Smartphone vs Built in Screen on a remote controller

One of the most overlooked features of drones nowadays is definitely its controllers. People seem to forget about the main component of actual drone flying. It’s as if they’re so concentrated on their drones that they completely forget about those small devices controlling them.

Drones with screen on remote controller

If you are not among those people and you not only want an excellent drone but also a great controller to go alongside with it, then you have come to the right place. I have personally made the list you can see down below with the hope that it will prove to be useful to people looking for a new drone to buy. It showcases the best drones that come with controllers featuring built-in displays for FPV and other purposes.

These displays eliminate the need for smartphones (and their weak WiFi-powered FPV reception) and allow for a much better FPV experience in the long run. So with that in mind, let’s see which drones with screen on remote controller have made the list!

 

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Built-in Screens

Table: Drones with a built-in screen on a remote controller

ImageNameCameraRangeFlight TimeBest Offer
5. HStone F181F720p100m10minSee best offer
altair-aa108_table4. Potensic U36DFullHD100m10minSee best offer
3. Hubsan H501SFullHD300m20minSee best offer
autel-robotics-evo-table2. Autel EVO4K7km30minSee best offer
dji-phantom-4-pro-table-new1. Phantom 4 Pro4K7km30minSee best offer

 

5. Holy Stone F181G

Believe it or not, you can get drones with displays on remotes for as cheap as $90. Yep, that’s right, the first article on our list here today is Holy Stone F181G. It’s very similar to the usual Holy Stone’s lineup of F series drones but brings forth an interesting twist in the form of a 5.8ghz FPV LCD screen built into the provided controller.

Camera and Features

Auto hovering, headless mode, and emergency stop are the three marketed features of this little bugger. Of course, it features FPV too, and not the laggy WiFi module that usually comes with the majority of cheap drones. Instead, Holy Stone F181G works on analog 5.8Ghz FPV transmission which is known for being lag-free with virtually no latency.

The camera on this bad boy isn’t the greatest, but no one really expects it to be since it costs below $100. Perhaps it isn’t good recording footage, but it’s great for FPV. The wide-angle lens does its part, further improving the immersion. If you have a standalone VR headset with a proper 5.8ghz receiver, you’ll be able to fly Holy Stone F181G in virtual reality. How cool is that?!

Specifications

Specs-wise, it takes around 90ish minutes to charge the battery to 100% after draining it all the way. On the bright side, this hour and a half bring forth up to 10 minutes of fun, and you can always grab a few extra batteries to further extend the entertainment. The transmission range (both operating and video transmission) goes up to 100 meters, just enough considering the price. Last but not least – you can’t connect your smartphone with this drone. It’s analog, meaning you have to use the provided LCD screen, or buy a standalone 5.8Ghz FPV display or better yet, an FPV VR headset!

 

 

4. Potensic U36D

Potensic_U36D_with_screen_web

For slightly above $150, Potensic U36D delivers an exceptional, FPV and VR friendly experience with a ton of equipment. We’re talking three batteries, two chargers, VR headset, and a carrying case. Of course, the drone comes with the package too, just like the dedicated controller with a standalone FPV display. Yep – this is another one of those drones that don’t support smartphones.

Camera and Features

Just like Holy Stone F171G, Potensic U36D also features analog FPV. It means the transmitter works over 5.8Ghz instead of digital WiFi systems. Once again, this offers much lower latency at the cost of transmission quality. Still, it’s a viable compromise, especially considering the speed of this thing.

In addition to FPV, Potensic U36D can also brag with altitude hold and three speed modes, making it suitable for both children and beginners alike. Unfortunately, U36D doesn’t have the popular one key flip feature, but it’s not really a big minus considering the fact of is merely a gimmick.

Specifications

As mentioned earlier, Potensic U36D comes with three batteries, each capable of enduring around 10 minutes in the air. And with three of them in the box, you’re looking at half an hour of entertainment right off the bat. Combine that with the provided VR headset and cca 100 meters of range and you’ll understand what makes Potensic U36D one of the best value for money drones with displays on remotes currently available on Amazon.

 

 

3. Hubsan H501S

This list starts off with the awesome H501S by Hubsan, a company that’s slowly cementing its spot in the drone industry.

