Conclusion: you can also fly the DJI Mini 3 without a license

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Due to new regulations, not everyone is allowed to fly a drone, but the DJI Mini 3 can be controlled by unlicensed users. We tested the new mini plane.

This is an abridged version of an in-depth DJI Mini 3 review on Tweakers.

The rules for piloting a drone were completely revised at the beginning of 2021. Until then, each EU country had its own rules, which were very different from each other. Today, the same basic rules apply throughout the EU.

Simply put, drones for hobby pilots are primarily categorized by weight. For drones over 250 grams, a theory test is mandatory. This exam can be taken online and costs – depending on the type of drone and the classification A1, A2 or A3 – around 50 to 200 euros. Such a drone certificate is valid for five years. After that, you will have to pass another theoretical exam.

All sorts of exemptions apply to drones under 250 grams, which is why DJI has manufactured its mini drones with exactly 249 grams. Due to the low weight, the risk of these small drones is limited: the risk of serious injury is low. All you need to do is register your light drone with the RDW.

But it’s not true that you can do everything with a drone weighing less than 250 grams. For example, it is forbidden to fly the drone near airports, nor in most Natura 2000 areas. It does not help that almost all nature reserves as well as the Wadden Sea and the Markermeer are classified as Natura areas 2000.

The Mini 3 Pro has a slightly different design and is more expensive than its predecessor.

DJI Mini 3 Pro almost the same size as its predecessor

The Mini 2 and Mini 3 Pro are almost the same size when folded and unfolded. The design has been slightly modified. When the Mini 3 Pro is hovering in the air, it will not fly straight. The drone flies diagonally down, butt down. Indeed, the rear propellers are positioned lower than the front propellers.

If the Mini 3 Pro flies straight ahead, it hangs fairly horizontally in the air. The characteristic landing feet at the front have disappeared: it now lands on its belly.

A larger camera module

Also, the camera module has become slightly larger. The camera sensor is much larger and therefore comparable to that of Samsung’s S22 Ultra smartphone.

A larger sensor usually means greater dynamic range, greater sharpness, and better low-light performance. A few brief tests seemed to show a small improvement, although we couldn’t test it in low light. It is illegal to fly a drone after sunset.

Pro features without the added weight

Anyone who bought a Mini 2 to get away from the complicated rules must have missed some extra features that were in the more expensive DJI drones from the start. These include front and rear sensors to detect and avoid objects, as well as ActiveTrack to track objects.

However, the manufacturer has now managed to integrate these features without weighing everything down. This is very good, because it offers much more freedom in flight. This is good for first-time users, as it prevents your brand new drone from crashing unexpectedly. But it’s also a big plus for advanced users.

The new version is much more expensive

The Mini 3 Pro is much more expensive than its predecessor. Where the Mini 2 is currently on sale for around 450 euros, the new version has an RRP of 829 euros. DJI is artificially trying to lower the price a bit by selling the Mini 3 Pro without a controller at 749 euros.

With the new RC controller, the recommended retail price of the set is 999 euros. It has an integrated display and operating system, so a smartphone is no longer necessary. If you also want the Combo kit – it’s a separate box with a charger and two extra batteries and propellers – you have to buy it separately for 189 euros.

Particularly attractive because of the rules

With the Combo set, the price quickly exceeds 1,000 euros, almost double the price of a Mini 2 with Combo set. For many people, the Mini 2 will suffice. But those who want more, like a better camera, ActiveTrack and Obstacle Avoidance, now have an interesting alternative.

It’s good that DJI has managed to cram these features into 249 grams, but it’s above all the regulations that make the Mini 3 Pro attractive.

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