DJI GO 4 vs. Litchi vs. Autopilot: Which One Is The Best?

Pre-Intro

Which is the best app: GO4, Litchi, or Autopilot? The truth is, there’s no correct answer!

The GO 4 is ideal for beginners and seamlessly integrates with DJI drones. The Litchi and Autopilot are more advanced, with multiple customizations and room for creativity.

So, instead of me choosing the better app, I will discuss what each does best and leave you to decide the winner. 

Feature Table

DJI Pro vs. Litchi vs Autopilot Comparison
APP
Compatibility
Stability
Features
Ease of Use
Cost
DJI GO 4
10/10
8.5/10
8.5/10
9.5/10
Free
LITCHI
9/10
9/10
9/10
9/10
$29.99
AUTOPILOT
8/10
9.5/10
9.5/10
8/10
$29.99

Introduction

Drone apps are your communication link with the drone you are flying. Their importance in flight planning, data analysis, and control makes them crucial for every pilot.

I’ve been flying DJI drones for a few years now. Consequently, I’ve used the default DJI Fly and DJI GO apps.

Off late, however, I discovered the third-party apps- Litchi and Autopilot. And it changed my world!

Here, I compare the three apps on various parameters based on my experience and inputs from fellow enthusiasts. Read on to expand your horizons and download the app that best suits your purpose.

Compatibility

DJI GO 4 is the default app with DJI drones. It is compatible with the Mavic, Phantom, and Matrice series.

Since it is specially designed to work with DJI drones, the DJI GO 4 compatibility with drones is best.

For Android download DJI GO 4 app, it requires Android 5.0 or above. And iOS 10.0 or above for Apple Phones.

The Litchi app is compatible with most DJI drones, including the Mavic and Phantom series. For the Mini 3 and Mavic 3 Enterprise, you will need to download the Litchi Pilot.

There were some initial glitches in the earlier version, but they have smoothened with the latest update. It requires iOS 12.4 or later.

Autopilot is compatible with the DJI Inspire series, Phantom 3 and 4, and the Matrice series only.

In this sense, its compatibility is limited as it cannot be used for the Mini or the Mavic series. Another limitation is that Autopilot is only available for Apple users.

Winner: For compatibility with DJI Drones, the GO 4 is a clear winner, with the Litchi following close behind. The Autopilot loses out because of its limited compatibility.

Stability

In terms of app stability, the GO 4 does an okay job. The new app versions have consistently been working on fixing bugs and app crashing issues.

A few of my friends did face problems, though, on their Samsung S21 and S22 devices (Android 12) when opening the app.

The Litchi has earned excellent reviews when it comes to stability. The customer service seems quick to respond to the few bug issues that users posted on the Google Play store.

Seasoned pilots have great things to say about the Autopilot’s stability, and I agree! The app is not plagued by bugs or crashes and functions smoothly.

It does need a fast processor, though,

Winner:  Autopilot for its immense reliability and rare issues.

Features

You will find five Intelligent Flight Modes on the GO 4 app, namely:

  • Course Lock – This allows you to lock the drone’s course regardless of its orientation.

    The drone will keep flying in a straight line and will only spin on its axis if you accidentally try to change its course.

  • Follow Me – As the name suggests, this feature allows the drone to autonomously follow you from above. It does this with the help of a GPS signal.

  • Waypoints – The app allows you to set multiple waypoints that create a virtual path for your drone to fly through.

  • Point of Interest – When you set an object/person as the Point of Interest, the drone will circle around it at different altitudes and speeds.

  • Home Lock – Bring the drone back to you regardless of its orientation by setting the home lock.

    This is an advanced feature that ensures that your drone returns to a preset point accurately.

As you can see, the features are quite impressive, especially for a first-time flyer. It will be a few months or years before you tire of them and want to experiment with more advanced features.

Moving to the Litchi app. Here are some unique Litchi features for drone flight planning that I like about the app:

  • The Mission Hub The Mission Hub is where you can pre-program waypoints for your drone flight.

    This powerful and intuitive mission planner can be operated both on the phone and the desktop.

    It definitely helps me to be able to see the area on the big screen and plan my mission better.

    What’s more, you can also create 3D missions on Google Earth with the Mission Hub, thus making it the best flight-planning app for DJI drones.

  • Magic Leash – This mode allows your drone to follow a device or a pin. The best part is that you can install Litchi Leash on a second device and have the drone follow that.

