New DJI Smart controller for Mavic 2 – Is it worth the price?

New DJI mavic 2 smart controller- Is it worth it?

The new DJI Smart Controller is made speciffically to improve the experience of flying the Mavic 2 both Pro and Zoom without a hassle.

Now, the price for the new controller might not be something everybody looks forward to, but in this article we will figure out the cons and pros and see if it’s worth buying for speciffic types of people.
 
With the New Mavic 2 controller, DJI wanted to create an easier to use, more complete professional solution, but that doesn’t mean it’s only dedicated to industry use, but consumers can definitely benefit from it too.

 

I know that I sometimes consider setting up the phone and app a hassle myself.
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How is the new Smart controller better?

We have seen DJI making this move once in the past with the Phantom 4 pro plus, where they basically made a transmitter version that already comes with a screen and inbuilt operating system.
This proved to be quite helpful for people who didn’t want to have cables hanging around and a much faster startup time.
 
What are the advantages of a dedicated Mavic controller?

No more cables

 

Frankly, having faulty cables has been a problem for me quite a few times and I found myself disconnecting from the remote by mistake just because the cable wasn’t set up good. 

Cables can also be a slight downside to the connection speed and quality.

You should look for the following in a drone if you want good image stability:

  • A 2 or preferably 3 axis gimbal is the best possible way to stabilize a camera. It’s usually found in more expensive builds.
  • Electronic image stabilization. Drones like Parrot Bebop 2 or even the cheaper Tello have it.
  • Get yourself a GO Pro drone and use a very stable Action cam with electronic or optical image stabilization!

Setup speed and reliability

If you are to ask me, the most important thing is that you probably will get to fly the drone more often just because the overall process got simpler. No cables, no more app issues when connecting and less of a hassle to put it in the air.

 

Just by having this controller you’ll save at like 20 seconds from the overall setup time, which doesn’t mean a lot, but because it means less friction in the process of getting it in the air, you’ll be capturing more shots, that’s how humans work, they tend to do things when it’s easier.
And taking more shots is exactly what you need to improve your skills and get more experience flying.
 
I don’t think those 20 seconds can make a difference when it comes to capturing things, but I can think of a few events where setup speed matters.
 
 Maybe a wedding or some similar events. maybe you’re on the beach and a cool ship is passing though, or maybe you want to capture a beautiful sunset just at the right time.
Things can get out of control even more when it comes to reliability.

 

This means there is a possibility that the phone will not connect properly the first time and have to try a few more times, thing that’s improbable to happen with the new controller, that’s basically dedicated fot just flying the drone.

Another thing you need to worry about is actually charging both the phone and the controller, this new transmitter removes that issue with only one 5000 mAh battery that lasts for 2.5 hours of use.  

Screen brightness and extreme environments

The improved screen brightness is probably the main point you’d want to buy this for in the first place. 

This means you can get out in the sun without starring your eyes out to at least understand what’s going on in the frame.

 If you’re curious about numbers, this new screen has 1000 cd/m2 while the latest Iphone x has 625cd/m2, which is already one of the highest on the market. So if you have anything less, you’re going to suffer a lot in direct sunlight.  

This is probably the biggest annoyance for me when I try to fly the mavic 2 pro on a sunny day. It’s such a bad experience that I prefer going around some trees and put myself in the shadow and lose some signal strength than sitting in the sun. But sometimes you just don’t have a choice and nowhere to hide.

 

There is the option to put a sunshade on, and that definitely improves how you see the image a lot, but that’s yet another thing you have to carry with you and install, which makes it a longer process and therefore adding to the annoyance.
This is a comparison made by the guys at flytpath.
Of course, considering the price DJI sells the controller for, I think it must do more than just removing the sunshade from the equation.
 
Therefore, it also does a better job in more extreme environments, as I’ve been with my Iphone in about -10 degrees and the battery was dropping very fast and couldn’t finish my filming. 
 
This new controller can handle -20 to 40 degrees celsius, which you probably won’t reach that easy anyway.

Other apps and livestreaming

The screen on this controller is more than a screen, basically it’s another phone, which may be the main reason why dji have made it quite expensive. 

 

You can add third party apps that can help you edit, livestream or do whatever you want, including social apps and such. So it will basically work as a secondary phone, including games.
The Skytalk feature lets you livestream your drone camera view on facebook and instagram or share short videos instantly. 

The controller is also built in with a speaker and microphone so you can talk while doing the livestream if you prefer.  
 So you can also browse facebook when you’re bored, and what’s best is that your flight won’t get interrupted by your mother calling, and if you want to talk to the phone, you have that separately.
Recording the screen is also a welcomed option along with the ability to transfer data from the controller to the phone and back thanks to the goshare app, wifi or bluetooth.

Connecting to a monitor or goggles

Because the new controller comes with a full HDMI slot at the top, you can always stream high quality video to a separate bigger monitor or even connect it to goggles if you want to experience First Person View.
 
This makes for a great option to show other people what you’re recording or maybe have somebody else pay attention to the footage while you check the surroundings.
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Unboxing and buttons

The controller comes in the box with the basic pieces it needs for functioning, charging and so on.

  • power brick
  • usb to usb c cable
  • 4 remote sticks
  • manual
  • remote controller
When it comes to the buttons and what’s on the actual transmitter, this new device comes, first of all with an android operated system that has a 1080p 5.5 inch screen that’s extra bright, as I mentioned before.
 

 

It comes with both the standard buttons and features present on the original controller, as well as some new aditions, especially when it comes to ports for connectivity.

These are the top connectors and dials. As you can see, it has 2 important new features.

  1. Micro Sd – which basically allows you to transfer data from the drone to the transmitter and visualise the actual footage in high quality.
  2. HDMI – as mentioned before, it’s perfect for using it with goggles or a separate monitor.

In the front you have as novelties both a back and an “action” button on the far right, that I forgot to add on the image, apparently.

Photo courtesy of Flytpath
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How to link dji smart controller to mavic 2

If you want to link the mavci 2 to the new Smart controller, all that you need to do i turn on the Mavic drone, than press the c1+c2 and the record button at the same time, then press the link button on the mavic, found on the right side.

Every time you want to fly, the controller will directly connect to the drone, without any other processes interfering. That’s why using this instead of a smartphone feels so much more as it should be.

Now, if you think all the benefits listed above are worth it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the new controller, because there’s clearly no downsides to getting it.

Now, the new controller is probably mostly made for professional use, for people who actually care to save a few minutes and make the most out of certain events.

 

Smart controller

8.5 Total Score
DJI Smart controller - a smartphone in it's own right

The price of the Mavic 2 smart controller is justified when you think that it's basically a capable modern smartphone connected to a fully functional transmitter for the drone. If you need the slight improvements in every aspect, this certainly has no disadvantages at all!

Ease of use
9
How good is the experience
9
Price
6
PROS
  • Much brighter screen than any smartphone
  • Faster boot up time
  • No issues with connection
  • no cables needed
  • HDMI port for monitor or goggles
  • 1080p display
  • better in extreme temperatures
  • it can basically be used as a smartphone and install apps or browse.
CONS
  • it's better in everey way, but you have to pay the price for it
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I'm a big drone enthusiast, the owner of DronesGator.com and I also make weekly videos on my drone YouTube channel.

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