I bought a bunch of FPV goggles and tried them out so you don't have to. This article is a review and comparison of all these goggles.
Here are the goggles I would buy and why. Click the summary test, scroll down or use the navigation on the left to find a detailed review of each.
Update May, 2017: The Eachine VR D2 Pro goggles have just been released. The non-pro version of the VR D2 goggles were my goto goggles as they're cheap, diversity enabled, have a large, immersive screen and are very reliable. The upgraded VR D2 pro are even better. The reception quality is even better as well as the DVR reception, and there is now a OSD for the diversity signal, so you can tell which antenna is in use.
Update May, 2017: The Eachine VR007 Pro goggles have just been released. Basically the only thing that changed is the RX sensitivity. The old VR700 goggles were basically unusable, but the new Pro version gets as good if not better reception than almost all the more expensive goggles. At right around $40, these make a great budget buy.
Update June, 2017: The Eachine EV800D Pro have been released. These are a huge upgrade from the EV800. Not only has a diversity RX been added, but it is also higher sensitivity. A DVR has also been added. Read the full review here.
Fatshark Dominator V3 or DIY yourself some stereoscopic goggles.
You might have noticed that I don't have Fatshark goggles in the photo above or on the list below. This is for two reasons. First they're super expensive, $374.99 for the Dominator V3, without a receiver. The Dominator V3 are the same resolution as the Eachine EV800's, but the EV800's are $79.99. The Dominator V2 have a slightly higher resolution at 800x600 px, but will set you back $449.99. The least expensive pair of Fatsharks are currently the Teleporter V5 which will set you back $165 for some 320x240 px goggles, which is lower resolution than the $59.99 VR700 goggles.
Due to their price, I don't own any Fatshark goggles. I have however, flown with a friend's Fatshark goggles. The main difference between any stereoscopic goggles (two screens in the goggles, one for each eye) like Fatsharks and goggles with a single screen is the immersive nature of the experience. Stereoscopic goggles tend to look smaller and further off, as though one were viewing a TV from a distance. Single-monitor goggles look closer and make the user feel more a part of the scene, giving an overall more immersive feel.
The big difference is overall size. You can see from the photo below the size difference between the Goggles One and my DIY Fatsharks. In general the stereoscopic goggles require far less distance between the lens and the screen and are therefore, much more portable.
You also might be wondering why there aren't any HeadPlay goggles reviewed here? That's because they're basically the same specs as the Goggles One goggles and the only apparent difference is a diversity video receiver (which the Goggles One do not have), but the HeadPlay are $100 more. I couldn't justify paying $100 for diversity, but if someone wants to send me some, I'd be happy to add them to this review.
At $149.99 from banggood.com for 1080p resolution goggles with an HDMI input, these are not the least expensive goggles reviewed, but they are great value. The screen looks huge and is extremely sharp. From a flying-experience perspective, these are the best.
The downside to goggles with this high of a resolution is that there can be a very slight delay in the video. This isn't an issue if you're cruising around up high or in slower quadcopter, maybe an AP rig, but at high speeds, close to obstacles, these goggles are just a few milliseconds slower to update than the other goggles reviewed. For that reason, I suggest you get these goggles if view quality is crucial, but avoid them for racing. They would be perfect for something like the Phantom, which has an HDMI out and excellent picture quality.
The video receiver operates on 40 channels, with Raceband.
Here they are, awesome name plastered on the front. These will get some spray paint or stickers...
The battery mounts on the back, for comfort, which is actually really nice.
The buttons on the side are for both the monitor and the video receiver. Unfortunately, there is only one button for the receiver. The "scan" button. It's the same button that turns on the goggles and searches for the best available channel. I'm not a fan of this. I want buttons to change band and channel as there are on the EV800. It works fine when flying alone, but with only one button, I'm not sure how one would find the right chanenl when multiple quads are transmitting, especially if the bands overlap or are close together.
The weird looking piece on the top of the face area is really comfortable. No idea what it would feel like without this, but it seems to be a good idea.
