The DJI Air 2S has topped our guide to the world's best drones since it launched last April and it could soon get a welcome boost in the form of compatibility with DJI's new RC controller.
According to regular DJI leaker @OsitaLV on Twitter, the DJI Air 2S bundle with the older Smart Controller "has stopped", and "a new SKU with DJI RC should be near". A SKU (stock keeping unit) is the industry term for a specific product or bundle, suggesting that DJI is planning to provide an Air 2S 'Fly More Combo' with the DJI RC, rather than simply offering it separately.
The DJI RC arrived alongside the DJI Mini 3 Pro in May and is the spiritual successor to the Smart Controller, which landed back in 2019. While the DJI RC's screen isn't quite as bright as the Smart Controller's (700-nits, compared to 1,000-nits), it is considerably cheaper than that pad – which means it could form of a very compelling Air 2S bundle.
Right now, you can only buy the DJI Air 2S in a bundle with the basic DJI RC-N1 controller (which uses your phone as a screen). The Smart Controller bundle, meanwhile, is currently showing as "out of stock" in DJI's US and UK stores.
While the Air 2S is compatible with the DJI RC Pro controller that arrived alongside the DJI Mavic 3, but that pad costs a massive $1,199 / £879 / AU$1,529 – which is more the cost of the Air 2S.
Compatibility with the DJI RC makes a lot of sense for the mid-range drone and a bundle combining the two could prove extremely popular with hobbyist fliers. It isn't yet clear when that will happen, the leak's promise that it "should be near" means it could be wise to hold off buying an Air 2S if you like the sound of the DJI RC controller.
Analysis: The perfect combo?
When we tested the DJI Mini 3 Pro with the DJI's RC controller we were impressed with the latter's performance. One of the main benefits over using your smartphone with the DJI RC-N1 is the speed of the setup – as our review said, "it offers a faster set-up, as you only need to screw in the thumbsticks in order to start flying".
We also found that the controls were "responsive and the connection between the drone and controller was reliable". But perhaps the biggest reason why the DJI RC could be the ideal partner for the DJI Air 2S is its price tag – it costs $309 / £255 / AU$399 to buy separately, and a bundle with the drone would likely reduce that further.
This means we could expect a DJI Air 2S and DJI RC 'Fly More' bundle to cost a similar amount to the seemingly discontinued 'Fly More Combo with the Smart Controller', whose most recent price was $1,499 / £1,339.
The DJI RC does have some downsides, including the lack of a built-in internet connection to download maps and that screen brightness, which is lower than many smartphones. This means it might not be ideal to regularly shoot in very bright conditions.
But overall, the DJI RC seems even more suitable for the DJI Air 2S than the DJI Mini 3 Pro, so we're looking forward to seeing this bundle arrive for the model that's currently top of our guide to the best drones you can buy.