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DJI RC-N2 Review (Everything You Need to Know)

The only barrier between us and a dronepocalypse is the controllers controlling these drones. Eh, no, I’m joking here.

DJI RC-N2 Review (Everything You Need to Know)
Image credit: Dan Bayne

But without these controllers, we wouldn’t be able to fly our drones, right? And yet, manufacturers build these radio transmitters with different drone compatibilities.

However, for DJI, it takes years until a new controller is developed, and they don’t do it unless they have a reason, such as a technological advancement or a new type of drone that requires new controllers (e.g., FPV).

Last year, we had the first major technological leap in DJI drones in years by releasing a new powerful video transmitter, the OcuSync 4, or O4.

To use this, they had to develop new controllers compatible with this technology, such as the DJI RC 2 and the one we’re reviewing today, the new DJI RC-N2.

What is this controller like? How is it different from the previous version, DJI RC-N1? 

Let’s take a dive together and find out everything there is to know about this new DJI controller, the DJI RC-N2.

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DJI RC-N2: What we know about it

Image credit: Dan Bayne

The DJI RC-N2 is the successor to the N1 version, which has been on the market for many years and is compatible with a handful of drones, from the DJI Mini 2 to the Mavic 3 Pro (OcuSync 2.0 to 3+). 

Basically, almost all non-FPV consumer DJI drones released in the past four years were compatible with the RC-N1. 

But not anymore. 

The DJI RC-N2 is a simple, slick controller. To receive a live feed from a drone, you have to attach a mobile phone compatible with the DJI Fly App installed.

The same app will communicate with the controller via a transmission cable connected to the phone. This cable could be lightning (iPhones), USB-C (Androids or the latest iPhone), or Micro USB.

Different tablets can be attached to the same new RC-N2 controller, but additional accessories are needed to mount them. 

DJI kept the previous design. In fact, they haven’t changed it at all, which makes it a bit confusing if you have both controllers – which one is the DJI RC-N1 and which is the N2?

There are a few distinctive markings that’ll help you recognize it, though. We’ll get into that later.

For now, the main reason you would need this new controller is to make it compatible with the latest video transmission system in DJI drones, the DJI O4.

Now, another important thing we have to mention is that the controller acts not only as a transmitter but also as a receiver, the same as the OcuSync transmission system in a DJI drone.

It transmits radio signals from the pilot’s input and receives video feeds and data displayed on the phone’s screen via the DJI Fly App.

Less intelligent controllers, such as the ones for FPV drones, only transmit data and never receive a live image, which instead goes to the goggles or an FPV monitor. 

Now, we have used DJI drones and have these controllers to send/receive data and images, but let’s take a step back and remember that this is a brilliant and advanced feature found in controllers nowadays.

✅ Pros

  • The controller is lightweight and portable
  • Durable, feels sturdy in hand
  • Excellent and improved transmission range over the previous version
  • Long battery life
  • Compatible with 3rd party apps (Which you can install on the phone)
  • Smooth joysticks, feels premium 

❌ Cons

  • Does not have an incorporated screen
  • Still no zoom wheel
  • Similar design to the first version

Note: The certified code model for this DJI RC-N2 is RC151

» MORE: DJI Transmission System (Everything You Need to Know)

Quick Verdict

Image credit: Dan Bayne

If you’re in a rush, let me get some definitive answers and shared opinions about this controller. 

With the release of the DJI RC-N2, we don’t have much of a choice when looking for alternatives if we don’t like it to fly a compatible drone. The only alternative is the DJI RC 2, the controller with a screen, the successor of the DJI RC.

No other controllers are currently compatible with drones with the OcuSync 4 transmission system. 

So we pretty much don’t have many choices here. 

But here’s the thing. The controller is superb. The N1 was a definite success in providing the ultimate experience of controlling so many compatible drones. Maybe the better one was the DJI RC Pro, but it had limited compatibility.

Now, with the RC-N2, we have better success. The controller has excellent range, is very responsive, feels good in hand, and combats interference better than before.

Moreover, the battery is never-ending, and so far, no issues have been reported. The joysticks also feel premium, but I’m not sure if there’s an improvement over the N1’s joysticks. At least, I don’t feel any.

If you can grab it, take it – but be aware that unless you have a compatible drone, you’ll have no use for the controller.

Whether you like it or not, we will probably have to stick with this one for many drones to be released down the road if they come with the DJI OcuSync 4. 

