Are you a regular drone flyer? Have you ever wondered how you could enhance your drone flying experience?
Well, if that’s you, look no further.
Today we’re going to share with you how you can make your drone flights a lot more exciting.
It’s all about using drone goggles.
What Are Drone Goggles?
Drone goggles are also commonly known as drone glasses or FPV. They allow you to experience greater views of the flight of your drone, as opposed to looking on your tablet, smartphone, or viewfinder. Most users of drone goggles swear by them and feel viewing a drone through goggles is by far superior to any device.
The reason why they’re so great is no matter where you’re located; you’ll be able to always have your drone within line of sight, as you will be piloting it and viewing your drone’s field of view from its camera in real-time.
Another great feature is that many drone goggles allow you to change your camera angle while your drone is in mid-flight, simply by tilting your head! On another note, most drone goggles have a fantastic LCD screen, which allows you to experience beautiful colors and imagery of your drone in flight.
Concerning the screen, you can even sometimes get an on-screen display. This means, when you’re flying your drone, you will receive data about the drone itself and the current flight.
While there are many brands of drone goggles on the market, there are generally two types of goggles you can buy, they are:
- Box/streamlined drone goggles – Box goggles are also referred to as streamlined drone goggles. These have a big LCD screen, which allows you to have a wide view and normally are a bit bigger than the compact goggles.
- Compact drone goggles – Compact goggles are more lightweight than box drone goggles, and you’ll receive two small viewing screens to see your drone from.
Another important factor when choosing drone goggles is that they should be suitable for your eyesight. This means they should be fitted correctly; if they aren’t, they will prevent you from having the best drone viewing experience and could cause strain to your eyes.
How Are Drone Goggles Used?
Drone goggles serve as a screen that allows you to view your drone’s feed in real-time or to view it later. What happens is the drone syncs with your goggles via GPS or Bluetooth and provides you with a live stream video—therefore presenting you with an in-flight bird’s eye view from your drone’s camera.
Who Uses Drone Goggles?
Drone goggles are mainly used for the following purposes:
- Recreational – Many drone pilots who fly drones like to experience what it’s like first-hand to fly and see what the view is like down below. Most of the time, these users have high-quality drone goggles and immerse themselves in the flying experience.
- Racing – Professional drone racers use drone goggles to see their drone’s video quickly and allow them to fly faster, and to minimize their risk of crashing.
How To Choose Goggles That Fit You?
Not all goggles are created the same; depending on your needs, preferences, and face geometry, some models might fit you better than others. The next sections cover the most important aspects you should consider before choosing the best one for your needs.
Field of View
Field of View (FOV) is an important characteristic when it comes to having an immersive experience. Some goggles come with 30°-40°, while others allow for 70°. A small field of view might make you uncomfortable; however, if the FOV is too wide, you may not be able to notice smaller objects on the sides, such as twigs. Also, a large image might be stretched and less qualitative than a smaller FOV.
Interpupillary Distance (IPD)
IPD refers to the distance between your pupils and it is crucial to be able to adjust the IPD, so you can have a clear view. Most models come with an adjustable IPD, but you still need to check the model. For instance, compact goggles come with two screens and these may be more limited in terms of adjustments. Box goggles, on the other hand, have unlimited IPD adjustments.
Although it may seem intuitive, the resolution is another important matter. The display quality may appear the same as any other screen, like your phone or laptop, but your eyes are much closer to the screen, so a lower resolution is not a deal-breaker. In general, you may want to look for at least 800 x 600 or 854 x 480 pixels to enjoy a high-quality experience.
Matching Image Ratio
Your camera will most likely send video in either 16:9 or 4:3 ratios. The goggles should match this setting; otherwise, the image will be stretched. Fortunately, most goggles nowadays have settings that allow you to choose one or the other.
Head tracking means that you can control the camera movements of the drone when you move your head. Yet, not all goggles have this option and it is quite commonly found in higher-end products. It also depends on whether your drone is compatible with this module.
Can You Use FPV Goggles If You Wear Glasses?
If you wear glasses, the chances are that not all goggles will be suitable for you. The only option would be to either settle for a blurred image or to wear contacts.
Fortunately, there are two other types of goggles on the market. The first alternative is to opt for box goggles, which are designed in such a way that you can put them on while wearing your glasses. It’s recommended to check the space available to make sure that your glasses will fit inside, depending on how thick the frame is.
The second alternative is to buy a pair of goggles with diopter inserts, which is available when buying compact goggles that are not compatible with glasses. Some goggles come with standard diopters, such as ranging from +2 to -6, and you can adjust them to your liking. Other higher-end models allow you to buy diopters separately, according to your prescription.
7 Best Drone Goggles To Use
Now that you know what drone goggles are, how they work, and who uses them, let us share with you the best ones out there on the global market.
Like their name suggests, the DJI Goggles Racing Edition is one of the best pairs out there if you intend to use your drone for racing purposes. These goggles are priced at around $549 and have the following features:
- Dual 1080 HD screens with a size of 5-inch x 2 per screen.
