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DJI RC Review (Everything You Need to Know)

The temperatures may be dropping, so let’s warm you up with this hot item. The DJI RC Controller!

Image: Dan Bayne

I have had the DJI RC Controller paired with my DJI Mavic 3 for a year now. I sometimes also pair it with my Air 2S.

As a pilot who’s flown consumer and enterprise-level systems, I really can’t say too many good words about the DJI RC controller. I’ll give it a try, though.

Here it goes. It’s great, nifty, groovy, first-rate, fab, peachy, fantabulous, awesome, swell, superb, dandy, excellent, stellar, fantastic, first-class, marvelous, fabulous, top-shelf, jim-dandy – alright, that’s drawing the line there. When you are reaching jim-dandy, really! It’s time to stop.

What the DJI RC has done, though, is increase my workflow, taking significantly less time to set up and put away before and after a flight.

Now, in the time I’ve been flying with it, I have noticed some drawbacks. Keep reading, and I’ll tell you more about my time with the DJI RC controller, so you can know if it’s the right choice for you.

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Pros and Cons

Before we get going, we should take a look at the Pros and Cons of the DJI RC controller, as there are both aspects to it.

✅ DJI RC Controller Pros

  • Long battery life. Lasts for up to 4hrs on a single charge.
  • Good Screen Brightness. 700nits of brightness, works well even in direct sunlight.
  • Nice ergonomic design. Fit the hands well and remains comfortable for long periods.
  • High-Quality Build Feel. Just feels good and of nice quality materials.
  • Zoom wheel included. Best feature on any controller.

❌ DJI RC Controller Cons

  • Interior Antennas. Somewhat reduced range.
  • Small internal memory of 8 GB. That’s onboard the controller, but it’s able to work with a larger SD card.
  • No 3rd party apps/Only DJI Fly App. You can switch to the stock controller and viewing device for 3rd party app use.
  • No back Button, swipe only. What can I say? I like buttons.

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

Quick Verdict

The DJI RC Controller is an add-on controller that works with several DJI model aircraft.

Introduced with the DJI Mini 3 initially, it soon became an upgradeable option for other drone systems as well. It has a lightweight body of only 390 grams, a 5.5-inch FHD display, 700nit brightness, and ultra-long battery life.

It also features new dual-spring control sticks, to provide a more comfortable flying experience and better control.

It supports the advanced DJI O3+ video transmission technology. Any DJI aircraft working with the 03+ system will pair with this controller, such as the DJI Mavic line, the Air 2S, and the DJI Mini 3.

With its powerful functionality, it improves workflow. It did mine anyway, and aerial creation has never been easier. It really is the best controller for the price that you could get for your DJI drone that runs the 03+ transmission system.

Don’t just take my word for it – read this great article here on Droneblog.

» MORE: Is the DJI RC Controller Worth it?

Who is it for?

Mini 3 with DJI RC – Image: Dan Bayne

In most cases, there is a focus in the marketplace to target the audience with what they may be looking for.

Not the DJI RC controller; it is meant for anyone who has or plans to have any of the drones that pair with it. If you have or plan to purchase a DJI Mavic 3 system, a DJI Mini 3 system, or the DJI Air 2S, this is the controller for you.

If you don’t have or plan to have one of the above-listed systems, then the DJI RC controller won’t work for you.

There are additional options for other systems, so you may be able to get a similar style controller at least. This controller is for anyone looking to ditch the cord, and no, I don’t mean your cable provider, although it might be time to consider that.

I mean the need to have a cord connecting to a phone or tablet. This controller is for anyone who wants to not have to use their phone or tablet as a view screen. Take steps out of your setup and take down.

You won’t go wrong by upgrading to the DJI RC controller.

By reading this review and by reading the attached articles, you should feel confident in your decision as to whether the DJI RC controller is the controller for you.

Once you make your purchase, you will be joining a long list of satisfied DJI Pilots who, before this controller came out, could only dream of a controller this good.

The DJI RC Controller is perfect for the hobbyist pilot and professional alike who wants to ditch the cord and stop having to bring an extra device just to work as a display. With its lightweight build you can be comfortable flying and holding it for hours, or at least till it needs recharged anyway.

Of course, you’ll want to be sure before buying the DJI RC controller that it is the right one for your DJI drone.

Here is a list of the compatible drones for the DJI RC controller:

If your drone is not listed above, then the DJI RC will not work with your aircraft.

A good example of that would be the New DJI Mini 4 Pro and its compatible later-generation DJI RC-2 controller. It is easily distinguishable from the DJI RC by the exterior antennas.

As it uses DJI’s newest 04 transmission system, it is not compatible with any other system including that of DJI RC Controller’s 03 transmission system.

When I think of who this controller is for, I can only come up with one answer. It’s for everyone, anyone who has ever grown tired and weary of getting their phone or tablet out and plugging it into the controller.

Everyone who has ever just had it with finding the right size and type of attachment holder to hold said phone or tablet.

