What's going on guys? Billy here, and DJI currently has three different remote controller options available for their current lineup of drones. This means if you own the Mini 3 Pro, the Air 2S, the Mavic 3 Classic, the Mavic 3 Standard, or the Mavic 3 Cine, you'll have the choice of DJI's RC-N1, the DJI RC, or the DJI RC Pro. But which one is the best DJI Remote?
All these remotes offer different flight experiences and are offered at different price points. So let's talk about their pros and cons to help you decide which you should choose. So it's really cool to see that DJI has kind of adopted this universal remote controller philosophy where you can buy your drone and then choose whichever controller you want to use with that drone.
The best DJI Remote Controller video
They don't make specific controllers for specific drones and then lock you into that ecosystem. You can take your pick. And what's even cooler is if you want to say upgrade from a Mavic Air 2 and you own an RC-N1 controller, you could purchase either the Mini 3 Pro or the Mavic 3 Classic as just the drone. Save a little bit of money and use the controller that you already have, which is a pretty cool option.
On top of this offering, though, there are different bundles with different versions of remote controllers. So for those of you trying to figure out which bundle of drone is right for you. Or maybe you want to upgrade remotes. Let's now jump into a comparison of these three different controllers and find out which is the best DJI Remote Controller.
Now, the price point is a little bit hard to pin here because each of these controllers comes shipped with so many different drones at so many different price points with so many different bundles. So what I want to do is quickly go over the cost of each of these controllers standalone. So if you wanted to just buy the remote itself.
So the stock RC-N1 controller here goes for $160. DJI doesn't actually sell this themselves on their website. You've gotta go through a third party to pick up the stock controller here.
Stepping it up now to the DJI RC, this goes for $310, but it does add a lot of functionality.
It's double the cost, but you do get a lot here. We'll go over more here shortly, of course.
And then step it up to the final option. The RC Pro goes for a whopping $1,200. That means that it is quadruple the cost of the RC, which makes it kind of unattainable for some people. Like why would you spend more than what the drone costs on the remote controller? But there is a lot of cool functionality built into this controller that will go over here shortly.
But again, I think that the RC here is going to be the sweet spot because it gives you the experience of having a built-in screen without breaking the bank.
Now all of these remotes offer the same general experience with removable sticks, your typical power, return to home, a pause button, a flight mode switch, a record and shutter button, and of course, a wheel on the backside to control the pitch of the gimbal so that you can look up and down while flying.
Each controller introduces a better experience with more functionality as we go up the ladder, which should be pretty evident. The question is, is a more expensive controller the best DJI Remote Controller?
The DJI RC-N1 Remote Controller
Taking a closer look. The RC-N1 here uses your own device as a screen to fly your drone, so this clamp pops up to accommodate most larger phones. If you wanted to use a tablet, you could find some sort of extension, but that would make this remote really top-heavy.
On that top side of the remote, we also have our combined shutter and record button. As well as a single wheel to control your camera and gimbal's pitch.
The top clamp part, by the way, is the antenna, so you don't have to worry about extending it before flying. It's always out in the right position. The bottom of the remote is where the sticks are stored and where you'll charge up the remote through a USB-C port.
This can also be used to plug into your computer to update the firmware via the assistant app.
Now the front of the remote is where all of our buttons are located, so the function button, return to home and pause button, the flight mode, the power button, and a button to switch between the photo and video shooting modes.
There's also a set of LEDs towards the bottom that show the level of battery remaining in your remote controller. Overall, the build quality of this controller is great. I mean, I like to call this thing old, reliable because it's been around forever, since the Mavic Air 2 days. I mean, this controller has stood the test of time.
It's well-built. It's comfortable in the hands. It's got smooth sticks. It really is just gonna give you an overall great flight experience.
Is the DJI RC the best DJI Remote Controller?
But when we step things up here to the newer controller, the DJI RC, we begin to see some huge improvements in overall usability. The first of which, should it be pretty obvious, it's the 700 nits, five-and-a-half inch 1080p panel, which eliminates the need to use your phone.
This means that you have a fully integrated experience that ultimately makes setup easier. Cuts out the annoyance of getting a flight interrupted by notifications. And means that you can save the battery on your phone. You don't have to drain it by using it as a screen when flying.
