DJI Mavic 3 drone just got even more appealing with this long-awaited upgrade

… and it might be good news for the DJI Air 2S too

DJI RC controller
(Image credit: DJI)

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. 

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. 

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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.

DJI RC Pro controller

The DJI RC Pro controller has a brighter screen, but costs three times the price of the DJI RC

(Image credit: DJI)

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. 

Ruth is currently on secondment as Sleep Editor for Tom's Guide and TechRadar. The role is an extension of her work on T3, where she ran the site's Wellness channel, which includes sleep, relaxation, yoga and general wellbeing. She was also Outdoors editor, reviewing and writing about everything from camping gear and hiking boots to mountain bikes, drones and paddle boards. She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle, and has had to implement a one-in-one-out pillow policy, for fear of getting smothered in the night.