In case you haven’t heard, drone racing has grown exponentially over the past year. Now, more people are tuning into professional drone races, amazed at the fastest racing drones on earth and how their pilots control them with complete nonchalance. And in August, ESPN will begin covering the new sport, complete with live races and live coverage of those races. It’s all a bit exciting if you ask me, which is why I’m fully expecting the hobby to explode at an unprecedented rate.
So if you’re looking to get into the wonderful world of racing drones, or you just want a more immersive experience for use with your camera drones, you’re going to want to pickup a set of FPV goggles.
It’s important to note that while there are a ton of FPV goggles available on Amazon, many of them are extremely low quality (hence why their price tag is typically well under what the going market rate is). But if it’s hard to decipher what’s what, we’ve got you covered. Here are the top 5 best FPV goggles available in 2016:
1. Fatshark Dominator V3
Fat Shark is the number one brand for FPV goggles, and they’re the most frequently used. In fact, if I had to estimate, I’d say that 95% of drone racers are using the Fat Shark brand. The Dominator V3 is one of the best FPV goggles for intermediate users who don’t want to shell out another $200 for the Dominator HD V2s. These goggles utilize HDMI connectivity and support 720p, and it has modular bays to support different bands ranging from 1.3GHz to 5GHz. You’re also able to use the Trinity head tracker if you’d like (although, in our experience, it’s not exactly ideal to control a drone with your head).
The Dominator V3 is all about having a modular design and upgrading down the road, adding expandable functionality when you’re ready to. It uses a 1800mAh battery and can be charged off standard RC chargers.
2. Fatshark Dominator HD V2
The Dominator HD2 has it all, including the biggest FOV currently available on the market, with a massive 50 degree FOV display. It also has the highest resolution out of any consumer FPV goggles with SVGA 800×600. These are intended for the most competitive drone racers out there. They have their own built-in DVR to help you find your lost drone. There’s also an HDMI input to ensure compatibility with future models that will use the upcoming Amimom zero latency HD racing link.
The Dominator HD V2 uses a new 1800mAh battery that fits into the headstrap pocket on the headset, itself. It charges using standard RC type chargers. It comes with a 3m AV cable, HDMI cable with mini to micro and mini to standard adapters, the 1800 mAh battery, charge cable adapter, zipper carry case, and DC DIY cable. It’s the creme de la creme of FPV goggles out there right now.
3. Arris Skyzone SKY-01S FPV
Arris is certainly no stranger to the world of drone racing, as they have a number of great racing drones on the market. The company also has one of the best FPV goggles on the market in their Skyzone SKY-01S. They support a high resolution of 854×480 (WVGA) and they come with a 40 channel receiver. It has a brightness and contrast switch that allows users to change their brightness and contrast on the fly with the press of a button (short pressing adjusts them gradually, long press adjusts them continuously).
They also use a diversity video system that utilizes two different video receivers and two different antennas which gives users a better chance of blocking interference and receiving clean signal to their goggles. It can be used with most FPV 5.8G transmitters on the market, including DJI, Walkera, and more. Like the Fat Shark goggles, Head Tracking is an option. However, the Skyzone SKY-01S only uses a 30 degree field of view, so that aspect is a downgrade from the Fat Shark HD V2’s 50 degrees.
These goggles also come with removable optic lenses, meaning you can slide the lenses out and replace them with lenses to help correct for near sighted vision. So if you normally wear glasses to see far away (like myself). FatShark goggles have this feature as well, and any lens set sold for FatShark will fit into the Skyzone goggles as well.
4. Boscam GS922 FPV
The Boscam GS922 FPV Storm Goggles also have a high resolution of 854×480(WVGA) and it has two antennas. They have a 30 degree field of view, and they have an impressive range on them. It supports both 2.4G and 5.8G bands and 32 channels. It’s slightly cheaper than the Fat Shark Dominator, and they’re very similar, with the biggest difference being their actual physical design (GS922s are very plain-looking). I have not personally tested this pair, but I’ve read and heard good things about them like they’re easy to setup and they’re comfortable to wear.
5. Fat Shark Spektrum Teleporter V4
Fat Shark’s very first base model is the Spektrum Teleporter V4, and it has been around for years, so sure — it’s a bit outdated. But it’s also $200 cheaper than their newest model, and aside from the much lower resolution (320 x 240), they’re still a solid pickup for beginners to get a feel for what drone racing is like. So if you’re just getting into the drone racing hobby and are just looking to try it out, the Spektrum Teleporter V4 FPV goggles are one of the best cheap FPV goggles on the market. And, they also don’t look half bad either!
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Amazon Customer Reviews
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1. Sager NP 8957Pros:
- Dual SSD and HDD storage
- Comfortable backlit keyboard
- Two USB-C ports and media card reader
- Short battery life
- Weak speakers
- Large bezel
Processor Intel Core i7-9750H | RAM 16GB DDR4 2666MHz | Display 15.6 inches | GPU Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 | Hard drive 500GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB HHD | Dimensions 14.9 x 9.92 x 0.78 inches | Weight 4.6 pounds
Sager isn’t a household name among laptop buyers, and certainly isn’t at the forefront of gaming laptop design. That said, the brand makes competent portables that are often at the lower end of the pricing spectrum. That means you should expect the Sager NP 8957 to look more or less like an ordinary mid-performance laptop that’s sporting a RTX 2070 GPU; you wouldn’t expect it to bring much truly remarkable to the table, but to do it at an affordable price point.
For example, Sager brings a lot of the same internals to bear as the competition: it has a 9th generation Intel Core i7, for example, with a full 16GB of RAM. The 15.6-inch display displays full HD at 144Hz with a 72% NTSC color gamut — which is another way of saying the display’s color range is fairly ordinary. Likewise, this system doesn’t support G-Sync. In terms of styling, Sager dresses this laptop like any business portable. The silver finish is free of any gamer-specific lighting effects or angular, Alienware-esque styling, and the giant bezel makes the screen look pretty small — this laptop has a pretty modest screen-to-body ratio. The keyboard is comfortable to type on and is fully illuminated, but there’s no per-key lighting — it’s treated as a single zone.
The laptop is available in a half-dozen configurations, but from a price/performance perspective, it’s hard to beat the one selected here. It features a 500GB SSD with a 1TB HDD data drive. Not a lot of laptops comer configured with a separate data drive, but that’s generally the safest way to manage your programs and files, and the 1TB drive relieves a lot of pressure on your storage needs for the modest 500GB system drive.
Surprisingly, though, the Sager 8957 has a few other unexpected extras. Unlike most systems in this price range, its webcam is HD. And when it comes to connectivity, it has one of those all-too-rare built-in 6-in-1 card readers on the right side, right next to the USB-A and audio ports. The left side is home to HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, USB-A, and a pair of USB-C inputs.
The low price needs to catch up with the laptop, though, and as you might expect, this system does tend to run a little hot, and consequently, the fans are a little noisy when gaming. While that’s not a problem on a lot of laptops, the weak downward-firing speakers on the bottom of the chassis get lost in the noise. This is a laptop you’ll want to use with headphones. And don’t expect a lot of battery life; it will generally fall on the short side of two hours.
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