Unfortunately, several friends who tried these goggles said the same thing about the nose as the Hobbyking DIY goggles. They sit rather low on the nose and can feel constricting on the nostrils. One option is to cut the foam from the nose, but this may let in unwanted light.
There is an RP-SMA adapter for the antenna:
It comes with a manual, screen cleaner, USB charging cable, mini HDMI (type c) to normal HDMI (type a) cable, 2x batteries and a whip antenna.
1080p screen (1920x1080 px)
2x 1600mah 2s batteries
I have a wide face and the face area is rather narrow. Folks with wide faces may find these slightly uncomfortable.
HDMI plug is tiny and easy to lose, but that doesn't really matter.
The Eachine EV800D are a huge upgrade to the EV800. The EV800D have a diversity RX, integrated DVR and come with 2 excellent antennas -- a circular polarized and patch antenna.
The battery is integrated and the included charger is rated for 120v to 240v at 0.6A.
Eye padding is comfortable and installed by default:
The goggles split into 2 parts so they can be used as a monitor
Here are the EV800 next to the EV800D
The integrated DVR is notable because it is not a discrete component, but integrated with the main RX. This is a change from the VR 700, which requires pushing a button to change the mode, between the normal view (with no latency) and the DVR mode. That means the EV800D is much easier to use than the other goggles with integrated DVR. Simply press and hold the record button to record a video, press again to stop recording a video. A short press on the record button takes a picture.
Here's what a photo from the goggles look like (from my tiny whoop).
And some video from the dimly lit indoors:
In short, these are the best goggles for a beginner. Though slightly more expensive than the VR 700, they are an amazing value at $79.99 from banggood.com, have excellent receiver sensitivity, a reasonably high resolution screen (800x480 px) and can be converted to a standalone monitor if you want to share the view or fly with just a monitor and not goggles.
Note that a 700tvl camera, popular due to it's low latency, is about 900x500 px. The advantage of increased resolution above the camera's resolution is negligible. If however, one were planning on flying from an HD video link like the DJI LightBridge, HD Goggles like the Goggles One would be better.
The battery is integrated into the goggles which is good and bad. Good because it's easy to use. Bad because it cannot be swapped out. However, there is an external cable to allow powering the goggles via USB or a battery with a JST plug.
There is even a screw hole on the bottom of the monitor section for mounting.
The EV800 have an RP-SMA antenna plug and a bunch of buttons. This is much better than the single button on the VR700, but equally confusing.
The goggle portion can be removed to use these as a monitor.
As is, I think these are the best all around goggles. If, for the same price, these had an OLED display, a diversity RX and an optional face piece with foam, they would be absolutely killer.
Good resolution (800x480 px)
Excellent integrated receiver sensitivity
The face piece doesn't have any foam. Some folks I talked to liked this and others didn't. Seems like it's a personal pref, but it could be a con for some.
The buttons are confusing. Why are there 2 sets of channel and band buttons?
The battery is integrated.
There is no foam around the eye piece. This isn't really a "con" though, because these are actually more comfortable than other goggles with foam. It also makes these an ideal pair of goggles to share, as the hard surfaces are easy to wipe down.
Basically the same thing in the box, but the packaging is a bit better.
We get 2 options for the foam around the face, a battery, charger, EU plug adapter, a patch and circular polarized antenna.
The big upgrade over the original VR D2 goggles is the receiver sensitivity. The LCD channel indicator has been removed and replaced with an OSD that shows the exact frequency on screen. The buttons to change channel, up and down, are still there (I really don't like it when the only option is to Scan), but a scan button is also present.
The DVR in the original VR D2 goggles got much worse reception than the goggles themselves. This has been mostly fixed in the Pro version. You can checkout the Aurora 100 Flight Video, which was shot on these goggles, for some sample footage. While there was basically no break-up in the video I was watching while flying the DVR does have a small amount of breakup when flying behind some trees. This was only in the DVR.
