Your FPV Goggles are what lets you actually become your drone. They allow you to jump inside and see things from a pilots perspective and are what makes drone flying so magical and addictive. With so many options out there choosing drone goggles suited exactly for your needs can be difficult. We've written indepth guide to help you get on top of things and send you in the right direction!
Getting the right goggles for you will make a huge difference between your first flight being an unbelievable experience or just plain frustrating! Once we put on our fpv goggles we rely on them entirely to see where our drone is and control it accordingly, for this reason, it is important to have goggles that really pull you in and allow you to take in everything you need to see.
If your goggles are not up to the job it could cause you to crash either into objects we can't see such as branches or we could simply lose our position in the sky and get lost! Anyway if that happens, and you need to start a new build - check our indepth guide on how to build fpv drone.
For some people flying with goggles at first can be a strange and disorientating experience as you may feel so immersed that your brain can't quite co-ordinate what's going on right away!
This is completely normal and the more you do it the quicker you will adjust your instincts and it will become second nature.
I would suggest sitting down for your first few flights and having a friend around you so you feel safe and are unlikely to be surprised by anyone. When I started it felt difficult to focus on my goggles screens however this quickly started to feel more natural for me.
Below comparison we'll guide you through how to choose fpv goggles and most important factors to consider.
Best FPV Goggles Comparison
DJI Goggles 2
As their most equipment DJI pushes high end quality products. The DJI Goggles 2 come with everything you need to get started right out of the box. DJI provides all the accessories necessary for optimal Goggle performance, including battery, antenna, and data cable. High-def OLED screens have 100Hz refresh rate providing smooth HD feed in front of your eyes. Diopter adjustment optimize viewing if you're wearing glasses - from 2.0D to -8.0D. Goggles 2 are portable and compact making them easy to store and travel with. They are also lightweight and perfectly fit on the face, at least for me. Battery charger is super-fast and batteries can hold for more then 2 hours. There are always various bugs on software side of things, but DJI engineers are working fast and releasing firmware updates following community insights and needs.
Orqa FPV.One Pilot
A brand new flagship headset by Orqa arrives with significantly enhanced electronics and mechanical design while retaining its minimalistic style aesthetic. Compared with other analog FPV Goggles, Orqas really stands out with top components under the hood while maintaining its cool. OSD menu is re-designed, looking very powerful and user-friendly. Orqa's optics are top-of-the-line, image is super sharp and contrasty, there's hardly anything to complaint regarding the image quality. 37° FOV could be better but not of a big concern. Stock receiver module comes with Rapidfire from Immersion RC, Orqas partner company. Both Orqa FPV.One Pilot and first version should soon have a digital module ready, but we don't have information when it's going to be released. Battery support is up to 6S, so you can use your drone battery for power, which is very convenient.
It's obvious that Avatar is heavily inspired by DJI, despite some differences between them. They took what worked well and ran with it, so maybe it isn't bad after all because it made the transition from DJI drones to Avatars easier. Avatars goggles don't have a receiver module bay nor an AV input, so they can't run analog FPV. You can't use HDZero because there's no HDMI input. They're just for the Avatars digital FPV system. By now, DJI has been around for longer than Avatar, so they're certainly more stable. However, there are always some issues that need to be addressed by both of them. When the camera was first released, the image quality wasn't as good as DJI. Especially when the image is fast, it loses a lot of details and the background becomes blurry and blocky. It'll be less of a problem if you fly at lower speeds, and the Avatar Pro offers 1080p video recording which looks better than the DJI. After some firmware upgrades, Avatar has definitely improved its image qualities and is now catching up with DJI.
HDZero is a brand-new digital FPV system that offers better video quality than the traditional analog FPV systems it provides high-definition video feeds and is less susceptible to interference. Divimath created HDZero; Fatshark brought the technology to the FPV market and re-branded it as “Shark Byte” (earlier, it was called “Byte Frost“). HDZero has a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, which is the same as DJI. The image quality from both systems looks impressive compared to traditional analog systems. On the whole, however, the image quality from HDZero is better than that from DJI. HDZero has become extremely popular among FPV racers because of its consistently low latencies regardless of signal strength or distance. Even though HDZero has superior image quality compared to analog, it still cannot compete with DJI FPV video transmission technology in these noisy environments. You can use the HDZero video transmitter with most FPV goggles with an HDMI input.