Other than its great design and excellent build quality, this model also features a highly responsive controller with a 4.3-inch LCD display with 480×272 resolution. It flies via 2.4Ghz network while the FPV feature relies on 5.8Ghz for the ultimate FPV experience.

Moreover, it is outstanding to see a full HD camera on such a cheap drone. What is even better is the fact that it sports brushless motors. We all know that they are much more reliable and more powerful than those conventional brushed ones, which proves the point that Hubsan H501S aims for the big players.

But, not only does it have great motors but it also has features to pair up with them. It includes headless mode, automatic return to home, altitude hold, follow me and best of all – GPS.

It is incredibly smooth in air, especially considering its price, and it has pretty decent specifications too. Its battery can hold up to 20 minutes in the air and it can reach up to 300 meters with ease. Everything regarding this drone is well-rounded and it definitely is a great mid-tier choice for everyone looking for something new.

 

 

2. Autel Robotics EVO

Autel Robotics EVO with Transmitter

Here comes a much pricier drone than the aforementioned trio. EVO is the name, and it’s made by the well-known drone brand, Autel Robotics, which came to fame with their impressive X-Star and X-Star Premium models. EVO brings forth evolution in many ways, so let’s take a closer look and see the aspects it excels at!

Camera and Features

First of all, we’re talking about a foldable drone here. EVO isn’t just lightweight and small, but its foldable design adds an extra layer to the portability game. Next up, we have to address the brilliant 4K 60fps camera. Of course, at this price point, anything but a 4K camera is a huge letdown. EVO, luckily, passes the photography test with straight A’s.

The same goes for its feature set, combining some of the basics like GPS and GLONASS, with a bunch of advanced features making EVO viable for all sorts of business scenarios. When talking about drones with displays, EVO is among the best ones on the market, featuring a crystal clear 3.3-inch OLED display receiving 720p transmission. And don’t even get me started on the range…

Specifications

Yep, we have to discuss the range here. Not just the range but the battery duration too. On the bright side, EVO handles both equally well, with superb numbers across the board. We’re looking at roughly 7 kilometers of transmission and up to 30 minutes of flight time.

 

 

1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro

dji-phantom-4-pro-with-transmitter_new

DJI Phantom 4 is, by far, the most popular consumer-grade drone out there. It comes as no surprise since it represents the 4th installment of the Phantom series of drones. These drones pretty much single-handedly brought drones to the mainstream media and put them into a focal point of many events.

When it comes to features, I believe you all know that DJI puts a lot of effort here. In order to keep this paragraph short and easy to read as possible, I will skip all the usual ones and just mention the all-new Obstacle Avoidance System.

DJI implemented this into Phantom 4 with various onboard sensors that allow the Phantom 4 to precisely locate itself in its surrounding area and effectively avoid any potential collisions that might occur.

In terms of specifications, it is pretty clear that the Phantom 4 is a proper beast! With up to 7,000 meters (yup, that’s not a typo… This thing can go as far as 7,000 meters without losing connection) and almost half an hour of flight time, it sweeps the floor with all other drones on the market. And lastly, I have to say something about its camera, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t. It sports an amazing 4K camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal stabilization and will produce excellent images or videos every time, that’s for sure!

 

 

Smartphone as a screen

Table: Drones with a smartphone holder on remote controller

ImageNameCameraRangeFlight TimeBest Offer
Snaptain-A15_table5. Snaptain A15720p50m6minSee best offer
potensic-t25_table4. Potensic T25FullHD300m10minSee best offer
DJI-Mavic-Mini-table3. DJI Mavic Mini2.7K4km30minSee best offer
Parrot Anafi Table2. Parrot Anafi4K4km25minSee best offer
dji-mavic-2-pro-table1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro4K8km30minSee best offer

 

5. Snaptain A15

Snaptain-A15_web

If you enjoy having HD transmission at the cost of a bit of extra latency, then these next five drones ought to be right up your alley. First up, we have the insanely cheap Snaptain A15. It’s a pretty solid drone all-around, a nice little upgrade over the massively popular Snaptain S5C. What’s A15 good for? Well, let’s see…

Camera and Features

First of all, let’s talk about the onboard 720p camera. While it doesn’t have any sort of stabilization and is not really usable as far as aerial videos are concerned, it delivers fine in terms of FPV and still images. It’s not a downside or anything, I’m just stating the facts. After all, the same story goes for all other drones with cameras that are under, let’s say, $200.

