Topsky are pretty new to the FPV goggles game. They Started with their F7x goggles, which were designed for the mid market. Today we are looking at their entry level goggles, the Prime 1S. These goggles at a glance look like they sit in the middle ground between Fatsharkstyle goggles and Box goggles.
When you take a proper look, you can see they are 2 screens, so it’s a big set of Fatsharks style goggles. They are around $80 and can be picked up from Banggood.
|Topsky Prime 1S
One of the big reasons I picked a set of these up was I wanted to find a great set of beginner goggles that I could recommend when people asked. For me a good set of beginner goggles depends on price, image quality, size and signal performance.
- Price – They should be less than £100
- Image – This should be clear and have adjustability to focus. Image size is important but not a critical factor.
- Size – The Goggles should be able to fit in a backpack (my first set of box goggles were huge, they took up 80% of my bag)
- Signal Performance – The goggles should have proper diversity eg, 2 receivers and the goggles should have no glitching when you switch between the two.
Whats in the box
In the Box you get you get the following:
- Micro USB cable for charging
- Replacement foam
- Microfiber cloth
- 2 x basic antenna
- A manual
Firstly, the box is nicely presented, all the items inside are nicely protected and easy to get to. Having a spare faceplate foam is very useful, not all goggles in this price range would have this. Also having a cloth for cleaning the optics is very handy.
The manual is useable, but the Topsky is pretty easy to use without it.
The 2 antennas that come in the box, are the usual Wifi style stick antennas. I would strongly recommend getting a patch antenna and an omni directional antenna to replace this as soon as you can.
The stick style antenna offer poor performance for FPV. This is not a negative against topsky. A lot of companies sell there goggles with these antennas. I have a pile of them I never use.
Detailed look at the Topsky Prime 1S
On first impression the Prime 1S goggles are a good size and shape, they are easy to transport and, in my opinion, not bad looking. They have the usual foam around the faceplate and all the buttons and connections are in sensible places.
The headband is easy to adjust and has a strap to go over the top of your head. The antennas connections are placed on the sides and for my testing I am using a triple feed patch antenna and a TBS Triumph.
The Topsky range all seem to have a Black plastic plate on the front which I understand is there to reduce light leaks. I have not noticed any difference with it on or off. So, on these goggles I believe it is simply there for branding and styling reasons.
On the top you have 6 buttons and 2 joysticks. These are nicely laid out and easy to use. The joystick make navigating with the goggles on fairly straight forward. For me, being able to switch channels easily is quite important, as its nice to watch other people fly. The Prime 1S made this quite easy as you could scan and switch between the 48 main channels nicely.
There are two features this has over any of the top goggles. A: a Power button and B: a built in battery. I can take or leave the power button, for me I have had no issue just un plugging the battery, I know for some people this is an important feature. The built-in battery is interesting. It makes the goggles pretty heavy, but the fact you can charge them using USB makes them easy to keep topped up, even when you’re out in the field.
Underneath you have a USB connection for charging and a panel to take out the built in battery. A headphone port and an AV in. You also have a switch to turn the RX off when you are using external AV or the built in DVR, if you’re wanting to save battery. Then you have the adjustment for the optics. It sounds good to have both an IPD and diopter adjustment for each eye, but in reality it is very difficult to adjust these settings to get the screen into sharp focus.
The Screen size 640*480 4:3 LCD panels, offering you an 80 degree field of view. When you put the goggles on and power up, the screen is fairly large and bright. There was a small amount of light leak around the nose, but overall for a cheap set of goggles it was absolutely fine.
The goggles also have a built in DVR which will take upto a 32gig SD card. The DVR does nothing exceptional, but it is perfectly adequate.
Testing and Comparison
Ok, before I start, I want to set out a few things. 1. My first set of goggles were a set of box goggles and they were fantastic! Big and ugly, but fantastic. So, I have no issue with entry level goggles. 2. The goggles I use today are the Skyzone Sky02S V+. These are not the top goggles on the market, but they are very comfortable and have great reception. It is not fair to Compare these $250 goggles against the $80 Prime 1S goggles, but I wanted to make it clear what I use on a regular basis before I start.
To test the Topsky Prime 1S goggles I took them out to my usual field with my friends. I tried them with a range of different drones with different camera setups and one thing became very clear very fast.
The Image quality is very poor, I don’t even think its an issue with the focus as I could (after some effort) get the on screen display nice and crisp. But as soon as the screens switch to your FPV feed the pixel become enormous and very blocky.
I have used cheap goggles before, and while they have their issues, they are still flyable. With the Topsky Prime 1S I found it very hard to fly for one minute let alone three. I was not the only one, one of my friends said they made him feel drunk and another friend who currently uses $50 Eachine box goggles said he much preferred his current goggles.
We tested these goggles with a range of cameras too, including Foxeer, Falkors and Predators. Therefore, the issue was definitely not with the Signal.
I flew about 8 packs before I had to give up. I tried to adjust almost everything to improve the image quality. I really wanted to like them because they were pretty comfortable (even if they were a little heavy), they were very easy to use and I also had no issues with the range (even if I didn’t push them that far out). I just simply could not get a quality of image I was comfortable flying with.
- + Good price point
- + Easy to use
- + Comfortable for the price
- – Heavy
- – Terrible image quality
It’s a massive shame, I really wanted to like these goggles. I am impressed with so many things about them and at $80 for me I had high hopes. I was not expecting them to set the world on fire in the image they produced, but I at least expected them to be useable and I am comfortable to say that as I have tried goggles that are cheaper and have far better images.
I think there is an issue when processing the image in that the screen is pretty big, but the number of pixel is pretty low, so you end up with this very odd image. For me I would be happier to have a smaller screen that produced a better image.
Unfortunately, I would not recommend these goggles. They might meet 3 out of my 4 criteria for cheap goggles, but they fail on the most important one: Image Quality.
My quest for a decent set of beginner goggles for under $100 continues!