It’s not often the FPV industry makes huge leaps in video technology. For the past two years FPV goggles from all brands have been very comparable in technology, performance and features. Thanks to Fatshark, the introduction of the HDO goggle was truly a “game-changer”. Launched in April 2018, these were the first OLED screens used in FPV goggles and I had to try them immediately. I’ve been flying with them since the week they were released, and here’s what I think after four months of daily use.
Resolution: 960 x 720 (1024 x 800 screen)
Field of View: 37°
Image Aspect Ratio: 4:3
IPD: 59 – 69mm
Supports HDMI-in @ 1080P
OLED screens can be much thinner, lighter, more efficient, brighter, and have more clarity. In the case of the HDO goggles, it’s as significant as the jump from 720p and 1080p. What it means for pilots is that you will be able to see more detail and color while increasing the battery life of your 2s goggle pack. That sounds like a win to me.!Review
Coming from the old model HD3 goggles I wasn’t sure what to expect with the new HDO’s. The old goggles worked well for me and the FPV industry is synonyms with saying “newer is better” when it’s sometimes not. When pulling them out of the box, you’ll notice that there aren’t many differences from the old goggles. New black accents, a different Fatshark font, and a leather face cushion instead of the old foam one but the difference was obvious once the goggles were over my eyes and receiving video. I immediately noticed the image was crisper, brighter and more vibrant. The most noticeable change was the sharpness of objects how it handled changes in lighting. It was the first “ah ha” moment I’ve had in FPV since trying the TBS Crossfire.
My biggest concern with the new goggles was the smaller FOV. As someone who flies a lot of freestyle, FOV is super important to me. It allows for better spacial awareness while doing acro maneuvers. My old HD3’s had a 42 degree FOV, while the new HDO’s are only 37 degrees. The sharpness and clarity of the new image made this the change in field of view almost unnoticeable. As a reference, imagine watching a movie on a 42″ TV from 2002, versus on a 37″ from 2018. The quality you gain outweighs any impact from the smaller size screen.
In terms of durability, the HDOs have held up great over the last three months. They’ve been in the dust, the fog, left on, and have even been dropped a few times without any issues. The new leather (probably pleather) face cushion is a subtle change, but a big improvement. On the old goggles I would wear out face cushions in two months, but with the new goggles the face cushion hasn’t shown any wear in my four months of use.
There are a few downsides to the HDO goggles. For starters, on my pair the fan is very noisy compared to the old HD3’s. I’m not sure if all the new goggles are this way or if it was just my pair. Although I mentioned the new face cushion is more durable, it does nothing for absorbing sweat on those hot days. It just redirects the flow of moisture. Lastly, we have the price. At $499 they’re quite pricey, you could build a new quad, or even two, for that price.
Overall, the Fatshark HDO FPV Goggles are a great product. Yes, they have their shortcomings, but they’re minor compared to the benefits that come with the new OLED screens. If you had the opportunity to see better, wouldn’t you make the investment?
For me the most noticeable difference was being able to see the details we often miss. It’s easier to spot ghost branches, easier to see detail in bigger areas when flying long range, and improved depth perception during drastic lighting conditions.
THOUGHTS – So are they worth it?
TL;DR – yes, in my opinion they are absolutely worth it! Having the highest quality image in your goggles will allow you to become a better pilot and fly more challenging locations. The Fatshark HDO goggles improve upon the Fatshark HD3 and Fatshark Dominator V2 greatly. Over the last four months with the HDO goggles, I’ve been able to avoid major crashes with the greater detail and clarity in my goggles.and getting stuck in a tree a few times thanks to being able to see a branch or sign post I wouldn’t have seen before. Even though the HDO goggles are expensive, I’ve gotten the ROI from avoiding disastrous crashes – they have been worth the investment for me.
Fatshark HDO Goggles
A truly better and clearer image quality, with minor drawbacks.
- Better Image Sharpness
- Increased Power to Module Bay
- Durable Face Cushion
- Smoother Pixel Transitions at High Speed
- Smaller FOV