These goggles are awesome, for price and performance, they can't be beat!
These goggles take all the good parts of the Eachine EV800 and improve on them! Though they're a little more expensive, all the extra features and included antennas make these goggles better value.
Let's unbox them. Here's the box, a little squished from shipping.
They're well packaged though, everything inside is fine.
It comes with two antennas, a standard circular polarized cloverleaf and a directional patch antenna. There is a 2 cell 2200mah lithium ion battery and charger, some wipes for the screen and the goggles.
Here's the inside of the circular polarized antenna.
Lot's of things to note in this photo. There are 2 RP-SMA adapters for the diversity receiver, individual buttons to change channel (CH) and band (FR). I much prefer having buttons for band and channel over the goggles with only 1 (autoscan only) button.
There is also an 8 segment display that shows the active band and channel, awesome!
The Cam/DVR button will toggle between the normal video view and DVR view which shows the DVR options overlaid on the video. This is important, because there is a significant video delay when looking through the DVR. After you start recording and before you take off, be sure to switch out of the DVR view and back into the normal view.
When going through the OSD menu, the buttons on the left of the above photo control the different options. The firmware looks the same as the HMDVR video recorder I reviewed previously. However, the integrated DVR in the VR D2 does not suffer from the same issue that the HMDVR had, which cut off the bottom of PAL videos.
DVR view allows you to start / stop recording, view video playback or see how much time is left on your micro SDCard. The micro SDCard is on the top, right behind the power cable.
The hole on the bottom of the goggles is a monitor mount. The other big win with these goggles is so simple, yet so brilliant. First, let me explain, the biggest complaint I get when folks try almost any of my other goggles is that they squish the nose, making it hard to breathe through the noise after a while or if congested. The VR D2 goggles fix this by leaving the nose area clear of foam. There is a small amount of light that enters through the gap, but the ability to breathe makes this so worthwhile.
In this photo we can see the screen protector that ships with the goggles. Be sure to remove it before flying.
The battery is strapped on the back of the head strap, which provides a nice even feel when wearing for an extended period of time.
The distance between the screen and the lens can be adjusted and unlike my Quanum video goggles, the screen adjustment tabs are nice and snug, so they don't slide around.
Finally, the video receiver quality is excellent. I had no problem with the diversity receiver out of the box, it instantly and seamlessly switched between antennas when one had better signal than the other. Here is some sample video from the integrated DVR. This is on the lowest resolution.
One final note, in testing I noticed that when the battery gets too low, the DVR might not turn on. I didn't see a battery indicator anywhere, and there might be one, but if there were one thing I would add to these goggles, that would be it.
Good resolution (800x480 px)
Great value, 2x included antennas, DVR, LCD channel indicator
Excellent integrated receiver sensitivity
There is a small gap in the foam around the nose, which is great because it lets you breathe. It also lets in a little light.
When the battery is low, the DVR might not turn on. I'm not sure if there is a low battery indicator.
The Quanam V2 pro goggles have recently come down in price. At $37.60, they are a good deal. 800 x 480 px resolution.
They don't come with a receiver, but the $30.86 Quanum Auto Scan 5.8Ghz FPV Receiver and $70.42 Quanum RC540R 5.8GHz 40CH Race Band FPV Diversity Receiver are both good options that have a built in OLED screen. These are great as they allow the pilot to see the exact frequency and channel the receiver is using. I wish the other goggles on this page included an OLED like this.
In total, these goggles will set you back between $55 and $108. The quality of the video link is determined by the quality of the receiver. I have tried out all of the above mentioned receivers, except the DIY RX5808, and the ones I have tried work great. Watch out though, you'll have to pay for shipping from HobbyKing, which isn't usually that cheap, so that alone makes these a little bit less of a good deal.
Unfortunately, several friends who tried these goggles have told me that they sit rather low on the nose and can feel constricting on the nostrils. This could probably be fixed by removing some foam around the nose or building up the cheeks a bit more.
