likewise, when in quiet neighborhoods doing client work, I’ll oftentimes use the Mini 3 Pro to give the Karens a break.

At 4 feet away and a height of 5 feet, the Air 3 registers between 58-60db.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro: How to Unfold the Arms and Change Propellers (VIDEO)

Flight Performance

Air 3

Maximum Speed: 46.9mph
Ascent/Descent Speed: 22.3mph
Wind Resistance: 26.8mph

The Air 3 flight performance can be defined as controlled and well-refined.

Where some drones are jerky or conversely unstable, the Air 3 is equally smooth on all fronts, regardless of moving forward or in ascent or descent. The key here is smooth. Flying the Air 3 is like driving a high-powered luxury sports car, with equal parts comfort and performance.

Having owned and flown a variety of drones from multiple manufacturers (not all just DJI), I was expecting a good flight experience with the Air 3. What I got was way better than that.

It is hard to describe, however, the Air 3 just feels great flying. It is quick to get up and go and is very easy to control. We always talk about how easy the Mini line of DJI drones is for beginners, the same applies here. Anyone can easily pick up the Air 3 and fly.

The Air 3 motors are powerful but do not feel like the Air 3 will be quick to get away from you, uncontrolled. Likewise, they do propel the Air 3 forward in Sport made at a speed of 46.5mph, if you so choose to fly that fast.

Due to its controlled flight characteristics, the ascent and descent speeds of 22mph don’t feel as fast as they actually are, as compared to the Air 2S’ slower (but still quick) ascent and descent speeds. A side-by-side ascent and descent speed test has the Air 3 easily pulling away from the Air 2S, although the Air 2S feels like it descends much faster than the Air 3.

With the Air 3 being the heaviest of the bunch, it handles wind very well. So well in fact that it is resistant to winds up to 26mph.

I have flown the Air 3 in gusts up to 15mph and it easily stayed in place for various shots. It was stable enough for even external shots of it taken with hand-held cameras. In higher mph winds, I would have confidence the Air 3 would perform equally as well.

Air 2S

Maximum Speed: 42.5mph
Ascent/Descent Speed: 13.4mph
Wind Resistance: 23.9mph

When first flying the Air 2S, I remember literally saying “Wow”. Even now, after hundreds and hundreds of flights, I’m impressed with how zippy and responsive the Air 2S is.

When on the sticks, the Air 2S immediately responds to input, and quickly. Coming from Phantom 4 Pros prior this was something I had to get used to.

Thankfully the EXP settings, how the drone translates the controller stick movements, can be adjusted accordingly, allowing the Air 2S to perform in exactly the manner you’d like it, whether tame or aggressive.

Speaking of aggression, the Air 2S takes no time when it comes to ascent and descent speeds. The Air 2S literally looks and feels like it is dropping from the sky when in full descent. It’s almost like the props have been turned off as it wobbles slightly and rockets to the ground.

Of course, the Air 3 ascends and descends faster than the Air 2S, but it just seems so fast on the Air 2S, possibly because of prop sound and wobbly drone movement. The maximum ascent and descent speeds, according to DJI are 13mph.

When it comes to straight-line speed, the Air 2S is very quick in Sport mode, moving at a maximum of 42.5mph. For its size and weight, that is extremely fast, though again, slightly slower than the Air 3.

Regarding flying in windy conditions, the Air 2S fairs very well, with a wind resistance of just about 23mph. It will move a fair amount in wind, however, the gimbal is so good, that you’ll rarely see movement when filming videos.

In all flight modes and speeds, the Air 2S performs admirably.

» MORE: DJI Air 2S in Extreme Weather (Explained)

Mini 3 Pro

Maximum Speed: 35.7mph
Ascent/Descent Speed: 11mph/7.8mph
Wind Resistance: 23.9mph

Being the smallest and lightest drone of the bunch doesn’t mean that the Mini 3 Pro cannot hang with the larger drones in the performance department.

While the Mini 3 Pro initially felt like a cheap plastic toy to me when I first took it up, my thoughts immediately changed once it began to fly.

Yes, the Mini 3 Pro is made of lightweight and thin materials, however, these do not impede its handling and performance. The Mini 3 Pro, like the Air 3 and Air 2S, is an absolute joy to fly. It is perfect for beginners in that it is not imposing, while it is quite responsive.

Like the Air 3 and Air 2S, if the controls aren’t exactly to your liking, the EXP settings can be changed within the DJI Fly app. They are easy to tailor to the way you fly.

