The DJI Mini 2 SE went on sale this week, offering an incredibly low-cost, yet decently-high quality camera drone. But while the DJI Mini 2 SE is certainly one of the best camera drones under $500 (especially more so now with the extra $30 discount) — there’s a new DJI Mini 3 discount that’s potentially far more tantalizing:
Between now and Friday, April 7, 2023 the DJI Mini 3 is on sale for 15% off from most retailers, including Amazon and DJI itself.
That brings the DJI Mini 3 drone with the standard, RC-N1 remote controller down from $559 to just $469. If you opt for the configuration with the upgrade DJI RC (that’s the remote controller with the built-in screen), you’ll owe just $609 versus $699.
And if you don’t need a remote controller at all (say, you already have a compatible remote controller because you have a different DJI drone already), this DJI Mini 3 discount deal means you’ll owe just $379, versus the usual $469.
Yep, that’s only $40 more than the $339 DJI Mini 2 SE — assuming you can opt out of the remote controller (there is no cheaper option to buy the DJI Mini 2 SE sans remote controller). Yet even if you need the remote controller, this DJI Mini 3 discount sale means you’ll owe $130 more versus the DJI Mini 2 SE, which is comparatively not that much more given how much more it offers.
Here’s how the pricing shakes out:
|Drone||Price||Price after 15% discount (between now and April 7, 2023)|
|Mini 2 SE||$339||(same $339 price; not on sale)|
|Mini 3 (no remote controller; assumes you already own one)||$469||$379|
|Mini 3 with DJI RC-N1 (remote controller without screen)||$559||$469|
|Mini 3 with DJI RC (remote controller with screen)||$699||$609|
The cheapest drone is the DJI Mini 2 SE, which was announced in February 2023 as a stripped-down version of its older (and fancier) sister drone, the DJI Mini 2. Yet super astute readers might notice that $339 figure on the Mini 2 SE. When it was announced last month — it was set to cost $369, but here’s wildly good news: DJI dropped the price by $30 to just $339.
If you’re on a super-tight budget, then the additional $40 – $130 for the Mini 3 might be make or break. But for most people, paying the extra money to upgrade to the DJI Mini 3 vs the DJI Mini 2 SE is worth it, and here’s why:
The DJI Mini 3 vs DJI Mini 2 SE
Kind of like how the DJI Mini 2 SE is a cheaper version of the DJI Mini 2, the DJI Mini 3 launched in December 2022 as a stripped-down version of the DJI Mini 3 Pro drone.
And with the Mini 3, DJI created a perfect sweet spot drone: it offers newer, spiffier features than the Mini 2 drone, but it’s not as fancy (nor as expensive) as the DJI Mini 3 Pro. So with that, here are the top two reasons why the DJI Mini 3 is far superior than the Mini 2 SE (particularly for just a $130 price difference):
Better battery life: The DJI Mini 2 SE gets you 31 minutes of battery life which is not bad. But the DJI Mini 3 offers 38 minutes. A 7-minute difference might not feel like a ton, but it’s actually 23% more.
And the DJI Mini 3 actually offers the potential for an incredible 51 minutes of battery life if you opt for the fancier Intelligent Flight Battery Plus.
Better camera: The DJI Mini 3 offers a bigger sensor at 1/1.3-inch CMOS, versus the 1/2.3-inch CMOS on the Mini 2 SE. A bigger sensor means better quality images.
The Mini 2 SE delivers 2.7K video, which a pretty serious downgrade from 4K video on the Mini 3. Don’t sweat the lesser image quality if your goal is to shoot Instagram videos that you share with your friends. But if you’re thinking about using your images for something more, like you want to make prints or launch a YouTube channel (or otherwise air your footage on a bigger screen) then the $130 extra for better image quality is absolutely worth it.
Luckily, both drones weighs 249 grams (well, assuming you have the standard battery versus the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus. Drones under 250 grams are a big deal because many federal drone regulations (across many countries, even) do not apply to drones that size or smaller. In the U.S., drones under 250 grams do not need to be registered with the FAA for recreational operations, nor do they to be Remote ID compliant.
Here’s a full comparison of the DJI Mini 2 SE vs DJI Mini 3:
|DJI Mini 2 SE||DJI Mini 3|
|Takeoff Weight||< 249 g||< 249 g|
|Dimensions||Folded (without propellers): 138×81×58 mm (L×W×H)
Unfolded (without propellers): 159×203×56 mm (L×W×H)
|Folded (without propellers): 148×90×62 mm (L×W×H)
Unfolded (with propellers): 251×362×72 mm (L×W×H)
|Max Flight Time||31 minutes||38 minutes (with Intelligent Flight Battery)
51 minutes (with Intelligent Flight Battery Plus *)
|Max Horizontal Speed (at sea level, no wind)||16 m/s||16 m/s|
|Max Ascent Speed||5 m/s||5 m/s|
|Max Descent Speed||3.5 m/s||3.5 m/s|
|Max Takeoff Altitude||4000m||4000m (or just 3000m with Intelligent Flight Battery Plus)|
|Max Wind Speed Resistance||10.7 m/s (Level 5)||10.7 m/s (Level 5)|
|Image Sensor||1/2.3-inch CMOS||1/1.3-inch CMOS|
|Effective Pixels||12 MP||12 MP|
|Video||2.7K HD||4K HDR|
|Video Transmission System||DJI O2||DJI O2|
Why the DJI Mini 3 discount is such a big deal
The DJI Mini 3 has never been this cheap. Especially as inflation runs rampant throughout the rest of the economy, it’s surprising to have DJI drop the DJI Mini 2 SE in price before it even went on sale. But it’s even more surprising to see another, better drone getting a price discount that puts it in a far more affordable realm.
The $500 barrier seems to be a psychologically significant barrier for many people as the cap on how much they’re willing to spend on a drone. Up until now, the DJI Mini 3 never made the cut of drones under $500. But given that this 15% DJI Mini 3 discount brings your cost down to $469, it finally fits into a wider reach of budgets. And if for some reason you don’t need a controller (say, because you already have one from a previous drone), then you’ll only owe $379.
When DJI announced its DJI Mini 2 last month, I called it the best drone under $400. But with this sale, the actual (well, temporarily) best drone under $400 (again, assuming no controller) isn’t actually the DJI Mini 2 SE — it’s the DJI Mini 3.
Purchase the DJI Mini 3 now from:
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