There are drones, and then there are DJI drones. DJI, also known as Da-Jiang Innovations, is known worldwide for its videography tools which include action cameras, gimbals, and of course, drones. These camera drones are some of the best on the market, can fly to obscene heights, and take gorgeous, high-definition photos and videos. Yes, they’re also on the pricier side, but luckily, even the budget offerings are impressive. Here is a thorough roundup the best DJI drones available right now.
How We Picked the Best DJI Drones
When selecting the best DJI drones, rest assured that there are no bad options. The build quality is fairly high, even when buying one of the more affordable DJI drones. Still, aside from price points, there’s quite a bit of difference between the family of drones DJI offers. Here are a few things we considered when picking out the best DJI drones.
Durability: Have you ever tried flying a cheaply made drone outside with even light winds? Expect all that flimsy plastic to give way to the forces of nature. Just about all DJI drones can stand up to high winds and heat, but naturally, some of the more premium offerings will be able to take a stronger beating.
Control: You’d think that in a post pro-gamepad world, companies wouldn’t overcomplicate things. Just about anyone born after the Atari age knows how to use a standard gamepad, and the best drone controllers smack of these. If a DJI drone doesn’t handle easily and steadily, is it even worth the investment?
Camera Quality: There’s no point in buying a drone if you can’t use it to actually take in the sights and sounds of the skies. But there’s a big difference between good picture quality and great picture quality that the cameras inside these drones capture. One is great for sightseeing, while the other is ready for primetime.
Flight Time: How long can a DJI drone stay in the air? As powerful as they may be, the answer may surprise you. The versatility of a drone that can stay in flight longer is definitely a selling point and may be worth the investment depending on your needs.
Best DJI Drones: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: DJI FPV Combo
Why It Made The Cut: The FPV Combo doesn’t let you just see what the drone camera sees, you can practically feel it with incredibly immersive goggles.
— Dimensions: 10.04 inches L x 12.28 inches W x 5 inches H, with propellers
— Weight: 1.75 pounds
— Camera: 120 Mbps, 4K 60fps
— Max Speed: 86.9 mph
— Max. Surface Above Sea Level: 19,685.04 feet
— Average Flight Time: About 20 minutes
— Seriously immersive flight experience
— Customizable LED arm lights
— Seamless flying
— Cumbersome assembly
The DJI FPV Combo is a fantastic camera drone, but it’s more than that. It’s also a full-fledged flight experience.
DJI FPV syncs up to a pair of goggles that put you in the cockpit of this drone. You see what the drone sees as it soars through the skies. It's as immersive as any great VR game, only with a good bit more realism thanks to the powerful 4K camera inside FPV. The super wide-angle view may be a little too jarring for some but definitely provides an addicting experience. Aside from that, it’s one of the easiest DJI drones to control, with seamless flying in any environment. You can customize the LED lights on the drone’s arms. There are even multiple modes of control with its innovative controller. For a few dollars more, you can even sync it up to a fairly responsive motion controller. All this flight magic is possible, but only after a not-so-simple assembly. But once it’s built, the experience is relatively seamless.
Best for Beginners: DJI Mini 2
Why It Made The Cut: A surprisingly great camera, easy controls, and reasonable price make this a great starter drone.
— Dimensions: 9.64 inches L x 11.38 inches W x 2.2 inches H, unfolded with propellers
— Weight: 0.55 pounds
— Camera: 12 MP Photo, 4K 30fps Video
— Max Speed: 22.36 mph
— Max Surface Above Sea Level: 13,123.36 feet
— Average Flight Time: About 31 minutes
— Portable and foldable
— Above average battery life
— Great camera
— Connectivity issues with control
Aside from being a featherweight drone, DJI Mini 2 also takes up close to no space and fits in both backpacks and some larger pockets. The camera is good, not great, but on par with the kind you’d find in more affordable smartphones. But it will get the job done when it comes to taking scenic photos and 4K videos. Unlike many drones made for beginners, this one actually sports an above-average battery life and can stay airborne for a little longer than 30 minutes on average. That is if weather conditions are ideal. Environments are sort of where the DJI Mini 2 soars or sinks. We recommend not flying around obstructions like trees or walls. This may cause the remote to disconnect from the drone and cause crashing, or worse, accidents that damage the drone. As long as you take it easy with this drone, the value is great for anyone starting out.
Best for Videography: DJI Mavic 3
Why It Made The Cut: Mavic 3 isn’t simply a powerful drone, it doubles as a full-fledged action camera ready for all manner of content creation.
— Dimensions: 13.68 inches L x 11.14 inches W x 2.24 inches H, unfolded
— Weight: 1.97 pounds
— Camera: 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Photo, 4K-5.1K 120fps Video
— Max Speed: 42.5 mph
— Max Surface Above Sea Level: 19,685.04
— Average Flight Time: About 46 minutes
— Cinematic Hasselblad camera
— Enhanced safety features
— Smooth, precise flight controls
— Obscenely expensive
The top of the line DJI drone, the Mavic 3 stands apart from the pack because of its incredibly flashy camera.
