The DJI Goggles have just been released and are already being hailed as a game changer for DJI drone owners.
But maybe you are wondering what all the fuss is about. After all, these massive goggles on your head look kinda stupid right?
Is it really something you would want to buy?
In this review I will take a detailed look at what the DJI Goggles can do, who they are useful for and whether they are worth your money.
The biggest question you have is probably "what can these bad boys actually do?".
Well, the DJI Goggles are designed to work together with your controller so that you can fly your DJI drone via what is called a First Person View (FPV).
This means you are looking at what the drone is looking at via the camera mounted on the front.
It also means that you feel fundamentally immersed in your drone and can fly it as if you are actually inside it.
Imagine being able to fly like a bird. That is what this can do for you!
Another way to put it is to say that it is virtual reality with a drone.
Take a look at what some non-drone users had to say when they first put on the DJI Goggles....
You still need to use your DJI drone controller to control your drone, but the DJI Goggles come with a whole range of functions that more or less replace the screen/phone/tablet you might normally use.
Almost everything you see on the controller screen is now visible inside the Goggles:
And, you can control most of these settings via the menus (bottom left on the image).
This is done vis a touch pad on the right hand side of the DJI Goggles, as well as a few buttons. It is super easy to do.
You can see them in the image here (which is shown from the bottom).
The touchpad takes up most of the right hand side of the goggles (above the battery status lights) and it uses gestures like the Macbook (one finger and two finger) to give you lots more options.
To create a more immersive experience, DJI have adding some really cool features to the goggles.
Head tracking enables you to control the camera and/or direction of the drone with the simple movement of your head.
Turn your head left or right, up or down and the drone will follow.
You have two ways to do this:
The introduction of the new Fixed Wing Mode on the Mavic Pro for example really lends itself to the full head control, which is pretty cool, but requires some practice.
The gimbal only mode is obviously easier to get a hang of, as you still control the drone with the controller.
This video shows how nimble the Mavic Pro gimbal is with the Goggles in Gimbal Mode.
DJI has waited a while to release these goggles and they sure have packed a lot of goodness into them.
Sure, they are big, and kinda heavy, but if you want a high performance set of FPV Goggles, that last, you need something like this. Compared with any VR headset, there is not much difference in size or weight.
Let's take a look at what DJI have put into these babies...
To help increase resolution and improve usability for different people, the DJI team have used two screens instead of one.
Each screen is 1920x1080 and they are movable via a cool little dial you can use to adjust them to your head and eye-spacing.
So, each eye gets a full HD view (1920x1080) which is smartly combined to give you a full 85 degree field of view. This is really immersive and gives you a great view of what the drone is really seeing
However, depending on the distance you are from the drone, the Goggles will display the image in full HD or less (usually 720p). This depends on the signal it is getting and the amount of data it can realistically display. So, the further you are away from the drone, the Goggles will automagically reduce or increase the resolution.
The fit of the Goggles is also pretty nice. If you look at the image above you can see some slots on the side. These are to allow for glasses wearers. From a few reviews I have read, you can fit up to larger size glasses easily. The only issue is that it often leads to a little "light leak" in the side. But this is not an issue once the goggles are powered up and the screens on.
Also, there is a small dial on the bottom of the controls (next to the buttons) where you can adjust the distance between the screens and your eyes. Again a smart way of ensuring that almost anybody can use them.
The headband is extremely well padded and sits comfortably on any head and is adjustable via a rear dial (like a bicycle helmet - if you have one).
The battery sits on the back and is quite large and heavy. But, there is a point to that. The actual goggle part of the headset is also quite heavy and you need something to counter-balance that on the back. The battery does a great job of that and makes the whole thing balance out.
It is kinda hard to show, but the headband detaches from the viewer on the front, so you can easily unclip/clip it. This makes it a lot easier for storage. If you expand the headband you can get most of the viewer inside it too.
The last thing to mention is that the goggles can tilt up 90 degrees and stay there. So, at any time you can leave them on, but get back to the "real world" without taking them off. Handy when you need to see where your drone is, or check something around you.
DJI states in the specs that the Goggles will last for up to 6 hours usage. I have seen quite a few reviews online, and a lot of people are saying that is realistically 5 hours.
But, in the end, that is so much longer than the actual battery life of a drone battery (or 5x) that it makes little difference. For me, it is like the controller. Something you have to charge every once in a while.
Charge time? It will vary from how dead the battery is, but it will be over 4 hours in most cases. Charging is done via a micro USB just like the Mavic controller for example (so good choice).
DJI made a decision when designing these to make them work with the Mavic Pro extremely well.
The communicate together using DJI's propietary system called OcuSync. This new tech gives better wireless video signal (1080p), with longer range (4.3 miles) and lower chance of interference.
The challenge is that a lot of the earlier models of DJI drones do not have the system so need to be hardwired to connect with the headset.
The DJI Goggles have both a micro SD port and small HDMI Type D port to help solve this problem.
The DJI Googles are compatible with the Phantom 4 and Inspire series too (via these cables) but the amount of functionality available via the goggles varies significantly (with the most on the Mavic Pro - wirelessly).
The Spark compatibility is coming soon.
For all those interested in the details of the Goggles, there are a few more points worth going over.
Some of the more interesting specs include:
There is a 3.5mm standard headphone jack on the side of the Goggles so that you can easily attach any headphones. This is so you can listen to any audio coming through the HDMI cable.
It has a micro SD card slot so you can capture videos of what you are seeing directly.
The DJI Goggles are an impressive piece of tech.
If you want to immerse yourself in the flying experience of your Mavic Pro this is your new best friend. It was built for the Mavic and can do either gimbal/camera or flight controls with head movements. For the other DJI drones it is more like a camera extension, which is still fun, but not fully immersive.
The build and fine-tuning available is also impressive, especially given the tech involved. It can last for hours, sit comfortably on your head and be used with glasses.
I can see this being a perfect tool for someone who is either serious about getting a better view of the video they are taking (more close up and immersed) or for someone just wanting to amp up the fun factor of drone flying. After all, it is drone VR at the cutting edge.