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Top 5 Drones With Screen On Controller

Updated in 2024 by Paul Posea
on screen controller 1

If you spot a drone out there, no matter what brand it is, chances are its pilot is seeing the video feed through his smartphone.

Almost every drone on the market right now relies on smartphones to transmit their video feed to the pilots and It’s actually not a bad thing, it keeps the price of the drone down since manufacturers will be relying on your smartphone and it also lowers the number of equipment you need for your drone (you always carry your smartphone anyways).

However, for some professional drone pilots, having a screen that comes with the drone is a better choice. That’s because most screens that come with the drone (almost always built in the controller) will have better resolution and be more durable to the elements. Both of which are things professionals need.

Which brings us to the topic of this article, the best drones with screens in the controllers. I’ll review 5 drones that have screens built in their remotes, some of them pricey, some of them budget-friendly. I’ll also discuss which is best, your smartphone and the manufacturer’s screen, so stick around.

Do drone remote controllers have screens?

Most drones rely on your smartphone and don’t have a built-in screen. Yet some drones, usually high-end ones that are sitting just below “Professional” category (prosumer drones), will have screens built into their remotes.

That’s because that way the manufacturer can have control over the screen’s size, the resolution and its heat/cold resistance. I mean, you wouldn’t want your $13,000 drone to be limited by the capabilities of your smartphone’s screen, after all.

Quick Comparison Table

Drone ModelScreen (Controller)Camera ResolutionFlight TimePrice (Approx.)Notable Features
DJI Mavic 3Built-in (DJI RC PRO)4K/60fps46 minutes$209915km range, OcuSync 3.0, high-end prosumer drone
DJI Mini 35.5-inch display4K/30p38  minutes$469Under 249g , Extended battery, Intelligent flight modes
Autel Evo 2 Pro V36.4-inch OLED6k/30p40 minutes$759Obstacle avoidance systems, Robust build quality, High-resolution cameras 
HUBSAN H501SS Pro4.3 inch LCD1080p20 minutes$219Affordable, large wingspan, no gimbal
DJI Smart Controller5 inch, 1080p displayCompatible with various DJI dronesDepends on droneVariesVersatile, auto-switches between 2.4 to 5.8GHz

Top 5 drones with screen on controller

As promised we’ll look at what I think are the best drones with screens on controllers. Some of them are high-end and aren’t exactly entry level, others lack in features and performance but are budget friendly and perfect for beginners.

DJI Mavic 3

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This one comes with a hefty price tag, I know, but like I said we’re covering all kinds of drones in this article. 

The DJI Mavic 3 is also a drone that comes with a built-in screen in its remote controller DJI RC PRO. At a $2099 retail price, it’s a prosumer drone meant for professionals and people willing to spend on their hobby.

With a 15km flight range, a whooping 46 minutes flight time and 4K @60fps camera, the Mavic 3 may just be the best drone at this price range. Not to mention the cutting edge OcuSync 3.0 transmission system making you almost never lose the signal on it. I personally think DJI outdone themselves with this drone.

DJI Mini 3

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The DJI Mini 3 emerges as a top choice for those seeking a compact drone with a built-in screen on the controller, blending affordability with high-end functionality. Despite its entry to mid-level status, the Mini 3 doesn't compromise on quality, offering a 4K camera with a 1/1.3-inch sensor capable of capturing breathtaking aerial footage and photos. 

Ideal for beginners and budget-conscious enthusiasts alike, this drone ensures a seamless flying experience, especially when paired with the DJI RC bundle. 

The bundle includes a controller equipped with an integrated screen, enhancing usability by eliminating the need to use your smartphone. With up to 38 minutes of flight time and a portable design, the Mini 3 is perfect for adventurers looking to document their journeys from the skies. 

For an optimized experience, consider the DJI RC bundle to fully leverage the drone's capabilities without distractions.

Autel Evo 2 Pro V3

autel evo 2 drone 6k 500x500 1

The Autel EVO 2 Pro V3 joins our top drones with screen on controller, excelling with its blend of high-end functionality and user-friendly design. This drone stands out with its smooth flight dynamics and exceptional image quality, thanks to a 1-inch sensor that captures 20MP photos and delivers smooth 6K video. 

Its comprehensive 360-degree obstacle sensing system ensures safer flights by minimizing collision risks. Despite its premium price, the Autel EVO 2 Pro V3 justifies the investment with robust features, including an impressive up to 40-minute flight time. 

The package includes a Smart Controller with a built-in screen, eliminating the need for a smartphone and simplifying the flying experience. 

This controller enhances the overall experience, making the EVO 2 Pro V3 a compelling option for both enthusiasts and professionals. For an optimized flying experience, consider the bundle that includes the Smart Controller.

Autel Evo 2 Pro V3

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Let’s move on to a fun little drone called the HUBSAN H501SS Pro. Now HUBSAN isn’t exactly a well-known brand and highly performant drones aren’t their forte but in the last couple of years we’ve seen some good stuff coming out of their factories.

This one is amongst them. The H501SS Pro is an affordable drone and relatively large, at 22 cm wingspan you can’t exactly call it a toy drone. The camera has no gimbal though I don’t think you’d need one. This drone is made purely for the joy of flying and not for filming purposes.

Though with its 1080p camera you can get some pretty good shots if the drone’s flying still. You can fly the drone for a solid 20 minutes before having to recharge it.

The remote controller comes with a 4.3inch LCD screen, good enough considering the $219 retail price of the HUBSAN H501SS Pro.

