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DJI RC-N1 Review (Everything You Need to Know)

Good day readers! Today, we’re going to be looking at the DJI RC-N1 controller. Having received this controller with a few aircraft now, I’d say I’m pretty familiar with it.

DJI RC-N1 Review (Everything You Need to Know)
Image: Dan Bayne

It is the stock controller or standard controller for several of DJI’s aircraft. This controller may not have what has currently become all the rage, and for good reason – namely, a built-in screen.

It does have what you want, where you want it. If you want to know what that means, you’ll find that below.

As a seasoned flyer, there are some things this controller offers that I can’t live without. We’ll cover that, too! It’s all found below, so let’s get on to it already!

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Pros and Cons

When we think of products within the realm of drones, there is not one signal product that is able to offer everything a pilot wants or needs. Not a one!

This may be by design or just technological ability. It’s hard to say. Most likely by design though.

The DJI RC-N1 controller is one of those indicators we have of this. The DJI RC-N1 controller has one pro above all else, which makes it special, unique even.

Using a secondary device for a view screen allows you to use third-party apps such as Litchi, Dronedeploy, and Pix4D, and you get the idea.

You would otherwise have to jump to the DJI RC Pro to gain that ability if looking to go with a different controller. With the cost involved to make that jump, it’s quite the pro indeed.

Another pro found with the DJI RC-N1 controller is better range. The DJI RC has a range of 10 kilometers, and the DJI RC-N1 controller has an increased range of 12 kilometers.

I know it doesn’t seem like much of an increase, but what we need to remember is range is not always distance, but penetration. This means maintaining a signal when obstacles are around.

Here, having a better overall range means being able to maintain that connection better in high obstacle areas.

Another pro that we have with the DJI RC-N1 Controller is better, longer battery life. Unlike the limited 4-hour time per charge with the DJI RC controller, the DJI RC-N1 offers an 8-hour battery.

Those were some pretty good pros for you to justify having the DJI RC-N1 around in your gear bag. It’s not all peaches and cream, however. As with many drones and drone-related products, there are some cons to the DJI RC-N1 controller.

The most obvious one is the lack of a built-in screen.

In an era where most pilots have found that convenience to be enough to move away from the non-screened controller, it’s a real con for the DJI RC-N1 controller. It is true it does that it takes a longer time to setup and takedown.

In my opinion, this next one is huge – the DJI RC-N1 controller does not have a control wheel for the zoom feature found on the drone systems it operates. As I said, that one is huge.

I find having that small wheel so that move can be performed outside of the app in a more controlled way to be quite the drawback for what could otherwise be a near-perfect controller.

✅ Pros

  • Extended Range
  • 3rd Party App Accessibility
  • Longer Battery Life
  • Lightweight and Portable

❌ Cons

  • No Built-in Screen
  • No Zoom Control Wheel

» MORE: DJI RC vs DJI RC-N1 (All You Need to Know)

Quick verdict

Although the DJI RC-N1 controller may seem like the underdog in the controller game, there are good reasons for having this controller bouncing around your gear bag. Believe me when I say, I get it!

Having that built-in screen is so enticing. I absolutely enjoy the ease of using the DJI RC controller. It’s just not capable of doing everything that I need it to.

As a professional pilot, I don’t always get to pick and choose the apps I use when flying. Some jobs I get requested to do require the use of 3rd party apps. That’s all there is to it. Apps such as Dronedeploy or other mapping apps.

If I am unable to use those apps, then the job doesn’t get done, by me anyway. No, that client will simply call someone who can take care of their needs. The DJI RC-N1 controller allows for the use of such apps as it is using a 3rd party device for a viewscreen.

It is a much better option than that of the more costly RC Pro controller which retails for around $1,200.

Also, having a longer-lasting battery for those longer flight days is invaluable at times when you need to keep flying and don’t have time to recharge. Certainly, it is a plus on those days.

As well, we have the range, and I have dealt with this one personally. As someone who flies in a mountainous region, having a strong solid link between the aircraft and the controller is a must.

I have found that the range of the DJI RC controller is a bit lacking when directly compared to that of the DJI RC-N1 controller, to the point where I have had to switch controllers to get the shot I needed.

So, if you ever need just a little bit further or to get through some heavier interference, the DJI RC-N1 does deliver. The above reason alone is a very good one for having this controller around.

» MORE: Can You Fly DJI Drones Without a Controller? (Explained)

Who is it for?

Mini 2 SE controller

Who is the DJI RC-N1 controller for? Well, anyone who wants to use apps other than the DJI Fly would be number one on the list, I suppose. That one capacity is one that most professional and semi-professional pilots will need at some point.

For the hobbyist pilot, this still has an effect, just not as prominent, as many pilots out there are users of Litchi, a very popular flight app alternative to the DJI Fly app.

Another type of person this controller could be for is the one who plans on flying longer than the other controller’s ability; having a longer battery life per charge is always a plus.

To be fair, though, your viewing device probably won’t last as long as the DJI RC-N1 controller will per charge, so there’s a shortened downtime somewhere in the mix due to needing to recharge.

The range is another one that places this controller in the needed mix, as it will maintain a better connection in high-density areas or going the distance. In comparison at least to that of the DJI RC controller.