Initially looking at the weight of the Mini 3 Pro, I was surprised to find out it is rated to handle 23mph winds, the same as the Air 2S! However, being a lighter and smaller drone, it is evident that the wind can and does move the Mini 3 Pro around much more than the heavier Air series.

Regardless, the Mini 3 Pro, with its excellent 3-axis gimbal, produces videos that come out mostly unaffected by higher mile-per-hour winds.

Battery Related

Battery life is arguably one of the most talked about drone-related subjects of late and for good reason.

Autel had previously set the bar with its Evo II Pro series getting 40 minutes of flight time, something that was surprising back when it was released.

Fast forward to today, and DJI is consistently releasing drones with impressive battery specs and maximum flight times.

It’s good to note that the flight times published by the manufacturer are taken when testing their drones in a well-controlled environment. Actual times will vary based on weather and local environmental conditions, such as humidity, heat, cold, wind, and feet above sea level, to say the least.

» MORE: Drone Battery Care (All You Need to Know)

Air 3

Battery Capacity: 4241 mAh
Maximum Flight Time:
46 Minutes

Currently, the Air 3 has one of the longest advertised maximum flight times out of any of the non-Mini foldable drones, with an impressive 46 minutes. This is shared with the Mavic 3 Classic.

Couple the 46-minute flight times with the 3 batteries found in the Fly More Combo and the Air 3 seems to fly forever.

In real-world usage, flying down to about 25% battery, the Air 3 can easily get about 32/33 minutes of usage. While flying, the batteries lasted so long that I was ready to pack up and switch locations after the 1st battery was down to 25%.

Like with the Mavic 3 line of drones, the Air 3’s battery is inserted into the rear of the drone. There is also a multi-function USB-C port in this location, allowing you to charge a battery that is currently inserted into the Air 3.

What is new and innovative is the 3-battery charging hub. Although the hub charges batteries sequentially and not simultaneously, there is an option on the hub that allows you to, at the double-press press of a button, transfer the remaining power from multiple batteries to the battery with the highest remaining power.

This is a welcome addition, as instead of having 3 partially powered batteries, you can now have one fully, or close to a fully charged battery for your next flight. For those of us that fly batteries down to 25 or 30% this is ingenious.

Likewise, the charging hub allows for the charging of an RC-N2, DJI RC2, or smart device.

Air 2S

Battery Capacity: 3750 mAh
Maximum Flight Time: 31 Minutes

Out of this list, the battery on the Air 2S has the least amount of flight time, which is to be expected of a drone released back in 2021.

The Air 2S has an advertised maximum flight time of 31 minutes, but you’d be hard-pressed to achieve this because, even running the battery down to 0%, outside environmental influences will diminish how long the Air 2S will stay in the air (as is the case with any drone battery).

If flying down to 25% you can expect to realistically get about 21 minutes of actual flight time. If planning on doing commercial work for clients, or going on a long day of outdoor activity, it is suggested to have quite a few batteries on hand, even more than the 3 found in the Fly More Combo.

Aside from having the least amount of flight time, the Air 2S also loads its batteries differently. Unlike the rear-loading battery compartments of the Air 3 and Mini 3 Pro, the Air 2S battery is inserted from the top of the drone.

This proved to be problematic for some users as they would oftentimes forget to ensure the battery clicked into place, resulting in the battery dislodging mid-flight and Air 2S’ falling from the sky.

Additionally, cracked landing gear had been reported due to pressing the battery into the drone with too much force, while it sits unfolded on flat surfaces.

With the Air 2S having been in use for so many years, though, these issues have been well-documented and avoided by many owners, old and new.

Also, when purchasing and using the Air 2S batteries, proper care needs to be taken to ensure they do not get damaged and swell up, as was and is commonly reported.

The Air 2S batteries are charged using a flat and wedge-shaped 3-battery charging hub. Although it is sometimes difficult to seat the batteries correctly on the hub, the hub is easy to pack in a bag.

Additionally, the hub does come with the charger and connectors used to power the hub, unlike the Air 3 and Mini 3 Pro, although the charger is a bit large to bring along in a travel or photography bag.

» MORE: DJI Air 2S Battery (All You Need to Know)

Mini 3 Pro

Battery Capacity (Standard/Plus): 2453 mAh/385 mAh
Maximum Flight Time (Standard/Plus):
38 Minutes/51 Minutes

When it comes to batteries and battery life, the Mini 3 line is King. Although a sub-250g drone, the Mini 3 Pro is reported to have maximum flight times of 38 minutes when using the Standard battery, which keeps the Mini 3 Pro’s weight under the 250g sweet spot.

