Is the DJI FPV Remote Controller Any Good?

The DJI Remote Controller is so well made and nice to use, I could almost make it my daily driver. However it’s missing something that stops it from being my primary radio.

See my full review of the DJI FPV System.

You can get the DJI Remote with the FPV System as a bundle from these vendors:

What I Love About The DJI Remote?

Really Nice Gimbals

The DJI FPV Remote is actually a very well designed radio with decent ergonomics. The gimbals are probably some of the smoothest I’ve ever used, the middle notch is very light which I personally prefer. The sticks come very loose, but you can adjust gimbal spring tension just like other radios.

Really high quality switches and sliders, definitely another level above what we currently have from Frsky X9D+, Jumper T16 and Radiomaster TX16S.

There are only four 3-position switches, but for people who only fly multirotors, that’s more than enough :) You can also conveniently enable DVR recording on the radio controller without needing to reach the buttons on your goggles.

Minimalist and Beginner Friendly

At first glance, it might appear to be a very typical DJI design – simple and clean. It doesn’t have complicated buttons and screens, makes it less confusing and scary to beginners.

The radio signal comes out of the Air Unit to the flight controller (in SBUS), so you don’t need an additional receiver, potentially saving you $20-$30 per drone, not to mention skipping the extra wiring and soldering.

It’s fully integrated with the FPV system, all the radio settings can be changed through the OSD in the Goggles. The button and switches are highly customizable.

You can even use the radio buttons to navigate through the OSD menu, which is truly enjoyable to use, everything is so seamless!

You can also play FPV simulators with the DJI Remote via the USB-C connector.

When it comes to latency, there is nothing to worry about. DJI claims the latency is as low as 7ms. And indeed when I am flying with the DJI Remote Controller, I don’t feel any difference compared to flying with my Jumper T16 with Crossfire, or Frsky Taranis X9D.

User-Friendly Features

There are only two buttons on this radio, a power button, and a “C Button”.

The power button is self-explanatory, the C button is for “locking” all the sticks and switches so no RC signal will be sent out. This is a safety feature to avoid accidentally arming your drone.

Antennas are foldable, makes it much easier to fit in backpack.

The included battery can literally last days of flying per charge! You can charge it via the USB-C port.

And if you ever have a single flight that lasts hours, just remember that the DJI Remote supports battery hot swap :D I haven’t tested this in action, but indeed you can change battery if you have the USB-C cable plugged in, I tried and radio didn’t lose power :)

The LED’s on the battery is a handy feature, they show battery level without the need for a voltage checker.

The Downsides of DJI Remote

I love the minimalist design, but the downside of simplicity is the lack of programmability. It’s nothing like the powerful and flexible OpenTX system, where you can do all kind of crazy stuff, like setting up complex throttle curve, scaling down throttle using the rotary switch, playing custom sound track based on telemetry value… There is so much you can do in OpenTX!

You need a special cable to play simulators (3.5mm jack PPM port), which you have to purchase separately. The USB-C port is only for charging the battery. I really, really don’t understand why they used this approach, so annoying. Edit (Feb 2020): DJI fixed this in a software update! You can now use your USB-C Port to play simulators! (USB HID Support)

The DJI Remote is primarily designed for multirotors, there are no trim buttons and sliders for the wing / plane pilots. You can change trims in the OSD menu but that’s not really practical. And you can’t change radio settings without the DJI FPV Goggles, so doesn’t make sense for the LOS-only flyers (pretty useless without the goggles).

There is no external module bay, so you are locked to the DJI 5.8GHz RC protocol.

The radio is in black and will get hot in the summer, flying under the sun. They probably expected that and installed a cooling fan inside which is quite unusual for a radio. The fan can actually get quite loud, but if you are flying outdoor this shouldn’t be a problem at all.

The range and noise rejection ability of the DJI FPV system is exceptional (4Km at 700mW), but when you run out of range, you normally get a failsafe before losing video signal, so when you try to get out of a blind spot it’s usually too late.

And after you crash, you’d probably have lost connection entirely because it’s so low on the ground with all the obstacles blocking that 5.8GHz signal, you can’t turtle mode but have to walk all the way to pick it up… The best you can do when using the DJi remote is to range test the whole place you are flying at first, and know your limit!

And you can’t stand too close to people who are flying 5.8GHz analogue, because the radio is basically like a high power VTX and might interfere with their signal.

Should You Use the DJI Remote Controller?

For me, it is a great secondary radio transmitter that I can just pick up and fly my DJI FPV drones. With it, I don’t have to worry about any stupid technical stuff like configurations, antennas and so on. It’s so simple.

The DJI radio costs $300 on its own, looking at the price and functionality of the competition, it’s simply too much as a stand alone purchase. Take for example the popular radios such as the Radiomaster TX16S and the Jumper T16, is only around $130-$160. As part of a bundle however, the system as a whole becomes pretty affordable, especially if you are just starting out:

However it still won’t replace my primary radio (at the time of publishing, it’s the Radiomaster TX16S with Crossfire module), I need the programmability of OpenTX and the ability to use both Frsky and Crossfire protocols when I need to.

Most of the quads built by myself are equipped with Crossfire receivers, and I use my TX16S for those. But for certain pre-built BNF (bind and fly) models, if they come with the DJI Air Unit or Caddx Vista, I find it super easy to setup with the DJI Remote, and I don’t have to go over all the trouble to install a separate receiver. Most BNF are micro quads anyway, I fly them mostly in a small park so the DJI remote has more than enough range to handle that.

As mentioned, the radio link is the same as the video link, at 5.8GHz, and it gets blocked easily by obstacles. Unless DJI drastically improves the 5.8GHz link reliability somehow, it’s beneficial to have a separate RC link at a lower frequency – 2.4GHz, or even better 900MHz. Not only for flying mid/long range, but also when you are flying in tricky environments like over water or diving a cliff, the last thing you’d want is a failsafe. That’s why I still prefer to have Crossfire on most of my fleet whenever possible. Learn about Crossfire here.

And if you fly with guys running analogue FPV system, it’s not really a good idea to use your DJI remote unless you all set output power really low at 25mW, which is not really ideal.

5 thoughts on “Is the DJI FPV Remote Controller Any Good?

  1. Evan

    For users like me who fly freestyle on Betaflight, long range on iNav, wings, and big, self built cinematography drones, (Not to mention an RC truck) all with my Taranis, having models is a must!

    Reply
  2. Benn

    How do you select between diferent binded models? Is it “smart” in this regard? Thinking of ditching my X9D Plus. Have been out of the hobby for over 18 months and think I might appreciate the plug and play aspect, but worried I will miss the (albeit bewildering) options OpenTX gave me. Is there any option for curves on the DJI system?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      It doesn’t have models, but why would you need to select “models”?
      I don’t even do that with my OpenTX radios.

      Reply
  3. Edward Robison

    So, is it possible to set up “turtle mode” on the DJI remote? Also what is the range comparison to something like the frsky x-lite and a rxsr receiver?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Yes, no different than other radios when it comes to turtle mode. Range – if just line of sight, the DJI system out perform the mentioned system by multiple times. Mind you it’s able to broadcast at 1200mW max. The x-lite on 2.4GHz can only do under 100mW I think.

      Reply

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