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DJI Goggles are a great accessory for the Mavic Pro, but there are other FPV and VR headsets that you can buy in the same price range. Some of these FPV goggles are much smaller than the DJI Goggles, so why not get those instead? In this article, you will discover three of the best FPV goggles for drone flying, and hopefully, by the end, you will understand that there’s a massive difference between all three options.
Before I get into video quality, let’s look at how each of these headsets were designed. Although they are all technically video goggles, they all have noticeably different designs and use different video displaying techniques.
Starting with the design of the Fat Shark goggles, I can’t say they’re bad since they take up the least amount of physical space compared to the other two goggles, but the quality just isn’t that good. For example, the black foam that covers your face feels like it came from a costume mask, you can see exposed wires, and the fan for cooling is mounted on the outside of the goggles as if it was an afterthought.
The reason why Fat Shark goggles are so small is because they use two small screens (less than an inch in size). Even the lenses are much smaller than the DJI Goggles, but making everything super small isn’t necessarily a good thing when it comes to lenses and optics.
The DJI Goggles are on an entirely different level. The quality looks and feels just as good as DJI’s drones do. Instead of using cheap foam for blocking out light, they use a super smooth silicon like material that’s detachable and washable. You can look at the DJI Goggles from any angle, and they just look great, but what I really like is that they allow you to wear glasses with them.
The only drawback with the DJI Goggles is how big they are when you compare them to the Fat Shark goggles, but there’s a good reason for this. Instead of using two tiny screens, DJI Goggles use a unique screen projection method that utilizes two large screens. These screens are so big that they overlap each other creating a ghosting image. To correct this, the DJI Goggles have polarized lenses in each eye piece that only show the correct image to each eye.
The Avegant Glyph has the sleekest design out of all three options. They aren’t as small as the Fat Shark goggles, but they’re definitely smaller than the DJI Goggles. One cool feature about the Glyph is that you also get built-in headphones. You can’t use glasses with the Glyph, but the lenses can adjust to your eyes which is something that you can’t do with the DJI Goggles.
What makes the Avegant Glyph smaller than the DJI Goggles and better than the Fat Shark goggles is their patented micro-mirror technology that works like an old DLP television. The light is shined onto an array of micro-mirrors, but instead of it then projecting onto the back surface of a TV the light gets projected into your eyes! This makes the image remarkably bright and less pixelated looking
Just like the build quality, the image that you see from the Fat Shark goggles is nothing impressive. The Fat Shark Dominator HD3 goggles (the best model they make) has a resolution of 800 x 600. That’s just a step above an old standard definition TV! To make things even worse, they have a tiny 42-degree FOV (field-of-view) which is anything but immersive. The colors are not too bad, but they aren’t as good as the DJI Goggles and Avegant Glyph.
The Glyph is a step in the right direction, but it has the same small FOV issue, and there’s nothing to block out sunlight which makes the experience more like you’re looking at a 50 inch TV instead of being in a movie theater. The resolution is 1280 x 720. Although it isn’t Full HD, because of the small FOV it still looks good, and the micro-mirror technology makes the colors look better than any other video goggles out there.
DJI Goggles are the king of video quality in my eyes (no pun intended). The FOV is 85 degrees, making everything you look at super large and immersive. Looking through DJI Goggles isn’t like using VR goggles where you can’t see the edges of the screen, but you wouldn’t want the FOV to be any larger than it already is. You can’t watch standard content like movies in a format like that, and shooting video on a drone camera would be almost impossible. The best part about the DJI Goggles are the full HD 1920 x 1080 screens. The colors aren’t as good as the Glyph, but at the same time, the image is more comfortable to look at since the light isn’t being projected directly onto your eyes.
Here’s a quick video I made to show the difference in FOV between the DJI Goggles and the Fat Shark Dominator V3. The Dominator HD3 goggles have a higher FOV than these, but they still don’t come close to the FOV of the DJI Goggles.
Fat Shark goggles are not comfortable to use for long periods of time since they press against your face with an elastic strap, but comfort doesn’t really matter for these goggles. The resolution and lens quality isn’t good enough where I could see anyone using them for movies or gaming, and for short FPV flights I don’t notice any discomfort when using them.
