DJI Smart Controller - Early Pre-Flight Thoughts


#1

Apologies if this turns out to be a long post. (to think I haven’t even flown with it yet!) but they are my very initial pre-flight ‘hands-on’ thoughts:

Why did I purchase the smart controller?
Quite simple really:

  1. For the all-in-one convenience
  2. The brighter screen

Having had a play with the smart controller, What do I like about it?

  1. Feels great to hold. Its quite a substantial thing.
  2. That screen is fab. Even on a relatively low setting its bright compared to what Im used to. The real test is to come of course when I get it outside.
  3. The screen feels solid to touch too and appears to respond just fine. No lag noted.
  4. The slightly more rectangular shape to the screen, seems to offer more useable screen than my 6.2" Galaxy S9+. Despite its 5.5" .
  5. Boots up pretty quickly.
  6. Like the vibration feedback.
  7. Where the thumbsticks are stored under the antennas.
  8. Theres more travel in the thumbsticks. I’m hoping this will allow for more delicate, precise movement.
  9. The simple OS. Its pretty easy to navigate around. Accessing the photos / vids is a doddle.
  10. The ease with which to transfer files to mobile.
  11. Connected to my M2P instantly. Very easy to connect. (Thankfuly!)

Ok, so what dont I like :

  1. DJI are yet to release the Go4 update for the controller (and other Android devices) with the new Waypoints feature. Disappointingly, they have for iOS and quite understandably its p1$$ed off many people who have forked out piles of cash for their new smart controller. Not good. IMO its not the end of the world but its still a stupid oversight from DJI. You release a dedicated device like this touting it about with much fanfare you ought to support the damn thing properly. Im hoping this is only a matter of days rather than weeks. :rage::cold_sweat:

  2. Nothing else.

Other things I’ve noted :

  1. Theres no real app environment. The Smart controller OS is a very basic, stripped down Android platform. To download apps you have to browse to an apk website which allows for app downloads. Sites such as apkpure.com are good. I managed to download and install Amazons Appstore, which is a great way to get apps (although it is quite limited in its app library. I did attempt to install Google Play store. Despite it installing and me logging in, it just crashes on opening, so deleted it. I did manage to download and run the Polar Pro, UAV Forecast apps. Some apps will not run because they require Google play services. Other apps such as Drone Assist (NATS) open but dont function fully as they need google play services installed. The app thing is a wee bit hit n miss here. :thinking:

However, having said all that, I hadnt planned on filling this device with apps and Id rather keep the smart controller focus’d on its main job of flying. The sheer convenience of getting my M2P in the air efficiently and working with photos and vids is the main aim and I’ve got my phone (back) for apps and weather checking etc. :+1::smiley:

  1. No Litchi Support (Yet). Can see this happening at some point. :crossed_fingers:

  2. @firefox8 had an initial issue with connecting to wifi but managed to get an update via Assistant 2 / phone hotspot. Im having the opposite. Wifi connected fine first time but having tried 3 Windows 10 PC’s I cannot get it to connect to Assistant 2. The device connects but all I get is ‘Driver unavailable’ so isnt seen in Assistant 2. I am investigating this one.

That about wraps up my initial thoughts and experiences thus far after a few hours playing about. Still much to learn and faff about with :wink:

Im praying for a decent weekend. So I can actually put the smart controller to work. :smiley::+1:


#2

Is this why you don’t have waypoints? Some apk sites can be days behind. Which version are you running?


#3

Aaah. no. The controller gets a main update from DJi themselves. So Go4 updates come from DJI direct.

Any extra apps over and above the whats loaded by default need getting from elsewhere.


#4

Ah! :+1:


#5

What you can do is run something like AppMonster on a normal Android device, which creates a backup apk from the app. You can copy these over and use them.
Some may still have incompatibility issues (no PlayStore, etc), but some of those apk sites drive me insane!


#6

Thats pretty cool to know actually. Cheers for that. :ok_hand:


#7

My dedicated drone-phone uses a non-current version of Go4 (and almost always in airplane mode) … but whilst I (almost) never use my phone-phone for the MP, I always install the latest version of Go4 and use AppMonster to backup the apk … so I have any/every version (going back 18 months or so) that I might want to try or go back to.


#8

PS - the smart controller looks like a great device!
Finances dictate that I hope it’s never MP compatible. LOL


#9

oh man! Thats actually impressive that youd backup app like that. Damn useful.:+1:

I do like the thought of having a dedicated device for my M2P. Keeping everything separate is a positive thing for me. Much like you’ve done there with your other phone. :+1:


#10

HAA HAA… Once I get over the outlay…and as a family we can start to have holidays again lol, I think I’ll realise that it was a ‘smart’ move h:grin::joy::wink:

Hopefully for your sake and your wallet DJI dont make it available for the MP …but I have a sneaky feeling they might…do you think?


#11

Not sure. Perhaps they’ll not make it retro compatible at all.
Who knows what goes on in their minds.


#12

Thanks for taking the time to review this so far Steve @sunstone

Am hoping that a future upgrade will make the smart controller compatible with the MP, I’ll be placing my order then.
Look forward to a review following first flight.
Appreciate you taking the time to keep us all up to date.


#13

Thats quite alright @mickydd thankyou for your kind comments . It was good to offer some kind of initial feedback tbh

I dunno, in fact who knows whats going on in DJI head. The Mavic Pro really gave DJI that flagship consumer product and it’d be a darn shame for the MP to not have some compatibility at some point with the smart controller. It just seems too early for DJI to almost cut the MP adrift from a great device IMO.

I’ve read / heard that the Ocusync 2is backwards compatible with Ocusync 1 and that the controller has the ability to connect via wifi too which would include the Mavic Air. How accurate this is, I really couldnt say. Its just the bits n pieces of info that im picking up from various reviews and YT vids.

I guess we just watch this space. :thinking:

Fngers crossed tho :crossed_fingers:


#14

Hi@sunstone
Great update on your purchase
You say your having issues with WiFi connections is that at home or to your phone? Does it need a mobile connection while flying? Can you not do a personal hotspot for the apps that need play store?
Ok that will do for now :wink:


#15

Does he? Don’t think so! :wink:


#16

Is there an updated version of Assistant 2?


#17

@OzoneVibe I stand corrected again thanks for being over zealous again…
Just love your put downs NOT


#18

The Wifi has been spot on and connects just fine.

@firefox8 was having an issue with it not connecting to his home wifi but managed to get connected I think

The issue im having is actually connecting up to Assistant 2 on my PC. Its not being recognised at all or at least the correct driver isnt being loaded from within Windows to allow it to be connected. I’ve tried 3 windows PC’s thus far but need to do some more digging. :grin:


#19

I’ve tried that but had no luck. Going to do some more investigating to see if Im somehow missing a setting or whether I can get to installing a driver for it. There is a yellow warning icon under device manager from within Windows that tells says the device isnt installed correctly or that the driver is unavailable. :thinking:


#20

Have you tried a complete de-install of Assistant 2, reboot, re-install?