Anyone who has had to replace their phone or tablet screen, due to that cheap holder not doing what it was supposed to do. Yeah! That happens.

This controller is for everyone who just wants to get in the air all that much sooner.

» MORE: DJI RC and Air 2S Compatibility (Explained)

Product Overview

Image: Droneblog

The DJI RC Controller is a remote controller that delivers an exceptional connection and operating experience for DJI drones that supports the advanced DJI O3+ video transmission technology.

It has a bright 700nit, FHD 5.5inch built-in screen, taking away the need to supply your own separate display device.

It features a 4-hour battery for a good solid half-day of flying before the need to recharge. It has a new dual-spring control stick design, which allows for better control and cinematic flying.

It’s constructed of quality materials to provide a solid grip and ease of use through its ergonomic design. Even after some time of holding it, it still feels comfortable in the hands.

There are many benefits to having a controller with a built-in screen; some we’ve mentioned already, and a few more to bring up still.

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

It’s the little things in life, after all – didn’t someone say that once?

One of the more special attributes of the DJI RC Controller is that it comes with the Fly App pre-installed, and you only need to keep its firmware up to date.

With the built-in 5.5″ screen, we get some of our favorite capacities, such as being able to Screen Record, or Screen Shot, with that ability only a swipe away, well two swipes, actually.

The DJI RC Controller also offers some programable buttons for enhancing your control and personalizing it more towards your flying style.

One of the most undersold additions to this controller is the inclusion of a secondary dial control for the zoom function found on the systems it pairs to. It is through a feature not found on many controllers at all, unless you’ve moved to the Enterprise systems.

That is where I was first introduced to it, and since then, I have always thought that everyone should have a zoom wheel.

DJI RC - Lightweight, 4-hour battery life
$309.00 $255.06

Remote Controller for DJI Mini 3 Pro/DJI Mavic 3/DJI Mavic 3 Cine, Lightweight Body, FHD Screen, 4hr Battery, Precision Control Sticks, O3+ Transmission

Buy from Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 03:56 pm GMT

Personal Opinion

For most of us, having the bells and whistles of the DJI RC Pro would be great, but that cost has a difficult time justifying itself.

That is why, as I said, the DJI RC is the best for everyone. Not limited to a few professionals whose needs require such technology.

With the price point the DJI RC has and the features it offers, it is the best all-around controller for the O3+ Transmission system available to date.

As I said I’ve had this controller for one year now and have been left impressed by it and couldn’t imagine going back to the separate screen and the cords.

If you’re a drone pilot of any length of time, you can see the benefits of the DJI RC controller just by looking at it. In most cases, this is exactly what the company or manufacturer wants you to see, be it a drone controller or a new car.

They rely on you only seeing the greatness and benefits of their new product, leaving you to learn, sadly, the downsides or drawbacks of a product too late, like after you’ve already brought it home and committed to it.

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

Now, I’ve said a whole heck of a lot of good words about this controller; hold on, yeah, nineteen in the first paragraph. Went back and counted them.

That’s just it, though. No matter how great or fantastic a product is, it will have some things that might take away from its shiny new car smell or, in our case, shiny new controller, smelly goodness.

So, without further ado, here are the benefits you will find that the DJI RC delivers on.

Now, the RC-N1 is probably familiar to you, as it is the stock controller for the Mini 3, Air 2S, and Mavic 3. It’s very similar in size and weight to that of the DJI RC controller. What it lacks is the built-in screen and the hefty price tag.

Then we have the DJI RC Pro controller – whoa nelly, what a controller it is. Very powerful, with 32 GB internal storage, a 3hr battery, and a built-in speaker on top of the 5.5″ screen.

Also, built-in browser and the ability to use third-party apps. It is a beast of a controller, and that beastliness, well, it comes at a price – a price of around $1,200. Beastly controller equals beastly price, you know.

Then, we have the DJI RC. The DJI RC sells for right around $300. Boom! Tell the judge to table this motion, slam the gavel, whatever. Mic drop, the whole bit. There I proved it!

The price alone really shows it for you. If you’re not quite convinced yet, well, when we look at the DJI RC-N1 controller again, we can immediately see that it lacks the built-in screen found on the other two options and shows that the DJI RC is a significant upgrade in that feature alone.

We’ll get into why you may want to hang onto that DJI RC-N1 controller even if you go with the DJI RC a little further below. For now, though, we can visually see there’s a big upgrade from one to the other.

Then we come to the big brother of the DJI RC, the DJI RC Pro. Now I’ve covered what a beast of controller it is just above, and I was only scratching at the surface.

The same thing that makes the DJI RC best for everyone is also what sets it apart from the DJI RC Pro. For the costly nature of the DJI RC Pro, you gain some things that the DJI RC just lacks.

For one thing, the ability to download and run third-party apps. Although this is absolutely more of a professional nature sort of thing, it does severely limit the range of use with the DJI RC.

