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DJI RC Pro Review (Everything You Need to Know)

Over the past year, there has been a lot of attention on the lower-cost DJI RC and, lately, the new DJI RC2, both with 5.5″ integrated screens.

DJI RC Pro Review (Everything You Need to Know)

Now, with the release of the Mavic 3 Pro, there has been a renewed interest in the two-year-old DJI RC Pro, currently, the best remote controller you can use with the professional powerhouse.

In this article, we’ll be doing a renewed deep dive into the professional grade DJI RC Pro’s:

  • Price
  • Build quality
  • Size and Weight
  • Sustained Screen Brightness, as well as
  • Various Features of the RC
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Benefits of the DJI RC Pro

The costly RC Pro is the successor to the ever-popular, albeit equally expensive, DJI Smart Controller.

As with the original smart controller, the RC Pro caters more to advanced drone pilots and commercial operators (professionals).

Integrated Screen

The original DJI Smart Controller perfected the Android-based, 5.5″ integrated screen, as seen in the subsequent three versions of smart controllers:

  • DJI RC Pro
  • DJI RC
  • DJI RC 2

The RC Pro continues the 5.5″ theme, however, unlike the DJI RC and DJI RC 2, the RC Pro benefits from a higher output screen, with a continued 1000-nit brightness.

» MORE: Best Drone Controllers

Convenience

As noticed when looking at the RC Pro, the screen is built into the all-in-one device.

Because of this, it is not necessary to fly with a separate cellphone or electronic device.

The DJI Fly app is already loaded onto the remote controller, along with a full internet browser and other apps. All that needs to be done is sign into DJI Fly with your current DJI login or create a new one.

Since a cell phone is not required to fly with the RC Pro, getting the Mavic 3 Pro up in the air and flying takes noticeably less time than it would to go through the steps of pulling out a cell phone, attaching the cables, turning on the RC, and then opening the DJI Fly app.

With the DJI RC Pro, the process is simply turning on the Mavic 3 Pro and RC Pro and flying. Nice and quick.

Another major convenience is that because the RC Pro is an all-in-one, self-contained controller, there are no longer cables to remember to bring, meaning one less thing to cause possible issues when flying. Cables break or get lost.

The RC Pro has none required for flight.

» MORE: Does DJI Smart Controller Work with Mini 3 Pro (Explained)

Cost/Pricing

Noticeably this Cost/Pricing section does not fall under the umbrella of the Benefits of the DJI RC Pro and with good reason.

The DJI RC Pro is a very costly investment. At close to $1100.00 the RC Pro is for serious hobbyists and drone professionals.

This pricing puts the RC Pro around $800.00 more than its sibling competitor, the DJI RC.

It has to be recognized though that quality comes at a price and the RC Pro surely demands a high price for what it offers, as we’ll be discussing shortly.

DJI RC Pro - 1000-Nit display
$1,199.00 $1,009.00

High-bright display, powerful performance, efficient control, outstanding audio, and video performance.

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» MORE: Is the DJI RC Controller Worth it?

Build/Design

As a longtime user and fan of the Phantom 4 Pro series, the DJI RC Pro is reminiscent of the Phantom 4 Pro’s Plus controller in that the Plus controller was a solid piece of equipment and the RC Pro for the Mavic 3, Air 2S, and Mini 3 Pro is no different in build quality, although smaller and differently shaped.

The build quality of the RC Pro is top-notch. When in hand it is solid, with quality components.

There are currently no other DJI remote controllers, for the particular level of drones the RC Pro supports, with this build quality.

You’d have to go to the Enterprise versions for better.

The RC Pro can be compared to picking up an expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera and immediately feeling the time, thought, and effort put into building it, as opposed to picking up an inexpensive simple point-and-shoot camera.

All of the buttons have a solid and definitive “click” to them, ensuring the selected input is locked in. The same goes for the flight mode switch.

The aluminum dials along the top of the remote controller are likewise quality-made and fluid.

The build quality even passes through to the exceptional spring-loaded flight sticks, which are a joy to fly with.

There isn’t much to be said about the shape of the RC Pro, as it follows the same rectangular design aesthetic of the previous Smart Controller, which has since been duplicated by the smaller DJI RC and DJI RC 2.