Features, on the other hand, are absolutely phenomenal. They are what makes Snaptain A15 such desirable entry-level models. We’re talking voice commands, waypoints, altitude hold, and gravity sensor, with the addition of basic features such as one key takeoff/landing and headless mode. 3D flips are present too. Yep, it’s safe to say Snaptain A15 is one feature-packed drone!

Specifications

Of course, you’ll need a smartphone to control this drone properly. You’ll need to use the dedicated Snaptain app to get the FPV feature going on. And, even with the FPV constantly on, this little bugger still manages to get around 6-7 minutes of fly time. It’s not the greatest, I know, but it’s good value for money considering you get two batteries in the package. What’s not good value for money is the range, capping out at 50ish meters, which is a bit disappointed even at such a low price point.

 

 

4. Potensic T25

potensic-t25_with_transmitter

Potensic T25 is the next drone on our bucket list. It comes as a slightly higher price tag than Snaptain A15, but delivers better all-around performance, In fact, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that it delivers better value for money too. There, I’ve said it… and here’s why:

Camera and Features

Potensic T25 won’t make too big of a dent in your budget, but still offers a middle of the pack 1080p camera. The stabilization isn’t the greatest, but it’s still usable. Other than that, T25 is one of the cheapest GPS drones out there, featuring handy stuff like follow me, altitude hold, and return to home/failsafe. They’re all powered by GPS so you can rest assured in their reliability and accuracy.

Specifications

Potensic T25 will not disappoint you in the specs department. The range of this bugger is much better than that of Snaptain A15, maxing out at around 300 meters. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about its battery duration. While it goes on for a bit longer, it won’t sweep you off your feet. In other words, it packs around 8 to 10 minutes of flight time. Let’s finish on a bright note – not only are you getting two batteries in the package, but you’re also getting a hard carrying case that’ll protect everything.

 

 

3. DJI Mavic Mini

DJI Mavic Mini with Transmitter

DJI Mavic Mini is the perfect example of what a great miniature foldable drone needs to be able to do. It’s fast, possesses great photography potential, and has all the smart features you could wish for. Best of all, it’s not even that expensive, especially when compared to premium DJI models.

Camera and Features

As hinted above, DJI Mavic Mini sports a behemoth of a camera. There’s hardware stabilization too, ensuring the utmost smoothness no matter the weather conditions. Unfortunately, the sensor does not support recording in 4K, but 2.7K is more than enough for most people. The pixel count is still massive and it won’t affect the overall sharpness or image quality.

The features are magnificent, to say the least. Nothing surprising though, especially considering the fact this is a DJI drone here. The biggest cons here is the lack of object tracking and avoidance, but that would be too much to ask for, considering the image quality and specs of this bad boy.

Specifications

And the specs really are great. DJI Mavic Mini is able to reach close to 4 kilometers, lag-free and pinpoints controlling precision. As for battery duration, the provided 2600mAh smart LiPo is a proper badass. We’re talking 30ish minutes of flight time, which is much higher than Mavic Air and Parrot Anafi, both of which come at much higher prices.

 

 

2. Parrot Anafi

parrot-anafi-with-transmitter

Parrot Anafi is coming up next. The second-best model on our list of the best drones that require smartphones to fly is made by the well-known drone brand, Parrot. Known for their AR and Bebop models, Parrot has had its fair share of success, but are aiming to further establish themselves on the scene with Anafi. They might even do so, and here’s why:

Camera and Features

First of all, It seems as though Parrot has hit the jackpot with Anafi. It’s all thanks to their willingness to be creative. As you can see in the image above, the camera takes up the entire front portion of the device. It isn’t hung from the lower portion of the drone like is the case with all other models. Instead, Anafi’s camera has free clearance upfront, allowing it to rotate 180 degrees vertically. Talk about a different twist on the usual aerial photography, huh!?

