Posted: 10. January 2019 at 10:03 CEST
DJI Mavic pilots who want to stream live video to their controller have to attach their smartphone to the remote like this:
While this works for smaller devices (photo shows an iPhone SE), today’s 6″ phablets don’t fit too well. The connection also blocks the USB ports on both the phone and the controller which then can no longer be used for charging.
At CES 2019, DJI introduced the new DJI Smart controller which provides owners of the new Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom with an alternative: The remote features an integrated Android-device and sports a generous 5.5″ display with touchscreen.
The device comes with the DJI app pre-installed; third party remote control apps can be installed via APK. The display is of the extra-bright variety: At 1000 cd/m2, the screen is approximately twice as bright as conventional smartphone displays.
Video streamed from the drone will be stored in internal memory (size currently unknown, likely 32 to 64GB) or on a micro SD card. The imagery can then be played back on the device, streamed via HDMI or sent wirelessly to a connected smart device. Currently, video sent via DJIs OcuSync 2.0 maxes out at Full HD resolution; as before 4K video is stored on the drone.
The built-in 5.000mAh battery provides 2.5 hours of continuous operation and can be fast charged via USB-C. For easy transport the control sticks can be detached and stored in a compartment on the back of the controller. The remote operates over a huge temperature range: -20°C to + 40°C (-4°F to 104°F). WiFi and Bluetooth are built-in; the Android device is fully functional and can be used to browse the web, install apps etc. It doesn’t have a SIM slot though und can’t be used as phone.
All this doesn’t come cheap: The DJI Smart will set you back a whopping $649; DJI will also offer bundles of the controller with either the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic 2 Zoom. Unfortunately, the new remote is not compatible with the older Mavic Pro.
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