Skip to Content

DJI RC vs. DJI RC 2 (In-Depth Comparison)

Thanks for checking out my comparison of the DJI RC 2 and DJI RC. It’s not often that we can look at two products that are so similar, and yet they are quite a bit different.

Image credit: Dan Bayne

As we look at one generation from another, we can all see together what was done differently and whether that was an improvement over the past generation or not.

As an avid drone flyer both commercially and as a hobbyist, and as someone who has been fortunate to kind of fly it all, I have had many controllers in my hands over the years. Some were just awful; for some others, you could probably pay for a small car for what they cost.

You should be picky when it comes to controllers, as they are what you will spend the most time with. It’s your control station, your drone’s lifeline. Without it, you’re not flying!

So, let’s see what the DJI RC 2 controller has that the DJI RC controller doesn’t. Or otherwise? Now, this should be fun! Shall we?

Best Drone Courses for Beginners (Part 107 & More)

To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.

See Course List Editor's Choice
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Brief Overview

With the recent release of the DJI Mini 4 Pro and the Air 3, we were introduced not only to the DJI RC 2 controller but also to a new DJI 04 transmission system.

Just like the first generation of this controller, the DJI RC controller, it offers a built-in 5.5″, 1920×1080 FHD screen capable of up to 700 nits of brightness. This offers an ultra-versatile controller and represents the mid-tier controller option in the newest line of drones within DJI’s line-up.

As a second-generation controller, we’ll see if DJI found and corrected some issues that were encountered with the original DJI RC Controller.

As opposed to the DJI RC Controller, we can see that the new version has exterior antenna, fixing the range issue that was apparent with the first-generation RC controller.

Beyond that, you won’t see any other difference externally. The real changes with the second-generation RC controller are inside, with new and improved, more powerful processors, with a big increase in onboard memory, beefing the original version’s 8 GB to a staggering 32 GB in the DJI RC 2 variation.

As the DJI RC 2 is only for the new drones that operate with the DJI 04 transmission system, it is currently limited to the DJI Mini 4 Pro and the Air 3.

It is a sure recommendation for anyone with those systems, much like the DJI RC controller, which is ideal for any drone it works with. Having either as your control station is a sure win.

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

Quick Verdict

Image: Dan Bayne

When we look visually at the two controllers, the DJI RC and the DJI RC 2, they look very similar, fairly identical, really.

Then, our eyes are drawn to something the DJI RC controller does not have. External antennas! The DJI RC 2 has external antennas. That’s a big change between the two of them and addresses one of the issues with the OG DJI RC controller. Range!

We can almost forgive DJI for the mistake of interior antennas on the DJI RC controller. They were going for aesthetics and design. They may not have realized just how much effect that choice would have on transmission range.

Ok, I know, giving them the benefit of the doubt here. I know! The largest drone manufacturer in the world and the leader in drone design. Just go with it, ok!

The DJI RC 2 controller doesn’t’ just have exterior antennas; it has retained the interior ones as well, with the two new exterior antennas added to what was already existing and paired with two internal antennas. This was a smart move and a unique way of dealing with that range issue.

The new array forms a comprehensive 2T4R system, or 2 transmission 4 receivers. This upgrade system doubles the transmission power of the original RC, delivering the most reliable video transmission ever with a DJI consumer remote controller. 

This isn’t the only change, of course, but it’s a doozy and one that makes the DJI RC 2 controller superior to its predecessor, the DJI RC.

The other changes beyond the newly increased range can be found below by reading further.

» MORE: How Drone Controllers Work (Explained for Beginners)

What are the Main Differences?

What’s new between the DJI RC and the DJI RC 2 Controllers?

Transmission

Besides the new and unique antenna design, which provides better range and connectivity between the craft and the controller… Well, before we get to those other changes, let’s look a bit closer at the antenna thing.

When the DJI RC controller came out, it was revolutionary because it came with a built-in screen and was available at a price point that made it easier for most consumers to afford.

It was fairly obvious that the interior antenna choice would limit range. It was a tradeoff, like most things in drones. In order to get one thing, you have to sacrifice another.

As time played out, that choice was indeed range-limiting. Now, we have a newly designed transmission system and antenna design. One that employs the existing interior antennas and uses the exterior ones to form an even stronger array and better connectivity of the controller to the drone.

It would seem that DJI didn’t really take away the interior antennas; they just added a path for the signal to get beyond the controller housing. Which was a limitation in the original design.

Either way, it is a substantial improvement to the DJI RC controller design, increasing range to a whopping 20km with the new 04 transmission protocol and the comprehensive 2T4R antenna system.

This setup is not new to DJI as this is the very setup found with most of their much higher tier systems and would even be the same type of antenna array found on the DJI RC Pro controller.

No matter the real cause or reason behind the change, I think we can all agree that it was the right move to make, and as users, we’re grateful.

