After last year’s big hit, the new Mavic 2 series, DJI came with a new and smart controller to serve the needs of the professional drone enthusiasts. The unique DJI Smart Controller has tons of features that are purposefully built in to ease the life of the drone pilot.
The new DJI Smart Controller with the super bright screen is a great add-on to your drone flying experience. With all the built-in features, you don’t need to carry on with you your smartphone. You practically can forget the cables and sunshades that cover up your not so bright smartphone. DJI has bridged that gap with an all in one professional and easy to use controller.
This controller has a spiced up price. Not as affordable as you may think at first, but definitely contains useful aspects that for a professional videographer is a must. Is it worth the price? Let’s dig deeper into the details to find it out!
At first glance, the new DJI Smart Controller looks like a solid one. The big and bright screen pops out immediately. The display is 5.5-inch wide and has1080p. At 1000 cd/m2 that screen is easily viewable at direct sunlight. In comparison to smartphones, this screen is two times brighter than those. I want to emphasize the fact that this is the greatest advantage of the DJI Smart Controller.
In the hand, this controller feels pretty solid, well built with durable plastic. Ergonomically the buttons are well distanced, and the control sticks have a rubber cover for extra grip. They are detachable and it can be easily fit under the foldable antennas at the back of the controller.
Speaking about antennas, the controller uses an enhanced transmission system named OcuSync 2.0 that only works with the newest drone models from DJI: Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. The smart controller has a great feature of switching between the two main frequency according to the interference levels.
The 2.4 GHz frequency is stronger but more crowded than the 5.8 GHz one. For optimal connectivity level, the controller uses both of them according to the necessities. The control range of the Smart Controller reaches an 8 km distance. Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity are other features in the specification list of the controller.
DJI Smart Controller has enhanced resistance to the weather conditions and there lies a big advantage facing the previous controllers. DJI Smart Controller is capable of operating from -20°C to 40°C. In general, smartphones at a lower level of temperature tend to freeze down or the battery drains down too quickly.
In these scenarios operating a drone flight can be tricky and dangerous too, nonetheless the frustrations. DJI Smart Controller is a reliable and durable piece of kit. Fulfills the needs of the professional drone flyers.
Speaking about the physical connections of the DJI Smart Controller on the top plate has three ports, an HDMI port for connecting to an external monitor, a USB port for transferring content from the controller itself, and an SD card slot too.
At the bottom, you will find a USB-C port where you plug in the adapter to charge up the controller. A full charge enables 2.5 hours of usage, which is not bad at all considering that the Mavic 2 is in the air for about 30 minutes.
At the back part, you will notice also two inbuilt speakers for reviewing the recorded footages on the controller with sound.
On the DJI Smart Controller, you see all the necessary buttons and sliders spread ergonomically for better user experience. At feel, the rubberized sticks and the handles give you a premium experience. The controller weights around 700 Grams. On the top plate, you can discover all the usual buttons in a different order and layout familiar from the standard controller of the Mavic 2’s.
You have the pause button, for an immediate stop of the Mavic 2 from its track, a Return-to-Home button, a mode switch where you select among different flight behavior modalities.
The T-mode aka Tripod is an improved stabilized mode where with the help of the cameras and the GPS you can easily operate between visual obstacles like tree branches and hedges. In this mode, the movements of the Mavic 2 drones are less sharp and more efficient.
The P-mode, more exactly the Positioning mode utilizes the GPS when the signal is the greatest. Thus the Mavic 2 is able to ActiveTrack precisely and do TapFly maneuvers.
Finally the S-mode, Sport mode is for improved agility and speed. In this setting, the Mavic 2 is able to do sharp turns and travel more distance within a shorter amount of time. Bear in mind that the Vision Systems are turned off in this context.
Near the joystick, you will find a select and back button to easily navigate on the menu, without too many fingerprints on the screen. On the upper sides, you notice the button for taking pictures and recording videos, and some wheels that are meant to tilt and pan the camera.
And on the back, the two customizable buttons are a great option for reaching quick tasks without the need to dive into the menu structure.
In general, the DJI Smart Controller doesn’t come with many new innovative features. The greatest feature undoubtedly the big and bright screen and the robust nature of the smart controller.
The operating system is an Android 7.1.2 optimized for the controller. You won’t find so many apps installed by default. Only the important ones and some social media app are installed. You can for sure install third-party applications, but you don’t want to slow down unwillingly the performance of the controller.
Natively the DJI Go 4 app is responsible for all the tasks controlling and monitoring all the movements of the Mavic 2 drones. The Go Share feature enables direct communication with the controller and your smartphone. Instantly you can share content between those two devices. The SkyTalk feature is for live streaming. You can stream the camera view directly through social media.
The built-in storage of 16GB serves a back-up purpose. You can save a low-resolution version footage or picture gallery directly to the controller. With the SD card slot, you can add on a maximum of 128GB of extra storage for the full, high-quality versions of your filmings.
The new DJI Smart Controller is clearly for those professional videographers and photographers who don’t want to compromise and carry on cables and shades to view in all conditions the picture of the camera on their monitor. Too many accessories tend to take away from the overall aerial experience.
This new smart controller is an all in one solution for those picky professionals, But worth the high price? Everyone decides for themselves.