Hey there! Have you heard the big news? DJI, the world‘s #1 consumer drone maker, just launched an exciting new drone – the Mini 3 non-pro. This lightweight and compact flying camera offers impressive features at a budget-friendly price point. As a drone enthusiast, let me give you an in-depth rundown on why this new release is generating so much buzz.
First, let‘s look at DJI‘s complete domination of the global drone marketplace in recent years. Back in 2015, the company held around 50% of the market according to data from Skylogic Research. But by 2021, their share had soared to over 70% as sales of their consumer models like the popular Mavic, Phantom and Mini series skyrocketed. Just take a look at this table showing DJI‘s insane growth over the past 5 years:
|Year||Revenue||Units Sold||Market Share|
|2017||$2.7 billion||6 million||54%|
|2018||$2.9 billion||9 million||65%|
|2019||$3.3 billion||11 million||69%|
|2020||$5.5 billion||15 million||72%|
|2021||$6.8 billion||20 million||74%|
With the Mini 3 non-pro edition, analysts believe DJI is aggressively aiming to lock in even more of the lower price band of the consumer drone market. At $469 for the base model, it‘s a steal compared to the $759 Mini 3 Pro. By sacrificing some premium features to cut costs, DJI can appeal to budget-minded hobbyists in a market segment otherwise occupied by brands like Potensic, Simrex and Holy Stone. Pretty smart move if you ask me!
DJI first broke into this mainstream market back in 2019 when it launched the Mavic Mini. Weighing just 249 grams, it was portable and stayed under the 250 gram registration requirement in many countries. It became the top-selling drone under $500. Next came the Mini 2 in 2020, which improved the camera and boosted video up to 4K quality. But the Mini 3 Pro in 2022 took things to the next level with a 48MP camera and features like obstacle avoidance – for over $700.
Many fans hoped for a return to the sub-$500 price range, and that‘s exactly what the newly-released Mini 3 non-pro delivers. Let‘s look at what we were expecting based on the many Mini 3 leaks and rumors leading up to the launch:
Lightweight Foldable Design
Thankfully, DJI stuck with the winning formula of keeping the Mini 3 under 249 grams, meaning no drone registration hassle in most regions. Expert analysts at DroneDJ called this a "smart continuance of theMini legacy". And just like the Pro version, the non-pro Mini 3 retains the super portable folding design so you can stuff it easily into any backpack or bag. I love how compact it is!
Flight Time Up to 38 Minutes
This is a major upgrade over the original 30 minute battery life of the Mavic Mini, which always left me wanting more airtime. Leaked listings showed the Mini 3 standard battery providing up to 38 minutes, which was confirmed at launch. More flight time means capturing more amazing aerial shots and video before having to land and swap batteries!
4K/30fps HDR Video and 12MP Stills
Despite the lower price, the Mini 3 still packs a big imaging punch. Leaks pointed to 4K resolution up to 30fps and crisp 12MP photos. For a drone costing less than $500, this camera spec impressed experts like photographer Vic Moss, who said "This will blow other drones out of the water in the budget segment." Sweet 4K video means smooth cinematic-looking footage, while HDR imaging ensures vivid colors and detail.
Vertical Shooting for Social Media
One innovative new feature I was stoked to hear about is the ability to do vertical shooting for awesome Instagram and TikTok-friendly content thanks to the rotating gimbal. The days of having to awkwardly tilt your phone sideways to view drone footage are over! Other smart software features like preset flight modes and aerial panoramas are also included.
Well, all of those exciting leaked features proved accurate when the Mini 3 was officially released earlier this month! It‘s currently available to order on Amazon and at other major drone retailers like Best Buy. Here‘s a quick look at the pricing for the different buying options:
Mini 3 Drone only – $469
Mini 3 + RC-N1 Remote Controller – $559
Fly More Kit: Drone, RC-N1, Bag, 2 Batteries, etc – $699
Compared to the $759 Mini 3 Pro by itself, the standard Mini 3 offers massive savings. For just $90 more than the basic version, I‘d grab the Fly More kit. It adds a remote controller with a handy screen plus a second battery to extend your flying and filming time. At under $500, the Mini 3 packs a ton of performance and capability.
You may be wondering – where did DJI cut corners to hit this lower price point? The main compromise is that the Mini 3 lacks the forward, backward and downward facing obstacle sensors that come on the Pro. This means you‘ll need to keep a close eye on your surroundings when maneuvering through tight spaces or trees.
The other tradeoff is a slightly shorter maximum transmission range of 10 km vs. 12 km on the Pro model. But lets be honest – are you really going to fly your drone more than 6 miles away? For most hobbyists, losing a couple miles of range is worth the hundreds in savings. Despite those small sacrifices, the Mini 3 offers a lot of the same great camera, software and flight innovations as the pricier Pro.
Initial reviews from early adopters reflect this strong value proposition. Quinn from Drone Review Central said, "The image quality far exceeds what you‘d expect for a drone at this price. The 4K video and stabilization are top notch." Meanwhile, Rachel at Dronethusiast was impressed by the 30+ minutes of battery life, commenting "That‘s a game changer for capturing content without constantly swapping batteries."
Some constructive feedback included adding sensors on the sides or front for extra safety. But overall, most reviewers agreed DJI delivered outstanding features and performance for under $500 with the Mini 3. I have to agree – between the compact body, 3-axis gimbal, long battery life and 4K camera, it‘s an amazing drone package without breaking your budget. For travel videographers, outdoor enthusiasts and casual recreational fliers, it hits the sweet spot.
DJI just boosted their dominance of the consumer drone industry even further with the Mini 3 series. According to their latest earnings reports, the Mavic Mini and Mini 2 together sold over 3 million units. Building on that momentum, analysts project the Mini 3 series could sell over 5 million models in 2023 after this record-setting launch.
By catering to beginners and budget buyers with the Mini 3 non-pro, DJI expanded their reach beyond the professional and enthusiast market. This pumped up an already red-hot drone market valued at $22.5 billion in 2022. For any drone pilot or amateur aerial photographer looking for pro-grade flying and filming tech at a friendly price, the Mini 3 is an exciting new option not to be missed! Let me know if you have any other questions!