Skyzone SKY04X V2
If you're looking for something different in analog segment, check out the SkyZone Sky04X FPV goggles. These goggles feature a high resolution screen 1280*960, focus adjustment, wide angle lens with 46 degrees FOV providing pilots a more immersive FPV experience. Larger displays seem to have a greater dynamic range. To be able to see 95 percent of the screen, I need to put the 04X in just exactly the right spot on my face; the screen is huge. Despite it's somewhat heavier weight and battery life I really like the new Skyzones. The ratio can be changed between 4:3 or 16:9; and head tracking is built in. The wider (FOV) has a plus and a minus. I like the bigger display but the edges are harder to see. That matters if you fly with an OSD. Overall Skyzones are pretty good buy for analog fpv goggles.
The goggle comes with a 40 channel 5.8GHz diversity receiver ranging from frequency 5658-5917MHz. The upgrades from the first release include DVR recording times increased to 10 minutes up from the previous 3 minutes. The V2’s come with a switchable video output between 4:3 and 16:9, an improvement over the previous 16:9 fixed aspect ratio.
The newer version also includes all the popular channels between bands A, B, E, F and R bands up from the previous 37 channels. It also accepts a wide range of input voltages from 3-6S, can be powered by our drone batteries eliminating the need for standalone batteries specific for the goggles. The goggles themselves are a bit on the heavier side at 590g excluding batteries and it is recommended to place the batteries behind the head to distribute the weight. Overall it is one a great option to start FPV. Check our review of the Viper V2
How to Choose FPV Goggles
Goggles are a very personal thing, your face, eyes and preferences are unique to you, with that in mind I'll try to cover everything you should look to consider when buying your first pair of goggles helping you to get it right the first time!
For the best experience I strongly recommend you find a way to try as many goggles as you can either through a store, a friend or local club and find what works for you!
Nothing can beat your opinion and preferences to help you decide what to spend your hard earned money on. Many of the points I'm about to cover can be subjective but should give you a great starting point!
To know what to look for when selecting goggles for flying FPV you must introduce yourself with some basics first.
FPV Goggles Basics and Terminology
Goggles can be and probably should be the most expensive part of your FPV set up for one main reason. You cannot crash your goggles! (Well hopefully not!) The point is that you can build or buy a nice drone and then destroy it within minutes in a bad crash. Goggles on the other hand, if well cared for, can last for years.
Now if you are on a tight budget but still want a decent performance there are many options available for you which I will cover shortly, however, if you are trying to decide which component to splash out on I would suggest these. If you later decide that you don't like the goggles or even the hobby a decent pair of goggles will have a great resale value! You may also wish to look at buying a second-hand pair from the start to save some more.
Typical price ranges could be anywhere from $300-$800 dollars for a good set, however, cheaper options are available for as low as $80.
The first big hurdle is deciding which form factor will work best for you which is something mainly tied in with your budget. The high-end OrqaFPV style goggles I'll refer to as the compact type make up the more expensive side of things whereas box goggles offer the same experience for a lower price with the compromise being the size and weight of the unit. We'll take a look at each one in a little more detail below:
Compact 'FatShark' Style Goggles
This category refers to all goggles that look similar to oversized sunglasses. FatShark was the first company to bring these to the mainstream market however companies such as Skyzone and Eachine are starting to catch on and are becoming serious competitors.
The main feature of these goggles is that it has two individual screens, one for each eye. By doing this they can use very small screens with cleverly designed optics that don't take up much space.
From my personal experience I find this style goggle much more comfortable to use and somehow easier to focus on as they feel very connected to your eyes. Due to the light size they are also very easy to let sit on your forehead when you aren't flying.
'Box' Style Goggles
Many call these goggles as they literally are made up of a black box with a screen in one end that you strap to your head! A Fresnel lens is placed in front of your eyes to make the bigger and easy to focus on. By using just one readily available screen box goggles are able to retain the same or even have higher resolutions than the compact
Whichever style of goggles you choose the resolution is going to play a huge part on how much detail you can see. As with any other device with a screen the higher the pixel count, the more you will be able to make out and hopefully, the better you will fly.
You often hear FPV pilots complaining about hitting 'ghost branches' which are really branches that are just too small to be displayed on the goggles until they are so close a crash is inevitable. With this in mind, we really want to get as high as we can reasonably afford.
