The best thing about the DJI Mini 3 Pro is that it will surprise you.


The DJI Mini 3 Pro is a 249 grams prosumer drone. This is easily the best mini foldable drone DJI has ever produced, but my favorite part of the $909 / £859 / $1,299 package is the game-changing DJI RC.

The new remote control incorporates a 5.5-inch high-resolution full-color display.

Before I tell you why I like this remote so much, it’s worth explaining that I have to pay for a DJI RC. You can order the DJI Mini 3 Pro for $669 / £639 / AU$989. That is, there is a drone, but no remote control (the drone works with DJI’s RC-N1, which has no screen). $759 / £709 / AU$1119 for the drone and the RC-N1. The package you want, in my opinion, is $909 with the new DJI RC.

This is not DJI’s first on-screen remote. It was the discontinued DJI Smart Controller. At first glance, these two devices are very similar (same square shape, identical 5.5-inch display), but the lines are smoother on the light gray DJI RC and lack the antenna to spread out.

(Image credit: Future/Lance Ulanov)

why love

To understand why I love this new remote control so much, we need to go back to the early days of flying DJI drones. For almost everyone, it was the marriage between my iPhone and the remote. Over the years, DJI has devised different ways to secure smartphones of different sizes and connect cables from the remote control to the phone’s data/power port.

Marriage has always been a little awkward because it had to be built all-round. Early DJI drone remotes provided a study arm that could be unfolded from the remote control body and then pressed against the edge of the phone. It looked messy and messy, but the iPhone never slipped out of place. But connecting cables to them was a nightmare.

Introduced with the DJI Mini 2 (RC-N1), the Remote DJI is noticeably improved. The arm is gone and replaced with a nice spring-loaded clamp on the top edge of the remote. Just pull to drop the phone and let the spring tension pull it back into place on top of the phone. This also made cable runs easier.

But even with this remote control, there were a lot of concerns. Have you installed the latest DJI software? As mobile editor and drone novice Tom Bedford recently noted, DJI tends to launch new apps for a variety of drones. You just need to pay attention to which ones to install.

Then there is the battery. Most DJI drones actually drain their battery life, but I’ve always been concerned about whether my iPhone has enough battery. My fear was that I couldn’t track the drone when my screen was dark.

better way

DJI RC

(Image credit: Future/Lance Ulanov)

The obvious and important advantages of the DJI RC can be guessed. No iPhone or smartphone.

No need to connect the remote to Wi-Fi (unless you want to), search for apps, or wrestle with cables and smartphones in place. Even if you forget your iPhone, you can still blow up the DJI Mini 3 Pro.

This is freedom.

This is ease of use.

this fun.

None of this would have been true if DJI hadn’t made a great drone remote control. Although heavier than previous remotes (and the ultralight DJI Mini 3 Pro), the DJI RC is easy to carry. The knurled metal joystick (which protrudes from the back and screws into the front) sits perfectly just above the screen, a smart placement as my fingers have never covered the display.

On the front is an easy-to-reach set of controls that lets you quickly take a photo or start or stop recording a video. In the lower right corner are the dials (one on each side). One allows you to control the orientation of the gimbal camera and the other allows you to digitally zoom in on the live image the drone sends to the remote control.

There’s also a pair of buttons for quick access to things like reorienting the camera forward or down, as well as a button to access other advanced camera settings (customizable).

Between the joystick are buttons for back home and pause, and sliders for power and flight mode. It is a simple yet sensual layout.

The DJI RC remote doesn’t show an antenna, but it flew 400 feet and maintained perfect communication with the drone from more than a mile away.

DJI RC

(Image credit: Future/Lance Ulanov)

The 5.5-inch LCD screen was bright enough to see for myself, but I noticed that my son couldn’t tell what was going on even when he was standing next to me. This is not a problem for pilots, but the screen is not designed for group viewing.

Also, the touch-sensitive screen doesn’t require much work as the remote automatically connects to the DJI Mini 3 Pro. Once done, I had to press “Go Fly” to get into the controls and see through the drone’s 4K camera.

Touch the screen to launch and swipe to access various controls.

You can also double swipe from the top of the display to see what appears to be Android based. In this setup, I was able to enter my DJI account information and add a Wi-Fi connection to download the latest firmware directly to the remote and drone.

I wouldn’t expect the battery life to be as good as the full-size screen it supports, but it lasts easier than multiple 30-minute flights.

One caveat here is that you will have limited media download capabilities unless connected directly to your smartphone. Photos and videos taken with the DJI Mini 3 Pro can be played back directly from the drone’s microSD card to the RC display. You can also download photos via DJI RC, but not videos. You can download everything as long as your phone is connected.

Yes, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is one of the best drones you can buy and I really love it, but the experience might not have been great without the DJI RC.

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