Mavic 3 Classic Review: A Week in the Swiss Alps

Mavic 3 Classic Review: A Week in the Swiss Alps

I’ve been a devoted DJI Air 2S pilot for the last few years, and it’s been an absolute beast of a drone. When the DJI Mavic 3 Classic was released, I knew it was time for an upgrade. After spending some quality time with the Mavic 3 Classic, including a week-long test in the Swiss Alps, I’m here to share my detailed experience, technical insights, and some unexpected challenges.

Technical Specs: Mavic 3 Classic vs. Air 2S

First, let’s talk specs. The DJI Mavic 3 Classic is a powerhouse, boasting a 4/3 CMOS sensor compared to the Air 2S’s 1-inch sensor. This upgrade means better low-light performance, more dynamic range, and overall improved image quality. The Mavic 3 Classic captures 20MP stills and can shoot 5.1K video at 50fps, providing stunning clarity and detail that outpaces the Air 2S’s 5.4K at 30fps capabilities.

Key Specs of the Mavic 3 Classic:
  • Sensor: 4/3 CMOS, 20MP
  • Video Resolution: 5.1K at 50fps, 4K at 120fps
  • Flight Time: Up to 46 minutes
  • Max Speed: 21 m/s (47 mph)
  • Range: 15 km (9.3 miles)
  • Weight: 895g
In comparison, the Air 2S:
  • Sensor: 1-inch CMOS, 20MP
  • Video Resolution: 5.4K at 30fps, 4K at 60fps
  • Flight Time: Up to 31 minutes
  • Max Speed: 19 m/s (42.5 mph)
  • Range: 12 km (7.5 miles)
  • Weight: 595g
Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland at sunrise

In-Flight Experience: Handling and Performance

The Mavic 3 Classic feels incredibly refined in the air. It’s quick, responsive, and handles wind with ease, even better than the already impressive Air 2S. The larger sensor size translates to more detailed and vibrant footage, especially noticeable in challenging lighting conditions. The dynamic range is superb, capturing details in shadows and highlights that the Air 2S sometimes struggles with.

During my week in Switzerland, the Mavic 3 Classic captured the breathtaking alpine scenery beautifully. From snowy peaks to lush valleys, the drone’s enhanced imaging capabilities brought out the best in every shot. It was a delight to see the landscape through the lens of the Mavic 3 Classic.

Controllers: The Good, the Bad, and the Frustrating

When purchasing the Mavic 3 Classic, you have two controller options: the DJI RC-N1 and the DJI RC Smart Controller. I opted for the Smart Controller, expecting a seamless and enhanced experience. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

Having used the RC-N1 with my iPhone for years without a hitch, the transition to the Smart Controller has been rocky. Frequent lagging, range issues, and even a couple of mid-flight freezes have plagued my flights. On two occasions, the controller froze completely, forcing a dangerous mid-flight restart. This is especially concerning given the type of work I do, often flying around people and boats where reliability is non-negotiable.

Despite its convenience, the Smart Controller’s performance issues mean I’m reverting back to the trusty RC-N1. The good news is that the new DJI RC controller is optional, and you can stick with the RC-N1. Based on my experience, I highly recommend doing so for a more reliable and stress-free flying experience.

Smart drone controller for the mavic 3

Range and Connectivity: A Step Back?

One of the most touted features of the Mavic 3 Classic is its supposed improved range. However, in my real-world tests, it actually performed worse than my Air 2S. I suspect the new controller is the culprit, not the drone itself. This is a significant drawback, especially for long-range missions where every meter counts.

Final Thoughts: Is the Mavic 3 Classic Worth It?

The DJI Mavic 3 Classic is undeniably a step up from the Air 2S in terms of image quality, dynamic range, and overall performance. It’s a joy to fly and handles superbly. However, the Smart Controller’s issues are a significant downside. If you’re considering an upgrade, stick with the RC-N1 controller for now.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Have you used the Mavic 3? What did you think? Anyone else facing issues with the DJI RC Smart Controller? Drop a comment below and let’s get the discussion going!

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