» MORE: Is DJI Mavic 3 Waterproof? (Explained)

Weight/Size

The weight of the DJI RC Pro is 680g, whereas the lightest DJI Smart Controller, the DJI RC is 390g. The newer DJI RC 2 is 420g.

The DJI RC Pro actually weighs more than the beloved DJI Air 2S, about 85g more with the Air 2S weighing in at 595g.

The weight of the DJI RC Pro can indeed be felt when packed in either a travel bag or a photography backpack.

As I travel with the Air 3, DJI RC 2, Mavic 3 Pro, and RC Pro simultaneously, the weight definitely adds up.

Although just a rectangle, the controller sits in hand well and is actually slightly more comfortable than the newer DJI RCs in that it is somewhat larger in size, giving it a more stable feel.

» MORE: DJI Air 3 vs. Air 2S vs. Mini 3 Pro: Which One is Right for You?

Screen

Outside of the size and weight of the RC Pro, another noteworthy aspect of the all-in-one remote controller is the large integrated screen.

While the 5.5-inch screen is smaller than a standard non-max iPhone screen, it does have a higher sustained brightness.

The 5.5″ screen has a sustained 1000-nits of brightness. There are many who might feel that there are cell phones out there that are much brighter, however, the key here is sustained.

While those cellphone screens might initially be brighter, after extended use, the screen will dim, like with the iPhone.

So much so, in fact, they become quite unusable in bright, summerlike conditions.

As someone who regularly shoots lakefront locales for clients, in the bright Central Florida sun, none of the Apple or Android cellphones I have used were able to offer bright enough screens for sustained shoots. They all overheat, dim, and even shut down.

The RC Pro, on the other hand (along with DJI’s RC and RC 2), never once dimmed, even at full brightness, in bright, humid, and hot conditions.

The 1000-nit screen performed admirably.

Outside of the brightness of the screen, the display is FHD, and the images streamed to it are clear and fluid, running at a beautiful 1080p 60fps.

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 vs. DJI Mini 3 Pro (Which One is Right for You?)

DJI Fly

As mentioned prior, the DJI RC Pro runs a preloaded, Android version of the DJI Fly app.

Because the RC Pro is truly an Android-based smart device (just with the addition of control sticks and external antennas), the DJI Fly app looks and works exactly like the versions one would be used to using with their Android or iOS device.

As with those versions of the DJI Fly app, the RC Pro is able to update the firmware on the remote controller as well as initiate firmware updates on the drone and batteries connected to it.

Installable Apps (and How to Do It)

The DJI RC Pro, being an all-in-one flight solution, benefits from a much-loved feature: installable apps.

This is something fans of the DJI RC and DI RC 2 are missing out on.

While it is indeed nice to be able to go out flying with just a drone and remote controller, if needing to request on-the-fly LAANC approval, or check local weather conditions with apps such as ALOFT, B4UFLY, or UAV Forecast, one would generally need to pull out a cellphone.

With the ability to use downloaded apps that supply information, one would only need to have their RC Pro tethered to (sharing data with) their cell phone and then access the apps via the RC Pro for the live data.

In addition to just accessing drone-related apps, the DJI RC Pro is able to install most apps that can be accessed from the Android Store, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Installing 3rd Party Apps (Step-by-Step Guide)

There are multiple methods that can be used to install 3rd party apps on the DJI RC Pro, most of which are fairly confusing and time-consuming.

We’ll focus on one that might be a little easier to follow than others.

This method uses Google Play address links and an APK Downloader.

Step 1: While connected to either WiFi or your phone’s hotspot, go to the main home screen when in DJI Fly), by simultaneously pressing the back button and presing up on the 5d button.

dji rc pro controller

Step 2: Open Firefox

Step 3: Type Google Play in the Firefox search bar. When you find it (also shown as play.google.com/google-play), tap on it and it will open the Google Play Store.

Step 4: Once in the Google Play store page, tap the Search icon in the upper right and search for the app you’d like. In our case, we will be looking for the UAV Forecast app.

Type UAV Forecast (or the name of the app you are looking for), scroll down to it, and hit the Return key. Alternatively, press the one you’d like with your finger.

Step 5: You should see the UAV Forecast app install screen. We will not install it from here. Instead, on the bottom of the screen you’ll see the URL (link address).

Press and hold the URL. You should see COPY. Press COPY.

Now the link is copied. We will use a different app to download UAV Forecast.

Step 6: Open a new Firefox browser window by tapping the 1 (or another number in a box) at the bottom right of the screen.

Step 7: Tap the + (plus). This will open a new window.

Step 8: Type “apk downloader” for the search URL (link) and hit return.

You’ll see various options. Choose the one that says APK Downloader [Latest] Download Directly | (Evozi Official).

Step 8: At the Generate Download Link option, Paste your saved link from prior into the URL area (by tapping and holding the area and choosing Paste) and press Generate Download Link.

Step 9: Scroll down and press Click here to download (app name) now

Step 10: If asked, allow Firefox to access photos and media. Then press Download.

Step 11: The download will proceed, and then complete. Press Open.

Step 12: Firefox (for the first time opening a downloaded app), will inform you the RC Pro is not allowed to install unknown apps… Press Settings.

Step 13: Select the slider to Allow from this source.

Go back to Install unknown apps.

Step 14: Press Install.

Step 15: The App will install. Select Open to see the app.

To locate your app for usage after installation, from any screen press the Back button and press up on the 5d button. Once at the home screen right swipe.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 / Mini 3 Pro: How to Connect/Pair RC (Video)

Compatibility

Thankfully, considering the premium price of the DJI RC Pro, it is compatible with quite a few models of flagship and advanced DJI drones:

  • Mavic 3
  • Mavic 3 Cine
  • Mavic 3 Classic
  • Mavic 3 Pro
  • Mavic 3 Pro Cine
  • Air 2S
  • Mini 3 Pro

As seen recently, with the release of the Air 3, there are new DJI drones using a different video transmission system.

Time will tell if DJI allows the newer model of drones to utilize the DJI RC Pro, or if they will release yet another high-end RC for the newer lines of drones.

» MORE: DJI Air 3 vs. Mavic 3 (Here’s my Choice)

OcuSync 3.0+

As of the writing of this article, DJI has introduced an updated version of the OcuSync technology, OcuSync 4.0.

The three compatible lines of drones that currently work with the DJI RC Pro (Mavic 3, Airs 2S, and Mini 3 Pro), all utilize the OcuSync 3.0+ video transmission system.

OcuSync 3.0+ can transmit video up to a maximum range of 7.45 miles (12km).

The transmission signal supports 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequency bands which, even in 2023, provides very strong and reliable anti-interference.

These numbers mean that, whether flying a Mavic 3, Air 2S, or Mini 3 Pro, the signal is stronger and cleaner, enabling one to fly in urban areas or areas with high interference, such as in a downtown setting or highly populated subdivisions, with confidence.

» MORE: DJI OcuSync 3.0 (Explained For Beginners)

Storage Options

The DJI RC Pro has internal storage and SD card storage. The internal storage is 32GB, while an SD card of the recommended size of 512GB can be used.

Why does the DJI RC Pro allow for two separate storage options?

The first reason is that the internal storage stores 11GB of files essential for running the remote controller and is needed for the DJI Fly app, with 21GB left over for user-defined content.

The second reason is that both the internal and SD card storage options can be used for storing screenshots and screen recordings, which are great for those who use this content for making drone-related tutorials.

Additionally, other files and content can be stored on the SD cards, which be used for 3rd party apps.

» MORE: Best SD Cards for DJI Mavic 3 (Classic / Pro / Cine)

Battery

The DJI RC Pro has a 5000 mAh battery allowing it to run for 3 hours, on the maximum brightness setting.

The RC Pro is not the longest-running smart controller in the DJI lineup, as the DJI RC is the longer-lasting of the RC Pro and RC 2, with a time of 4 hours.

To charge the internal battery, it’ll take approximately 1.5 hours for a fully depleted battery, using a 15v fast charger.

The remote controller uses a standard USB-C connection.

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

Charging

Charging the DJI RC Pro is done by the following:

Step 1: Insert the USB-C end of the included USB-C cable into the USB-C port in the center of the RC Pro (between the SD card slot and the Mini HDMI port.

Step 2: Plug the standard USB end into a 65 or 100-watt PD charger.

The LED indicator lights on the face of the remote controller will flow and blink to signal charging.

» MORE: How Long to Charge DJI Mini 3 / Mini 3 Pro Controller (Explained)

Pairing

To Pair the DJI RC Pro to another aircraft (other than the one it came in a combo with, in this instance, the Mini 3 Pro):

STEP 1: Turn on the DJI RC Pro. After it has booted up, and at the DJI Fly screen main-screen, tap the Connection Guide button on the DJI Fly app main screen.