Developed by leading camera manufacturer Hasselblad, the 4/3 CMOS photo camera has 12.8 stops of dynamic range, vision-detection autofocus technology, and plenty more DSLR-like features. If you’re looking to shoot flashy nature videos, you can record anywhere from 4 to 5.1K, depending on how many frames per second you’re willing to dedicate to the action. It even supports Apple Pro Res, which makes it perfect for any video that’s Final Cut-bound. Best of all, you can rest easy that all that precious and pricey camera tech is protected by some of the most enhanced safety features DJI offers. Omnidirectional obstacle sensing keeps this drone from crashing or even bumping into things that would otherwise destroy it. As far as controls go, they don’t come smoother than DJI Mavic 3. It’s a pro-video shooting, sky-soaring beast. But that price tag is also high enough to scrape the stratosphere. If you’re looking for a premium drone option to end all premium drone options, the DJI Mavic 3 is easy to recommend.
Best for the Money: DJI Mini 3 Pro
Why It Made The Cut: A mid-priced offering that packs tons of features in an itty bitty space.
— Dimensions: 9.88 inches L x 14.25 inches W x 2.75 inches H, unfolded with propellors
— Weight: 0.55 pounds
— Camera: 48 MP photo, 4K HDR Video 60fps
— Max Speed: 35.79 mph
— Max Surface Above Sea Level: 13,123.36 feet
— Average Flight Time: About 47 minutes
— Small enough to fit in many pockets
— Impressive battery life
— Shoot photos day and night
— Dubious range
If you have a few more dollars to through around, the mid-priced DJI Mini 3 Pro is a great, somewhat affordable splurge, at least as far as drones are concerned.
Like the other drones in the DJI Mini line, this device is incredibly portable, especially when it's folded up. Go on, slide it in your pocket, it should fit. Despite being small, it's no slouch when it comes to power and flight time. On a full charge, it can stay airborne for 47 minutes under ideal conditions. If it’s a windy day, you may get diminishing returns when it comes to how long it will stay in the sky. Users also reported that the range Mini 3 Pro is less than accurate. Dubious flight ability aside, the drone is small enough that you may be able to fly it in places where larger drones are verboten. The camera is fairly stellar, with 4K video that shoots up to 60fps. It’s got better than average obstacle sensors too, so you can fly about with peace of mind. You can also purchase optional upgrades for battery life and control if you outgrow its many flashy features.
Best Budget: DJI Mini SE
Why It Made The Cut: DJI Mini SE is one of the most affordable drones in its class and a great place to start your new drone hobby.
— Dimensions: 9.64 inches L x 11.37 inches W x 2.2 inches H, unfolded with propellors
— Weight: 0.54 pounds
— Camera: 12 MP photo, 2.7K Quad HD Video
— Max Speed: 29 mph
— Max Surface Above Sea Level: 9842.52 feet
— Average Flight Time: About 30 minutes
— Ultralight, ultra-portable
— User-friendly controls
— Fast, impressive camera
— Less than ideal signal strength
For those looking to go airborne but have limited spending cash, the DJI Mini SE isn’t the best, but it is, as they say, “good enough.”
It’s lightweight and portable, the lightest and most portable in the DJI mini line, in fact. DJI Mini SE quite literally fits in the palm of your hand but can defy some serious gravity. Controlling it is fairly simple, thanks to the remote control that works hand-in-hand with the DJI app (available on Google Play and App Store), so you can use it right out of the box. While it doesn’t shoot in 4K, it does shoot a little higher than 1080p at 2.7K Quad HD Video. With good weather conditions, you can stay airborne for about half an hour. That said, like the Mini 2, the signal strength will waver around trees and other obstructions. But if you’re looking for a great starter drone to play around with in your backyard or at the park, DJI Mini SE is a great offering.
Things to Consider Before Buying a DJI Drone
Laws Concerning Flight: Just because the best DJI drones can soar through the skies with ease, doesn’t mean that you’re safe from the FAA. Plenty of drone promotional footage has these devices flying about grand nature backdrops. That doesn’t mean that you should lug your DJI drone with you to a public park like Yosemite or Yellowstone thinking you’ll be able to fly about without having Johnny Law breathe down your neck. Before packing up the drone, consult the rules and laws of whatever destination you’re planning to fly about. For more information, consult the official FAA website.
Q: Which is the best DJI drone?
Our overall best pick is the DJI FPV Combo, because we love the way it turns drone flighting into an immersive game.
Q: How much do DJI drones cost?
DJI drones cost anywhere from just under $300 all the way to a couple thousand, depending on the features each device offers.
Q: What does DJI stand for?
DJI stands for Da-Jiang Innovations.
Q: What DJI drone has the best camera?
The DJI Mavic 3 has the best camera. It’s a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad with the capacity to take 5.1K video.
Q: Which is better Phantom or Mavic?
For its ease of use and gorgeous camera, we believe the DJI Mavic is better than the DJI Phantom.
Final Thoughts on DJI Drones
DJI drones are some of the best ways to take to the skies, even if they do run on the pricier side. For the best and most immersive flight experience, DJI FPV Combo is better than any other VR experience by a mile and truly has to be seen to be believed. Aspiring videographers will feel at home with the DJI Mavic 3’s camera being professional grade, even if the price tag may scare you off. For the most affordable DJI Drone, the DJI Mini SE is well within many budgets, with more flight power than you may need.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.