- The video ranges from 1280 x 960 FW over 2.4 or 5. GHz bands.
- Compatible with Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 series and Inspire 2.
- Display battery level, signal quality, and transmission resolution on-screen.
- The video formats the goggles accept are MP4, MKV, and MOV.
- They are specifically built for racing.
While these are just a few features of the DJI Goggles, they have a few disadvantages. First of all, they are not suitable if you want goggles for recreational flying purposes. Second, they’re quite bulky and heavy. The headband weighs about 1lb (500g), and the body weighs an additional 1lb (502g).
If you have a DJI drone and are looking for a pair of goggles to fly it, then you might want to try the Epson Moverio BT-300. It already comes preloaded with the well-known DJI GO App.
This sleek and futuristic pair of drone goggles is less bulky than other DJI certified ones. But, being lightweight isn’t the only feature they have. You can expect to benefit from the following:
- Clip on nose bridge – If you’re a regular glasses wearer, you can clip these on over your glasses.
- Lens shade inserts – If the sky is bright, you can dim it down with colored lens shade inserts.
- Transparent display – Can maintain a clear line of sight and observe flight statistics at the same time.
- Worlds lightest – The glasses themselves are the lightest in the world at only 2.5 oz (69g).
However, these drone goggles are not adjustable. Therefore, they may not sit on your head well or be difficult to wear. Plus, users of these goggles complain that the print on the screen can be quite small to display.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly set of drone goggles, then the Eachine EV800D might be for you. In comparison to other types of drone goggles, they’re very affordable, with most pairs costing less than $100. Not only is affordability a major plus point of these goggles, but there are a few more such as:
- Detachable screen – If you don’t like wearing the goggles all the time, you can detach the screen and use it as a monitor for others to view.
- DVR recording – These goggles have a feature known as digital video recording. This allows you to record everything you see while you’re flying your drone.
- Auto-scan – The goggles can automatically search up to 40 channels to choose the strongest signal.
Conversely, the Eachine EV800D does not have a long battery life relative to other drone goggles; you can only use it for up to 2.5 hours. Similarly, its buttons are placed on the goggles’ front, which can be difficult to feel around for.
Another affordable set of drone goggles is the Walkera FPV; they’re less than $100. While this set of goggles can be attached to your DVD player, it works best when used for drones. The reason behind this is that the Walkera FPV boasts the following features:
- Lightweight – These goggles weigh just over 1 lb (528g) and therefore are relatively light. Similarly, you can adjust them to fit your head and eyes. They are also well-padded, making them soft and comfortable to wear.
- HD screen – You can watch your drone’s flight in HD off a 5-inch screen.
- Little chances of bad signal – The Walkera has double antennas, 40 channels that allow you to see high-quality footage in real time.
- Automatic channel search – It searches for channels automatically so you can benefit from the strongest signal.
The downside of the Walkera is that they’re only compatible with the following drones: Rodeo 150, F210 series, Runner 250 series and Furious 320. Therefore, they may be affordable, but only if you have a drone that works with them.
BOSCAM drone goggles are often debated as one of the best types on the market. The reason behind this is that the BOSCAM has an 854 by 480 resolution display and already arrives with a pre-installed SD Card to record your videos! In addition to this, it has the following features:
- Adjustable brightness, contrast, and saturation.
- Strong signal – 32 channels to choose from when it searches for a signal so you can avoid co-channel interference (other people using the same channel as you).
- Records and replays your video back from the goggles themselves.
- 30-degree field of view wide-angle.
One of the main disadvantages of these goggles is that they come with a set of antennas that can be bulky and stick out while wearing.
If you want to enjoy your drone flying experience with captivating, high-quality 3D imagery, then you may wish to choose Zeiss VR One. This set is compatible with most smartphones and is mainly designed for augmented reality or playing games.
But, if you have a drone with FPV footage on your mobile, you can connect your mobile to it. In addition to this, the Zeiss VR One offers the following:
- High quality – You can view two screens, and they support multiple HD screen resolutions.
- Affordable – They cost less than $100 to buy.
- Eye glasses – If you’re a regular glasses wearer, you can wear them over your glasses.
While all these are great features, there is one major problem with the Zeiss VR One: their low battery life. On average, you can only use this set of drone goggles for 60-90 minutes at a time.
Now, if you want to embrace your flying experience and have a bit of money, then the DJI Goggles Immersive FPV might be the best to use. We say extra money because these goggles are in the mid-tier price range, starting at $349.
They’re somewhat limited by only being compatible with some of the Mavic series, Phantom 4 series, Inspire series, and Spark. If you don’t have a DJI drone, then these goggles may not be for you. On the contrary, if you do, you can benefit from the following features:
- High resolution screens – They have two screens, which are 1920 x 1080 HD.
- Head tracking feature – You can move your head and view the world around you, moving your drone’s view.
- Long battery life – These goggles can have up to 6 hours of battery time.
- Touchpad menu – You don’t need to fiddle around clicking for buttons; you can use a touchpad.