Comfort on the DJI Goggles is ok (better than the Fat Shark goggles), but for longer periods of time, it could be better. I usually feel the most amount of pressure on my forehead. It isn’t unbearable when watching movies; it just makes you feel the need to readjust them once in awhile. Sometimes due to the larger FOV, your eyes can get tired of looking at objects and faces that are in the corners of the screen, but if this is an issue you can always scale the video down in the DJI settings.
The Glyph goggles are probably the most comfortable overall, mostly because they come with an optional vertical head strap and weigh 100 grams less than the DJI Goggles. The most uncomfortable thing about them is probably not having them on your head, but the bright light that they project into your eyes. Over extended periods of time, it can leave a faint image on your retina, like when you shine a flashlight into your eyes.
The one thing that I wish the DJI Goggles could do is 3D video. Both the Fat Shark goggles and the Avegant Glyph have some form of 3D support, but for whatever reason DJI doesn’t have a 3D option yet. There are two screens on the DJI Goggles, so maybe in the future, they will have a firmware update to support 3D, but right now you’ll just have to live with great looking 2D content.
Fat Shark goggles have HDMI and analog video support, so they’re perfect for flying FPV racing drones that use analog video transmitters and receivers. There’s also a headphone jack, but I don’t use it because one time I tried it and somehow blew up my earbuds!
DJI Goggles have HDMI, which inputs audio and video, and they also have a headphone jack that doesn’t blow up your headphones!
The Glyph goggles are nice because they have an HDMI input like the DJI Goggles and Fat Sharks do, but it also has an auxiliary input (3.5mm audio input), so you can use them as traditional headphones.
The thing that makes Fat Shark goggles popular isn’t the video quality; it’s the fact that most FPV racing drones still use analog video feeds. Unfortunately, most high-quality digital video feeds have too much latency to be used for racing drones. Because of this, Fat Shark goggles have an optional analog video receiver that works directly with most racing drones of today. In other words, the best feature that Fat Shark goggles have is backward compatibility with old technology.
Not many people know this, but the Avegant Glyph does have a head tracking feature much like the DJI Goggles do. By connecting the Glyph over HDMI and USB, there’s a button on the goggles that will automatically activate the head tracking feature on the Phantom 4 and Inspire 1. I’m not sure what other DJI models are supported, and I don’t think DJI has any plans on improving or adding more support for third party head tracking devices like the Glyph, but it was a cool idea before the DJI Goggles came out.
If you’re using DJI Goggles with a third party drone or watching movies, they don’t offer any additional features from the other video goggles out there, but when you use them with DJI drones, that’s where the magic happens. If you have a Phantom 4, Mavic Pro, or even the Inspire 2, you will get multiple types of head tracking, a goggles-optimized HUD layout, and any other future features that DJI decides to implement.
The most important part is, you can control almost every aspect of the camera from shutter speeds to picture styles right from the touchpad (or using the Mavic controller). This is more important than any other feature of the DJI Goggles because you need to be able to use them without having to take them off and look down at the controller. Additionally, if you’re using the Mavic Pro, then the DJI Goggles will communicate wirelessly with the drone, giving you a higher quality video feed.
As cheap as the Fat Sharks look, at $499 for the Dominator HD3 I definitely wouldn’t consider them to be a great value. The Avegant Glyph is about the same price at $498.99, but at least you’re getting a high-quality product with some cool tech inside. Surprisingly, the DJI Goggles are only $449 which blows my mind considering how many features they have over the other goggles.
In a year or two when digital FPV racing is more common, my guess is that Fat Shark goggles will die out in popularity, and products like the Glyph will take their place, but for now, if you race drones then Fat Shark goggles (and goggles like them) are your only option. If you’re not racing drones, I wouldn’t even think about buying them.
If you don’t own a Phantom 4, Mavic Pro, or Inspire 2 and you need something small and inconspicuous to watch movies on then you might want to consider the Avegant Glyph.
For most of you out there, the DJI Goggles will be the clearest and easiest solution for experiencing drone flight. It has the largest FOV, highest resolution screen, works seamlessly with most new DJI products and costs less than anything comparable on the market today.
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