Just as a quick side note, I've mentioned this in a couple of videos. When flying on a hot summer day using my iPhone, I find that the phone really quickly overheats, and the first thing the iPhone does to try and combat this and try to cool the phone down, is by cutting the screen brightness significantly.
This, in my opinion, is the iPhone's biggest flaw when flying a drone and has basically forced me to only use remotes with a built-in screen. I actually went as as getting a Samsung Galaxy fold as a second phone just to use when flying because it can maintain its peak brightness just fine. And the screen size is a little bit brighter and a little bit bigger than my iPhones.
Anyway, that screen is obviously the biggest and most notable upgrade from the RC-N1 to the RC. But this controller does have a couple of other tricks up its sleeve that overall improves the general flight experience.
For example, there's now a second wheel on the top side of the remote. So that you can adjust your camera settings on the fly without having to take your grip off of the controller. This also allows you to zoom smoothly with the digital zoom that these drones offer, rather than using the touchscreen controls.
Staying on the top side here, the shutter and record buttons have been separated into two different buttons, with the shutter button now having a half-press option to focus your image.
The RC-N1 one didn't have this half-press. It was just a single press down to capture. You'll also notice a lack of external antennas on this remote, which gives it a nice clean design. They're built into the controller itself, but this isn't all good. I'll explain more about this when we discuss range.
While serving a similar function, the DJI RC now has two custom buttons on the back, whereas the RC-N1 had a single function button that you could program with two different custom actions through a single or double press.
The two custom buttons on the back feel a lot more fluid though, you can just use your back fingers to press them, instead of taking your thumb off the left stick to access that function button.
The final major hardware difference comes on the bottom of the controller, where there's a set of lanyard mounts and a micro SD card slot for savings screen recordings from the built-in screen.
So the overall improvements that come as a result of flying with the DJI RC definitely make this worth the upgrade over the stock, standard RC-N1 controller here.
But I do have to say that my favorite thing about this controller isn't all those hardware features like the built-in screen or the two dials, or the two custom buttons.
It's actually the ergonomics of the controller. This thing is so lightweight. It's so comfortable. These back handles are sloped perfectly so that it sits comfortably in your fingers. You've also got these two little areas at the top that kind of allow you to rest your fingers so that the controller sits in your hands very comfortably.
My one gripe, though, is that with it being lightweight, it feels a little bit cheapy. I mean, listen to this creaking. That is something you usually wouldn't hear from a controller from DJI, but if you made the upgrade from the RC to the RC Pro, I guarantee you, you wouldn't hear it because this thing is made so well.
The DJI RC Pro Remote Controller
Now getting back on track here. Much of the upgrades introduced in the DJI RC are available here in the RC Pro, which makes these remotes very similar. But with that pro branding, this top-end remote offers an enhanced flight experience that makes it hard to want to use anything else once you've tried it.
The general design is very similar to the RC with these separate shutter and record buttons on the top side, as well as two dial wheels for camera zoom and exposure control.
On the back, we have those same custom buttons and a spot to store the sticks for traveling.
On the front, the built-in screen is here. The same spread of buttons is here, and on the bottom, we have our USB-C port for charging and micro SD card slot for storing data or viewing files.
But all these areas have been slightly upgraded to improve usability here on the RC Pro. For example, down here at the bottom is a mini HDMI port for displaying to a larger screen.
We have extra buttons on the front, like this 5G custom button, giving us five more custom actions to choose from while flying, as well as a backend menu button for navigating the Android operating system.
The screen, however, is the biggest upgrade with a brighter 1000-nit, five-and-a-half inch 1080p panel. You've also got the ability to access the entire Android operating system here. So you can sideload applications, you can pull up your gallery, manage your files, and much more.
On the smaller DJI RC, even though it runs Android as well, it doesn't give you the ability to access other apps. The remote just boots right into DJI Fly, and that's all you get.
Two more hardware differences that are important to mention when it comes to the RC Pro, here is the 32 gigabytes of internal storage for storing screen recordings, photos, videos, and anything you want to view here on the screen itself, as well as the quad-antenna system.
This is probably one of the larger upgrades that gives you a better overall signal. And gives you a better range as opposed to the dual antenna system here in the other controllers. We'll touch more on the range here in just a second.
The general build quality is really the highlight here with the RC Pro, though this is by far the most well-constructed remote that I've used.
