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DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. Mavic Air (All You Need to Know)

8 mins
Drone Blog
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With the DJI Mini 3 Pro and the Mavic Air having similar stature, design, and build quality, it’s easy to get into a dilemma on which drone to get.

So which drone is better and why?

Both the DJI Mini 3 Pro and Mavic Air are excellent drones. However, the Mini Pro is packed with a superior camera and image quality, an advanced obstacle avoidance system, and a long flight time, among other great features, making it ideal for both hobbyists and professionals on a budget.

Keep reading to understand why the Mini 3 Pro is better than the Mavic Air, as I’ll compare both models in detail ahead.

DJI Mini 3 Pro overview #

The Mini 3 Pro is a compact and efficient drone that DJI released in May 2022.

In addition to its impressive compact design, the Mini 3 Pro is a sub-250-gram drone, meaning that you will not have to register it with the FAA if you intend to use it for recreational purposes.

Further, the drone features a quality camera with a wide range of shooting capabilities, making it a perfect drone for professional cinematography enthusiasts.

Features such as a tri-directional obstacle sensing system, extended battery life, and active subject tracking render the drone ideal even for beginners.

If you want to get creative with your Mini Pro, you can embrace the drone’s numerous intelligent flight modes.

DJI Mavic Air overview #

The DJI Mavic Air was introduced to drone enthusiasts in January 2018, and since then, it has stamped its authority as one of the best drones for professional photographers and videographers.

Although DJI has halted Mavic Air’s production, it is still readily available in many popular outlets thanks to its good reputation.

Some of the features that make the Mavic Air popular in the modern market include the following:

  • Compact body
  • Great obstacle avoidance
  • Raw and JPEG support
  • High bitrate 4K UHD video
  • Automated flight modes

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. Mavic Air – A comprehensive comparison #

Now that you have an overview of the two drones, let’s exhaustively compare them and decide which one to buy.

To help do that, let’s look at 10 essential factors when buying a drone.

1. Design #

The design of a drone is an essential purchasing consideration since it directly influences its durability and efficiency. 

While there is little difference when comparing the Mini 3 Pro and Mavic Air in design, it makes a good starting point for this comparison.

The Mini 3 Pro borrowed its design from the Mavic series. As you would expect, it boasts a foldable and compact design.

On the other hand, the Mavic Air is the smallest drone from DJI. Like the Mini 3 Pro, it’s foldable, making it easy to transport.

» MORE: Mini 3 Pro vs. Mavic 2 Pro (Which is Better?)

2. Camera and image quality #

If you’re into cinematography, camera and image quality are critical deliberations to make the right choice.

The Mini 3 Pro has a 1/1.3-inch camera sensor, while the Mavic Air features a 1/2.3-inch sensor.

Additional capabilities of the Mavic Air’s camera include recording 100 MBPS data rate and 12 MP resolutions.

On the other hand, the Mini 3 Pro has several exciting features improved from its predecessor. For instance, it can record 4k@60fps and 1080p@120fps.

Further, it has a maximum video bitrate of up to 150Mbps, meaning you can use it to get the best images.

Regarding camera and image quality, there’s no doubt that the Mini 3 Pro is the winner.

3. Weight and size #

If you’re purchasing a drone for recreational purposes and want to avoid the stress of registering it with the FAA, the Mini 3 Pro will be the better option.

The Mini 3 Pro is compact and weighs only 249 grams, so you will not have difficulties with its transportation.

On the other hand, the Mavic is compact and one of the smallest drones produced by DJI. Despite its compact and small size, it weighs 430 grams. Whether you want to use it for commercial or recreational purposes, you must register it with the FAA.

While being on the weightier side of the scale might seem bad, it’s not necessarily the case. Being heavier than the Mini 3 Pro means the Mavic Air will hold up better in windy conditions.

In this cateogry, there is no clear winner because the advantage of the Mini 3 Pro not requiring registration is counterbalanced by the ability of the Mavic Air to hold up in windy conditions.

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 vs. DJI Mini 3 Pro (Which One is Right for You?)

4. Battery and flight time #

There is a significant difference between the Mini 3 Pro and the Mavic Air regarding battery and flight time.

While the Mini 3 Pro offers a standard flight time of 34 minutes with a more powerful option to extend the flight time to 40 minutes, Mavic Air has a maximum flight time of only 22 minutes.

