DJI has released a new Smart Controller with a built-in screen for its Mavic 2 drones, for those who want to upgrade from using their smartphone with the bundled controllers.
The existing controllers for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom have adjustable arms that hold your smartphone in place, so you can fly them using DJI’s Go app. This isn’t without its issues, though, including the problem of being able to see the screen in direct sunlight and the fact that it hijacks your phone.
This is where the Smart Controller comes in, with a 5.5-inch, 1080p touchscreen that has 1,000-nit brightness, which is a fair bit higher than most smartphones.
The Smart Controller also runs a version of Android, which means it runs DJI’s Go 4 app along with third party editing apps, and has a new feature called DJI Go Share to help you transfer images to your phone.
Another bonus of using the Smart Controller over your smartphone is that it’s got some weather-proofing to help it keep going in temperatures of -4°F up to 104°F, so you could potentially take it skiing while leaving your phone safely tucked in your jacket.
As you’d expect, the new controller comes with strong connectivity too, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and OcuSync 2.0 video transmission, which helps keep a rock solid connection with your Mavic 2 from up to 4.97-miles away. Although UK drone laws demand that you keep your drone in line of sight at all times.
Perhaps the only slight disappointment with the Smart Controller is its 2.5-hour battery life. While that’ll be fine for most hobbyists flyers, particularly as the Mavic 2 Pro batteries can only keep going for 31 minutes, it might be a slight limitation for pros who’ll bring several spares and want to shoot all day. DJI hasn’t yet said if you’ll be able to recharge the controller from external batteries, but we’ll find out when we go hands-on with the one at CES 2019.
You can buy the Smart Controller now from DJI for £579. That’s a fairly sizeable investment considering the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom cost only £1,299 and £1,099 respectively, but no-one ever said drone flying was a cheap hobby.
What do you think, will you be buying a Smart Controller for your Mavic 2 drone or is it an investment too far? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.