All you need to know about FPV Goggles [Must read before buying]

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Nowadays, a huge part of the market is going solely to the FPV-ready drones. Whether you are looking for standard aerial photography drones or racing ones, there’s no doubt you will be able to land a complete FPV package to come along with your pick. With the rapid growth of drone racing goggles’ popularity, it is not that surprising to see the best FPV goggles being in the focal point of the market during the last couple of months.

flying-drone-with-fpv-goggles

Photo source: Youtube.com

Driven by those changes on the market, I decided to make a standalone article that will have all the necessary (FPV in general and FPV goggles review related) information gathered up in one single place. With that being said, you can expect a plethora of information in the next couple of paragraphs. So, without much further adue, let’s kick it off and find out what are the Top FPV goggles for drones, and what is the best FPV drone.

 

 

FPV Goggles: Useful terminology

Before we kick things off with a list of FPV goggles for drones, there are certain terms you will need to get accustomed to before heading straight to action. That’s why we have prepared a list of the most frequently used abbreviations in this article as well as their respective definitions:

  • FPV
    Stands for First Person View.
  • LOS/BVLOS
    Stands for Line of Sight / Beyond Visible Line of Sight. This abbreviation is frequently used with FAA’s regulations revolving around BVLOS flying.
  • FPV System
    This term represents a complete set of accessories that combined together form a specialized system for enjoying FPV.
  • Racing Drones
    Racing drones are made of highly durable but lightweight materials and have extremely powerful motors that allow them to reach amazing speeds.
  • Aerial Photography drones
    Drones that were built for the sole purpose of maintaining a steady flight which results in superior image/video quality.
  • VR Boxes
    Big, bulky headsets (similar design to that of Oculus Rift or HTC Vive) which possess 1 display inside, usually have 4 to 6 inches diagonally.
  • Standalone FPV Goggles
    These FPV goggles have built-in displays that allow them to work without smartphones or tablets. If you want a high-quality FPV experience, you should definitely get one of these.
  • Smartphone-powered FPV Goggles
    Common FPV Goggles that don’t have built-in displays. Instead, they rely on smartphones to act as displays and provide you with the live stream from your drone’s FPV camera. AKA VR headsets.
  • Latency/lag
    Gamers are very familiar with this term. Latency/lag represents the time it takes for your FPV system to transport the action to your display or FPV goggles. If there’s too much lag, you will not be enjoying your FPV experience at all.
  • Jelly Effect
    Commonly used for describing aerial footage captured by drones. The term jelly effect represents a certain degree of shakiness present in the footage due to running propellers. The best FPV drone on our list does not have any jello effect. In most of the cases, none of the drones with gimbal won’t have a jello effect.
  • Interpupillary distance
    This term is often associated with FPV goggles. It represents the distance between the center point and the lens of the FPV goggles. AKA IPD.

 

Are FPV goggles for drones worth the money?

For people who want to experience FPV in its fullest glory, FPV goggles are a must. Likewise, professional drone racers also greatly benefit from them (in fact, there are more than a few drone racing competitions which require FPV goggles to be used during races). Not only do FPV goggles provide a lag-free experience but they also put professional races in “behind the wheel” state, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the race. Needless to say, this improves their reaction times, increases their concentration and allows them to perform at the very best.

For regular Joes, I would not really recommend enthusiast-grade FPV goggles. Even though they’re outstanding at what they do, they’re just not worth the money (unless you’re a rich CEO of some sort… if that’s the case, go grab yourself a pair… perhaps get one for me too). Besides, most regular Joes won’t even be able to set them up properly (we’ll talk more about this later on) as they require quite a bit of expertise.

Instead, I’d warmly recommend one of those relatively cheap VR headsets which rely on smartphones as displays. They can be picked up for dirt cheap and are still able to give you a feel for the FPV goggles review bandwagon. For all of you who are just getting started with drones, I’d recommend trying out FPV via these bad boys. If you really like it and if you perhaps consider taking up drone racing as a hobby, then (and only then) it would be wise to make the “standalone FPV goggles” upgrade. They are much more expensive but provide a massive boost to the immersion.