  • Orbit Mode – Make the drone orbit an object/person with this mode. The gimbal can be controlled manually or set to automatic.

    You can even save and load flights with this feature for use afterward.

  • Virtual Reality – This mode allows you to have a more immersive experience by seeing the camera feed right in front of you.

    All you need is a set of VR goggles, that cost just $10!

  • Track Mode – With the Litchi app, you can track a subject using images and complex algorithms.

  • Focus – With the focus feature, you can keep a subject as the point of interest while manually flying the craft.

    It is compatible with Magic Leash, so you can focus on an external device as well.

There are some added features in the Litchi, as you would expect from a third-party app.

But keep in mind that the DJI GO 4 app cannot entirely be replaced as it is required for performing functions like pre-flight inspections, calibrations, etc.

And now for the distinct capabilities of Autopilot:

  • Flight School – While this is not exactly a flying feature, it does help in the process.

    There are a bunch of detailed real-world flight-testing tutorials and consultations with professional pilots.

    This was of big help when I was learning to use the app.

  • Motion Tracking – The follow-me mode on Autopilot uses both GPS and image recognition to follow the target. This means even if you lose connectivity, it will continue following.

  • Airspace – Allows you to connect more than one device to share location information of the object of interest.

  • Barometric Altimeter – It has an in-built barometer, leading to increased accuracy and better control during mission planning.

  • Focus – In the Focus mode, you can fly the aircraft manually while the app takes control of the gimbal.

  • Orbit – With Orbit, you can add a bearing angle to the Follow Me mode that continually changes on a clockwise or anti-clockwise pattern.

  • Cruise – Using Cruise, you can manually fly the drone while the app uses one or more strategies to control the throttle, pitch/roll, and yaw.

  • Target – You can fly to a marked location and altitude with this feature.

  • Zip Line – This builds on Target by adding a second point that defines a line that the aircraft can travel along.

These are just some of the impressive features of Autopilot. You can deep-dive into each and set individual parameters for flight missions.

Winner: It’s a tie between Litchi and Autopilot. The former aces with its ease of mission planning and Hubspot feature, and Autopilot trumps with its features, live mapping in the app, and customizations in controlling the craft partially in manual and automatic modes. 

Ease of use

DJI GO 4 has a very user-friendly interface and is ideal for beginners. I did struggle with the login, but thereafter, it gave me no trouble.

The camera settings are easy to adjust, and the intelligent flight modes take care of the rest.

The screen clearly displays all relevant information, and with just a few flying sessions, one can master the app.

Despite being more feature-rich and sophisticated than the GO 4, Litchi is quite simple to use. Yes, the learning curve is higher than GO 4, but the app itself is highly intuitive.

Once you learn to use it, it will amaze you with its substantially better workflow and mission settings.

Autopilot ease of use for beginners is a tough one. It has the steepest learning curve of all the three apps.

There are ample customizations possible to control every aspect of the drone flight.

Needless to say, there’s no user-friendly interface in Autopilot, and it is quite challenging for beginners. 

Even professional flyers are seldom aware of all the amazing things it can do!

Winner: DJI Go 4 for its beginner-friendly user interface.

Cost

The Go 4 app is free and is the default app when you buy any DJI drone.

Litchi is priced at $29.99 as a one-time purchase.

The Autopilot is worth $29.99 as a one-time purchase.

Winner: Nothing competes with free, right? So, the DJI Go 4 is a clear winner.

Conclusion

In the battle for the best drone flying app, it’s clear that no one emerges a clear winner.

I’m leaning towards the Litchi, though, for combining the ease of use of the GO 4 with the sophisticated customizations of the Autopilot app.

However, beginners probably won’t agree with this verdict due to the slight learning curve of Litchi. And professionals will vouch for the complicated captures of the Autopilot.

So, choose your usage pattern and download the app that gives you a smooth flying and photography experience.

FAQs

Yes, Autopilot offers a live mapping feature to streamline the flight planning process

The DJI default apps like GO 4 are most compatible with DJI drones.

Yes, it works on both platforms.

Autopilot is great for users who are looking for an optimum drone photography experience.

Yes, Autopilot can be used to direct a mission on the Apple Watch app.

At present, only the Litchi app offers the ability to pre-plan missions on a desktop.

Author
Diptesh Das

Diptesh Das is your friendly ‘content maniac’ and drone enthusiastic! Being passionate about content writing. He is a firm believer of the power of words and thereby ended up leveraging them to create an impact by sharing his drone knowledge and experiences.

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