» MORE: DJI OcuSync 3.0 (Explained For Beginners)

Internal Storage

Another differentiating feature found between the DJI RC controller and the DJI RC 2 controller is the amount of onboard memory.

Here, DJI has stepped up the internal storage from the measly 8 GB found within the DJI RC controller to a decent amount at 32 GB of internal storage. That’s a significant step up for an internal memory amount for one of these systems.

If you’ve ever come into a situation where you’ve maxed out your card or left it at home for some reason, or even lost the little bugger while on site, with 32 GB of available memory on board, all hope is not lost at least, and you could probably get done what you need to.

Honestly, at 4K 60fps, 8 GB isn’t much and was a bit of an odd choice for any drone flying and recording in the DJI 03 spectrum. If photos are the goal, then yeah, ok! Only 8 GB for video? Not so much!

» MORE: Understanding SD Cards for Drones (Explained For Beginners)

Processing Power

With a company as innovative as DJI, we have come to hold them to a very high standard. It’s not our fault as consumers; DJI did it to themselves with a long track record of excellence.

Following along that line, the DJI RC 2 controller has been outfitted with newly designed and faster processors. The DJI RC 2 controller has also been improved by being equipped with a better CPU and GPU.

A direct result of this is that you get an ultra-smooth app and system operation as well as a near-seamless aircraft control experience from every flight.

Although there is still a lag, it has decreased even more with the DJI 04 transmission system and is nearly imperceptible. This also provides for enhanced video playback and even smoother overall operation.

» MORE: What Happens If a DJI Drone Loses Signal?

Compatibility

One of the biggest differences between these two controllers is that they are incompatible with one another or with the same drones.

You simply are not going to be able to use the DJI RC 2 Controller with anything other than a DJI O4 Transmission system drone, which is currently only the Air 3 and the Mini 4 Pro.

The same can be said for the DJI RC controller; it will only ever work with drones that work within the DJI O3 transmission sphere. Systems such as the DJI Mini 3 series, the DJI Air 2S and the current DJI Mavic 3 systems.

As such, if you fly a DJI drone system that uses one of these controllers, having one on hand is advisable. It will change how you fly, without a doubt.

The issue is that you’ll look at the DJI RC 2 and want it for your drone, even if you have a DJI O3 transmission system drone. The DJI RC 2 does indeed improve on itself and is a better design than that of the DJI RC.

DJI is not a company known for going backward with things, so it’s easy to assume that the DJI RC 2 will only ever be available for DJI O4 Systems, much as the DJI RC will forevermore be delegated to only operating DJI O3 transmission system drones.

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

DJI RC

Image: Dan Bayne

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

It has a bright 700 nit, FHD 5.5inch built-in screen, removing the need to supply your 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.

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.

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

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. Swipe down!

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

As a lower-cost alternative to the DJI RC Pro controller, it will leave you impressed and pleased.

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

DJI RC 2

Image: Dan Bayne

Building on the success of its predecessor and combining the same sleek design with its already noted outstanding performance, DJI RC 2 is a next-generation controller that gives pilots advanced control with the exceptional convenience of a built-in screen.

It features the same lightweight body, which houses the stunning 5.5-inch 1920×1080 FHD 700 nit bright display and a new, more powerful processor.

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

The RC 2 controller is here to play rough and dominate the field. The new DJI O4 video transmission system can provide an extended range of 20km with a newly designed antenna system comprising two transmitters and four receivers.

You can immerse yourself in any creative shot and capture spectacular moments with ease and knowledge that you’re in complete control. Improved from the last generation in all the right ways.

Our Pick
DJI RC 2, Remote Controller for DJI Air 3 and DJI Mini 4 Pro
$410.00 $369.00

Next-Gen Processor, 20km O4 Transmission, 5.5-inch FHD Screen, 2T4R Antennas, Smart Controller for Drones, Light and Compact

Buy from Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 12:56 am GMT

Head-to-Head Comparison

There are many similarities between the DJI RC controller and the DJI RC 2 controller. That’s to be expected, as they are just one generation from one another.

Surprisingly, for as many similarities they have, they are also very different from one another.

In this section, let’s look at how these two controllers stack up to one another in a direct comparison.

SpecsDJI RCDJI RC 2
Weight390 g420 g
Dimensions168.4 x 123.7 x 46.2 mm168.4 x 132.5 x 46.2 mm
Screen Size5.5”
1080 x 1920
5.5”
1080 x 1920
Peak Brightness700 nits700 nits
Battery Life4 hours3 hours
I/OUSB-C
microSD
USB-C
microSD
StorageNA32 GB
Compatible DronesDJI Mini 3
DJI Mini 3 Pro
DJI Air 2S
DJI Mavic 3
DJI Mavic 3 Classic
DJI Mavic 3 Cine
DJI Mavic 3 Pro
DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine
DJI Air 3
DJI Mini 4 Pro

Weight

Winner: DJI RC

As we see above, we have some of the specifications for these two controllers. Right from the top, we see that they have different weights. A matter of 30 grams difference.