If you need more flight time, the Plus battery, which then moves the Mini 3 Pro out of the sub-250g category, boasts flight times of up to 51 minutes.

Of course, like with the Air 3 and Air 2S, these times are subject to outside influences and weather.

I can confidently say that when flying with the Standard batteries and landing at 25%, I consistently achieve flight times of around 25/26 minutes. When using the Plus battery option, this number increases to about 35 minutes when landing at 25%.

Like the Air 3, the batteries for the Mini 3 Pro are inserted from the rear. Above the battery compartment is a multi-use USB-C port and SD card slot. The USB-C port can be used to charge a battery that is currently installed in the drone, without it needing to be in the charging hub.

Regarding the charging hub, the Mini 3 Pro charging hub is the perfect size to slip in a bag or even pants pocket and is ideal for battery storage when on the go.

Also, when there are batteries in the hub, you can press a button and see the charge left remaining on all of the inserted batteries.

Obstacle Avoidance

All three advanced drones come with obstacle avoidance systems, all of which work towards keeping the drone and surrounding environment safe. Like the three drones, each avoidance system is slightly different in overall protection.

For those that do not like to fly with obstacle avoidance on, perhaps to squeeze through tighter areas to get a great shot, the avoidance system can be turned off.

» MORE: Obstacle Avoidance in DJI Drones (Explained for Beginners)

Air 3

Sensing Type:
Omnidirectional binocular vision system, supplemented with an infrared sensor at the bottom of the aircraft

Out of the three drones listed, the Air 3 is the only one that has 360-degree obstacle avoidance coverage. This means that even when flying sideways, the Air 3 is protected.

Having omnidirectional obstacle avoidance is key, as the Air 3 has a much better Active Track system than previous models of drones, thus enabling it to be positioned from the side of a subject when shooting and tracking them.

This also means that when flying sideways on a regular basis the drone is protected from crashing into trees or other obstacles.

With the Omnidirectional binocular vision system, the Air 3 is able to gather detailed information on the environment, issuing commands to either bypass the obstacle, using the best obstacle-free path, or brake, coming to a complete stop when encountering an obstacle.

Air 2S

Sensing Type:
Forward, backward, upward, and downward vision system

For its day, the obstacle avoidance system in the Air 2S was top-notch. Fast forward a couple of years later and it is still a great system.

Although missing side sensing, the Air 2S does quite well at detecting obstacles that present themselves either from the front, back, top, or bottom.

Like with the Air 3, the 4-way obstacle avoidance system allows for the Air 2S to either bypass or brake when approaching an object.

In tow are a plethora of intelligent flight modes, especially Active Track, that rely on the Air 2S’ obstacle avoidance sensors, and work quite well.

With the Air 2S lacking full 360-degree sensing, it is always recommended to be alert to the many obstacles present in the environment when flying.

Mini 3 Pro

Sensing Type:
Forward, backward, and downward vision system

Being the smallest and lightest drone of the group, the Mini 3 Pro has 3-way obstacle avoidance: front, rear, and downward/bottom.

While at first, it might seem like a letdown that these are the only directions covered by obstacle sensing, it should be noted that is impressive that there even is an obstacle avoidance system present.

The Mini 3 Pro is the first DJI Mini drone to include them, all while keeping the weight under 250g. Because the Mini 3 Pro has these sensors, it can benefit from the highly sought-after Active Track functions present in larger DJI drones.

Being an ideal outdoors and travel drone, the addition of subject tracking and obstacle avoidance really assists lone content creators in getting dynamic and interesting video footage.

Like with the Air 3 and Air 2S, the Mini 3 Pro’s tri-obstacle avoidance system allows for the Mini 3 Pro to either bypass or brake when approaching various objects in the environment.

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Remote Controller

If you are familiar with the latest offerings from DJI, you’ll know there are quite a few options when it comes to the remote controllers that work with each drone.

Thankfully, all of these drones have various options for RCs and we’ll discuss each of them.

Air 3

Remote Controllers available in Combos: DJI RC2, RC-N2
Additional Compatible RCs: N/A at this time

The Air 3 has an upgraded image transmission system dubbed O4, or Ocusync 4. This system enables the Air 3 to stream video from the Air 3 to the remote controller at 1080p/60fps. The signal is effective up to 12.4 miles.

