The DJI Mavic 3 drone just got the upgrade on-the-fence prospective buyers have been been waiting for: it's now compatible with DJI RC controller. When the Mavic 3 launched last November, there was a notable gap when it came to controller options. Customers could either deal with the DJI RC-N1 – a standard, phone-based controller that didn't match up to the pro-level specs offered by the drone itself – or shell out a small fortune for the DJI RC Pro. With the latest firmware update, there's finally a third option: the DJI RC.
The DJI RC launched with the DJI Mini 3 Pro. It includes that all-important integrated screen, and is slightly less fancy than the RC pro (I'll get into the exact differences below) but much less expensive. The DJI RC costs US$309 / £255 / AU$399, while the RC Pro on its own is around three times the price at US$1,199 / £879 / AU$1,529.
- View DJI RC controller (opens in new tab) / DJI RC Pro controller (opens in new tab) at DJI.com
It's a great option for keen hobbyists who have a bit more cash to splash and want to push the boat out with one of the best drones around (we gave it the full five stars in our DJI Mavic 3 review), but can't justify the extra outlay for an upgraded controller, on top of the price of said high-end drone.
To throw another option into the mix, if comments from trusted DJI leaker OstiaLV are to be believed, the Air 2S is next in line for support for the DJI RC. It would replace the now-discontinued DJI Smart Controller (which was never compatible with the Mavic 3), and make the already excellent Air 2S an even more appealing proposition.
Mass production of DJI Air 2S with Smart RC has stopped, new SKU with DJI RC should be near.July 13, 2022
It's not all good news though. While the RC Pro can be purchased as part of the Cine bundle with the Mavic 3, the RC is not available as part of a bundle. And it doesn't look like that's going to change, either: when our sister site TechRadar (opens in new tab) reached out to the brand, they were told, DJI "don't currently have any plans to offer a Mavic 3 + DJI RC bundle". There's no no-controller option (as there is with the Mini 3 Pro), so you'll need to buy the standard bundle, with the DJI RC-N1 included, and add the DJI RC as an extra.
Deciding whether it's worth the cash to go for the RC Pro rather than the regular RC? Both have a 5.5" touchscreen display, but the Pro's is brighter – 1,000-nits rather than 700. Although that does have a negative impact on battery life; the regular RC lasts four hours, the Pro only lasts three. Shell out for the Pro and you're also getting 32GB of internal storage (as well as the microSD card slot that features in both versions), and an HDMI-out port. The Pro version is much heavier, and both have a 15km video transmission range.
Wondering if you can just make do with the smartphone controller that comes bundled in? That one doesn't have an internet connection, and it won't let you install third-party apps, either.
If you're new to the world of drones and not sure what you need, our guides to the best drones for beginners, and the best cheap drones (if budget is of the essence) will help you navigate the market.