It's comfortable. The weight is evenly distributed throughout. So it's not annoying. Hold for those long flight sessions, and the sticks are super precise. I overall feel like I have a leg up when flying with this one, but is it the best DJI Remote Controller?
DJI RC Pro offers best signal strength
That, however, is not the only reason why I feel like I have a leg up. The build quality is great. All the extra features and the bright screen are nice, but the biggest leg-up that I feel like I have when using my RC Pro is that quad-antenna system. It's the better signal that I get coming from this controller.
So let's discuss range because even though you see all these drones having a specific range, and you see the controllers being able to achieve that range. The signal coming from these controllers isn't built the same.
Now, you'd probably think that it goes in order from worst to best. It goes from the least expensive to the most expensive, with the RC-N1 giving you the worst signal, the RC giving you a better signal, and then the RC Pro giving you the best signal to your drone.
But these two are actually switched. It goes RC, giving you the worst signal, the RC-N1, giving you a better signal, and then the RC Pro giving you the best signal possible.
So despite all these remote controllers using the O3 transmission system, the RC does have a significantly worse signal coming from the controller. Because as I mentioned in the beginning, it has those built-in antennas, whereas the RC-N1 has its dedicated external antenna that sits outside of the controller, and the RC Pro, of course, has the quad-antenna system.
I would say that I definitely notice a difference in transmission from all these controllers. The RC-N1 and RC Pro are significantly stronger. But the RC definitely does produce a weaker signal. For example, I like to run a lot of hyperlapse with my drones. When using the RC, the drone disconnects more frequently, and then I've gotta restart my hyperlapse because when the drone disconnects, hyperlapse stops and the drone will return to home. And that's something that really annoys me. So I don't like to use my RC when running a hyperlapse. I'd actually rather use my RC-N1 because it's got a stronger signal.
So just some food for thought that when you kind of are thinking about which remote you want to go with, the RC, even though it's got a lot of great features and it's fairly inexpensive, does not have the best range.
So I think up until this point, you have a pretty general understanding of what makes all of these modes different. But I haven't had the chance to go over some of the specific unique features that make the RC Pro even more powerful. They're fairly small. I'm just gonna rattle them off. I mean, for example, you've got WiFi 6, you've got Bluetooth 5.1.
You've also got offline map support, so you can actually download maps to your controller using the internal storage without having to pull them from an internet connection. You've got full Android control, and you've also got further button customization using that 5G button and some of the other buttons on the controller.
Closing thoughts on which is the best DJI Remote Controller?
So in closing, each of these controllers is going to deliver a great flight experience, and each have its own pros and cons. Hopefully, throughout this video through my in-depth explanation, I helped you understand which is the best DJI Remote Controller and which is right for you.
But just to kind of quickly summarize everything I mentioned, the RC-N1 is going to be the cheapest controller. But it's still a good option because it's small, it's lightweight, it folds and collapses down, and you don't have a screen to worry about, so you can throw it right into your bag without having to worry about damaging that screen.
Also, you can use your phone with it and always be connected for maps, and downloading things, so that does have its benefit. Even though it is the cheapest, the RC is still good despite its range issues. That's its biggest problem as well as it being a little bit flimsy, but it is very comfortable. It's got a nice built-in screen, and it's fairly inexpensive for that built-in screen flight experience.
And, of course, the beast, the RC Pro. It is my go-to option, but I know it could be out of some people's price point. But again, this is gonna deliver the best overall flight experience with the quad-antenna system, the super bright screen, and the excellence build quality. Although I think that probably most people will go with the RC for its well-rounded design.
Anyway, guys, thank you so much for watching. Let me know your thoughts on these controllers in the comment section below, and as always, I'll talk to you later. Peace.
Let us know in the comments below which of these devices you think is the best DJI Remote Controller. We are curious to hear about your experience and thoughts.
Photos of the best DJI Remote Controllers courtesy of Billy Kyle
Get your Part 107 Certificate
Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.
Copyright © DroneXL.co 2023. All rights reserved. The content, images, and intellectual property on this website are protected by copyright law. Reproduction or distribution of any material without prior written permission from DroneXL.co is strictly prohibited. For permissions and inquiries, please contact us here.
FTC: DroneXL.co is an Amazon Associate and uses affiliate links that can generate income from qualifying purchases. We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email.