With the new transmission system comes new hardware. To be able to accommodate and use the new O4 system, there are an additional 2 antennas added to the Air 3 remote controllers, these being the:

  • RC-N2 (internal antennas)
  • DJI RC2 (external flip forward antennas)

Because the controllers were made specifically for the Ocusync 4.0 transmission system, the Air 3 is not compatible with any other RC: DJI RC, RC-N1, or DJI RC Pro.

Likewise, none of DJI’s other drones are currently compatible with the DJI RC 2 or RC-N2. Time will tell if DJI makes all of the RCs compatible with all of their newest drones.

The DJI RC 2 controller works hand in hand with the Air 3 and produces a very clear and vibrant HD streaming video displayed on-screen, thanks to the new O4 system. Although not as bright as the DJI RC Pro, the integrated 700-nit sustained brightness smart-screen is relatively easy to see, even here in the bright Central Florida sun.

Like the RC-N1, the RC-N2 works with a long list of compatible Android and iOS devices.

Air 2S

Remote Controllers available in Combos: DJI RC-N1
Additional Compatible RCs: DJI RC, DJI RC Pro, Original DJI Smart Controller

Although the eldest of the foldable drones mentioned here, the Air 2S has compatibility with the widest selection of Remote Controllers, four in total.

When the Air 2S was released it was made to be used with the RC-N1 controller, which, for all intents and purposes, is a favorite remote controller here due to its comfortable, albeit rectangular design.

DJI soon after announced compatibility between the Air 2S and the DJI Smart Controller and DJI’s more expensive DJI RC Pro. After this, the Air 2S community eagerly anticipated the possibility of the DJI RC being added to the compatibility list, which did occur a few months later.

The Air 2S paired with the DJI RC is an excellent combination, catering to those looking for the almost perfect flight experience, without breaking the bank.

Although the DJI RC might not have initially been made for the Air 2S, when using the two together, the experience is perfect. The 700-nit screen continually runs at 700 nits of brightness, while the experience remains stutter-free.

Personally, I enjoy using the RC-N1 with the Air 2S, as I am running a 1000-nit brightness rugged tablet that really affords high brightness in this Central Florida sun. Using an RC-N1 also ensures you can customize your viewing experience to better suit you with the device of your choosing.

Mini 3 Pro

Remote Controllers available in Combos: DJI RC, DJI RC-N1
Additional Compatible RCs: DJI RC Pro

With the release of the Mini 3 Pro came the release of the DJI RC.

The DJI RC’s integrated 5.5″ Android-based touchscreen was a welcome addition to the remote controller space, as, up until its release, if you wanted a DJI-branded smart controller the options were very expensive.

The DJI RC is priced at a few hundred dollars and comes with the Mini 3 Pro, or one can opt to purchase an RC-N1, which is less expensive.

Regardless of the remote controller used, they will not negatively impact the performance of the Mini 3 Pro whatsoever.

One of the draws of the DJI RC is convenience.

The Mini 3 Pro is geared toward travelers and outdoorsy types. When engaged in these activities, time and space are of the essence.

The DJI RC enables one to quickly set up, shoot, break down the equipment, and relocate rather quickly.

With the DJI RC supported by so many models of newer DJI drones, it can be a catch-all solution, enabling owners of multiple newer model drones to ditch their RCs and use one single remote controller, the DJI RC.

The RC-N1 on the other hand can be used to attach a larger, brighter device if needed.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 / Mini 3 Pro: How to Connect/Pair RC (Video)

Camera Performance

In the world of drones, cameras are a very integral part of the experience. Being advanced drones, the Air 3, Air 2S, and Mini 3 Pro need to be able to deliver, if not, overdeliver, in this category.

Because of the plethora of Pro features, these drones can, and are being used on a professional level, whether as a primary camera, or a backup.

Air 3

Wide-Angle Camera:
1/1.3-inch CMOS, Effective Pixels: 48 MP
Medium Tele Camera:
1/1.3-inch CMOS, Effective Pixels: 48 MP

One of the biggest improvements or upgrades on the Air 3 is dual 1/1.3″ cameras. Somewhat reminiscent of the camera setup on the larger and more expensive Mavic 3.

The focal lengths on these 2 cameras are equivalent to 24mm and 70mm. The 24mm camera has an f1.7 aperture, while the 70mm has an f2.8 aperture. Switching between the two focal lengths is quick and easy.

An improvement over the aforementioned Mavic 3’s dual camera setup is that both cameras on the Air 3 take the same resolution photos and videos.

There is no quality lost in using the medium tele camera. This is a complaint many had with the Mavic 3, oftentimes opting not to use the medium tele camera at all.

