DJI and DJI Goggles
DJI is the most prominent name in consumer level drone manufacturers, consistently innovating their products. Making them smaller, quieter, more efficient and changing the game on how you control your drone. They weren’t set on just changing up how the drones perform though, they wanted to change up how you experienced your drone and how to make your flights more immersive; enter the DJI Goggles. With a high-resolution 2K display and low lag transmission, the DJI Goggles give you an unrivalled FPV drone experience.
The DJI Goggles are a FPV (First Person View) headset which you can pair with your DJI Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 series or Inspire 2 drones out of the box. Additionally, you can pair to other DJI drones with the use of an adapter, allowing you to see what the drone sees while flying giving you the sensation of flying. At $669 RRP they’re not the cheapest FPV drone accessory on the market but considering all the functionality you get for drone piloting as well media support the price is validated. The dual 1920x1080 resolution screens are its standout feature leaving products in similar categories far behind. One of the cooler features they’ve implemented is that you can use the head tracking flight modes allowing you to control the drone by looking left or right. If you’re in head tracking gimbal mode, you can look around while flying without changing course so if someone else is piloting the craft it allows you to really experience all the drone can see. They have also integrated their new flight mode ‘Fixed-Wing’ mode; this will enable you to simulate a real flight and gives you an augmented reality trajectory line. Whenever flying your drone with the FPV goggles under Austalia's CASA laws the drone pilot must have their eyes on the drone at all times. To simplify whoever is controlling the drone needs to have physical eyes on the drone, you cannot rely only on your app screen, FPV goggles or binoculars. This means if you're using the DJI Goggles your spotter will need to have control of the remote.
DJI Goggles Hardware
The hardware is often an issue with FPV goggles. Factors like being very important as this will determine how long it’s ‘comfortable’ to wear the goggle for extended viewing sessions. Thankfully DJI has designed the goggles with comfort making the goggles quite light. The screens are counterbalanced by having the battery at the back of the headset with ample padding on the inside of the headset so you won’t get neck strain from extended flight sessions or if you wanted to use it with other media. The rubber mask which makes a seal around your head to block out background light is not perfect so for some heads it may not be tight enough leading to a little bit of light filtering in from the sides. To make navigation through the menus on the goggles easier DJI has placed a touchpad on the right-hand side. The touchpad has multi-touch support as well with specific gestures performing useful tasks like opening the settings menus and locking the goggles so that when in use you don’t accidentally change any of the settings.
DJI Goggles Drone Compatibility
When it comes to compatibility there are differences even within the out of the box supported models; the goggles were apparently made with the Mavic Pro in mind as the entire suite of features are supported on it. Fixed wing mode and Cinematic mode are only available on the Mavic Pro the other features supported are listed below.
Phantom 4 –
- Head Tracking Flight and Gimbal
- Auto takeoff/Return home
- Tap Fly, Active Track Flight and Terrain follow modes
- Tripod Support
Phantom 4 Pro/Advanced - Supports all the same as phantom 4 as well as –
- Gimbal Focus
Inspire 2 –
- Gimbal Focusing
- Head tracking is supported when the goggles are connected to the remote via USB
A special mention needs to be made that if you have the Phantom 4 Advanced+ or Pro+ which has a 5.5” screen built into the remote control, you will need to connect a HDMI cable to the goggles to be able to use them.
When using the DJI Goggles with a drone, there will always be some latency in transmitting what the camera sees to the goggles and DJI have done well to keep this very low for high resolution viewing. The Mavic Pro experiences the lowest latency with the Inspire 2 with the x4s gimbal having the longest response time; the transmission distance between the goggles and the drone will be the same as you will experience with the remote control, which is, of course, is when there is little to no interference.
The response times from fastest to slowest and transmission distances are:
- Mavic Pro – 110ms response rate. Distance: 4 Km
- Inspire 2 with X5s Gimbal – 140ms response rate. Distance: 7 Km
- Phantom 4 Pro/Advanced – 150ms response rate. Distance: 7 Km Pro/3.5 Km Advanced
- Phantom 4 – 167ms response rate. Distance: 3.5 Km
- Inspire 2 with X4S Gimbal – 190ms response rate. Distance: 7Km
DJI Goggles Battery Life
Battery life is another factor that you will often see holding back FPV goggles with usage times sometimes not much longer than one or two charges of a drone itself. This is not an issue for the DJI goggles as they hold a 6-hour charge which is quite large for such high performing FPV goggles. This is, of course, being in an optimal environmental setting however real-life battery life tests have been benchmarking very close to this figure through regular usage.
On the inside of the goggles above the two lenses, they’ve placed a light sensor which will turn the screens off if it detects too much light which is quite a handy battery saving technique.
DJI Goggles Activation Process
No matter what you want to do with the goggles, the first thing you must do is register them with DJI. There are two ways to do this, via the DJI Assistant 2 and via a mobile device. To activate the goggles via a mobile device requires a Mavic Pro so unfortunately if you have an Inspire 2 or Phantom 4 series drone, you’ll need to use the DJI Assistant 2. This is done by connecting the goggles to a PC then turning them on and connecting to the DJI Assistant 2 software which can be downloaded from DJI’s website.
Using DJI Goggles for Home Media
On top of all of that when you’re not using the DJI Goggles for flying drones you can be connect any HDMI video device to the goggles for immersing yourself in your favourite movies or games. Although not currently working as a gaming VR headset you can still use the goggles with gaming systems like the Playstation 4 or Xbox One or hooked up to a PC as the high-resolution displays allow you to run the devices at either their native resolution or close to it.
With a well thought out, comfortable design coupled with their high-resolution displays piloting your drone has never looked as good as through the DJI Goggles and adding compatibility with their older drones and external media is just icing on the cake. No other FPV Goggles get close to the resolution of even one panel on the DJI Goggles and with the onboard touchpad and the ability to plug them into a games console or Blu-Ray player without loss of resolution you really get your money’s worth.
This is why the DJI Goggles stand head and shoulders above the competition has brought to the table a fantastic device at a more than competitive price point as not only a must-have drone accessory but one for the media room as well.