Step 2: Select your appropriate aircraft. For our purposes, the Mini 3 Pro.

Step 3: There will most likely be an error message saying “Firmware version inconsistent. Update firmware before use”. Choose Continue.

The firmware will update, after which there will be a message stating the aircraft may need to be relinked. Tap OK.

Step 4: Power on the aircraft (after removing the gimbal cover and unfolding the arms).

Step 5: After searching for the Mini 3 Pro for a few seconds and failing to locate it, you’ll be presented with a message in blue stating “Unable to connect to aircraft“? Tap this message.

Step 7: You will then be presented with a pairing option. Press Pair and the RC Pro will go into pairing mode.

Step 8: Immediately press and hold the power button on the Mini 3 Pro for 4 seconds. It will make a single loud one-beep noise, after which it will connect.

Follow these same steps to connect to any of the DJI drones supported by the RC Pro .

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro Not Pairing / Not Connecting (Why & How To Fix It)

Features

As the controller for DJI’s flagship and advanced drones, we’ll look at all of the buttons, switches, and dials on the remote controller, as well as the functions they perform, which is a lot.

The face of the DJI RC Pro

  • Return to Home button (RTH)
    • When pressed and held, the drone will automatically return to the location marked as home in the DJI Fly app. RTH options can be adjusted.
  • Power Button (press then long-press-hold to turn on)
  • Flight Pause Button
  • 5D (directional) Control Knob
  • Back Button
  • Confirmation/C3 Custom Button. Can be customized as follows:
    • Recenter/Tilt Down Gimbal
    • Follow/FPV
    • Auxiliary Lights
    • Cruise Control
    • AE Lock On/Off
    • Increase EV
    • Decrease EV
    • Camera Settings
  • C3 Button + Right Dial
    • Zoom In/Out
    • Adjust Focal Length
    • Adjust EV
    • Adjust Aperture
    • Adjust Shutter Speed
    • Adjust ISO
  • Cine, Normal, and Sport mode switch
    • Cine – slow smooth flight with dampened controls. Tailored for getting cinematic shots
    • Normal – straight out of the box, standard control speed
    • Sport – allows connected aircraft to fly at their maximum speeds. This mode turns off all obstacle-avoidance

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

The back of the DJI RC Pro

  • C1 and C2 buttons. Can be customized as follows:
    • C1 Button
      • Recenter/Tilt Gimbal Down
      • Follow/FPV
      • Auxilliary Lights
      • Cruise Control
      • AE Lock On/Off
      • Increase EV
      • Decrease EV
      • Camera Settings
      • Switch Cameras
      • Plan Waypoint Flight
    • C2 Button
      • Recenter/Tilt Gimbal Down
      • Follow/FPV
      • Auxilliary Lights
      • Cruise Control
      • AE Lock On/Off
      • Increase EV
      • Decrease EV
      • Camera Settings
      • Switch Camera
      • Plan Waypoint Flight
  • 2 Slots to store the removable control sticks
  • 2 recessed mounting holes
  • Vent

» MORE: How Do I Update DJI RC Pro? (Step-by-Step Guide)

The top of the DJI RC Pro

  • 2 scroll wheels/dials.
    • Left dial
      • Gimbal up/down
    • Right Wheel/Dial. Can be customized as follows:
      • Zoom In/Out
      • Adjust Focal Length
      • Adjust EV
      • Adjust Shutter Speed
      • Adjust ISO
  • Video record button
  • Photo shutter button
  • 2 internal/integrated antennas
  • 2 rabbit ear adjustable antennas
  • LED Indicator Lights (Installed on the top but can be clearly seen from the Front)
    • 4 green LED: 75% – 100% battery life
    • 3 green LED: 50% – 75% battery life
    • 2 green LED: 25% – 50% battery life
    • 1 green LED: 0% – 25% battery life
  • LED Status Indicator Light Blinking Modes
    • Blinks blue: Linking with Aircraft
    • Blinks yellow: Low battery warning
    • Blinks cyan: Control sticks not centered
    • Blinks red: Smart Controller temp too high/aircraft battery level low
  • LED Status Indicator Light Solid Modes
    • Solid red: Aircraft not connected
    • Solid green: Aircraft connected
    • Solid yellow: Firmware update failed