» MORE: DJI Mini 2 SE Controller (All You Need to Know)

Product Overview

With upgraded controls and a new ergonomic design, the DJI RC-N1 fits very comfortably in your hands, providing a sense of intuitive control over every movement of your drone, while maintaining a comfortable grip, from precise cinematic navigation to smooth gimbal control.

The DJI RC-N1 remote controller connects to many of the current line of DJI drones, such as the DJI Mini 3, Mini 3 Pro, Mavic 3 Classic, Mavic 3 Cine Premium Combo, DJI Mavic 3 Fly More Combo, DJI Mavic 3, Mavic Air 2, Mini 2, and Air 2S. 

» MORE: DJI RC-N1 Controller – What Drones Are Compatible with It? (Explained)

It offers better range and compatibility with a wider range of drones compared to the DJI RC controller. How does the DJI RC-N1 achieve all of this? By using cutting-edge advanced AI algorithms that ensure optimal flight performance and stability.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Oh no, the DJI RC-N1 also offers a wide range of DJI popular intelligent flight modes and customization options, empowering you to truly unleash your creative potential, with perfect control.

RC-N1 Remote Controller
$130.00

Original Mini 3 Pro/Mavic 3/Mavic Air 2/Air 2S/Mavic Mini 2 Remote Controller RC(Model RC231) for DJI Mini 3 Pro/Mavic 3/Mavic Air 2/Air 2S/ Mavic Mini 2 (Excludes Retail Box) 2.

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03/04/2024 12:27 am GMT

Personal Opinion

In my own opinion, the 3rd party app thing is what clinches it for me.

There are just times when I need to use an app that’s not the DJI Fly app. As the stock non-screen controller, it’s the most affordable option for that need.

Although there is not a pilot out there without the DJI RC Pro controller on their dream list, it’s a hard expense to swallow, especially as it seems we’ve moved away from the DJI 03 transmission system already into the DJI 04.

In DJI fashion, they will eventually introduce aircraft that fill that newest transmission system. There are already rumors of a DJI FVP 2 system, starting to make its way around.

That, and the newest DJI offerings like the DJI Mini 4 Pro and the Air 3 already utilize this new system. This will isolate the DJI 03 systems, as shown in the list of compatible systems in the product overview above.

Basically, this means there is very little likelihood that the DJI RC controller would ever receive the ability to run 3rd party apps. I actually don’t believe it can without an operating system, which it lacks.

It will probably work out similarly to that of the DJI Crystal Sky tablet, a device that could have been so useful but was left forgotten by the manufacturer as they moved forward in a different direction. I’m not bitter; wait, yes, I am bitter.

I still own my Crystal Sky and DJI, you shafted all of us on that tablet. You know you did. That tablet could have been a pilot’s dream device had you just let it.

That’s the thing, though; when you’re dealing with such an innovative company, they are always moving forward even after you’ve run out of breath trying to keep up. However, sometimes that means they move quickly beyond even some of their best products.

The DJI 03 transmission systems are currently in some of DJI’s best at this time.

That makes it seem like a huge oversight that one of the lowest cost controllers, such as the DJI RC-N1, has an ability of such substantial importance, the option of running third-party apps, while it’s not available in a more costly alternative such as the DJI RC controller.

As it is, I am much more inclined to use the two controllers at a total cost of under $500 over the much more costly option of the DJI RC Pro at $1,200. Call me frugal, I guess. It just seems more logical.

» MORE: DJI Avata Controller Options

Features Breakdown

Image: Droneblog

When it comes to features with the DJI RC-N1, there’s not much more than a standard controller to be seen at first glance. It is just that – the standard stock controller.

It is well thought out in its design and feel.

Constructed of hearty materials, it feels good and comfortable. Containing 2x 2600mAh Lithium-Ion 18650 battery, it can operate for up to 6 to 8 hours on a single charge.

Operating in either 2.4 or 5.8 dual band frequencies, it offers an impressive amount of transmitter power, equaling to a 12km range.

This additional range can be a game-changer when it comes to capturing shots in remote locations or covering larger areas.

In terms of design, the RC-N1 features a sleek and compact build that is lightweight and easy to carry.

» MORE: DJI Fly App (Everything You Need to Know)

Conclusion

When looking at the spectrum of controllers available, the DJI RC-N1 may not rank as the most desirable of the three options. It is, after all, the lowest cost of the three, and that usually translates to being the worst option.

That’s just not so in this case. Now, I harped on it already a lot, I know. I just can’t undersell the importance of the third-party app compatibility that the DJI RC-N1 provides over the higher-cost DJI RC or the DJI RC Pro.

Now, don’t misread that, as the DJI RC Pro does indeed offer the third-party app use option; it’s only the DJI RC that lacks that ability.

Regarding the cost factor between the DJI RC-N1 and the DJI RC Pro – well, there’s a thousand-dollar difference there. The DJI RC-N1 also beats out the DJI RC in battery life and range. Both are important factors in any controller choice, for sure.

The best option I have found overall is to have both. The DJI RC-N1 and the DJI RC. With both, I have the best of – you guessed it – both worlds.

I have the convenience of the built-in screen and the versatility to run the apps I need beyond that of the DJI fly app.

Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!

» MORE: DJI RC 2 Review (Everything You Need to Know)