It is possible that it might become cross-compatible with the OcuSync 3.0 or earlier drones in the future, but we can’t predict this. Since its release, the RC-N1 has become compatible with three OcuSync versions.

Maybe the DJI RC-N2 will be compatible with a future OcuSync 5.0? Or backward compatibility? Who knows?

» MORE: DJI RC vs. DJI RC 2 (In-Depth Comparison)

Who is it for?

Image credit: Dan Bayne

From beginners to professionals, the DJI RC-N2 will fit all hands.

If you are new to flying drones and you get one compatible with the O4, this controller will be the one to look for unless you want to spend extra money for the DJI RC 2 (with screen).

The same is true for beginners, and even if you’re a professional drone photographer or commercial drone pilot, this controller (as well as the RC 2) will still be the one to use with newer drones. 

But here’s the thing I love about the RC-N2, the same as with the N1: You can connect almost anything to it – so, whether it’s an iPhone to have the live view or a professional-grade commercial tablet, you won’t be limited to a single incorporated screen. 

Do you feel like sharing the screen with a TV or going live on YouTube? That’s your phone doing it, not the controller, so you’re not limited.

So yes, this controller will fit most hands and is recommended for anyone avoiding getting a DJI RC 2 while having drones with the OcuSync 4 technology.

» MORE: How to Fly DJI Air 3 Drone (With DJI RC 2)

Build & Design

Image credit: Dan Bayne

As we previously mentioned, the design is barely any different from the first version of this remote controller. And the build quality remains great and sturdy. It does not feel like it is made from any cheap plastics or low-quality components.

We guess that DJI kept with the same design as with the previous RC-N1 design success; I don’t think there was anything to improve, although some pilots may have different opinions.

The controller fits well into the hand, and it has a rubbery finish on the backside grip to avoid slipping or dropping the controller. The buttons on the back are also easily accessible at your fingertips, the same as with the first controller.

As for the color model, it is absolutely the same as before.

If you’re looking to differentiate the DJI RC-N2 from the DJI RC-N1, two things stand out:

  • The RC-N1 has Cine/Normal/Sport modes written out, whereas the RC2 has C/N/S letters instead. 
  • The RC-N2 RTH Button has the H letter with the landing sign above instead of a 3D representation of a landing pad, and the “pause/hover” button is more orangey.

Of course, there are a few other minor details, but that’s what I’m looking for so as not to be confused with the previous version.

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

Weight & Size

Image credit: Dan Bayne

The controller has a similar weight as the previous one and is around 375 grams. Interestingly, if we compare it with the DJI Mini 4 Pro, it is 50% heavier than the drone.

But that’s not an issue, as your hands won’t get tired from holding it like with a TX16S FPV transmitter.

Its dimensions are 104×149×45 (L×W×H), which underlines the fact that it’s a small type of controller. 

It’s neither bulky nor heavy, so it’s ideal for transportation and carrying around in a backpack when you travel with a drone. It doesn’t occupy much space and can be placed almost anywhere.

Also, the sticks can be removed and can even be replaced with 3rd party ones if you’re looking for something different.

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

Price & Availability

Image credit: Dan Bayne

The DJI RC-N2 is now available to purchase only with the DJI Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 drones. 

While the DJI RC 2 can be bought as a standalone controller from DJI, Amazon, and other third-party marketplaces, you won’t be able to get your hands on a DJI RC-N2 unless it is sold second-hand by someone who has had any of these drones before.

At least not for now.

Therefore, it will be difficult to highlight a price, but it shouldn’t be too far out as compared to the first version, the N1, which can be bought for a bit over $100.

The controller also should be available to acquire with the Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 in countries where these aforementioned drones are released, which is more or less at a global level with very few exceptions.

» MORE: Best Drone Controllers

Drones compatible with DJI RC-N2

We probably gave you a glimpse before, but at the time of writing this article, only two drones are fully compatible with the DJI RC-N2: The DJI Mini 4 Pro and the DJI Air 3.

Both these drones have the new Ocusync 4.0 transmission system, which is the reason these new controllers have been released.

Knowing the history with DJI, it is likely just a matter of time before more drones with the DJI O4 will appear on the market, and both the RC-N2 and RC 2 controllers will be fully compatible.

However, at this time, there is no backward compatibility with previous drones from earlier Ocusync generations.

» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Air 3 (Here’s My Choice)

How long does the battery last?

Image credit: Dan Bayne

The DJI RC-N2 battery is not any different from the earlier version, the RC-N1. 

The RC-N2 has 18.72 Wh of power with two 3.6 V 2600 mAh lithium batteries of 18650 format. 

With this controller, you can use it continuously for up to 6 hours and, if it is charging or providing power to the mobile phone connected, for up to 3.5-4 hours. 

This operating time is similar to the previous controller version, so we see no changes here.

Of course, as with any lithium battery, the length of the controller battery depends on the operating weather (temperature), interferences, the device’s charging, and the drone’s distance.

» MORE: DJI Avata Controller Options

How to charge DJI RC-N2

Image credit: Dan Bayne

To charge this controller is no different from the first version. But how do we do it, and what charger will you need?

When you get your drone and perhaps in the future when this controller will be available for sale separately, you should receive an additional USB-A to USB-C cable, which is the data transfer and charging cable.

  1. Connect the charging cable USB-A to a wall socket or charging port and the other end USB-C to the RC-N2 controller.
  2. The controller has four green LEDs that should start blinking in sequential order.
  3. When the controller is charged, disconnect the charging cable from the controller. You can also check the RC-N2 battery by single pressing the power button.

Note: The controller does not have to be powered on to charge. You can also use a USB-C to USB-C cable to charge the controller. Depending on the charger, the DJI RC-N2 will take a maximum of 2 hours and 30 minutes to charge from empty to full.

» MORE: Do Drone Batteries Auto-Discharge if Not Used?

DJI RC-N2 transmission range and operating frequencies

Image credit: Dan Bayne

The main reason we have a new upgraded controller is to increase its transmission power and combat interference, hence allowing new drones to fly better at long range with a crisper live image and lower latency.

The DJI RC-N2 is extraordinary at accomplishing this. Just the fact that the old version, DJI RC-N1, which had the OcuSync 2.0 and was able to fly drones miles and miles away without issues, will put this new controller way ahead of its time.

The exact transmission range of the controller cannot be altogether known. It’s calculated only together with the type of drone linked and its current transmission system. 

Here, we have the DJI Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 drones (OcuSync 4). Therefore, here’s what we know:

Both the DJI Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 with DJI RC-N2 (Ocusync 4.0, both the controller and drones) can fly for up to 12.4 miles or 20km in the USA (FCC) and 6.2 miles (10km) in the EU, China, and Japan (CE, SRRC, and MIC).

Those are restrictions in limiting the transmission power of drones and different devices to combat heavy interference.

Although these transmission distances are only speculative, you probably can never fly these drones that far – not only is it entirely illegal to fly out of the line of sight, but the batteries won’t last that long.

We also have to take into consideration interference that can affect a drone’s flight distance.

Therefore, even minimizing the flight distance due to interference and battery life, these two drones with the DJI RC-N2 can fly a lot farther than most drones can and definitely farther away than we ever need.

Now, the DJI RC-N1 has two transmitter operating frequencies: 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz (specifically 2.400-2.4835 GHz and 5.725-5.850 GHz).

On the other side, the DJI RC-N2 has three transmission frequencies: 

  • 2.4000-2.4835 GHz
  • 5.170-5.250 GHz
  • 5.725-5.850 GHz

In some countries where this is allowed, the new controller also communicates with the drone on a 5.1-5.2 GHz spectrum. From our research, it is possible for this spectrum to be active with the RC-N2 only in Europe at this time. We have yet to confirm this.

This brings a lot more transmission power, a stable link, and the ability to combat interference better than ever before.

Also, the dBm (VTX transmission power) has been increased overall in all territories and is greatly influenced by the drone to which this remote controller is linked.

» MORE: Long Range Drones: Ultimate Guide

How to pair DJI RC-N2 to a DJI drone

Image credit: Dan Bayne

So, if you managed to get your RC-N2 either secondhand, a new one for your drone, or a new drone, but you kept the controller, you will have to re-link or bind it again to fly the drone.

Indeed, as both drones can use the same controller, maybe you don’t want to carry two RC-N2 controllers if you have the Mini 4 Pro and Air 3. 

Well, how do you link it? 