DJI Smart Controller with Compatible Drone

Not an actual drone per se, but the DJI Smart Controller is a separate controller sold as an accessory. It comes with a 5-inch screen, 1080p display and 8km transmission range. It can also switch from from 2.4 to 5.8GHz for less interference automatically, guaranteeing a good signal most times.

The heat/cold resistance is also present as it can work properly in temperatures from -20 C to +40 C.

Unfortunately production has stopped for the smart controller with no continuation date released from DJI. But you can still get it on Amazon or other retailers. There is also the option of buying it used, just make sure it works by trying it on your drone first.

The DJI drones that are compatible with the Smart Controller are:

  • DJI Mini 2
  • DJI Mini 3
  • DJI Air 2S
  • DJI Mavic Air 2
  • DJI Mavic Air 2 Zoom
  • DJI Mavic 2 Pro
  • DJI Mavic 2 Entreprise
  • DJI Mavic 3
  • DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0

Built-in display or Smartphone - Which is better?

You might be wondering whether the added price for getting a drone with built-in screen or simply purchasing a remote controller with screen as an accessory is worth it. After all, you can simply use your smartphone, available in your pocket whenever you need it.

It depends on your goals, professionals will find more use for the built-in controller screens that hobbyists will. That’s because built-in displays are bigger in size and therefore better for filming and surveying activities. They’re also more resistant to the elements.

Not to mention that built-in displays have one mission: Show you the drones live feed. Meaning you won’t be distracted by calls and notifications that would usually annoy you during a flying session if you were using your smartphone.

Pros and Cons of Having a Screen on Your Drone Remote Controller

ProsCons
Improved Flight Experience: A built-in screen generally enhances your flying experience.Less Flexibility: Controllers with built-in screens offer less flexibility in terms of screen size and type compared to using your smartphone.
Better Visibility: In-built screens are brighter, making them usable in various lighting conditions without interruptions like texts or notifications.Battery Drain: Built-in screens can consume more controller battery, reducing overall flight time.
Immersive Experience: A larger, brighter screen offers better control and more immersive footage, increasing safety by making it easier to spot and avoid obstacles.
Reduced Latency: The video feed is direct to the controller, offering real-time viewing without the delay often found in smartphone app-based systems.
Distraction-Free Environment. Unlike the Smartphone, the screen on the controller will not cause any interruptions. 

Things To Consider While Buying The Drones With Screen On Controller

Camera Quality: While it's true that a good camera is crucial, consider what you plan to do with your drone. If you're just flying for fun or capturing basic shots, you may not need the highest-end camera. Conversely, if you're into professional photography or videography, investing in a drone with excellent camera capabilities becomes more critical.

Screen Clarity: A clear screen is essential, but don't just focus on resolution. Consider factors like screen size and type (LCD, OLED) too. A larger screen provides a more immersive experience, while an OLED screen typically offers richer colors and better contrast. Ensure it's visible in bright sunlight, especially if you plan to fly outdoors frequently.

Flight Duration: Think about how you intend to use your drone. If you're a casual flyer, a 20-30 minute flight time might be sufficient. However, if you're working on projects or need more extended flight sessions, you might want to opt for a drone with a longer battery life, even if it means sacrificing some portability.

Range: While most users don't need an extensive range, a more extended range can be beneficial, especially if you want to explore vast landscapes or fly in remote areas. Keep in mind that regulatory limits often come into play too, so check local regulations.

Price: Your budget plays a crucial role in your decision. It's not just about what you can afford; it's about finding the right balance between your needs and budget. Sometimes, mid-range drones offer a great compromise between performance and cost. Don't forget to factor in additional costs like spare batteries, accessories, and potential repairs.

Consider Future Needs: Think about your future needs. Do you plan to upgrade your drone in the future? Are you interested in advanced features like obstacle avoidance or GPS capabilities? Some drones can accommodate add-ons or have modular designs that allow for future upgrades.

By thinking about these things, you'll pick a drone that suits your needs and gives you good value for your money.

Conclusion

I hope you learned a thing or two reading this article. Those are my top picks for now but the drone world is moving fast, new and better drones with built-in screens might hit the market and when that happens we’ll be sure to cover them here at Dronesgator.

Personally I prefer to fly using my smartphone, it’s less of a hassle and one less piece of equipment to worry about. But then again I’m just a hobbyist, pros might have need for built-in screens. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How durable are the built-in screens?

Built-in screens on drone controllers are generally quite durable, designed to withstand regular use and minor impacts. However, they may not be as rugged as some outdoor-specific devices.

Can you adjust screen settings like brightness?

Yes, most built-in screens on drone controllers allow you to adjust settings like brightness, which is essential for visibility in different lighting conditions.

How do built-in screens perform in sunlight?

Performance varies by model, but many built-in screens are designed for better visibility in sunlight compared to standard smartphone screens, often featuring higher brightness levels and anti-glare coatings.

Is there any lag on built-in screens vs. smartphones?

Built-in screens typically have minimal lag, similar to high-quality smartphone screens. They are optimized for real-time video feed, ensuring a smooth flying experience.

What are the benefits of a drone with a screen on the controller for a beginner?

For beginners, a drone with a screen on the controller offers simplicity and convenience. It eliminates the need for a smartphone, provides a dedicated and potentially more reliable display for flying, and can offer a more intuitive and focused flying experience.

author-paul-posea-picture
Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.
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