The Mavic Air is heavier than the Mini 3 Pro and therefore has to have a powerful battery to support its operations.

Still, the Mini 3 Pro is the drone to choose if you want more time to explore the skies and get creative.

5. Intelligent Flight Modes #

DJI Intelligent Flight Modes are designed to make your work easier whenever you set out to explore the skies with your drones.

Fortunately, the Mini 3 Pro and the Mavic Air are fitted with Intelligent Flight Modes for enhanced effectiveness.

The Mini 3 Pro has several intelligent features, including MasterShots, FocusTrack, QuickShots, and Hyperlapse. These modes are super helpful as they let you create captivating content for your audience.

The Mavic Air also features several Intelligent Flight Modes, including QuickShots, SmartCpature, ActiveTrack, and Tapfly.

Even though both drones have intelligent modes, the Mini 3 Pro features are more powerful with a wide range of options. I will give this category to the Mini 3 Pro.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 vs Autel Evo Nano (All You Need to Know)

6. Obstacle avoidance #

The obstacle avoidance capability of a drone is designed to help pilots operate their drones under challenging environments without damaging them.

The Mini 3 pro boasts a comprehensive tri-directional vision sensor and obstacle avoidance.

On the other hand, the Mavic Air features a forward, backward, and forward sensing system that protects the drone from knocking against objects.

Still, the obstacle avoidance system in the Mini 3 Pro is more efficient than the Mavic Air’s sensing system.

Therefore, if you want a drone that can fly in a difficult environment with crushing, the Mini 3 Pro will not disappoint.

7. Speed #

Drone speed becomes more critical when you’re more into sports than cinematography.

So how do the DJI Mini 3 Pro and Mavic Air compare in terms of speed?

The Mavic Air has a maximum speed of 68.4 Km/h in Sport Mode with no wind, while the Mini 3 Pro’s maximum speed in similar conditions is 57.9 km/h. 

From this revelation, it’s clear that the Mavic Air is the king of speed.

8. Controllers and flight experience #

The experience you get from flying the Mini 3 Pro and Mavic Air is slightly different.

One of the reasons for this is that the Mini 3 Pro is a camera drone. Therefore, it’s designed to ensure you get the most from the camera.

The Mini 3 Pro comes with an RC-N1, the DJI RC smart controllers, or both.

You will need to add your smartphone if you buy your Mini 3 Pro with the RC-N1, which comes with basic gimbal dials and joysticks.

Whether you choose the DJI RC smart controller or the RC-N1 controller, you can comfortably fly your Mini 3 Pro drone and record up to 4k video.

The Mavic Air has a remote controller and mobile device control. Both controllers are similar in function but inferior to the Mini 3 Pro.

The Mini 3 Pro is also better if your primary focus is to capture captivating images for your audience. The modernized features of the Mini 3 Pro make it the ultimate drone for cinematography.

However, since the Mavic Air is slightly faster in Sport Mode, it’s ideal for drone enthusiasts who are more inclined to fly drones for recreational purposes rather than content creation.

Still, the Mini 3 Pro is better overall regarding controllers and flight experience.

9. Noise level #

While there is little difference when comparing the two drones in terms of noise, the Mavic Air is noisier than the Mini 3 Pro.

The Mavic Air’s noise level is 76dB, while the Mini 3 Pro’s is 70Db.

Suppose you do not fancy attracting attention when using your drone for content creation, especially when flying in populated urban areas.

In that case, the Mini 3 Pro will be a better choice. It’s quieter and safer to fly in crowded places thanks to its robust obstacle avoidance system.

10. Price #

The DJI Mini 3 Pro goes at $909 on Amazon, while Mavic Air sells for $569.

If you decide to get the Mini 3 Pro with the RC-N1 controller, you’ll spend only $759, which is quite reasonable considering the numerous helpful features of the drone.

When deciding on the drone to buy, it’s important to go beyond the price factor. Instead, consider the reasons behind your investment. 

The Mini 3 Pro will give you value for your money if you are into cinematography.

It’s also important to note that while the Mavic Air is still available from many reputable outlets, including Amazon, DJI stopped its production. That should inform your purchasing decision.

DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. Mavic Air: The winner #

Now that the DJI Mini 3 Pro and Mavic Air have gone head-to-head, it’s easy to determine the winner.

If you’re looking for a top-notch content creation drone at a pocket-friendly price, you can rest assured that DJI Mini 3 Pro will not disappoint.


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