Freedom of flying at your fingertips with DJI Smart Controller

    DJI, besides the popular drones and the latest OSMO Pocket stabilizer, brought a very interesting gadget to the CES 2019 international consumer electronics exhibition CES 2019, which took place in Las Vegas.

    DJI Smart Controller is a remote control with a built-in ultra-bright display and a pre-installed Android OS. The controller turns the latest Mavic 2 models into a worthy alternative to the Phantom 4 Pro + (PLUS) and Advanced + (PLUS), which included a remote with a screen. Moreover, when choosing a particular model of a kopter for professional shooting, the DJI Smart Controller has several noticeable advantages that can be decisive. We will tell about them today.

    Ergonomics and appearance

    At first glance it seems that due to the large dimensions, the remote control is inconvenient to use. But it is worth taking the gadget in hand, as all doubts dissipate: DJI did a great job and in terms of ergonomics the Smart Controller is really impressive. In his hands, he lies very securely, does not slip, and you can easily reach all the buttons and joysticks with your thumbs without changing the grip. There are no squeaks or backlash - body elements fit as tightly and securely as possible.

    On the front panel you will find a 5.5-inch touch screen, two sticks and a standard set of control and navigation keys: the back button, homecoming, flight stopping, power, 5D key, flight mode switch, and so on.

    A full-fledged HDMI port, a microSD card slot, a USB-A connector, tilt controls and camera settings, a start button, a shutter button, and an air vent grille were brought to the top.

    On the rear panel there are two antennas connected by a jumper in which the compartment for removable sticks, a speaker, two adjustable keys and an air intake grille for active cooling of internal systems are hidden. By the way, when you fold the antennas, the slot for joysticks “wraps” inside the gadget and it becomes even more difficult to lose a precious accessory during transportation.

    At the bottom are a microphone, a USB-C port and two screw holes.


    It should be noted at once that the screen at the DJI Smart Controller is very bright - 1000 cd / m 2 . Working with him even in dark glasses, you will clearly see what is happening on the display. So there is no longer a need for various sun visors for smartphones and other devices. All details will be visible on the display and the picture will remain clear and juicy in any conditions. And for the convenience of the user in the settings you can activate the automatic adjustment of the brightness level depending on the illumination or a special function SRE, which adjusts the dark and light areas on the screen while shooting under direct sunlight.

    The diagonal of the matrix is ​​5.5 inches, resolution - 1920 by 1080 pixels. The screen is touch-sensitive, it is used to navigate through the device menu. Another way to move points is 5D-key, sticks and buttons on the case. This was done for a reason: the remote works at a temperature of -20 degrees, and as follows from practice, the touch screen does not respond to the touch of hands in gloves.

    Software and communication modules

    Works Smart Controller running Android 7.1.2. DJI made several cosmetic and software changes to the OS, but in fact it is a long-known Android.

    Using the built-in browser or the APK file on the microSD card, any application is installed on the console. For example, you can run a photo or video editor and edit fresh material right on the spot, and then share it on Facebook or Instagram. In this case, DJI warns that the company "is not responsible for the safety of using third-party applications." So we advise you to carefully select the content and not download informal programs that may adversely affect the operation of the console.

    There are not so many pre-installed applications on the device. There is a DJI Pilot for managing the latest industrial drone models and DJI GO 4. According to the company, the list of available programs will be expanded with each new firmware version.

    The user has 16 GB of internal memory, but this volume is easily increased by the microSD card. The device supports media up to 128 GB and with read and write speeds up to UHS-1 Speed ​​Grade 3.

    In addition, on board the DJI Smart Controller you will find the standard for modern gadgets, a set of Bluetooth 4.2 communication modules, Wi-Fi 802.11a / g / n / ac, as well as satellite positioning system GPS + GLONASS.

    DJI Smart Controller at work

    And now let's talk about the most interesting - what DJI Smart Controller can do.

    In terms of the control of the copter, there is no significant difference between the complete Mavic 2 console and the DJI Smart Controller. Everything works exactly, the drone instantly responds to all commands from the controller, and the video is transmitted to the screen without delay and interference.

    The remote control is capable of playing 4K video at 60 frames per second and transmitting the image to external devices via the HDMI port. Moreover, it is possible to broadcast an image via an HDMI cable to an external screen in real time. This is especially useful in cases where several people take part in the shooting. Suppose you control the drone and watch what is happening in the air on the built-in screen, and the customer or director directs the process of shooting using your own monitor and prompts you to choose the angle. You do not interfere with each other and no one closes the picture.

    The controller is compatible with UAVs with the OcuSync 2.0 wireless communication system. Now there are not so many such devices: Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. The DJI promises that soon this list will replenish Mavic 2 Enterprise and, of course, other copters that will appear in the future.

    OcuSync 2.0 supports automatic switching between 2.4 and 5.8 GHz frequencies to avoid interference and provide a stable connection between the console and the drone. Due to this, DJI Smart Controller receives a signal at a distance of up to eight kilometers, provided that it works in FCC networks, in an open space without electromagnetic interference and at a height of about 100 meters.

    The built-in microphone and speaker will appeal to video bloggers and operators who comment on what is happening and want to be in touch with friends and colleagues during the flights. Just connect to a Wi-Fi access point, turn on the broadcast and not only can show the beauty around you, but also tell about it.

    Is your smartphone or tablet dead during shooting? Simply connect it to the console via the USB-A connector and the sat-down device will come to life in a few minutes. DJI Smart Controller itself supports fast charging with the included adapter. Fully replenish the charge of the controller battery in about two hours. The battery life is two and a half hours - this should be enough to shoot about two hours of video on Mavic 2, provided that you have several spare charged batteries. The device works in the temperature range from -20 ° C to +40 ° C. And, as noted above, you can work with the remote and go through the menu items even with gloves - using mechanical keys.

    Share footage in social networks in two ways. The first is to install the application directly on the console itself. The second way is to download photos and videos to your mobile device. To do this, you need to activate the Go Share function and scan the generated QR code using DJI GO 4 on your smartphone. Everything is ready - the preview of the captured photos and clips will appear on the screen of the mobile phone and you just need to select the files you need to download.


    Price, unfortunately, bites - in the official stores DJI Smart Controller will be sold for $ 649. If you are the owner of the model from the previous generation Mavic line or Phantom 4 (Advanced, Pro, Pro V2.0) and have long wanted to buy a bright monitor for the remote, then we advise you to pay attention to the CrystalSky with a 5.5-inch screen. But Mavic 2 pilots are more fortunate. With the help of DJI Smart Controller, they can shoot videos on a professional level, control a drone in comfort in clear and sunny weather, in the south or on snowy slopes, stream video on a social network, edit it immediately on the screen using third-party programs. Variants of the device set. And, at the same time, do not have to occupy a place in the bag with additional accessories.

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