Latest Technology News: DJI Air 3 review: High-quality zoom adds new

DJI is one of the most innovative gadget companies out there, constantly trying new things with their drones, like a three-camera setup on the Mavic 3 Pro. With the launch of the medium size Air 3 Camera Drone, the company has introduced a new trick called dual main cameras. This means the telephoto lens has the same specs as the main camera, rather than being relegated to lesser quality as was the case on the Mavic 3. This opens up new possibilities for pilots, giving them two ways to create cinematic shots.

It also features many improvements over the Air 2 and Air 2S. It uses DJI’s new O4 transmission system which dramatically increases range, while bringing Waypoint functionality to Air drones for the first time. It also has much improved battery life and is considerably quieter. Otherwise, it matches the Mavic 3 Pro for functionality, with all-around obstacle detection, focus tracking, Hyperlapse and more.


  • Two cameras
  • Great image quality
  • Long battery life
  • Reliable protection against obstacles
  • Extensive feature set

The inconvenients

  • Slow loading
  • Occasional lag in subject tracking

However, some buyers might consider the 1/1.3-inch sensors a downgrade from the Air 2S’ 1-inch sensor. How does it compare to this model and how does it fit in with the Mavic 3 Pro and Mini 3 Pro models? I took it flying in the Loire Valley in France with my drone pilot friend to find out.

Design and performance

With a dual camera module on the front and a similar design, the Air 3 (more Mavic in the name) looks more like the Mavic 3 than the Air 2 and Air 2S. It has the same frog design and folds up exactly like the Mavic 3, collapsing into a compact size for travel. The body has omnidirectional sensors all around for obstacle detection. For storage, it comes with the usual microSD storage slot and has 8GB internally, it’s really for emergency use only. It’s also considerably heavier than the Air 2S, tipping the scales at 720 grams versus 595.

At the same time, it borrowed a few aerodynamic tricks from the Mini 3 Pro, in particular the larger propellers which reduce noise by up to 81 decibels, making it almost inaudible when flying over about 100 feet. The body is also more aerodynamic, giving it better forward flight range and the ability to handle stronger winds than previous models.

Much of the extra weight comes from the new 4,241mAh batteries which weigh 267 grams more than an entire Mini 3 Pro. They have almost the capacity of the Mavic 3 Pros batteries, dramatically increasing the range of the Air 3s to 46 minutes, compared to 34 minutes on the Air 2S.

In the real world, we’ve seen flight times of around 35 minutes before the return-to-home warning kicks in, depending on flying style and winds. This usually allowed us to fly a full day with three charged batteries. DJI has also introduced a new charging feature with the updated Battery Hub, allowing you to transfer power from two weaker batteries to the most charged one with just the press of a button. This allows for longer flights if you are in a location with no recharging available. The only downside to larger capacity batteries is that charging speeds are relatively slow.

DJI Air 3 review: High-quality zoom adds new creative options

Steve Dent for Engadget

Another key feature is the next-generation O4 video transmission system which increases the range from 15 to 20 km (9.3 to 12.4 miles). Drone range can be a big issue in Europe, as laws significantly reduce transmission power compared to the United States. To help compensate for this, DJI has added a new 5.1GHz frequency in Europe which seems to have a big impact on range and transmission loss in difficult terrain, from what we saw during our testing in France.

In terms of maneuverability and speed, the Air 3 offers a good compromise between the stability of the Mavic 3 Pro and the agility of the Mini 3 Pro. The latter makes it ideal for tracking fast-moving subjects like mountain bikers and vehicles, but it’s also stable in strong breezes. At the same time, if a subject is moving through trees, obstacle avoidance with APAS 5.0 is exceptional, with less risk of falling than the Mini 3 Pro thanks to the additional sensors, especially on the sides and rear.

All DJI features like Active Track, Master Shots, Quickshots and Timelapse are available on the Air 3 and work on both cameras. Active Track, used to lock and track subjects, works much the same on both cameras. As with other DJI drones, it’s generally reliable, but if you’re chasing a mountain biker through the trees, it can lag a little and the tracking may turn off without warning.