Short of ripping my controller apart to verify, it would seem that the newly employed exterior antennas may be the cause for most of this weight change.

Either way, 30 grams is 30 grams, leaving us with the fact that the new DJI RC 2 controller is heavier and, as such, will weigh more in hand over longer flight periods. Grant you, it is only 30 grams.

Size, Color, and Screen Brightness

Winner: Tie, tie, tie

Next, we have three categories that are exactly the same.

The controller’s overall size is the same between the two models, and when looking at them side by side, they are the same, with only a slight color difference really marking them apart.

The DJI RC 2 is in a slightly darker gray tone than the DJI RC.

Also, the screen size and the screen brightness are exactly the same. In this case, the screen is probably a true and unaltered carryover from the DJI RC.

» MORE: Best Drone Controllers

Battery

Winner: DJI RC

When we come to the battery life, I find this one to be a bit interesting. We can see the DJI RC controller has a better battery life than that of the newer DJI RC 2 controller.

There are a few factors here that could play a role in this, of course. However, you would have expected the opposite to be true.

The main factor for this could very well be the more powerful transmission system and the two additional antennas. After all, it’s not as if more power is going to the screen, as those are the same.

That power consumption has to be coming from someplace. It has to be from the processors and the O4 protocol. Some of that is indicated in the Transmitter Power, as shown below.

The DJI RC 2 operates mainly at 33dBm, and the DJI RC only operates at 26dBm. As both use the same 3.6V battery, this has to be the power draw, leading to an hour difference in operating times per charge.

Again, a trade-off. Better transmission at the cost of power consumption.

DJI RC

  • Transmitter Power (EIRP)
  • 2.400-2.4835 GHz: <26 dBm (FCC), <20 dBm (CE/SRRC/MIC)
    5.725-5.850 GHz: <26 dBm (FCC), <23 dBm (SRRC), <14 dBm (CE)

DJI RC 2

  • Transmitter Power (EIRP)
  • 2.4 GHz: <33 dBm (FCC), <20 dBm (CE/SRRC/MIC)
    5.1 GHz: <23 dBm (CE)
    5.8 GHz: <33 dBm (FCC), <14 dBm (CE), <30 dBm (SRRC)

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

Connection type

Here, they both have the same sort of interface as most DJI devices these days, with connectivity being through USB-C and Micro SD.

Here again, in the latest version of the DJI RC 2, there is still no dedicated HMDI out. Maybe in the DJI RC 3? It sure would be nice, hint, hint!

Internal Storage

Winner: DJI RC 2

Lastly, we come to the storage. Here, DJI has given out a boon for whatever reason.

They increased the internal storage to 32 GB. This is, of course, a huge leap up from the 8 GB available internally that the DJI RC controller offers.

This extra storage can come in really handy, and fingers crossed, it will allow for third-party app use down the road.

As of this time, that is one thing that remains the same between the two RC controllers. No ability to use 3rd party apps still.

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

Conclusion

Image: Dan Bayne

Ultimately, yes, we would have to say that the new DJI RC 2 controller is indeed an improved version of itself compared to that of the DJI RC controller.

Of course, the reality is that we can’t really put these to a head-to-head comparison, as they operate different systems that don’t cross over to one another. That’s a shame! Shame on you, DJI, SHAME!

I would have gladly whipped open my wallet to purchase the DJI RC 2 controller if it worked with O3 transmission system drones.

Being limited to only two drone systems limits the DJI RC 2 controller quite a bit.

Add in the fact that although the range issue from the DJI RC controller has not only been fixed but enhanced even.

But the lack of being able to use a 3rd party app is still a major drawback for the DJI RC controllers as a whole.

You will still need to use the DJI RC-N1 or the DJI RC-N2 for that ability, or eek, spend a lot more to upgrade to the DJI RC Pro, that is, if you use a DJI O3-transmission system.

At this time, there would be no such option for a DJI O4 transmission system besides the DJI RC-N2 controller.

In some ways, DJI is a willy company, and that could be the reason for bringing such internal memory to bear with the DJI RC 2 controller, as with that amount of internal memory, it could hold an operating system that would allow for downloading and running files.

Guess we’ll just have to see. It is sad to see that some of the greatest controllers of all time are being held back by such seemingly simple limitations.

Despite this, I would full-heartedly recommend not just one of these controllers but both. It depends on what you’re flying as to which one you could use.

Having either will certainly improve your flying experience and make your life easier by dropping the cord – or is it cutting the cord? Wow, do they know how much some of these cords cost?

Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!

» MORE: Drone Batteries (In-Depth Information)