The DJI RC does not allow for it at all; as to whether that is a firmware update away – not likely. I owned the DJI CrystalSky, after all. This alone may have someone considering the added cost the DJI RC Pro has associated with it.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the DJI RC Pro, here’s a link to another fine fellow writer here at Droneblog with a comprehensive article written about the DJI RC Pro. This article does an excellent job of providing an in-depth look into the DJI RC Pro controller and everything it does.

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

For the rest of us, there’s the DJI RC controller, and it’s a sure upgrade from the DJI RC-N1 for only a smaller amount more, at least in a price range most can reach.

Below you’ll find what I found to be the benefits and some of the drawbacks in the last year while using the DJI RC controller.

Benefits

  • Long battery life. 4hr
  • Good Screen Brightness. 700nits
  • Nice ergonomic design
  • High-Quality Build and Feel
  • Zoom Scroll wheel
  • Dual-Spring Control Sticks
  • Dedicated – No separate screen device
  • Lightweight

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about some of the things that I have noticed in the time that I’ve used this controller, things that are more of a drawback. Especially since the new shiny controller smell has worn off.

As with most drawbacks, some can be overlooked, tiny, small little things. Sometimes though, they are not tiny, small little things. Drawbacks are things that once you know about them, you have to decide if you can live with them or not.

Here’s a list of drawbacks that I have noticed with the DJI RC controller over the last year.

Drawbacks

  • Interior Antennas Reduce Range
  • No Browser or Third-Party Apps
  • Small 8 GB onboard memory
  • No built-in microphone or speaker
  • Screen Size

As I said, some of these are things you’ll decide, heck, that’s no big deal, such as the screen size. For those of us who fly by tablet, going to a 5.5″ screen is most likely a downgrade.

Whereas the benefit well outweighs the drawback, I personally haven’t noticed that big of a difference, and I came from a 10″ tablet. No cables anymore, not worrying about charging another device, no added attachments to the controller – yeah, smaller screen – I can live with it.

Then there’s the larger issue drawbacks, such as the fact that you can’t use third-party apps, such as Dronedeploy or Pix4D.

That’s a serious drawback; if you do any type of mapping, then you will not be doing it with the DJI RC controller. This is a very limiting drawback. One that only you can decide if you can live with or not.

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

Features Breakdown

DJI Mini 3 Pro with DJI RC (Explained for Beginners)
Mini 3 Pro with DJI RC. Image: Droneblog

From the moment you see the DJI RC controller, one feature stands out and overwhelms the rest, and that’s the 5.5″ touch screen that makes up the lower portion of this controller. It stands out; that’s all there is to it.

With a 700-nit brightness and a 1920×1080 resolution, that 5.5″ screen is impressive. Equally so is the long-lasting 4-hour battery. A feature, mind you, that you don’t see at all.

Once you pick up the DJI RC controller, you will be pleasantly surprised by its lightness. It weighs only 390 grams which is the same as the DJI RC-N1 controller. Surprising right!?

The sticks have a hidden built-in feature of using the dual spring control sticks.

The most useful and best feature that the DJI RC controller has is the fact that besides the gimbal wheel control, it has a zoom wheel control. The zoom wheel is the best feature added to the DJI RC controller and if not for any other reason, this should lead you to having this controller.

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

Conclusion

That went by fast, probably due to not having to get out cords and extra devices! Luckily, as a drone pilot, we can cover a lot of ground quickly.

As I said at the beginning of this article, I have been using the DJI RC controller for a year now, and although there has been an occasion or two where the signal was weak or the range lacking, either due to the location or was limited by the controller, by conducting a test and switching to the DJI RC-N1 controller I was able to increase the range in those locales.

For some reason, probably power-related, the DJI RC-N1 controller does seem to get a bit better range and penetration.

On those occasions when I needed to use a third-party app, mostly Dronedeploy, I had to use the DJI RC-N1, as I can run those apps from my tablet. However, the reality is that for most mapping projects, I actually still use the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. As it’s one of the best drones for that type of work.

I can only be left with the fact that the internal antenna design does have some range issues in certain circumstances, and although the DJI RC-N1 also has interior antennas, I think there’s more power being devoted to the screen than there is to the transmission. I could be wrong.

Then again, DJI has gone back to exterior antennas with the newest generation of DJI RC controller in the DJI RC 2 controller. Wonder why?

A built-in screen has so many advantages that it really outweighs most of the negatives one could mention about this controller. I would fully recommend to any fellow pilot to get the DJI RC controller if their aircraft can be paired to it. It makes life and piloting that much easier. It truly does.

As a DJI consumer, I always set myself up for disappointment and hope that in a future firmware update, that at least they will allow third-party apps to be installed. I’m also a realist and know there’s zero motivation from DJI to do so.

It is DJI, after all, and they can probably do it, they just won’t. Hope springs eternal, however. It is probably the single biggest drawback and possible dealbreaker for you as a consumer if you need that feature.

For the price, though, you are getting a pretty feature-packed product, and it will be money well spent on the only controller you’ll ever use after receiving it. Barring your need to run a third-party app anyway.

Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!

» MORE: Best Drone Controllers