A great drone at a great price, but I still want an Air 3

On Wednesday, DJI announced its newest drone to its lineup, the Mavic 3 Classic. As we expected, this was a slightly stripped and priced-down version of the original, so does that make it better? Read our review below to find out if the Mavic 3 Classic is the drone for you.

Everything you need in a Mavic 3 with a slightly less hit to the wallet

As I mentioned when it was first leaked, the Mavic 3 Classic is meant to hit the price point between DJI’s Mini 3 Pro and the normal Mavic 3. The Air lineup filled that position until the Mini 3 Pro nearly matched its price and performance earlier this year.

The Mavic 3 Classic hits that midtier drone point pretty well: better suited for professional use cases than the Air or Mini drones but isn’t fully tricked out with the latest and greatest. DJI ditched the zoom lens, leaving the Hasselblad 4/3 20 MP primary camera on the gimbal. The Mavic 3 Classic matches its older brother with a 46-minute flight time, using the same batteries and O3+ transmission, meaning it works with The RC-N1, RC, and RC Pro controllers.

So you are getting the best parts of the Mavic 3 but at a much lower price, starting at $1,469 ($1,749 when combined with the RC controller). It even flies like a Mavic 3, which I feel I shouldn’t have been surprised by. As soon as I took it up on my first flight, it gave me all the same feelings. I just didn’t have that “7x” button to zoom in, which I did miss. You can read our Mavic 3 review from last year here – it applies to the Mavic 3 Classic (minus the telephoto lens).

However, if you’re just doing video, especially on flights that require ActiveTrack, you won’t miss that second camera. There has only been a handful of times I’ve needed that telephoto lens for video. While it was nice to have, I probably could have gotten similar shots without it.

ActiveTrack 5.0 gives Skydio a run for its money, allowing you to track your subjects effortlessly. Then APAS gives you the peace of mind that the Mavic 3 Classic will avoid obstacles you might miss.

While the Mavic 3 Classic is good, I would rather have an Air 3

This is a weird review because there isn’t much I can add to the original review since, for the most part, it’s the same drone. Is the Mavic 3 Classic good? Of course, compared to the Skydio 2+ with its (somewhat subpar) smartphone controller, the Mavic 3 Classic and the RC-N1 are the clear winners. The ease of use of DJI’s Fly app versus Skydio’s is also something to point out. Skydio, however, is still the king of autonomous tracking.

I would even suggest it over Autel Lite+. However, a future head-to-head of those two on photo quality is definitely needed.

My biggest gripe over the Mavic 3 Classic is that it’s boring. There wasn’t a lot of innovation from DJI to create this drone: Remove some features from the Mavic 3, make the cover out of fewer materials, and boom, a cheaper drone. Now imagine if DJI announced the Air 3 this week, truly bridging the possibilities of the Min 3 Pro and Mavic 3, but at the same price.

Now I’m curious about what comes next for the DJI Air lineup. How will it compete against the Classic? I could imagine it being the same thing, but maybe vertical shooting?

If DJI were working on an Air 3 with a release around the corner, this would have been a pointless drone to release, so I guess if you have an Air and are looking to upgrade and stay within that midtier spot, this is the drone for you.


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