DJI has unveiled an all new smart controller for its popular drones that features a built-in display. It'll come as a major plus to any drone flyers fed up with having to fiddle around with small cables, and wrestling their phones into the current controller's arms.
The world's leading drone maker launched the Smart Controller at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, joining the hundreds of other companies showing off new products this year.
DJI's Smart Controller has a 5.5-inch screen built into it, allowing pilots and drone enthusiasts to get drones off the ground and in the air much quicker. No attaching smartphones required.
As with the previous Mavic controllers, it uses the manufacturer's own OcuSync 2.0 transmission system to beam video from the drone to the screen, and is capable of showing video up to Full HD resolution. DJI also says the screen has been optimised for use in direct sunlight, featuring ultra-bright output of 1000 nits.
Interestingly, the controller runs an interface based on Android's platform, and so it supports DJI's GO 4 and Pilot apps, as well as a number of third party video editing programs.
In addition, there's DJI Go-Share which lets you quickly and simply transfer video and images from the Smart Controller to your smartphone.
It lasts up to 2.5 hours of flying on a full charge (much longer than the drone will), and can even cope with temperatures from -20 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius.
Before this announcement, DJI only offered a remote with a built-in screen with some of its much bigger drones, like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian Edition, but that remote was much bulkier than the new Smart Controller, and the screen was on arms, at the top of the controller. This new one is far more compact, and the display is built near the bottom, beneath the joysticks.
It's definitely a much-needed addition to the DJI accessory line-up, but the price might make you reticent to splash the cash on one. It's launching with a price of £579 in the UK, or $649 in the US. You'll also be able to buy the remote as part of a bundle with either the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom, but no prices have been announced for those bundles yet.