Remember that our FPV cameras have a relatively low resolution compared to what we are used to in HD TVs, monitors and screens. Think back to the analog pre HD days so we don't need too high here. I would suggest 640x480 pixels as a minimum whilst going over the FatShark HDs 800x600 resolution being a little bit overkill.
True HD systems such as the DJI provide one of the best resolutions with digital transmission, however they are most expensive out there.
This image although not FPV related makes a great example of how a lower resolution effects or perception. In the first image we can barely tell if it’s a man or woman, second we can't tell if they are happy or sad and finally, we see that they have a hand full of cash! Try and transfer that to obstacles you are flying towards at high speed to appreciate why a high resolution is important for FPV.
Just like TVs, we can get goggles in either a 4:3 or a 16:9 widescreen format. As with most things the best option is a subjective decision and best for you to decide. The one thing you should do is always match your goggles with the correct camera aspect ratio to avoid any cases of stretching, squashing or cropping the image. When making your decision take a look at what kind of parts are readily available and what current prices are like.
I personally prefer 4:3 as I do a lot of flips and dives and want to see as much as possible in the vertical directions. If you intend to use your goggles with a HDMI for watching films or playing games a 16:9 option might work better for you.
FOV - Field of View
Imagine watching the latest blockbuster film in an Imax theatre compared with on your phone... The difference in immersion is huge and is exactly the reason large FOV goggles such as the OrqaFPV series are so popular.
FOV stands for field of view and is often measured in degrees. As an example degrees means that the picture should cover 30 degrees from the centre if your 180 degree field of view. Although slightly subjective and not quite consistent between manufacturers my interpretation of common fields of view would be as follows:
25° - Looking at a standard size computer monitor a few feet away.
32° - Watching a 42" TV from a sofa
42° - Sitting in a cinema or watching
Although many pilots prefer a larger field of view you can go too big! A massive display requires yours eyes to move around to take in the entire display. This could cause you to lose focus when looking at something such an OSD, I would not recommend going higher than 50 degrees if you intend to race.
Here you can find detailed field-of-view (FOV) comparisons.
Inter-Pupillary Distance (IPD)
IPD refers to the distance between the center of your eyes which will vary from person to person and is important to get right when using compact goggles with a screen for each eye. Fortunately, most FPV goggles now feature some form of IPD sliders on the bottom that allow you to move the screens to suit your face perfectly.
We've just covered the display features of the goggles however the part we haven't considered is the receiver. These come in two flavours, built into the goggles or as an additional module which you will need in order to tap into your FPV feed.
Built-in receivers are normally pretty basic giving you basic functionality select a channel and view it. They normally offer reasonable performance and are a great option if you want to save some money and don't want to push the boundaries of RF performance and features. The only downside with a built-in receiver is that you won't be able to upgrade them in the future and you will need to shell out for a brand new pair of goggles should you ever want the extra features.
External modules (typically only available for FatShark goggles currently) will push into the module slot on your goggles and can be used to greatly improve their features.
Modules range from a basic single receiver to diversity setups with OLED displays and spectrum analyzers. These are great if you fly with larger groups and either want to watch them or find the clearest channel. The diversity setups also allow for the best possible video and range which will be discussed later in this article. Examples of top end modules include the Immersion RC, TBS, La Forge and Furious True-D.
Focal Length and Diopters
Many of us are not lucky enough to enjoy 20/20 vision and may need some help in the form of glasses or contact lenses to help us see clearly. This is a big factor that should be taken into account when buying goggles! If you wear contacts you will absolutely fine with any option and not have to worry either way however if you wear glasses things are a little more complicated.
Most box style goggles are actually possible to use with glasses as most designs have space to fit them inside, shortsighted users may not even need them!
Compact style goggles on the other hand do not have the space fit anything between your eyes and the displays which is why many offer diopter inserts. These diopters can slide in front of the lenses on the goggles and can be purchased to match many common prescriptions.
If you need something a little more tailored to you custom prescription diopters are available from companies like RHO-Lens.
Newer goggles such as the Eachine VR100 have allow you to focus the screens by sliding them forwards and backwards. This works really well for mild prescriptions however it will only extend to a certain range with diopters not available.
Video Channel Frequencies
You may have heard people referencing their video channel as something similar to E8 or R4. These are just different names for different frequencies in the 5.8GHz area. So E8 = 5866GHz and R4 = 5769GHz the bands and channel numbers simply give us an easier way to tune into specific frequencies rather than tuning into an exact number.