This is the $30.86 Quanum Auto Scan 5.8Ghz FPV Receiver.
I don't have a transmitter turned on at the moment so
0%. Battery voltage is shown on the screen.
E3 is the channel
5.665GHz is the frequency, which is actually really handy.
Nice, 5" monitor (800 x 480 px).
Great value, only $55 when paired with the RC805 or $70 if you choose the Quanum receiver.
Can be used with glasses.
Must be assembled yourself.
They're as comfortable as you make them.
No receiver included, but you can choose your own.
No battery included, but you can choose your own.
You'll have to pay for shipping, which makes them a little bit less of a great deal.
These are in the works from Frank over at RCTimer and I'm excited to check them out!
Update May, 2017: The Eachine VR007 Pro goggles have just been released. Basically the only thing that changed is the RX sensitivity. The old VR700 goggles had a poor transmitter that made them almost unusable, but the new Pro version gets as good if not better reception than almost all the more expensive goggles. At right around $40, these make a great budget buy.
The Pro version comes with the same accessories:
Channel information is now shown on the display, which is really nice:
Picture is still low resolution, but it's fuzz-free and flying in my normal area, the video didn't cut out at all (which was a problem on the original VR700, non-pro version):
Note: this is the review for the original version. Read the upgraded pro version review above.
The VR700s are the cheapest pair of goggles you can buy, for $59.99 on banggood.com. Build quality, ergonomics and price are great. The downsides of these goggles are the low resolution screen (480x272 px) and poor receiver sensitivity, which I'll dig into further below.
Here's the box they come in:
Gotta love the awesome tag line on the back. Sadly, the jungle is actually not "all in sight" at only 480x272 px resolution.
No padding, but that's cool. These things are durable.
It comes with a manual, micro usb to type A (normal), the goggles, a whip antenna, battery and a screen cleaning wipe.
The battery is a nifty 1600mah 2s lipo.
There is a battery gauge with 3 leds and a button.
The micro usb charging port is on the side.
The goggles themselves have an RP-SMA plug for the antenna.
There is one light, which indicates that the goggles are on, and one button, which lets you change channels. There is no visual feedback of which channel you're on and I haven't figured out exactly how the button works. I just keep pressing it usually and eventually end up on the right channel. Not ideal, but it works.
The three buttons on the side are for the display to adjust things like brightness and contrast.
All in all, these goggles are great for giving rides, but not ideal for the primary pair of goggles for a pilot. The resolution is too low and the video receiver is not reliable enough for me to be comfortable flying with them.
One button for the VTX.
Lower resolution monitor means you can easily see the pixels on the screen when flying.
The receiver sensitivity is not very good, meaning you won't get very good range. So I don't recommend these, even as beginner goggles.
If you're on a super tight budget, building your own goggles might be the way to go.
Here are my DIY goggles in use:
These video goggles use an RC805 video receiver, which I chose because it was so cost effective and has two video outputs.
They're based on the unimpressive AV230 320 x 240px video goggles, which I bought on craigslist.org.
I cut them in half and put them inside some $3 ski goggles from aliexpress. I put a JST power plug on the RC805 and I velcro a battery on the front of the goggles when I fly.
I have an HMDVR FPV Video Recorder attached to one of the outputs of the RC805.
The cable from the AV230 is wound up and zip tied under the goggles. The other RC805 output is wired to the goggles. I added JST servo plugs for the video signal to all the components.
There is also a lipo voltage alarm on the front of the goggles.
Cheap. They cost a total of $40, $20 for the goggles, $17 for the receiver and $3 for the goggles. Add an HMDVR FPV Video Recorder for ~$20 more, but this DVR could be added to any goggles.
Excellent reception. The RC805 receiver has great sensitivity and the video reception is always good.
Small, low resolution, low brightness screen. This could be made better by using better goggles as a base.
They take the most DIYing. Even sourcing parts can be hard, I used goggles that cannot be bought at retail anymore, but this is how one would find the best deal.