The 70mm camera on the Air 3 is the same 70mm camera on the Mavic 3 Pro.

Something many people have debated is DJI’s decision to drop the 1″ sensor found in the Air 2S and go with an updated version of the Mini 3 Pros sensor, a 1/1.3″ sensor.

Using a back-lit stacked image sensor on both cameras, the images produced by the Air 3 do indeed look nice, if not impressive. Certainly good enough to present to a paying client.

If you are one that likes shooting vertically, the Air 3 is able to do this as well, although the cameras do not flip the camera vertically 90 degrees to do this.

Vertical shooting is done by cropping the horizontal image, in camera. It looks nice, however, it is not true vertical shooting.

Something the 1/1.3″ sensor does well, over that of the Air 2S, is shooting great-looking nighttime video using Night Mode, which was introduced with the Mavic 3.

In this mode, the ISO threshold is increased from 6400 max to 12800, while also applying a bit of noise reduction in camera.

Regarding video resolutions, the Air 3 shoots video at 4k up to 100fps and slow-motion in 1080p at 200fps.

Of course, the Air 3 can also shoot videos in 10-bit using the D-Log M color profile, which is easier to color-grade than the previous D-Log color profile.

Air 2S

Camera Sensor: 1-inch CMOS, Effective pixels: 20 MP

The Air 2S is still a contender in the sensor wars because it sports a 1-inch sensor, which was previously reserved for higher-end prosumer drones like the Phantom 4 Pro and Mavic 2 Pro lines of drones.

It shoots 20MP images while simultaneously taking those photos in JPEG and RAW formats.

The larger 1″ sensor is ideal for those who shoot professionally, as it allows more light to be captured, enabling an increased dynamic range, while keeping the ISO low, minimizing noise in the image. 

The Air 2S also shoots 5k video.  The Air 2S shooting in 5k allows the highest resolution while allowing room to crop in a bit in post-processing, without losing much detail, if any, depending on how much the video is cropped in. 

In addition to shooting 5k at up to 30fps, the camera can shoot in 4k up to 60fps and can also shoot slow motion at 120fps, but limited to 1080p, like the Mini 3 Pro.

The Air 2S also shoots video in 10-bit.  This is only when in DLOG or the HDR color mode called HLG.  In the “Normal” color profile, the limit is 8-bit.

Mini 3 Pro

Camera Sensor: 1/1.3-inch CMOS, Effective Pixels: 48 MP

The Mini 3 Pro’s 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor is double the size of the sensor in the Mavic Air 2, with a wide fixed aperture at f1.7, allowing it to take in more light, thus taking higher-quality low-light pictures and videos.

The Mini 3 Pro has a 12MP camera, similar to many cell phones on the market today, and takes excellent photos.

Like the Air 2S, the Mini 3 Pro takes both JPEG and RAW images simultaneously.

The Mini 3 Pro also has the option to shoot 48MP photos, using quad-bayer technology. The pictures shot in this mode, while having larger file sizes, as one would expect, do look quite nice

One of the most absolutely loved camera capabilities on the Mini 3 Pro is Vertical Mode, where the camera rotates 90 degrees to take portrait-orientated photos and videos, suited for content creators and those who post regularly to social media.

When shooting vertically, images no longer have to be cropped physically. The image takes up the entire frame, with no quality lost due to in-post cropping.

When shooting vertically, the entire Mini 3 Pro’s sensor is used, rendering the highest quality photos and videos.

The Mini 3 Pro can shoot a maximum video resolution of 4k 60fps, with slow motion in 1080p at 120fps. It can also shoot video in two color profiles: Normal and D-Cinelike.

D-Cinelike is DJI’s flat video color profile that is recorded in 10-bit. Like with the Air 2S’ 10-bit DLOG, 10-bit D-Cinelike is useful for those wanting the most flexibility when color-grading their footage.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro 10 Bit (Explained)

The video footage coming from the Mini 3 Pro is quite impressive.

If no one said anything, it’d be difficult, if impossible, to distinguish video coming from the Mini 3 Pro as opposed to video coming from a much larger and more expensive drone.

» MORE: Best Video Settings for DJI Mini 3 Pro

SD Cards

When considering SD cards for the Air 3, Air 2S, and Mini 3 Pro, looking into and buying DJI’s recommended SD cards is a positive move, as DJI knows what 3rd party products work best for its drones while highlighting their strengths.

When it comes to SD cards for the Air 3, Air 2S, and Mini 3 Pro, you’ll want to take into account the SD card’s maximum space, read/write speeds, as well as price, if on a budget.