DJI Air 3 review: High-quality zoom adds new creative options

Steve Dent for Engadget

Quickshots features like Dronie and Rocket are more exciting with the addition of the TV camera which can add more privacy and drama. Obstacle detection is also practical here. Because the drone flies automatically once you tap, it’s easy to misjudge the boundaries, so it’s good to know it’ll shut down if it gets too close to something.

In addition to these flight modes, DJI has introduced the Mavic 3s Waypoint flight mode to the Air series for the first time. It lets you plan flight and camera movements in advance, letting you rehearse a flight with precision for multiple takes, timelapse videos and more. It takes some time to learn and set up, but it delivers consistent results. It also opens up creative possibilities, like doing a Timelapse during the day and night and then blending them seamlessly.

Along with the Air 3, DJI introduced the new RC-2, DJI’s third screen controller after the RC and RC Pro. It’s a good middle ground between the two, as it’s significantly cheaper than the $1,200 RC Pro. At the same time, it has a brighter screen, more substantial feel, and more precise controls than the RC. It is available separately or as a bundle with the Air 3 Fly More kit. DJI also announced another new controller, the RC-N2, actually an update of the RC-N1, the main benefit being the new O4 transmission system.


Gallery: DJI Air 3 review: High-quality zoom adds new creative options | 30 Pictures

The big idea with the Air 3 is that the quality of both cameras is the same. As such, it comes with a 1/1.3-inch 24mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.7 main camera and a 70mm f/2.8 telephoto lens. These focal lengths correspond to the two main cameras of the Mavic 3 Pro, the size of the sensor being the same as that of the Mini 3 Pro and the tele camera of the Mavic 3 Pro.

The 70mm lens is particularly suited to action or hero shots, adding excitement and a more natural perspective. With a perfect focal length for portraits, it is ideal for photos of people at weddings, for example. It also allows you to stay further away from subjects for safety or other reasons, while compressing the space between them. As usual, the main wide-angle camera can be used for setting up, overhead, tracking and other shots. And with identical sensors, it’s easy to match footage from both cameras when editing.

The sensors have dual native ISO support for improved light sensitivity and deliver 4K 60p in HDR or 4K up to 100fps with slow motion playback only. 1080p can also be shot at 200 fps with slow motion playback. The camera module can be tilted down 90 degrees and up 60 degrees, and it is the first Air series drone supporting 2.7K 9:16 vertical video.

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An Overview of Global Events in 2023

In 2023, the world witnessed a myriad of events that left a lasting impact on global affairs. From political developments and economic shifts to environmental challenges and breakthroughs in science and technology, the year was marked by significant changes and a sense of urgency for collective action. Here’s an overview of some of the latest world news in 2023.

Political Unrest and Diplomatic Strides:
In the political arena, several regions experienced unrest and geopolitical tensions. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East continued to dominate headlines, with efforts towards peace and stability remaining elusive. However, there were also moments of diplomatic breakthroughs as nations engaged in dialogues to ease tensions and work towards lasting solutions.

Economic Transformations:
The global economy faced both challenges and opportunities. Trade disputes between major powers affected markets, while some countries grappled with debt crises. On the other hand, emerging economies showed resilience and promising growth, fueling optimism for a more balanced global economic landscape.

Technological Advancements:
Innovation surged forward in the tech industry, with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and space exploration. Quantum computing achieved milestones, promising radical transformations across industries. Renewable energy sources gained traction, with many countries setting ambitious goals to combat climate change.

Climate Crisis and Environmental Resilience:
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Health and Pandemic Management:
Health remained a global priority as countries continued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of new variants, vaccination efforts and public health measures remained crucial to curbing the spread of the virus. There were also significant advancements in medical research and technology, offering hope for better preparedness in handling future health crises.

Sports and Cultural Milestones:
Amidst the challenges, the world found moments of joy and unity through sports and culture. International sporting events brought together athletes from diverse backgrounds, promoting solidarity and camaraderie. Cultural exchanges and celebrations showcased the richness of human diversity and fostered mutual understanding.

In conclusion, the year 2023 was a dynamic period filled with significant events that shaped the course of history. From political unrest to technological advancements and environmental challenges, the world witnessed the complexities of the global landscape. While obstacles remained, there were also encouraging developments and collaborative efforts towards a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for all nations. As we move forward, the lessons learned from these events serve as a reminder of the importance of collective action and cooperation to address shared global challenges.