Basically, it follows the same procedure as with previous drones and remote controllers. It goes as follows:

  1. Attach your mobile phone to the controller with the appropriate cable.
  2. Power on the remote controller by short pressing then long pressing the power button.
  3. Enter the DJI Fly App. In the lower right corner, you should see a button “CONNECTION GUIDE.” Tap on it, and from the scrollable menu, choose either DJI Mini 4 Pro or DJI Air 3, depending on the drone you want to link your controller with.
  4. After selecting, tap “pair.” The pairing process will start.
  5. The next step is to turn on your DJI Mini 4 Pro or Air 3. The LED from the controller will blink in succession, and the drone will beep for about four seconds. After it stops, the DJI RC-N2 should be linked with your new drone.

Note: Remember to remove the gimbal cover before turning on the drone

» MORE: How to Pair the DJI Mini 4 Pro (With Pictures & Video)

DJI RC-N2 accessories

Image credit: Dan Bayne

Because of the similarities between the DJI RC-N1 and RC-N2, expect that many accessories previously compatible with the N1 will also be cross-compatible with the N2.

But before hopping on Amazon and purchasing only N1 accessories, it is best to either confirm with the sellers or manufacturers or wait for an update of the product to verify its compatibility.

So here’s what we recommend to get for this controller. 

» MORE: 27 Best Drone Accessories (I Can’t Live Without)

Tablet Holder Mount

The first thing I always focus on is acquiring a tablet holder mount. Luckily, this accessory is well-compatible with both the RC-N1 and RC-N2 controllers.

I don’t really like to stare at my iPhone screen when flying my drones. I like big screens, and flying a drone with this immersive experience is game-changing, not only for seeing more details on the screen but also for a captivating flight to enjoy the process as much as I can.

Tablet Holder Mount

Folding and putting away this tablet holder does not affect the contraction of the original built-in phone holder.

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03/07/2024 01:31 am GMT

Protective Silicone Cover Case

I have an obsession – ok, I have a problem with all my devices to wrap them in covers and stickers – I don’t know why.

But I like to keep my stuff safe, so yes, I do have several silicon covers for some of my remote controllers, covers for iPhone, iPad, etc.

It takes no space, is cheap, and is the best way to keep your controller safe during transportation, in case of impact, and to avoid scratching it.

Here is something similar to what I use.

Protective Silicone Cover Case for DJI RC-N1/RC-N2

HeiyRC Protective Silicone Cover Case for DJI RC-N1/RC-N2,for DJI Mini 4 Pro/Air 3/MINI 2/Mavic 3/Mini 3 Pro Controller Collision Protector (Grey)

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03/07/2024 04:41 pm GMT

Extended Control Sticks

Maybe it’s just me because I come from an FPV background, and the way I fly FPV drones is the pinch method on my joysticks. For this reason, the sticks have to be longer than usual for a complete pinch grab. 

Nevertheless, I got used to flying a standard drone this way as well. From more stick movement to better accuracy, longer sticks can sometimes find their way onto our controllers.

And don’t get me wrong, I lose controller sticks all the time. It’s always better to have some spare; I always do.

Extended RC-N1 and RC-N2 Remote Controller Stick

LYONGTECH Extended RC-N1 RC-N2 Remote Controller Stick Thumb for DJI Mavic 3,Mini 3 Pro,Mini 2,Mavic Air 3/2/2S,Smart Controller,Metal Aluminum Control Joystick Rocker Drone Accessories

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03/07/2024 04:41 pm GMT

Is it worth buying the DJI RC-N2?

Image credit: Dan Bayne

If we’re referring to the DJI RC-N2 quality and performance, indeed, it’s a controller that will make a difference for your new OcuSync 4.0 fleet with performance improvements over the previous version.

But as we cannot buy this remote controller as new separately (at least no as for now), we have to look at it from another perspective. 

You may want to acquire an RC-N2 if you already have a Mini 4 Pro or Air 3 drone without a remote controller or simply enjoy its perks when you buy this new drone kit.

However, the real question would be if this is worth using instead of the DJI RC 2. In that case, it all depends. 

It gives you greater flexibility, is cheaper, is better to carry around, and is compatible with many phones and tablets; some of us are aiming to use the RC-N2 with a commercial-grade tablet, offering you performance, brightness, and screen size way above what the RC 2 can offer.

Personally, I like to be flexible and use my iPad with the N1 and N2 controllers – it simply works too great. But I’m also leaning towards the DJI RC 2 just for simplicity.

» MORE: Does DJI RC Pro Work with Air 3 (Answered)