For all three of the models of drones mentioned in this article, DJI recommends cards from SanDisk, Samsung, Kingston, and Lexar.

» MORE: SD Cards for DJI Drones (What You Need to Know)

SanDisk Extreme/Pro Lines

The SanDisk Extreme and Extreme Pro lines are made for rugged conditions. They are Temperature proof, Waterproof, and Shockproof.

The Extreme series has read speeds up to 160MB and write speeds up to 60MB, perfect for 4k video recording and burst shooting on the Air 3.

We regularly use SanDisk SD cards and highly recommend them.

Our Pick


SanDisk Extreme 256GB V30 A2 microSDXC

  • Up to 130MB/s write speeds for fast shooting
  • 4K and 5K UHD-ready with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 30 (V30)
  • Rated A2 for faster loading and in-app performance


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08/24/2023 05:46 pm GMT

Recommended


SanDisk 256GB Extreme PRO microSD

  • Write Speeds of up to 140MB/s: Capture fast-action photos or shoot 4K UHD video with write speeds of up to 140MB/s.
  • Load Apps Faster with A2
  • This card is shockproof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and X-ray-proof


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08/24/2023 08:06 pm GMT

Lexar 1066x

The 1066x line is advertised as being designed for action cameras, drones, and other high-end end electronics, which is in our wheelhouse and comes in at a few dollars less than SanDisk currently.


Lexar Professional 1066x 256GB microSDXC UHS-I Card

  • Professional-level performance for action cameras, drones, or Android smartphones
  • Leverages UHS-I technology to deliver read speeds up to 160MB/s (1066x)
  • Designed for durability in harsh conditions


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08/25/2023 12:51 pm GMT

Samsung Evo Select/Plus Lines

The EVO Select and the Evo Plus series are waterproof, shockproof, temperature-proof, X-ray-proof, and also magnetic-proof.

The Evo line’s read speeds are up to 100MB and write speeds up to 60MB. Additionally, specific Evo SD cards go on sale regularly.


Samsung EVO Select 256GB V30 A2 microSDXC

  • Superfast U3, class 10 rated transfer speeds of up to 130MB/s¹,²and UHS-I Interface
  • Available in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB
  • Complete with water⁴, temperature⁵, X-ray⁶, ⁷magnet, drop⁸, and wears⁹ out protection; Backed by a 10-year limited warranty


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08/24/2023 06:26 pm GMT

Kingston Canvas Go Line

Made for action cameras and drones, the Kingston series has transfer speeds up to 170 MB and supports the A2 App Performance Class.

This series of cards is water, x-ray, temperature, shock, and vibration proof.

Which is Right for You?

With all of this said, which drone is right for you? That all depends on what you are trying to accomplish, as opposed to pricing.

As all of these drones are within a few hundred dollars of each other, the choice will probably be down to function.

Air 3

The Air 3 is for those looking for the newest DJI drone that boasts DJI’s latest and greatest tech. The Air 3 has dual focal-length cameras that take excellent low-light pictures and videos.

The Air 3 flies fairly quietly, quickly, and confidently. With the omnidirectional obstacle sensing it is easy for beginners to pick up and fly while being advanced enough to cater to the pro-level drone pilot.

The Air 3 is a great all-around drone and a good option for commercial work.

Air 2S

Although the Air 2S is over two years old now, it is still an impressive drone, my daily go-to for commercial work. The Air 2S is easily suited for professional drone pilots looking for a drone with a 1-inch camera sensor.

The Air 2S being compatible with four different types of DJI remote controllers ensures it can be used with an owner’s current drone RC if they are newer models, using the RC-N1, DJI RC, DJI Smart Controller, or DJI RC Pro.

With the Air 2S 4-way obstacle sensing system, it can perform most of the newest intelligent flight modes DJI has to offer.

The Air 2S is an excellent drone for professionals to use on a daily basis.

Mini 3 Pro

The smallest and lightest drone on this list, the Mini 3 Pro is the ideal drone for anyone who lives an active lifestyle or regularly travels and wants to document those travels.

Additionally, those who are solo content creators and regularly post to social media will thoroughly appreciate the capabilities of the Mini 3 Pro, from vertical shooting to being able to use the Active Track modes thanks to 3-way obstacle avoidance, all in 4k.

The Mini 3 Pro is one of, if not, the best drones for beginners who want top-tiered specs and are just getting into the world of drones. It is also a great option for professionals needing a capable backup drone.