This image I found on DIYDrones forum sums it up perfectly and is much clearer that the regular frequency tables:
This diagram shows the bands as rows eg: FatShark, E, B, A and Raceband with the numbered sections showing the individual channel you would tune in to per band in MHz.
That aside the most important thing to do is to make sure that the receiver in your goggles is able to tune into your drones video channel! As long as both are capable of the same bands you should be fine, if you intend to fly with more pilots you can use this diagram to select channels as far apart as possible to prevent against interference. Ideally, I would recommend keeping 100MHz between each channel however you can push it down to 50MHz with a clean set up.
Note: Not all video transmitters are created equally! Despite some being capable of running certain channels they can be broadcasting across a much higher range than a high-end part increasing the chance of interference between channels. This is why some races actually specify a specific well know transmitter that must be used by all pilots.
Please also be aware that some channels and powers may not be legal in some countries. You should look into this before purchasing your transmitter.
Video Receiver Diversity
Diversity FPV is a feature that is actually made up of two video receivers running separate antennas. When running the diversity clever software compares the two video signals and automatically switches to the strongest to always ensure the best performance. We will cover antennas in more depth in a sperate article however in diversity's case we can two completely different antennas and gain the benefits of both without drawback.
A good example would be running a circular polarized antenna which works well all around you with a patch antenna that gives fantastic range but only in one direction.
Built in DVR
A DVR (Digital Video Recorder) is a circuit board inside your goggles that takes your analogue video input and writes it to a digital movie format that you can view on your computer and upload online. This is fantastic for anybody who doesn't have any kind of recording camera on the drone itself either saving you money or giving the lightest of FPV drones the ability to record their flights.
Of course, the quality of the DVR will not be similar to a HD camera and it will be subject to any interference you would normally see through the goggles.
It can however be very useful in the event you crash your drone and cannot find it. Most goggles allow you to play the DVR back to try and work out exactly where you crashed. Even if you end up loosing the drone, at least you will have some kind of footage of what happened.
Typically a HDMI is found on a TV and is not that useful for FPV flying itself. It is however useful if you like the idea of using your goggles to play games, watch films or better yet fly some of the FPV simulators more immersively.
Digital HD FPV will be coming in the future and getting goggles with a HDMI port is a great way to futureproof your investment. You can already connect it to Connex Prosight HDs and if you fly a DJI Phantom or Inspire you could also connect it up to your controller.
This has always being a bit of an odd one to have included in FPV goggles however for some people its applications could be huge. The head tracker in your goggles uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to record where you are looking and send signals back to your remote. Those signal can be used to control a gimbal system on the drone that moves the camera as you move your head in a similar way to VR goggles.
Most racing drones however crash far too often to warrant an expensive and delicate gimbal system whereas most photography drones need gimbals that can stay perfectly still and hence wouldn't be controlled by a humans head. The only place I have seen these being used effectively is on a fixed wing plane used for long range, exploration flights where the pilot has time to take in their surroundings.
Perhaps in the future this feature will find more uses as people start flying the 360 VR cameras.
Some people (all be it very few) like to fly with audio. Although it might seem unpleasant to hear the constant noise of the quad motors at first it has it's benefits as you can sense how much power you are using and identify any potential issues. Audio can connect you more with your drone and many goggles can offer it via a headphone jack on the side. Of course, you need to make sure your drone will need to be fitted with a microphone and have an audio capable video transmitter.
The small space between your eyes and goggles can get very foggy which can make the screens unclear and cause you to crash. This is even more likely to happen if you live in hot and humid conditions or just sweat a lot!
Luckily most goggles now come with fans that will clear the fog relatively quickly. If you are going for compact goggles I would highly recommend getting some with a fan.
Your goggles need powering by a separate battery (typically a 2s pack) however different goggles have different styles:
- Built-in battery - these are great because they are always with your goggles however are limited by pack size and cannot be quickly changed. The goggles lifespan will most likely be determined by the life of the battery. These can often be charged via a USB power bank if needed.
- External Lipo Battery - An external battery pack that is kept either on the goggle strap or in the pilots pocket. These work well but can be a hassle to plug in and charge. The smaller lipo packs do not last too long on many goggles.
