With its steady succession of affordable yet advanced quadcopters, nobody has done more to put drones in the hands of amateurs than DJI. But if you’re shopping for one of its flying machines, which is the best option?
Every model in DJI’s flying line-up promises idiot-proof controls and preset flying modes that make aerobatics a cinch. But there’s also a lot to choose between the best DJI drones. You could opt for the budget-friendly Tello, for example. Or you could blow your bank balance on a top-spec option designed for pro pilots. The struggle, as they say, is real.
Head spinning like a rotor? Calm your props, because we’ve tested all of DJI’s top ‘copters and recommended our favourite picks in the buying guide below.
DJI Mini 3 Pro
Easily the best lightweight drone you can buy, the DJI Mini 3 Pro squeezes serious shooting skills into a compact folding package. Obstacle avoidance sensors make it safe for almost anyone to fly, especially when paired with DJI’s new RC controller.
Camera results are far better than anything in its weight class, easily outclassing the Mini 2. Low-light performance is particularly improved, while daylight 4K footage proves crisp and rich. It can’t quite compete with the Mavic 3 and Air 2S, but its shooting skills are still something special.
Subject tracking isn’t perfect, losing lock if objects move quickly or briefly out of sight, but automated flight modes otherwise make it simple to capture sharp, cinematic images from above. And that’s all while being portable enough to slip into a coat pocket. If the price was a bit lower, the DJI Mini 3 Pro would be the ultimate beginner drone.
Small, smart and simple to fly, this Goldilocks drone ticks almost every box for budding pilots – unless your budget is limited
Tech spec:Weight: <249g • Flight time: 34 mins • Sensor: 1/1.3in CMOS • Resolution: 12MP • Video: 4K/60p • Folding: Yes • Controller: Optional • Range: 12km (FCC)
DJI Air 2S
Ditching the Mavic name, the Air 2S is a fantastic airborne all-rounder. One of DJI’s best drones to date, it’s a delicious blend of portability, power and performance that belies its compact size.
Marginally larger and heavier than the Mini 3 Pro, the DJI Air 2S lands on the scales at just less than 600g. While it’s still light enough to carry around without complaint, the extra grams give the Air 2S fantastic balance in breezy conditions – although they also mean it’ll require registration in most regions.
While it’s ideal for beginners thanks to its plethora of safety features, its 1in sensor is also capable of producing pro-like results. The ability to capture 20MP stills and 5.4K video footage at 30fps makes it a fantastic drone for flyers who are serious about photography.
Its price tag might be too much to swallow for more casual users, but for anyone else looking for a serious drone that comes in at comfortably under a grand, you can’t go wrong here
Tech spec:Weight: 595g • Flight time: 31 mins • Sensor: 1in CMOS • Resolution: 20MP • Video: 5.4K/30p • Folding: Yes • Controller: Optional • Range: 12km (FCC)
The Tello isn’t actually emblazoned with DJI’s moniker, but it makes our list because it was forged in collaboration with DJI and Intel. More importantly, it’s tiny, weighing in at just 80g – and it has a delightfully compact price tag to boot. Setting you back less than £100, this is an ideal choice for first-time flyers looking to put some affordable air time under their belt.
At this size and price point, you can’t expect the kind of crisp, cinematic footage shot by premium DJI drones. That said, the Tello’s 720p/30fps camera is fine for casual use. A live feed is available to view on your smartphone, which also doubles up as the controller.
Using a clever bit of software called Scratch, users can also learn how to code by dragging and dropping components to create pre-determined flight paths or automated tricks. We’re big fans of the 8D Flips mode too, which lets you flip the drone in – you guessed it – eight different directions by simply sliding your finger over the screen, Starfox-style.
With a 100m range and around 13 minutes of battery life, this is the best DJI drone for buyers on a tight budget – especially first-timers cutting their teeth in the drone world
Tech spec:Weight: 80g • Flight time: 13 mins • Resolution: 5MP • Video: 720/30p • Folding: No • Controller: Optional • Range: 100m
DJI Mavic 3
With a hefty asking price and 895g takeoff weight to match, the Mavic 3 flies clear of casual interest territory. Aimed at content creators looking to put their drones to work, it ships with a serious 20MP Micro Four Thirds Hassleblad camera setup, along with a second telephoto lens for capturing subjects from a distance.
The results are as impressive as the kit suggests: it can record 5.1K video at 50fps, with support for Apple ProRes and 120fps frame rates. Battery life is substantial by drone standards too, with the Mavic 3 able to fly for up to 46 minutes on a single charge. Clever anti-collision tech also means you’ll have less to worry about while you’re piloting your expensive aircraft around far above the unforgiving ground.
With ActiveTrack 5.0 subject tracking, automated MasterShots and speedy Wi-Fi 6 transfers, the Mavic 3 is one of the most capable drones ever made, making it a tempting tool for serious photographers and videographers alike
Tech spec:Weight: 895g • Flight time: 46 mins • Sensor: 4/3 CMOS • Resolution: 20MP • Video: 5.1K/50p • Folding: Yes • Controller: Optional • Range: 15km (FCC)
Want to experience the thrill of soaring through the air without the faff of cobbling together your own first-person drone setup? Meet the DJI FPV — a handy package that delivers everything you need to take to the skies, including a nippy drone and Sci-Fi-style headset that beams a live camera feed directly to your eager peepers.
Given its focus on first-person flying, the FPV doesn’t offer the most powerful set of aerial photography features around – but it still reliably transmits lag-free 4K footage to its companion headset. Safety features like anti-collision sensors make it ideal for FPV noobs, while a manual mode means seasoned pros can carry out all sorts of flips, dives and gnarly tricks.
