CES 2019: DJI Smart Controller First Look and Hands On

For CES 2019 DJI didn’t release any new drones but it did announce a new Smart Controller which will remove the need for the user to have his/her smartphone connected as a controlling unit while also bringing in some pretty awesome features.

The new DJI Smart Controller is a very interesting new accessory for the new DJI Mavic drones (currently it is working with only the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom but we can guess that any new member of this family will also work with the device).

It improves over the existing smartphone controller in almost any aspect including battery life (up to 2.5 hours so that is a lot of Drone batteries to go through) it has a super high brightness 5.5″ display which should work great during the day, the controller itself has better joystick and other buttons compared to the previous controlling unit.

The unit uses Android and can run different apps including some third-party apps and has the option to stream videos to social media sites which is an interesting addition (we can probably expect some future apps to expend the capabilities of the device).

Here are some of the main features of the DJI Smart Controller:

  • For OcuSync 2.0-compatible Drones (Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom drones).
  • Automatic transmission switching frequencies (2.4 GHz – 5.8 GHz).
  • Built-In 5.5″ 1080p ultra-bright 1000 cd/m2 screen.
  • HDMI output up to 4K 60p in H.264/H.265 modes.
  • DJI Go Share for Easy Mobile transfers.
  • Livestream on Social Media with SkyTalk feature.
  • Built-in mic and a speaker.
  • HDMI Port Outputs 4K Video at 60 fps.
  • Works in -4°F to 104°F / -20° C to 40° C temperatures.
  • Powerful 5000mAh battery / 2.5 hours of runtime.
  • microSD card port for expandable memory.
  • Detatchable control sticks.
  • Pricing: $650.

The main thing that is going to prevent people from getting this otherwise very capable controller is the price – it is going to be pretty hard to justify spending over half the price of a new drone on a controller unless you are making money out of it (professional users who fly drones for a living will probably have less of a problem with the price tag).

Ready Set Drone hands-on with the new DJI Smart Controller

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Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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