- 18650 Batteries - 18650 Lithium Ion batteries are commonly used in e-cigarettes and have great capacity to size ratios. They can be discharged lower than their lithium polymer counter parts and can be used in a case to make a great goggle battery. They will need charging via a dedicated 18650 charger.
Cost and Features offered
With these goggles in mind, lets start by comparing the biggest factor… The Price.
One of the first things to consider is the budget and how much you are willing to splurge. Cost plays an important role, for there is a goggle for $170 and there is a goggle for 5 times that. The more you spend, the more refined the design, build quality and better features you get. The cheapest option we are looking for today is the FXT Viper V2 at $170 going all the way to $650 for the most expensive Orqa FPV for analog, and almost same price for digital fpv as DJI.
Displays determine the quality of the image is outputted. A higher-resolution display will yield a better viewing experience. Also here we have 2 display technologies being used, LCD and OLED. 20 years ago LCD was all the hype coming down from the bulky CRT TVs. OLEDs are the current hype. OLEDs have far superior image quality, mostly attributed to its ability to reproduce crisper, brighter and accurate images. OLEDs also consume lesser power and produce more natural colors.
FOV is another part of a Display that determines how much area can be seen at a time. Our FPV cameras have a typical FOV of over 140˚ and only part of that gets displayed. Looking at a larger area is a good thing and a bad thing alike, the more you see allowing for better maneuvering at the same time more for the eyes to focus on.
In the FPV community, a FOV of 32-38˚ is considered ideal.
The Aspect ratio doesn’t matter anymore because most if not all displays can switch between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios. Experienced pilots prefer 4:3 due to the vertical height it provides. It is also worth mentioning that 4:3 is generated by chopping off the sides of a 16:9 image.
Here is a tool to compare FOVs of various Goggles
The receiver plays the biggest role in the image quality and is one of the most important things to check for in a goggle. Goggles are long term investments and having a bad receiver for a long time is well SUCKS.
Those expensive goggles require another $100-150, modular receivers such as the True-D or the Rapidfire module, to work. This gives you the flexibility to choose what goes into your goggles. These modular receivers tend to be one of the best in the industry and work so well that they outperform every inbuilt receiver in every goggle available.
There are hundreds of smaller brands that manufacture goggles. Why do people buy an iPhone when they can get an Android phone for hundreds of $$$ lesser? DJI brand is the iPhone of the drone industry.
Fatshark used to dominate and commanded a higher price than other manufacturers for the sole reason of their fantastic after-sales support. Fatshark has carved a name for itself in the industry by providing industry-leading after-sales support. Fatshark still provides replacement parts and service for goggles that were stopped manufacturing 5 years ago. Fatshark has service centers on 5 continents; good chances are they are in your city.
Skyzone has good after-sales support for their goggles. Orqa is a relative newcomer in the industry and we are yet to see what kind of support we would get in the long term. FXT is a Chinese brand and they do have quite good after-sales support, but nothing too extraordinary and did I mention that the shipping times to and from China take over a month.
DJI introducted digital FPV system and placed hard standards for FPV Goggle manufacturers. We still don't have true competitor in digital segment to DJI. HDZero, Walksnail are starting to switch gears - I hope we'll see a true digital competitor to DJI one day.
A quick note on using screens! Some of you may be considering using a screen to fly especially due to the ease that you can switch between LOS (line of sight) and FPV (First Person View) flying.
For anyone looking to fly a racing drone my advice would be that unless you have any physical reasons or limitations why you can't use goggles, you should always go ahead and make use of them. The reason for this is that a screen is not only smaller but is also hard to see in bright sunlight and even can move around in relation to your eyes.
They also don't get your full attention allowing you to be distracted by anything around you.
Goggles, on the other hand, will put a big clear image in front of your eyes at all times which is consistent and easy to focus on. I've have yet to find anybody whose flying hasn't drastically improved once they've made the switch to goggles.
Hopefully by now you are aware of all possible features goggles can offer and can start making decisions on best fpv goggles fitting your needs and budget. The goggles I have shown are just a small selection of what is currently available and you should be able to find a pair to meet your exact requirements.
As with everything, nothing can beat trying the goggles out in real life and is by far the best way to make your decision. Look for local flying groups or head to local stores if you have them just to get a glimpse through as many goggles as you can. Hopefully you will naturally find something that works perfect for you.