» MORE: Are DJI Controllers Interchangeable? (What You Need to Know)

Button/Dial Modifiers

Additionally, there are modifiers or button and dial combinations that perform certain functions as well and can be changed:

  • C1 Button + Right Dial
    • Zoom In/Out
    • Adjust Focal Length
    • Adjust EV
    • Adjust Shutter Speed
    • Adjust ISO
  • C2 Button + Right Dial
    • Zoom In/Out
    • Adjust Focal Length
    • Adjust EV
    • Adjust Shutter Speed
    • Adjust ISO
  • Back Button + 5D Up – Home
  • Back Button + 5D Down – Shortcut Setting
  • Back Button + 5D Left – Recent
  • Back Button + Record – Screen Record
  • Back Button + Shutter – Screenshot
  • Back Button + Left Dial Wheel – Screen Brightness
  • Back Button + Right Dial – Sound Volume

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

The bottom of the DJI RC Pro

  • SD Card Slot
    • Can accept SD cards up to 512GB
  • Mini HDMI port – can connect a field monitor for sharing the main screen
  • USB-C Port
  • Mounting Holes – for lanyard clasps, etc.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro – How to Change Controller Settings (Explained)

Is the DJI RC Pro Better Than The DJI RC and DJI RC 2?

Looking at the DJI RC Pro from the standpoint of a part 107 certified drone operator running a multi-drone business, the RC Pro is better than any of the remote controllers out there, short of DJI’s enterprise specific controllers.

But, looking at this objectively, different people will see the DJI RC Pro differently.

For the casual hobbyiest that flies maybe a few times a month, the DJI RC Pro might not be appealing to them with such a high price tag.

Conversley, those who fly regularly, or those who rely on their drones for business purposes, the RC Pro could be the best option out there.

From a strictly feature perspective the DJI RC pro is indeed better than both the DJI RC and RC 2.

The RC Pro is 300-nits brighter than either controller.

This means that where the threshold of visibility for the RC and RC 2 in bright conditions might be in question, there is no contest with the RC Pro visibility, as it is clearly seen in all of the conditions I personally have put it through in Florida, without a matte screen protector or hood.

Then, there’s the ability to install and use 3rd party applications. While the process to install these apps is a fairly long and involved one, once it is done a few times, it gets much easier.

With the 3rd party apps, the RC Pro can finally be an all-in-one solution when flying, able to access and use the drone-related apps many of us have come to rely.

Additionally, in this regards, the controller can be used to binge media or whatever someone might want to do on it, similar to any Android or iOS smart device.

The added buttons also add quite a bit of flexibility, especially when used in conjunction with each other in combine sequences.

Once using this, it is hard to go back to “regular” controllers that do not have as much customization and flexibility options.

» MORE: DJI Avata Controller Options

Disadvantages of the DJI RC Pro

There is one glaring disadvantage to the RC Pro. That would price. Yes, the DJI RC Pro is well built and equally useful piece of equipment.

However, its high pricetag may keep some at bay.

When on a limited budget, one might opt to add to their fleet and buy a new drone instead of purchasing a DJI RC Pro.

A new Mini 3 Pro or even a standard standalone Air 3 with an RC-N2 controller and 1 battery can be purchased at the price of a new RC Pro.

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)
$909.00 $799.95

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone

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  • 48MP Photo
  • 34-min Flight Time
  • Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing, Integrated RC and screen
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DJI Air 3 (RC-N2)
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  • 46-Min Max Flight Time
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03/07/2024 11:46 pm GMT

Another disadvantage to buying an RC Pro, which is no fault of its own, is its being limited to the Mavic 3 line, Mini 3 Pro and Air 2S.

As mentioned earlier, there is no indication or hint that DJI will add backwards compatibility to the RC Pro.

However, if in the future the RC Pro works with the DJI Air 3 or newly released drone lines, limited compatibility would be a moot point.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Not Pairing/Connecting (Why and How to Fix It)

Is the DJI RC Pro Worth It?

Absolutely, without a doubt, especially for those either looking for a pro-level controller for business purposes or those who are very serious about flying their DJI drones.

The sheer amount of features on the RC Pro, coupled with it’s ergonomics and precise control make it a serious contender for those with the budget to acquire one, even being two years old.

» MORE: DJI Air 3 Beginners Guide (Step-by-Step Guide)