- Stimulating experience – You can listen to music and videos.
Skyzone Cobra X is perhaps one of the best picks if you’re wearing glasses. One small drawback is that the frame should be less than 30mm. If you don’t wear glasses, there is some extra foam that you can use to fill the extra space, and you can also adjust the nose size. Other great features include:
- Smaller and more comfortable – these goggles are smaller than the typical box-style goggles. This is because the display is on the top of the goggles, which contain mirrors that deflect the image, unlike standard models with a display at the front.
- Avoid poor image quality – the goggles come with a SteadyView receiver which merges two signals into one. This helps you enjoy a steady image quality, even when the signal is weak.
- Easy to adjust – the model comes with a wheel on the side of the goggles. This allows you to adjust settings without taking them off.
- 50° FOV – the field of view is bigger than most goggles; some people might find that higher FOVs, such as 70° make them dizzy.
This model is one of the best if you are looking for smaller, comfortable goggles. You can also use them if you wear glasses, and it comes with an LCD screen and a resolution of 1280 x 720. One slight drawback is that they are quite power-intensive, so you may want to purchase an additional battery pack.
Fatshark Dominator V6 is one of the high-end models with plenty of functionality and features. Some of the main highlights include:
- Adjustable diopters – these goggles help you enjoy your experience without any eye strain. The focus is adjustable, ranging from +2 to -6 diopters.
- High-definition – Fatshark comes with 1280 x 960 LCOS panels. It also boasts an adjustable image ratio and a more complex display control menu, so you can customize your experience.
- Lightweight design – these goggles weigh only 0.4lb, which makes them comfortable, even for prolonged flying experiences.
However, the field of view of 39° may be quite small for some users, especially if you’ve already tried models with a larger FOV. Also, to install the head tracking module, you need to spend more to make all the required upgrades.
Eachine EV200D is a reasonably-priced pair of goggles with great features. Some of the main ones include:
- Premium HD video – Large, bright screens with 42° field of view and 1280 x 720 resolution
- Two diversity receivers – the model allows you to place two diversity receivers (one for each module), which means you can have three directional antennas and an omnidirectional one.
- One of the best DVRs – this model comes with H.264, a codec that allows you to enjoy better quality DVR recording.
When you switch between the 4:3 and 16:9 image ratio, the image gets cut off, showing black bars on the side (when you go to 4:3). However, this is quite a common problem with most goggles, so you can check first which image ratio your drone camera uses.
Are Drone Goggles Legal?
In the U.S., U.K., and probably many other countries around the world, drone goggles are not legal. This is because one of the main legal requirements when flying a drone is to maintain the visual line of sight with your drone. In other words, it’s illegal to fly a drone farther than your line of sight.
When wearing goggles, you cannot see your drone in the sky since you can only see what the camera records. Thus, if you are outside by yourself wearing goggles and flying the drone, you are simply breaking the law.
The Federal Aviation Administration aims to keep the airspace safe. The purpose of the law is to ensure that you can see your drone and you can avoid accidents – whether you crash into another drone, birds, or even manned aircraft. So, if you maintain direct eye contact with your drone, you can see if there are any objects you need to avoid.
Fortunately, there is quite an easy fix to this, allowing you to use your goggles safely and legally. The rule is written so that you or a visual observer have direct eye contact with the drone at all times. As a result, you need to take someone else with you to keep an eye on the drone while you use your goggles. Keep in mind that the visual observer must pay attention to the drone directly, not via a monitor or other indirect method.
What You Should Know Before Your First Flight
If you are about to enjoy your first FPV experience, there are a few aspects you should know. These will help you stay safe and have an enjoyable time.
When using your goggles, it means that you see everything through your drone’s camera as the gadget flies over the landscape. Similar to car sickness, this causes your brain to believe you are moving when you are, in fact, standing still.
Similar to using a VR set, you may feel nauseous. For beginners, this could mean that you need to take frequent breaks from flying; however, if you know you suffer from motion sickness, an FPV experience may not be recommended for you.
If you are here, there is a high chance that you’ve already watched some people flying their drones at maximum speeds through small spaces. However, to reach this point, you need some experience when flying your drone because the FPV makes it very difficult to judge the correct distance. For example, even if your drone has sensors, a split second is what makes the difference between smashing your drone into a tree or safely avoiding it.
On a similar note, you should look for a wide, empty field when you want to experience FPV. The drone can be really quick, and the chances of smashing it into something solid increase drastically when the space is quite limited. Also, keeping all the objects in check all the time may take out all the fun.
Whether you’re going to fly your drone for recreational reasons or racing, we can guarantee you that drone goggles will for sure enhance your flying experience. They’re often not as as expensive as you might at first think; there are sets available for nearly any budget. Some like the Zeiss VR One, are designed for gaming but do quite well when used for drones.
Make sure to consider how comfortable your pair of drone goggles are and their battery life as you’ll want to have a relaxing and stimulating flying experience. Whichever ones you buy, make sure they’re fitted correctly, so they don’t strain your eyes. And as always, have fun!