But, what good is a 4K HDR camera if the drone itself doesn’t have any proper features to back it up. Luckily, Parrot Anafi is a well-established drone as far as the features go. Not only does it sport all the usual bunch like GPS, altitude hold, failsafe, return to home and that sort of stuff, but it also features several interesting, Parrot-specific, flight modes that ought to up your selfie game.

Specifications

Now let’s get to the tech specs. Parrot Anafi is pretty good in both battery duration and range. For starters, the provided smart battery can get you around 25 minutes of flight time, a bit shorter if you plan on topping the throttle from start to finish. The range is brilliant, courtesy of the upgraded Sky Controller 3. It extends to roughly 4 kilometers, which is pretty amazing considering how limited Partot’s older models were.

 

 

1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro

dji-mavic-2-pro-with-transmitter

Now let’s talk about the bread and butter of drones that take advantage of your smartphone. Meet DJI Mavic 2 Pro, one of the world’s most expensive commercial drones out there. This little bugger has it all – foldable design, long-lasting battery, and a state-of-the-art camera that’s viable for casual and commercial use.

Camera and Features

Let’s address the elephant in the room first – yep, DJI Mavic 2 Pro features the world’s greatest commercial drone camera. We’re looking at a 1-unch 20mpx Hasselblad camera with 4K at 60fps and HDR. It’s basically everything you can wish from a drone camera. Of course, when paired with the proprietary 3-axis gimbal that further smoothens the picture and adds that cinematic, buttery touch to it.

Let’s not forget about the features, though. As you’d expect, DJI Mavic 2 Pro is one of the most feature-packed drones on the market. It flies as straight as an arrow and has all the safety features you can imagine, including omnidirectional obstacle avoidance. If you want to up your selfie game, you can count on DJI Mavic 2 Pro to be your best friend. Thanks to its advanced selfie modes AKA QuickShots, you’ll be able to take professional-looking dronies in no time.

Specifications

You won’t believe just what a behemoth this thing is according to the specifications. DJI Mavic 2 Pro tops the original model in both battery duration and range. We’re looking at a new and improved transmission system bringing forth up to 8 kilometers of range in clear and unobstructed areas. The battery duration often goes rather close to the half-hour mark, meaning this little bugger is suitable not just for casual but professional use as well!

 

 

What’s that screen on your remote used for?

This heavily depends on the type of remote and the number of sensors your drone is equipped with. For general usage, the screen on your remote is used for telemetry and basic flight information. This basic flight information includes, but is not limited to, battery percentage, current height, current range, FPV settings and many more.

In addition to telemetry, definitely the most awesome feature of these on-remote displays is FPV (first-person view). What this essentially allows you is to get a live feed direct from your drone’s camera without sacrificing that much latency or image quality (more on this later on). This is such a popular concept, especially when it is paired up with VR headsets or FPV goggles. Both of these accessories provide an insanely immersive experience that will not leave anyone indifferent.

So, what I am basically trying to say here is that a screen on your remote, whether it’s a built-in one or a smartphone/tablet (more info down below), it is definitely worth an upgrade. Without it, you will be limited to looking straight at your drone for directions which can be pretty difficult a times… not to mention it strains your neck if it’s too high up.

drone-transmitter-with-built-in-screen_web

Drones with screen on remote controller

Built-in Displays vs Smartphones/tablets

This is a huge topic nowadays. I am sure all of you are familiar with the fact that many modern-day drones offer FPV. There are two main methods of enjoying FPV (first-person view straight from your drone’s camera), through a built-in display (f.e. Upair One) or via smartphone/tablet with a dedicated app that connects to the drone’s camera. There’s also a third option which is VR headsets but they’re on a whole another level!

So, what’s the real difference between the 2? Well, there are several factors involved. The most common one (the one that is mentioned all the time) is the brightness. Built-in displays tend to have higher cd/m2 than smartphones which results in higher brightness and superior visibility in direct sunlight. But, that’s not the only real difference.

