Matching game – The compatibility of different DJI drones and remote controllers

By Pilot Institute
Posted on October 28, 2023 - 6 minute read

While it is easy to notice how quickly DJI has been pushing new drones into the market, it is a little easier to overlook how many new remote controllers have also been released. This has created a complex and confusing situation, as the new remote controllers are only selectively compatible with the old and new drones.

To help clear up the confusion, we take a look at the different DJI remote controllers that you can buy today. We then list down all the drones that are compatible with each controller.

Mavic Mini ControllerSmart ControllerDJI RC ProDJI RCDJI RC 2DJI RC-N1DJI RC-N2DJI FPV V2DJI Motion ControllerDJI RC Motion 2
Mavic Mini
Mini SE
Mini 2
Mini 2 SE
Mini 3
Mini 3 Pro
Mini 4 Pro
Mavic Air 2
Air 2S
Air 3
Mavic 2 Pro
Mavic 2 Zoom
Mavic 2 Enterprise
Mavic 3
Mavic 3 Classic
Mavic 3 Pro
Mavic 3 Cine
Mavic 3 Pro Cine
Phantom 4 Pro V2
DJI Avata

DJI Mavic Mini Controller

Compatible with: Mavic Mini, Mini SE

The controller that came with the Mavic Mini is appropriate for the drone – it’s compact and has foldable arms, making it highly portable. It does not come with a screen, so you will need to tether a smartphone that is running the DJI Fly app.

The controller communicates with the drone using an Enhanced Wi-Fi protocol, instead of the usual OcuSync technology that other DJI controllers use.



Compatible with: Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3, Mini 3 SE, Mavic Air 2, Air 2S, Mavic 3, Mavic 3 Classic, Mavic 3 Cine, Mavic 3 Pro

The DJI RC controller was launched with the DJI Mini 3 Pro in May 2022. Nowadays, it is sold in bundles with the DJI Mini 3, DJI Mini 3 Pro, DJI Mavic 3 Classic, and the DJI Mavic 3 Pro.

The DJI RC controller sports a sleek, minimalist design. It has an integrated 5.5-inch 1080p screen and supports O3 (Mini Pro and Air 2S) and O3+ (Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Pro) video transmission. The controller has two gimbal dials, providing intuitive gimbal direction and zoom control. It also boasts a 4-hour battery life, making it easier to operate long drone flight sessions.

DJI RC -N1 (also known as RC231)


Compatible with: Mini 2, Mini 2 SE, Mini 3, Mini 3 Pro, Mavic Air 2, Air 2S, Mavic 3, Mavic 3 Classic

The RC-N1 is not a smart controller, making it a more affordable option for its compatible drones. It is a fairly versatile controller with a very wide range of compatibility. The RC-N1 supports O2, O3, and O3+ video transmission.

It has become a staple controller for the more budget-friendly DJI drones, which means that it is available in numerous bundles with compatible drones.

The RC-N1 does not have a built-in screen. Like the older remote controllers, it will need to have a mobile device tethered while running the DJI Fly app. The controller does sport a modern and sleek look and even has a dedicated dial for gimbal control. It lacks some of the more advanced options of smart controllers, but this is expected.



Compatible with: Mini 4 Pro, Air 3

The DJI RC-N2 was launched with the DJI Air 3 and is an updated version of the original RC-N1. Like its predecessor, the RC-N2 does not have an integrated screen but instead relies on a tethered connection to an external device.

The design and appearance of the DJI RC-N2 is almost exactly like the RC-N1, such that telling them apart is quite difficult. What makes the RC-N2 different is under the hood – it now comes with O4 video transmission, an upgraded antenna, and support for the 5.1 GHz frequency band.

DJI Smart Controller


Compatible with: Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, Mini 2, Mavic Air 2, Air 2S, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Enterprise

The DJI Smart Controller is quite an old model now, but it was considered very advanced back in 2019 with its sophisticated functions and built-in screen. It was also quite expensive then, although it’s likely a lot cheaper now that it’s no longer being manufactured and only supports the older DJI drones.

The Smart Controller comes with a built-in 5.5-inch 1080p screen and many of the same smart controls that you can see on newer smart controllers – dedicated photo and video buttons, a 5D button, and a gimbal control dial. The controller has a relatively limited transmission range because it uses an older version of the OcuSync technology.



Compatible with: Air 3, Mini 4 Pro

The DJI RC 2, as the name implies, is the follow-up to the original DJI RC. It was released along with the DJI Air 3, making it one of the more recent remote controllers launched by DJI.

Like the original DJI RC, the RC2 comes with a built-in touchscreen and sports a sleek, minimalistic design. There are a couple of physical changes, the most obvious of which is the addition of external folding antennas for better signal stability.

The RC 2 runs the new DJI O4 video transmission system. With this, the controller now supports the 5.1 GHz frequency band.



Compatible with: Mini 3 Pro, Air 2S, Mavic 3 Classic, Mavic 3 Cine, Mavic 3 Pro Cine

In terms of its form factor and level of sophistication, the DJI RC Pro controller is the direct descendant of the original DJI Smart Controller. It also comes at a similarly hefty price tag.

The DJI RC Pro comes with a 5.5-inch touchscreen that can go up to 1000 nits, dual gimbal controls, a 5D button, and three customizable buttons. It supports 4K video output via a mini-HDMI port. The controller also offers an Outdoor Mode, which automatically enhances the display of the screen to improve visibility under sunlight.

Professional users can take advantage of the controller’s APK support, allowing for the use of third-party apps. This can come in handy for mapping, thermal imaging, or other advanced drone operations.

The RC Pro supports both O3 (Air 2S and Mini 3 Pro) and O3+ (Mavic 3 Pro Series) video transmission.



Compatible with: DJI FPV, DJI Avata

As the name implies, the DJI FPV V2 is the remote controller that is designed for the DJI’s FPV drones – namely the DJI FPV and the DJI Avata. It is meant to be paired with an FPV headset, so it has no provision for an external device or screen.

The DJI FPV V2 runs the O3 video transmission which has been specially optimized with low response times, particularly for FPV flight. The controller also comes with buttons for emergency brake and cruise control.

The minimal requirements of FPV flight also help make this controller small and simple. It is designed to fit very snugly into your hands, much like a video game controller. It has simple and intuitive controls, with joysticks that offer very smooth and precise movement. With a sleek, basic look, this controller is focused much more on performance than visual appeal.

DJI Motion Controller


Compatible with: DJI FPV, DJI Avata

The DJI Motion Controller provides an alternative control mechanic for DJI’s FPV drones. It is sold by default in a bundle with the DJI Avata and is an option for the DJI FPV.

The Motion Controller also uses O3 video transmission, specially optimized similarly to the DJI FPV 2 controller.

The controller, which looks like a single joystick, allows you to fly a drone using just hand movements. It is very immersive and responsive and is something you need to experience to fully appreciate. To help us with the motion controller, a virtual circle is displayed behind the drone when viewed from the FPV goggles.

DJI RC Motion 2


Compatible with: DJI Avata, Mini 3 Pro, Mavic 3, Mavic 3 Classic, Mavic 3 Pro

Perhaps realizing the appeal of motion controls, DJI released the updated DJI RC Motion 2 in 2023 with better features and a much wider range of compatibility. The RC Motion 2 is no longer just an FPV controller, as it can now be used with the more standard camera drones.

The RC Motion 2 improves on the original Motion Controller in many ways. An integrated mini joystick allows for vertical and horizontal motion, and a new trigger allows the drone to fly backward. There is now also a wheel that provides camera control. Considering these, the RC Motion 2 is no longer purely a motion controller, but it does still allow for drone flight using just one hand.

Final thoughts

The rapid evolution of drones alongside their corresponding remote controllers has made compatibility a fairly complex issue. This typically is not a problem if you own or use just one or two drones, but having multiple drones and multiple controllers can turn into a frustrating experience of matching one to the other.

Right now, the DJI RC controller has the wildest compatibility with DJI drones. This might be changing now with the introduction of the Air 3 and Mini 4 Pro generation.

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