The rumored DJI Mini 3 might be preparing for lift-off, with a new leak revealing what appears to be a redesigned body that's very different from its predecessor.
A video picked up on Twitter by @DealsDrone shows what is claimed to be the body framework for the upcoming DJI Mini 2 successor. And it looks very much like the drone we saw previously in leaked packaging for a "DJI Mini 3 Pro."
DJI Mini 3 framework pic.twitter.com/EKFTHkB0PDMarch 15, 2022
The main giveaway is the brackets for some new rotating front arms, which differ from the horizontally folding ones on the DJI Mini 2. This design change could help the Mini 3 support larger propellers for better wind resistance.
The leak also reveals a very different front end that hints at a redesigned gimbal support. Whereas the DJI Mini 2's three-axis gimbal, which helps to keep your aerial footage smooth, hangs down freely from the front of the drone, the Mini 3's appears to be held in place on both sides.
This has led some commentators, like DroneXL, to speculate that the DJI Mini 3 may even lack a stabilized gimbal, instead opting to use electronic image stabilization in a larger camera module. It's certainly difficult to see how the gimbal could compensate footage across all three axes in the leaked design, but dispensing with DJI's trademark gimbal on the Mini 3 would be a big step. One benefit might be the previously rumored addition of a vertical video mode for social media.
Otherwise, the only other hint we can glean from the leak is that the battery section – which takes up most of the craft's body – looks a little larger than on the Mini 2. Whether or not this means the DJI Mini 3 will use a new Intelligent Flight Battery remains unclear, but a longer flight time than the standard 31 minutes is certainly on our wishlist.
Analysis: Leaks point to mini Mavic Air 2
This DJI Mini 3 leak comes from pretty credible sources – and the similarities between this design and the one we saw on leaked packaging two weeks ago suggest the beginner drone will indeed launch soon.
Recent DJI launches have been preceded by increasingly frequent leaks and @DealsDrone, which picked up this new leak, has previously predicted that the drone would launch in April. If that's true, expect to see some more leaks and early appearances in retail stores over the next two weeks.
The DJI Mini 3 is a particularly exciting launch because the series has traditionally been the smallest and most affordable in DJI's range, while still also offering impressive image quality.
It appears from this new leak that DJI is focusing on the latter, with earlier rumors predicting a larger 1/1.3in CMOS sensor (up from 1/2.3 inch on the Mini 2) and a lens with an extremely bright f/1.7 aperture to help in low light.
The potential addition of front-facing sensors, seen on the earlier leaked packaging, would also make it a much more beginner-friendly drone and could help support features like autonomous subject tracking. The latter is only possible on the DJI Mini 2 when using third-party apps like Litchi, and its arrival would turn the DJI Mini 3 into something of a mini DJI Mavic Air 2.
- Check out our guide to the best drones you can buy right now
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.