There’s also the type of connection the FPV feed uses. For instance, the 2 main ones are 2.4 Ghz (typical WiFi frequency that is being used in 90% mid-tier models) and 5.8 GHz. The latter is used by premium quality drones and works exceptionally in terms of both latency and image quality. Unfortunately, it is also much costlier to produce drones and controllers with such technology so they’re (at the moment) only limited to the highest end drones. On a side note, 5.8 GHz is also the standard frequency for VR headsets and FPV goggles.

Read more: Drones for beginners / Drones for kids / Indoor drones / Drones with GoPro camera

Photo by DJI.com

DJI CrystalSky

If you are looking for the ultimate display for your remote then you should definitely check out DJI’s CrystalSky. There is a whole review for DJI CrystalSky here so check that out as well. Here, I will just tell you a couple of main information about it. First off, this is a professional-grade display for drone piloting. It has an incredible brightness which makes it perfectly usable even in direct sunlight. Most on-remote displays either don’t have any sunlight protection and poor brightness or they rely on sunshades. While the later works solidly, it still ruins the image quality since it’s blocking all sunlight.

And that’s exactly where DJI CrystalSky comes in. The main catch is – they are only usable with the newest lineup of DJI’s drones. So, if you happen to own one of those bad boys and you want the perfect live transmission even during the sunniest of days, then CrystalSky is a no-brainer! You won’t believe how bright it is until you see it for yourself, I guarantee it!

 

Conclusion

Those were the best 6 drones whose controllers have built-in displays for FPV and/or other purposes like OSD or telemetry. Truth be told, there aren’t that many drones with this feature on the market. That’s most likely due to the fact that smartphone powered FPV has become somewhat of a standard.

Still, the WiFi reception cannot be compared to 5.8Ghz one, which works seamlessly and without any sort of interference on much longer ranges than WiFi. So with that being said, I would like to thank you for taking your time and reading this article with the hope that it helped you make up your mind and pick out the right drone that will suit all your needs!

 

Drones removed in 2020 Update

5. Yuneec Q500

Yuneec never ceases to amaze us with awesome models and their Q500 is just that. It falls somewhere in the mid-tier but has both specifications and features that are on par with certain premium models. Does it have any drawbacks? Let’s find out!

Yuneec Q500 is a spectacular drone that will provide you with high-quality aerial photos (and videos) time and time again. With its big, clunky controller with a huge LCD display (touchscreen) on the very bottom of it, you will never miss out on any FPV action.

In addition to that, Yuneec Q500 also features a great build poised by a beautiful black frame. Moreover, it sports a 12mpx camera capable of recording in 4K resolution at a steady 30FPS. Turn down the resolution to full HD and you’ll get slow-motion footage at 120FPS.

You can even tamper around with the camera settings such as white balance and light exposure which is something we rarely see with drone cameras. Crazy, right? Well, that’s not all this beauty can do, we haven’t even touched the specifications. Believe it or not, Q5000’s battery can endure more than 25 minutes cruising in midair… and best of all, the drone operating range is no joke either with roughly 800 meters of pure comfort.

 

4. Hubsan H109S

Here is another one of Hubsan’s models that proves the point of them being a solid drone manufacturing company, especially in recent times. The H109S X4 Pro is a great looking drone with a stellar round of features that will definitely come in handy more often than not.

GPS, headless mode, altitude hold, automatic return to home are just some of the more common ones that you will end up using the most.

The only drawback to an otherwise excellent all-around drone is the default camera that is packed alongside it. It can only shoot in full HD resolution and is mounted on a 1-axis gimbal rather than the ever-so-popular 3-axis one. While this will affect the stability of the footage, its overall quality is still pretty good considering everything we have the chance to see on the market nowadays.

Probably the best thing about H109S, and the feature that sets it aside from the competition is its touchscreen display located on its dedicated controller. It is quite similar to the one we have seen with Hubsan H501S model, but they do have a couple of differences.

Specifications wise, H109S has a ton of bragging rights since it can go as far as 1,5km away from the controller and can fly around for more than 25 minutes. This makes it an absolute king in its price range. Even the standard version of Phantom 3 isn’t superior when it comes to the specs sheet.

 

3. Upair One

If you are on a strict budget but you want a big ass display on your drone’s controller, then Upair One is probably your go-to drone option. With a spectacular 4K camera (it comes in 3 variants, 2K, 2.7K and the most popular one – 4K), this little fella is a great choice for entry-level professional photographers.