 

Key benefits of FPV goggles – FPV goggles review

As I have already explained above, FPV goggles bear the most benefits to professional drone racers. These high-end FPV systems allow them to be in the very center of the action and basically put them in an optimal drone piloting environment. Once they put their FPV goggles on, these professional racers are completely cut away from their bodies and are transferred to their drones. High-end FPV systems have virtually no lag and are equipped with state of the art FPV cameras that are able to track all movement with the flick of the wrist. This sort of cutting edge technology is what’s making drone racing as a brand-new sport so much fun… but unfortunately, it also makes drone racing as a hobby much more expensive.

 

Getting started with FPV goggles

In this section, I will tell you a bit more about FPV goggles and what exactly you should look out for when buying them. It’s not nuclear science, don’t worry! There are just a couple of key aspects that you should know about before making your decision!

 

3 main types – FPV goggles comparison

Starting off, the first thing you should know about FPV goggles is that they come in 3 types – VR Boxes, VR goggles and smartphone-powered ones (this was already mentioned a couple of times).

  • VR Boxes

    VR Boxes are much bulkier than their VR Google counterparts. While this is good when it comes to comfort (our users claim that VR boxes are really comfortable), prolonged use could put a strain on your neck since they are rather heavy. Resolution-wise, most VR boxes can’t brag with full HD. Luckily, their prices match that – they’re cheaper than VR Googles. In addition to that, they also have only 1 screen while VR Googles have 2 separate ones which make up for better viewing experience.

  • Standalone VR Googles

    While these are definitely the priciest investment, it is safe to say standalone VR goggles provide the best FPV experience. They are used by all professional drone racers. With 2 separate high-quality displays, IPD adjustment and even head tracking (separate module is needed), it is no wonder they belong to top of the market. Today we’ll see what are the best FPV goggles for the money.

  • Smartphone-powered VR boxes

    These type of FPV goggles tends to be much cheaper but, as their name suggests, require smartphones to operate. The video quality equally depends on your smartphone’s display and your drone’s FPV camera. Keep in mind that most of them only work with cameras that possess a Wi-Fi connection.

 

FOV and resolution

When it comes to resolution, always make sure to pair your drone’s FPV camera quality with the quality of your FPV goggles. If, for example, there’s no balance in the two, the low-end spec will drastically bottleneck the high-end one. In other words, if you buy full HD FPV googles and you have a 480p FPV camera mounted on your drone, don’t expect to have FHD output on your goggles. Pay attention to this when buying your next FPV drone kit with goggles. Here is visualization, FPV goggles comparison :

Aspect Ratio

At the moment, most FPV cameras have a 4:3 aspect ratio. While this can be considered a standard at the moment, there will definitely be more and more 16:9 FPV cameras in the near future (the best one at the moment is FatShark 960TLV). While it is important to pair up your FPV goggles’ aspect ratio with that of your camera, perhaps it would be even better if you go “all-in” for 16:9 goggles to ensure your FPV system is future-proof.

 

Head tracking

Head tracking is probably the coolest thing in the entire feature-set of FPV goggles. What it does is essentially allows you to control the movements of your drone via head movements. If you are looking for a pair of FPV goggles that support head tracking, you should definitely take a look at DJI Goggles. They’re magnificent across all departments but unfortunately only work with the current generation of DJI drones.

 

Best FPV Goggles 2020

STANDALONE VR GOGGLES :

 

Avegant Glyph

These first goggles on this list are rather unique. They’ve been funded on Kickstarter where they received a total of $1,509,506 from 3,331 backers. Amazing! Nowadays, you can purchase their Founders Edition for a modest price. Avegant Glyph is basically a portable theatre. It looks like a simple pair of headphones but switches them from the top of your head to your eyes and you’ll see the magic. Glyph incorporates a screenless display with more than 2 million tiny mirrors. What this essentially does is mimic our natural eyesight and gives you 720p resolution per eye.

When it comes to connectivity, Glyph can be connected to pretty much anything that has a HDMI FPV goggles port. Video game consoles, PCs, BlueRay players, drones… you name it and there’s a good chance Glyph can play it. With the newest lineup of DJI’s drones, Avegant Glyph has no issues whatsoever. Even head tracking works seamlessly once you connect it to your drone’s radio via USB. In addition to USB, you will also need to connect Glyph to the radio via HDMI and ensure the signal is picked up appropriately. Once you are done with that, you are pretty much good to go. This will work for most other drones that have HDMI ports on their radios. In terms of DJI phantom 3, this solution will not work straight out of the box. Instead, you will need to use the DJI P3 Module. We’ll soon publish in-depth Avengant Glyph FPV goggles review.

