DJI GO 4 is the standard app for most DJI drone users. In fact, for most users it’s the only app they know of. But with a 1,4/5 rating on Play Store from over 69 thousand users, it’s pretty obvious that not that many people are pleased with DJI’s standard flight app.
In this article we’ll go into two other drone flight apps, Litchi and Autopilot, to see how they compare to the DJI GO 4 and if it’s time to ditch DJI’s default app.
I know I said that in this article we’d be seeing if it’s time to ditch the DJI GO 4 because look, I’m not going to sugarcoat it… it has a terrible rating on the Play Store and not to mention the complaints of many dissatisfied drone pilots… But still, the DJI GO 4 is actually pretty good, for a beginner.
There is a reason it’s DJI’s default app. The DJI GO 4 is good enough. And as a fresh pilot that’s usually all you need to start.
In fact, many drone “veterans” would advise you against using other flight apps than the DJI GO 4 until you’ve got a solid foundation of drone flying. But the fact remains; the DJI GO 4 is limited and sooner or later you’ll hit a plateau. The once good enough DJI GO 4 won’t be anymore…
And that’s when it’s time to upgrade to other apps with multiple features, like the ones we’ll be reviewing today; Litchi and Autopilot.
I’ll be comparing the three apps based on three criterias: Stability/smoothness, user friendliness and features. Let’s get right into it.
The default app for DJI drones, one that is perfect for beginners. Also, it’s FREE. And who doesn’t like that.
For a free app, it’s pretty good. Even while using other higher functionality apps, most pilots will go back to the DJI GO 4 from time to time.
Like the two other apps on this list the DJI GO 4 uses a waypoint system for flight. Which is relatively good, the problem you’ll have is that the camera control is manual.
Which means you’ll rarely get smooth looking footage of your point of interest (a feature that DJI GO 4 supports, by the way). So in that regard, the DJI GO 4 is lacking.
Made for beginners, the app is pretty easy to use. It’s intuitive and you can pick up most of its features in your first use. The design is also simple and there aren’t many tabs or options so you won’t be feeling lost.
The camera and user settings are extremely easy to adjust as well.
Actually, I debated whether to give a verdict here on the DJI GO 4 being lacking in regards to features, but that’s highly subjective. It depends on your needs from a flight control app.
Just know that as a beginner app, the DJI GO 4 doesn’t offer much in terms of features. It does have a list of useful intelligent flight modes though which are as follows: Hyperlapse, Quickshot, Active Track, Point of Interest, Waypoints, Tapfly, and Cinematic Mode.
The DJI GO 4 is perfect for beginners and hobbyists who are flying for recreational purposes. If you’re only filming for fun, chances are you won’t need advanced features. Add to that the fact that the app is free and it can be considered the perfect flight control app for beginners.
A popular alternative to DJI GO 4, with higher functionality and customizable controls. It’s more complex than the DJI GO 4, but that’s fine considering it’s targeted at professional and experienced drone pilots.
It’s currently priced at $29.99 and available on IOS.
Perhaps it’s due to the algorithm of the app, but this is by far one of the smoothest flight control apps when it comes to waypoints and filming around a point of interest. It offers great stability when making turns and you’ll rarely get the speed/altitude change you get sometimes on other apps when making turns.
The level of increased functionality comes with an increased complexity of the app. It’s definitely not an app for beginners, but while it’ll take a while to pick up you can still learn it even as a beginner.
The app itself has a feature called “Flight school” with tutorials and lessons on how to use it for various use-cases. But like with everything else, google and youtube are your friends. There is a lot of content out there regarding Autopilot and if you end up choosing this app, I recommend you check it out.
The Autopilot app can do everything the DJI GO 4 app can, and more. Its features include:
Besides offering the same intelligent flight modes as DJI GO 4, Autopilot also offers zip line, target, orbit, and follow modes.
The Autopilot app allows you to record your phone screen while you're planning your flight and during flight. This is extremely helpful to spot mistakes and accelerate your learning.
This feature allows the app to recognize when you’re going uphill and changes your altitude accordingly so you stay in the shot. It’s extremely helpful if you’re shooting in a mountain range.
As discussed above the app offers what’s called “Flight school”, a list of detailed tutorials to various flight modes and best practices. Very helpful for beginners and professionals alike.
The app is geared towards professionals although extremely dedicated hobbyists who need creative freedom and like the amount of options it has can also find it useful, if they can dedicate the time to learn it. If you don’t want to spend too much time figuring out your way around the app, the next app on the list Litchi is a solid alternative.
Hands down one of the best flight control apps, if not the best. I may be biased but I absolutely love how Litchi was able to find a sweet spot between “Highly performant” and “easy to pick up”. Usually the more features and functionalities an app has the more complex it is. Yet the Litchi is extremely intuitive and is a joy to work with.
It’s also the most popular flight control app out there. With a current price of $24.99 for IOS users and $29.99 for android users.
An extremely stable app compared to the DJI GO 4, and can hold its own against the Autopilot app in terms of stability. Its ability to automatically calculate and adjust the gimbal pitch for a point of interest makes it achieve a smoother end result.
Although some previous versions had trouble with consistently generating smooth flights and footage, the latest one is stable and so far there aren’t any complaints from its users.
It’s a little bit more complex compared to the DJI GO 4, but extremely intuitive if you compare it to the Autopilot. It has a slight learning curve but you should be able to pick it up easily, even if you’re a novice.
Its number one selling point is the fact that you can plan your mission on PC, save it, and then access it from your phone or tablet. That’s a godsend feature for people who don’t like to fiddle with the waypoints on a small mobile screen. It’s also a feature that’s praised a lot from what I've seen.
Another cool feature is the fact that you can check other people’s waypoints and flight missions, and if they uploaded their flight video you can check their footage too. Which is pretty cool.
Also, like the Autopilot app Litchi allows you to record your screen when you’re planning a mission and during flight. Making it easier to learn from your mistakes.
The app allows for 4 intelligent flight modes which are as follows.
Orbit: standard in most drones, it allows the drone to orbit around an object.
Track: Kind of like “follow me”, but you can use it to track any moving object, not just the person holding the remote controller.
Focus: Gives you control over the drone’s yaw axis and gimbal allowing you to only focus on the horizontal movements.
Pano: If you’re a fan of panorama, Litchi got you covered. I like how the app makes taking still shots pretty easy. The pictures also end up with high clarity.
Did I say that Litchi allows you to do mission planning on PC? Well, I’ll repeat it again because I can’t believe how easy this feature makes things. It’s a wonder how other competitors of Litchi aren’t adding the same functionality to their apps.
Yes! Litchi offers you an interactive FPV flight mode allowing you to experience your flight missions in a completely different way. Of course, you’ll still have to buy FPV goggles for that.
I think this is an app that is geared for professionals and hobbyists alike, seeing how easy it is to pick up (despite its advanced functionalities).
I’d honestly say that it depends on your needs. My personal favorite is the Litchi app, is it caters to both professionals and beginners. If you’d like higher functionalities and aren’t bothered by getting into the nitty-gritty details of flight planning than Autopilot is a good fit for you.
If however you just want something free and good enough, then DJI GO 4 is a solid choice. To close this out, here is a good video I found comparing the different flight control apps we spoke about: