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DJI Smart Controller Review: Who is it for?
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9675 62 2019-2-14
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DJI Panda
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Overview
The DJI Smart Controller is one of those accessories you don’t realize how much you need until you try it out. For a long time, I have been using my tablet when flying my Mavics. And while I definitely enjoy the large iPad screen, the burden of carrying multiple accessories around did make it somewhat of a hassle. Sure it only takes an extra minute or so to set up, but it wasn’t just the time that was the issue. You were now dealing with cables, mounts, the tablet, tablet holder, and then constraints from battery life. I first got a taste of what it was like to have a built-in monitor when flying the Phantom 4 Pro+. I must say, the seamless process of transporting, booting up, and flying with just the remote and drone is a much more pleasant experience.



Unboxing
Unboxing the DJI Smart Controller was simple. All there was in the box is the remote, extra sticks, charging brick, USB-C cable, and a basic startup guide. The how-to setup steps can all be found on the DJI website.


So what’s in the box:
- 1 DJI Smart Controller
- Extra set of remote sticks
- Fast charger
- USB-C cable
- Instructions and Quick Start Guide
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Features
For me personally, efficiency was my #1 feature. Being able to quickly pull the remote and drone out to fly within seconds when on location was HUGE. Not fumbling with mounts and cords really takes the hassle out of flying. As much as I love flying with my larger iPad, the user experience is far superior with this remote. The screen has a built-in 1000 nit display, which is similar to that of the 5.5-inch Crystal Sky monitor.


This screen display makes all the difference when flying in bright daylight without a monitor hood. Another feature that gets overlooked is the extreme temperature conditions this remote can take. I’ve had multiple flights aborted because of my tablet shutting down, either from extreme heat when flying in Palm Springs, or in the snow when flying in Tahoe. The fact that this remote is rated to work in temperatures from -20 to 40°C is a feature that should be highlighted more. The 2.5-hour battery life is another huge improvement over the stock remote. Not only did the stock remote battery life suffer, but you were also at the mercy of having your mobile device battery drained as well. Having everything in one unit lessens that concern with the new controller.
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Size
When it comes to size comparison, the Smart Controller is just about the same size as the stock controller with your phone attached. I thought this was a bigger deal, but found that everything still fit fine in my existing case and the size difference wasn’t too bad. The stick positioning is a little wider on the Smart Controller and fits well with the thicker handgrips. DJI kept the screen below the stick, which is the same configuration as the stock remote. If you’re used to the stock one, the new Smart Controller will feel the same.
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Compatibility
The DJI Smart Controller now uses the latest OcuSync 2.0, which makes it compatible with the Mavic 2 Series line of drones (Pro, Zoom, and Enterprise). Unfortunately, this will not work with older Mavics or Air and Spark, which is a bummer. But with new technology and advancements, these limitations come along with the territory. Moving forward, however, DJI has mentioned that the Smart Controller will be compatible with future drones (I assume until another major advancement comes into play).
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GoShare and Apps
The Smart Controllers is also packed with little features that enhance your experience. There’s a microSD slot on the top, allowing you to expand the remote’s storage capacity and do in-the-field backups and transfers when necessary. HDMI-out, just like the Phantom 4 Pro+, gives users the ability to run a live feed to an external monitor or goggles.
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The new GoShare function makes it simple for you to quickly download and transfer images or HD video to your mobile device for editing and sharing. As features like SkyTalk (coming soon) and the recent Waypoints 2.0 are released, this remote continues to become a more valuable tool.


Who is this Smart Controller for?
Is this remote for everyone? With a price tag currently at $650, it’s definitely not the easiest purchase for everyone to make. The one thing to remember is that this is a high-end accessory, and not required to have in order to fly. The same concerns were brought up when the Crystal Sky monitors were released. Those monitors are also a premium accessory and are normally purchased by more commercial or serious flyers. This would include those who work with drones for professional videography, photography, search and rescue, or for those who fly often in adverse conditions like extreme temperatures. Put simply, this remote is for flyers that are looking to simplify workflow while enhancing visibility and enjoyment. It does come at a price, but once you start flying with integrated systems like this, it’s honestly hard to go back.
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Top Questions and Answers?
This new controller has a lot of people talking. In this video, I go through the top 10 questions and answers I’ve received about the remote. (Note: depending on when you read this, some questions may already have been answered).










The content origins from DJI BUYINGGUIDES

2019-2-14
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Montfrooij
Captain
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Very good info!
2019-2-15
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eyeg4et1956
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Thailand
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Great information but the Smart Controller has been out of stock over one month!  I placed an order on 23 Jan, when in stock and by the time DJI processed the order it was out of stock again.  Local DJI Authorized retailers can't say when the Smart Controllers will be available.  Just hope and wait.  Anyone else experiencing this?  
2019-2-15
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eyeg4et1956
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Great information but the Smart Controller has been out of stock over one month!  I placed an order on 23 Jan, when in stock and by the time DJI processed the order it was out of stock again.  Local DJI Authorized retailers can't say when the Smart Controllers will be available.  Just hope and wait.  Anyone else experiencing this?  
2019-2-15
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jacksonnai
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Thanks for sharing!
2019-2-15
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Sayhelloforme
Captain
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Great review. Everything you need to know. Thanks for sharing.  
2019-2-15
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SectorDrone
First Officer
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Since its ANDROID... IT WILL SUFFER THE SAME FATE AS THE CS... LAST UPDATE UNTIL DJI WILL FORCE YOU TO BUY ANOTHER, MAYBE INTELICONTROLLLER ?  HAHAHAHA
2019-2-15
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Hartyaj
First Officer
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Australia
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Thanks for sharing your information and input.
2019-2-16
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maddox
Captain
Malaysia
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Great information! Thanks for posting
2019-2-16
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Pedro Castelani
First Officer

Argentina
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Just buy a Mavic 2 Pro and this controller for 2000 bucks! Hope I could spend all that money buying drones and tech!
2019-2-16
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Montfrooij
Captain
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eyeg4et1956 Posted at 2-15 19:22
Great information but the Smart Controller has been out of stock over one month!  I placed an order on 23 Jan, when in stock and by the time DJI processed the order it was out of stock again.  Local DJI Authorized retailers can't say when the Smart Controllers will be available.  Just hope and wait.  Anyone else experiencing this?

Usually like that with new products (unfortunately)
2019-2-17
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GoldenSun2
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Pedro Castelani Posted at 2-16 11:37
Just buy a Mavic 2 Pro and this controller for 2000 bucks! Hope I could spend all that money buying drones and tech!

LOL there's always something new we "need"
2019-2-17
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SgtDannySgt
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Nice review. I may just get one!
2019-2-17
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Schmooit
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It certainly  does look like a great item but 2 issues I see which has put me off , Price being one thing  I mean its still the RC part  molded together with a cheap  tablet with a retina style screen , nice but still pricey which it only has the one purpose  (I high end spec phone is more versatile) portability , whilst set up would be marginally quicker how does this fit into say the combo back for the M2P? My phone is in my pocket  most of the time and the current RC fits in the bag with the 3 batts and 2 spare on the outer pockets!  This would be great for keeping in the car when on a planned excursion but not as easy to carry if only using the combo bags?

Id like one and might make a purchase if it were keener priced or the Select vouchers could be used as it is an accessory! But as it is  I think it  is quite an expensive  add on  but if its out of stock there must be a lot of people after them, I would to be fair buy one but  am trying to reduce the tech I buy to things I will actually use , would there perhaps be a trade in for the normal M2P RC?
2019-2-18
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Richard Adams6
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Ukraine
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I myself am a beginner DJ, and this is very interesting to me
2019-2-18
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Visual Air
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Great review and very informative
2019-2-18
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rangemaster728
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EXCEPT it STILL doesn’t have the DJI Pilot App...so it will not work with the Mavic Enterprise (Zoom or Dual), and of course DJI says ‘future enhancement, please refer to the official product page (insert the url for the Smart Controller...blah blah blah).

Come on DJI...if you’re serious about the M2E-series then release the Pilot App for the SC...
2019-2-18
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KJINTF
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United States
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Nice review
Got it in the combo package with the M2 Zoom
Since I got rid of my cell phone back in 2006 and have ZERO need for a cell phone ever again
The Smart Controller was / is for me  
2019-2-19
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Unicks
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rangemaster728 Posted at 2-18 21:39
EXCEPT it STILL doesn’t have the DJI Pilot App...so it will not work with the Mavic Enterprise (Zoom or Dual), and of course DJI says ‘future enhancement, please refer to the official product page (insert the url for the Smart Controller...blah blah blah).

Come on DJI...if you’re serious about the M2E-series then release the Pilot App for the SC...

Correct!.. This remote IS NOT for the Mavic ENTERPRISE at all!

Despite being marketed as "compatible" with the newer Ocusync 2.0 devices, the RM500 or "Smart Controller" will NOT work with the ENTERPRISE. I've done a bit of testing and it seems that the only App working is the iOS version DJI Pilot App. This is a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT for the ANDROID users and the people that purchased the RM500. Anyone with a bit of history and DJI, knows full well that Android takes a back seat to Crapple/iOS updates.. so enjoy the wait for a "firmware update" that will likely come sometime before obsolescence of the remote.

U
2019-2-19
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set my new username
Second Officer
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why can't you use it for spark?
2019-2-19
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heinsite
New

United States
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I'm going to go out on a pretty sturdy limb here and predict that the firmware and Go 4 updates for this thing are going to lag Apple (and probably Android phone) updates as badly as the DJI CrystalSky monitors have lagged.  Sure, it works now, but just wait a while.  Updates for the latest and greatest are going to come out and users of this thing (and their companion CS owners) are going to be left waiting.  It's a movie we've been watching a long time already.  It's amazing more haven't seen it yet.
2019-2-21
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mAIRs
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Australia
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SectorDrone Posted at 2-15 21:36
Since its ANDROID... IT WILL SUFFER THE SAME FATE AS THE CS... LAST UPDATE UNTIL DJI WILL FORCE YOU TO BUY ANOTHER, MAYBE INTELICONTROLLLER ?  HAHAHAHA

Yeah pretty much.. DJI can take all of their products and stick them... selling my DJI gear, don't want it... garbage company.
2019-2-21
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BigAbe
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set my new username Posted at 2-19 16:25
why can't you use it for spark?

As said in the post, Ocusync 2.0 is used to connect the drone with the remote. This technollogy is not used in some of the mavics, the spark, tello, and some other dji drones.
2019-2-21
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snowbird pilot
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BigAbe Posted at 2-21 09:44
As said in the post, Ocusync 2.0 is used to connect the drone with the remote. This technollogy is not used in some of the mavics, the spark, tello, and some other dji drones.

oh ok thanks didn't know what ocusync is
2019-2-21
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BigAbe
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snowbird pilot Posted at 2-21 12:53
oh ok thanks didn't know what ocusync is

no problem ofcourse
2019-2-21
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SectorDrone
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I believe this will suffer the same fate as the CrystalSky monitors... GOOD ONLY FOR 1 YEAR after gruelling late updates !!
2019-2-21
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jaocky chand
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India
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If Bluestocks is not working in Pc, then u can try <a >tutuapp for apk</a>Nox emulator which gives u android environment
2019-2-22
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roamer105
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While the SC does contain a CrystalSky monitor, it is a fully dedicated, robust compact design for current (M2 family) and future drones using Ocusync 2 and beyond (as long as the changes remain strictly software which is what O2 is) and is UNLIKE the cumbersome CS monitors (very low volume product), expected to be a high volume product reaching sales numbers near that of the M2 itself. Consequently a product that inevitably justifies a significant engineering budget. So no, I don't believe it will suffer the same history and future the CS monitors are and did. At this point, the SC is still evolving and requires  several upgrades before it is fully ready for prime time. At this point, it does not even support (officially) the M2E.

In addition it seems that DJI rather under-estimated the SC demand. The darn thing is hard to get.
2019-2-22
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Space Man
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Given the lack of support from DJI for CrystalSky, which seems to have been abandoned or de-prioritized, I don't think I will ever buy another controller or peripheral from DJI. The fact that Waypoints 2.0 was not released to CrystalSky, and that DJI replies with these generic (and annoying) replies... makes me really not want to give them any more money.
2019-2-23
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fans627834c1
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Unicks Posted at 2-19 11:17
Correct!.. This remote IS NOT for the Mavic ENTERPRISE at all!

Despite being marketed as "compatible" with the newer Ocusync 2.0 devices, the RM500 or "Smart Controller" will NOT work with the ENTERPRISE. I've done a bit of testing and it seems that the only App working is the iOS version DJI Pilot App. This is a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT for the ANDROID users and the people that purchased the RM500. Anyone with a bit of history and DJI, knows full well that Android takes a back seat to Crapple/iOS updates.. so enjoy the wait for a "firmware update" that will likely come sometime before obsolescence of the remote.

I have just bought the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and a DJI Smart controller which DJI told me was compatible. I have managed to install the DJI Pilot on the Smart Controller via apkpure which flies the drone OK using the controllers analogue controls however the  DJI Pilot app reports it is not connected to the aircraft.

Reading your post can I assume I wasting my time and this will not work?

Thanks,
2019-2-23
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fans627834c1
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rangemaster728 Posted at 2-18 21:39
EXCEPT it STILL doesn’t have the DJI Pilot App...so it will not work with the Mavic Enterprise (Zoom or Dual), and of course DJI says ‘future enhancement, please refer to the official product page (insert the url for the Smart Controller...blah blah blah).

Come on DJI...if you’re serious about the M2E-series then release the Pilot App for the SC...

I have just bought the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and a DJI Smart controller which DJI told me was compatible. I have managed to install the DJI Pilot on the Smart Controller via apkpure which flies the drone OK using the controllers analogue controls however the  DJI Pilot app reports it is not connected to the aircraft.

Reading your post can I assume I wasting my time and this will not work?
2019-2-23
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herby68
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Germany
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Ich habe seit 1 Monat den smart controller. Was ich sagen kann. Ich werde ihn, falls sich mittels software Update nichts ändert wieder verkaufen. Mein Standard Controller hat eine bessere Reichweite und stabilere Video Verbindung
2019-2-23
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joombo
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Thanks for the useful article. So timely! I'm looking for good controller for beginner right now. I've also checked best midi keyboard controller reviews to make the right choice. Want to become a pro one day.
2019-2-24
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SectorDrone
First Officer
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CS has no Update as of now !!

SO THE LESSON IS NEVER BUY ANY ACCESORRIES FROM DJI !!!
2019-2-24
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Unicks
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Canada
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fans627834c1 Posted at 2-23 08:18
I have just bought the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and a DJI Smart controller which DJI told me was compatible. I have managed to install the DJI Pilot on the Smart Controller via apkpure which flies the drone OK using the controllers analogue controls however the  DJI Pilot app reports it is not connected to the aircraft.

Reading your post can I assume I wasting my time and this will not work?

Yep!.. complete waste of time!

I would actually NOT use the RM500 to fly until they get the DJI Pilot app working for Android.. just don't hold your breath waiting for it, the M2ED and Smart Controller are a bit of a pipe dream at this time.

DJI's attempt to break into the commercial markets with the Mavic 2E has been a complete FLOP and FAILURE!.. I would NEVER suggest their products to anyone doing serious work. I bet anyone whom has purchased one, will sell it, just to be rid of the headache.

U
2019-2-25
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Jackie Beck
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This looks awesome
2019-2-25
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zergurush
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Sweden
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great info thx for sharing
2019-2-27
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Hemlock
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United States
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Great info.... now if I could just get one.
2019-2-28
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RogerB-U
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Germany
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herby68 Posted at 2-23 12:08
Ich habe seit 1 Monat den smart controller. Was ich sagen kann. Ich werde ihn, falls sich mittels software Update nichts ändert wieder verkaufen. Mein Standard Controller hat eine bessere Reichweite und stabilere Video Verbindung

@herby68
Ich kann deine Beobachntungen nicht bestätigen. Im Gegenteil. Die Reichweite des Controllers ist bei mir sogar höher als die Kombination Standard Controller mit Android Handy. Bei der übermittelten Bildquali ist kein Unterschied festzustellen. Aber vllt. gibt es eine Serienstreuung?!
2019-3-1
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Mike1983
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United Kingdom
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Just a note to say I have a smart controller and think it’s fantastic.  So much more convenient.  I am however struggling to understand the benefits of the memory card slot so if anyone can provide some pointers that’d be appreciated.
2019-3-2
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