Now that Skydio has exited the consumer drone business and will never sell me the miniature self-flying drone of my dreams, I’m looking to DJI instead. The fancy marketing for its just-announced $759 DJI Mini 4 Pro suggests we’re at least on the way — because it’s the first Mini with omnidirectional obstacle sensing.

“Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS) ensures additional safety by enabling automatic braking and bypassing during flight,” the company’s website reads. Video by DJI / GIF by The Verge

2022’s Mini 3 Pro could already see forwards, backwards, and down, but… we crashed it into a tree pretty fast. The binocular vision in every direction is a potentially huge upgrade if it works well, and the smaller wingspan compared to an Air could also help it fit between trees and/or branches.

I can’t vouch for its tree-dodging yet, but Vjeran now has one to test:

In many ways, the Mini 4 Pro largely brings the Mini 3 Pro up to parity with the larger, pricier $1,099 DJI Air 3. It already had a similar main camera (1/1.3-inch, 48-megapixel, f/1.7 with 82-degree FOV) and similar battery life of over 40 minutes, but now adds the omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, 100fps 4K shooting (and 200fps 1080p shooting), and Ocusync 4 video transmission for 20 kilometers of range (up from 12 km) that the Air already had.

Image: DJI

As with the Mini 3 Pro, you can expect a solid half-hour battery life from the included battery or nearly 40 minutes with the bigger “Intelligent Flight Battery Plus,” though the latter’s not sold in Europe this time since it bumps the weight above the allowed 249 grams. And while DJI’s also advertising “True Vertical Shooting” as a big selling point of the Mini 4 Pro, the Mini 3 Pro (and the $469 Mini 3, for that matter) already have it.

The Mini 3 is also DJI’s affordable battery champ with four to six more minutes on a battery charge, depending on which battery you insert.

Image: DJI

You’re still looking at an Air or better if you need more speed, as it ascends and descends twice as fast as the Mini’s pokey five meters per second. (The Air’s only 25 percent faster on the straights.) And of course, the Air has the second f/2.8 70mm-equivalent telephoto camera for more flexibility.

I’d recommend loading up the Mini 4 Pro, Mini 3 Pro and the DJI Air 3 in DJI’s side-by-side comparison website — it’s nice to see the differences directly.

If you do have a Mini 3 Pro or are stocking up on accessories, you’ll be happy to hear the Mini 4 Pro uses the same batteries — but it needs a new controller because of the upgraded Ocusync 4 video transmission.

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