 

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Fat Shark Dominator V3

Fat Shark is surely one of the biggest names in the FPV goggles market, and V3 is definitely one of the best FPV goggles for the money. They have a couple of top-flight goggles that are mostly used by professional drone racers and drone enthusiasts. One thing is for sure though, if you want a high-quality FPV drone racing goggles experience, you cannot go wrong with the Dominator 3. Keep in mind that you’ll need to provide your own receiver module. At the time of writing this article, Fat Shark only guarantees compatibility with NexwaveRF modules.

It features a 16:9 aspect ratio (so make sure you pair it up with a 16:9 FPV camera) with 30-degree FOV. With a WVGA screen and onboard DVR (digital video recorder that works while providing you with live FPV stream simultaneously), it is pretty clear that Fat Shark Dominator V3 isn’t shy of features. It is powered by a 1800mAh LiPo battery that ensures seamless operation in all conditions. When it comes to additional accessories, the most interesting one is definitely the Trinity Head Tracker module. It is easily installed and, as its name suggests, allows head tracking support to the goggles in a brilliant manner.

 

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VR Boxes

 

Quanum Goggle V2 Pro

This FPV VR box features a sleek design and a gorgeous black/red finish. But, its beauty is not the only good thing about it. You see, Quanum V2 Pro features a 5-inch TFT monitor with an 800×480 resolution (the typical 480p res that was very popular in the early days of Youtube). It works with both PAL and NTSC systems and incorporates a long focal plane range.

A surprising feature is a specialized compartment that is meant for the head tracker module. This will turn the Quanum into a fully-fledged head tracking pair of FPV goggles which will further improve your FPV experience. When it comes to connectivity, some of you will be disappointed this VR box does not have an HDMI port. Instead, Quanum Goggle V2 Pro is meant to be used with a 5.8 GHz transmitter and receiver, neither of which come inside the package. One last thing (besides these two) that you will need to get this bad boy up and running is a suitable FPV camera.

 

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Yuneec Skyview L

There is no doubt Yuneec is a class A drone manufacturer, but are they really that good when it comes to making VR boxes too? Well, judging by the user feedback on their Skyview L model, it is safe to say they did not make any major mistakes. With an amazing FOV of 75.5 (some of you might find this number too high but I for one am thrilled with it) and a 5-inch display, Skyview L works like it is supposed to.

Probably the best thing about Skyview is the fact that it is not bound to Yuneec’s drones. You can use it on virtually any drone which has an FPV camera and an HMDI port on its radio. The setup is rather easy, all you need to do is connect the Skyview via HDMI to your drone’s radio and you are good to go. It is that simple!

 

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Smartphone-powered VR Boxes

 

Samsung Gear VR

There is no doubt Samsung Gear VR is the most popular smartphone-powered VR box out there. Not only is it featuring a simplistic glossy black design but it also has a plethora of bells and whistles traditional Google cardboard devices don’t. Features such as accelerometer, proximity sensor, gyro are just the tip of the iceberg.

Samsung Gear VR incorporates top-notch lenses and is incredibly comfortable. This is due to improved padding and reduced overall weight which was a pretty hefty issue on the older version. You can even wear glasses now – they won’t interfere with the Gear VR in any way. The viewing angle has also received an upgrade. The older version had 96 degrees while this one features 101. Keep in mind that it will take a bit of time to get used to it, but it is well worth it in the long run! In the end, I’d just like to let you know once again that you will only be able to this with cameras that support WiFi FPV.

 

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Sytros VR

Lastly, we have the Sytros VR. Popularity-wise, Sytros is head to head with Gear VR at least on the biggest online marketplace – Amazon. It has reached that with a high build quality, comfortable design and support for active buttons, all of which are excellent features, especially at this price point.

Sytros VR supports all of the newest iPhones and Samsung devices, as well as virtually all 3.5-inch to 6-inch models out there. Moreover, it’s lightweight as well, making it feel comfortable even during the longest of drone flying sessions. With a fancy design and a similar color schematic to that of Quanum V2 Pro, it is safe to say that Sytros VR is a proper king in the budget-friendly smartphone-powered VR boxes market. This was an in-depth FPV goggles comparison, I hope it helps!

 

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One Response

  1. Diane McCharles August 4, 2017

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