Depending on conditions, you can manage 20 minutes of flight time per charge. You legally need to have a visual line of sight on any drone you fly, so you’ll need a second person with you to keep tabs on it while the headset is strapped to your face.
The best DJI drone for first-person flying, the FPV isn’t idiot-proof – but it is the most accessible way to put yourself in the cockpit
Tech spec:Weight: 295g • Flight time: 20 mins • Sensor: 1/2.3in CMOS • Resolution: 12MP • Video: 4K/60p • Folding: No • Controller: Yes • Range: 10km (FCC)
DJI Mavic Mini
Since succeeded by multiple models, the original Mavic Mini remains an appealingly accessible DJI drone for novice pilots – especially at its new lower price. A truly dinky thing, the folding Mini evades registration requirements by landing gently on the scales at 249g.
Despite its featherweight build, it’s also feature-packed flying machine that offers a fantastic balance of skills, convenience and quality. A 12MP 1/2.3in sensor on the nose shoots video at a maximum resolution of 2.7K. In well-lit conditions, results are fine for casual users – although you’ll need to drop to 1080p for 60fps shooting.
There’s no object tracking, but pre-programmed QuickShots make it easy to perform cinematic flight paths, while a 30-minute flight time is no mean feat for such a compact craft.
It might not be the latest DJI drone, but with a featherweight build, neat folding design and nifty video skills, the original Mavic Mini represents great value at its new lower price
Tech spec:Weight: 249g • Flight time: 30 mins • Sensor: 1/2.3in CMOS • Resolution: 12MP • Video: 2.7K/30p • Folding: Yes • Controller: Optional • Range: 4km (FCC)
DJI Mavic 3 Pro
DJI’s flagship folding drone is also its first model to offer a three-camera imaging setup. You get a wide-angle 20MP Hasselblad camera with large 4/3 sensor, a 48MP medium telephone camera with smaller 1/1.3in sensor and a 12MP telephoto with even smaller 1/2in sensor. While the Hasselblad is still arguably the highlight, the new medium telephoto opens up a world of creative possibilities by allowing you to get ‘up close’ on subjects helicopter cam-style – all without the noise or cost of hiring an actual chopper.
Elsewhere the Mavic 3 Pro is quite similar to the older ‘standard’ Mavic 3 (both in terms of flight capability, safety features and the excellent image quality) which perhaps explains why DJI has all but discontinued the older model; you can however still purchase the single-camera Mavic 3 Classic. We suspect many potential buyers will opt for the Mavic 3 Pro for those extra camera capabilities, but they should be aware of the severe flight restrictions surrounding a larger, heavier model like this under both EU and UK law: you won’t be able to legally fly it in most public places, or close to buildings or people.
This drone’s bulging feature list may be overkill for the average hobbyist but demanding aerial imaging professionals will love the flexibility of its fantastic three-camera setup.
Tech spec:Weight: 958g • Flight time: 43 minutes • Sensor: 4/3 CMOS, 1/1.3in CMOS, 1/2in CMOS • Resolution: 20MP, 48MP, 12MP • Video: 5.1K/50p, 4K/120p • Folding: Yes • Controller: DJI RC or DJI PC Pro • Range: 15km (FCC)
While standard hovering drones went mainstream years ago, the FPV (first-person view) sub-category of drone flight – in which the drones handle more like airplanes and pilots wear low-latency goggles to give them a ‘cockpit’ view – has remained steadfastly inaccessible to beginners. That began to change with the DJI FPV, and now the Avata has arrived to finish the job.
Small and lightweight (although not under the magical 250g mark – so you’ll still need to take care where you fly it), the Avata comes with built-in prop guards and sensors to up the safety factor, plus a motion controller that offers a happy medium between idiot-proof standard drone flight and the stabilisers-off free-for-all of traditional FPV flight. The result is a sort of hybrid drone that is harder to crash than previous FPV models, but can be turned into a traditional FPV drone with the use of the optional DJI FPV RC 2 controller. Image quality and battery life are both solid too.
When paired with the motion controller, the Avata becomes an accessible entry point into the once scary world of FPV flight.
Tech spec:Weight: 410g • Flight time: 18 minutes • Sensor: 1/1.7in CMOS • Resolution: 48MP • Video: 4K/60p, 2.7K/120p • Folding: No • Controller: DJI Motion Controller or DJI FPV RC 2 • Range: 10km (FCC)
DJI Mini 2 SE
A fine choice for first-time flyers who don’t want to shell out big money for the snazzy DJI Mini 3 Pro, the DJI Mini 2 SE offers many of the same advantages for less than half the price.
The big one? How small it is: weighing under 249g and folding down to a pocketable size, the Mini 2 SE is both brilliantly portable and light enough to skirt most of the draconian flight restrictions that dog heavier models. It’s cleared for use in recreational, commercial and industrial areas, and can be flown with 50m of unaware people (and above them). You still can’t legally fly it over a large crowd of people, but aside from that you’re good to go.
There’s a generous 30-odd minutes of flight time on a full battery, with solid wind resistance (anything up to a 24mph gust won’t shake the Mini 2 SE off-course) and the user-friendly auto take-off and landing we’ve come to expect from DJI models. It lacks the Mini 3 Pro’s obstacle-sensing tech, however, and its camera is a lot less impressive, both in terms of features and image quality.
A very solid starter drone with few flight restrictions, decent image quality and great battery life. It might lack the bells and whistles of the superb Mini 3 Pro, but the DJI Mini 2 SE is a fine entry-level model in its own right.
Tech spec:Weight: 246g • Flight time: 31 minutes • Sensor: 1/2.3in CMOS • Resolution: 12MP • Video: 2.7K/30p, FHD/60p • Folding: Yes • Controller: DJI RC-N1 • Range: 10km (FCC)