It does a great job as a dedicated aerial platform and will surely find its way into the hands of aerial photographers with small budgets.

When it comes to its specifications, things are looking pretty good. The 5400mAh smart battery can endure more than 20 minutes of flight time, which is more than most of the other drones in its price range.

The range is not to be taken for granted either. Upair One can travel up to 1km away from its controller and hold on to a silk-smooth FPV feed with ease. As I’ve already mentioned in the introductory sentence for this drone, its controller has a HUGE display. We’re talking 7-inches LED display that will give you a solid dose of immersion once you takeoff.

And last but not least, it is important to mention that Upair One has a built-in GPS system that will provide you with a smooth flying experience with no noticeable stutters or anything like that. All things considering, if you are a fan of huge LED FPV displays and minimalistic drone designs, you should definitely check out Upair One!

 

1. Yuneec Typhoon H

And last but not least, we have another Yuneec’s drone model on our list. After the amazing Q500, now we have the Typhoon H on display here, and outright premium model that’s going to sweep the market by storm. This hexacopter brags around with its state of the art collision avoidance system.

In addition to that, it also features the popular ST16 transmitter with a solid sized LCD display in the very middle. Is that all awesome things Yuneec Typhoon H is capable of offering?

Retractable landing gear, 3-axis gimbal stabilization system, several smart flight modes (and team modes) are just some of the awesome features this drone possesses. The 4K camera is also among them, capable of shooting silk smooth 4k videos with crisp clear quality.

Specifications are not to be taken lightly either – roughly 1 mile (1,600 meters) of flight range seems to be quite enough for most casual (or even professional for that matter) uses nowadays. Combined with the industry standard 25 minutes of flight time, Typhoon H proves that great hexacopters do exist.

And lastly, I would like to point out an awesome feature of this drone that is rarely mentioned in reviews – 5 rotors failsafe. It represents the drone’s ability to safely land even if one of its 6 rotors stops in the middle of its flight. This is a seriously advanced system and will definitely save your expensive drone from a total catastrophe if it’s bound to happen…

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9 comments

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1

Is there a drone out there that does not require any WiFi services? I live in the high mountains with no service but I wanna use it to scan for wildlife like Deer since I am a 100% Disabled Veteran with limited mobility.
Please let me know and please advise me on what I should purchase. I appreciate you!
Joe

2

I'm looking for a drone with its own screen that does not require the use of a cell phone connection.

3

Luckily, I read your article before purchasing a drone, because I can't afford one of those fancy IPhones. Thanks for the info.

4

Great Article very informative since I'm just a beginner I need to point out what's suitable for me. Thanks

5

I really enjoyed your article, it was extremely informative, so I thought I'd try get your opinion on which one you suggest in my situation, I would like to get one for my son for Christmas who is 9 (almost 10) , so I would like the easiest flying one and the one which is most durable, which out of these would you suggest?

Looking forward to hearing from you

Natasha ( an confused and overwhelmed mother with all the options and not having a clue about this stuff😀)

6

Hi Natasha,
I suggest you to take a look at our Drones for kids article here : http://www.dronesglobe.com/guide/kids/ . I believe Altair AA108 is a great choice for your kid. 🙂

7

The article might or might not be good. But it loses credibility when the author clearly lies to the reader. He says that the Phantom 4 Pro has a range of 7,000 kilometers. THAT IS MORE THAN 4,000 MILES!!! Complete and utter BS. (By the way, I'd love to see how a drone can fly 4,000+ miles within a 25-minute battery life. That means it can fly at about 175 miles per hour!!! Again, BS.

(Note: The author makes a specific point in quoting this figure. He even says, "This is not a typo.")

Well, if you are going to lie, I guess it's a good thing to tell lies that literally every single person on earth knows is a falsehood. I guess some people care about having a reputation for integrity and some people don't care about that.

8

Why do you hate be so mean?? He is trying to help us out! At least he is doing something great and no hating!!
Joe

9

It's a typo. It should say meters instead of kilometers. Now it's fixed, thanks for pointing it out!