Fat Shark is well known for delivering great FPV goggles – although at a slightly inflated price. Still, compared to the other offerings currently out there, plus the reputation and brand name that Fat Shark has earned, they’re probably the best goggles you’d want to drop your hard earned money on.
The latest offering from Fat Shark is the HDO goggles, which are an upgrade from their last high-end model, the HD3.
The HD3s are my favorite goggles – the FOV(field of view) is HUGE, and it’s like you’re watching an IMAX screen. The HD3 screen is FAR bigger compared to the Dominator V3, too, which used to be my main goggles but are now my passenger goggles.
So what’s the deal? Would I want to drop my recently bought HD3s and get HDOs instead?
New features in the HDO goggles
For the most part, the goggles are like all of Fat Shark’s previous offerings, at least in terms of design, look, and feel. These goggles use a faceplate instead of the eye cups, as has become standard – the faceplate is indeed far more comfortable on your face.
They’ve also improved the foam – the stock foam on the HD3s was terrible and I actually replaced it with the NewBeeDrone foam which made the fit far more comfortable.
The FOV in the HDO goggles is actually a little bit smaller than the FOV of the HD3s. The HDO has a 37 degree FOV and the HD3s have a 42 degree FOV.
The difference is not that much, but it’s there – the screen will be a little bit smaller.
FOV is how far the screen feels from you – do you like to sit close to the TV, far away, or somewhere in the middle?
This image from a Redditor is actually a really awesome comparison of all the FOVs for Fat Shark models and will help you get a really good idea of how big the screen will look.
Remember, bigger is not always better – if the FOV is too big, you may find your eyes having to do more work, darting around the entire screen just to see everything! If the FOV is too small, it may seem like there is a lot of black space and very little image.
The resolution in the newer goggles is higher, which means you can see more detail and you’ll get a crisper image.
- HDO: 960 x 720
- HD3: 800 x 600
Higher resolution = more detail since there is more space in the screen to show fine objects and shadows, so the image will be sharper, too. It’s like watching TV in standard definition and high definition – the image is sharper as the resolution increases.
The biggest improvement – and probably how Fat Shark execs are justifying the $500 price point – is the OLED display. Previous models had LCD displays, which were fine, but the HDO is a major upgrade to OLED instead.
Fat Shark states that the OLED display provides a far clearer image than the older LCDs. If you used to have an LCD or Plasma TV and then upgraded to an LED TV, you’ll know what the difference feels like.
In theory, the OLED display means you’ll be able to see a lot more fine detail especially through sudden changes in light – as FPV pilots often have to face, since we’re always flying in and out of the sun.
I feel this is a major upgrade for both freestyling and racing:
When freestyling, especially when looking for tiny gaps between trees and other objects, you want to try to have the gaps as visible as possible before attempting to go through it – and if the OLED display can show you more detail and make the gap clearer, it’s that less likely that you will crash.
The improved light handling will also be welcomed, especially if you like to fly bandos or heavily shaded areas where you’re in the sun for one minute and back in the shade the next.
Being able to see gates and elements with greater clarity will certainly help you line up better to go through the elements and gates smoother and quicker.
I used to have major problems in races because I just wasn’t able to see the gates clearly enough. This was partly due to my camera settings, but goggles certainly did play a part.
Your camera is just as important as your goggles. If you’re using a cheap $10 camera, don’t expect good goggles to magically make the image better.
You can fly really well with a nice Runcam or Foxeer camera and a $5o pair of goggles, but you’ll have a hell of a time trying to fly with a $10 camera even if you’re using $500 goggles like the HDOs.
The Fat Shark HDOs come with the standard Fat Shark feature set.
There is a cooling fan to prevent your goggles from fogging up
There is a built-in DVR(which is actually the same as the DVR in the Dominator V3 and HD3s, incidentally – no improvement there)
There is HDMI in if you want to hook up your TV or computer to your goggles
The IPD is adjustable(this shouldn’t count as a feature, it should pretty much be a must-have on all goggles)
The receiver module supports a higher voltage and power consumption so power-hungry modules like LaForge or Furious D won’t burn up your goggles!
The HDOs are definitely really good goggles, but they are incredibly pricey at $500, and that’s just for the goggles. On top of that, you have to get a receiver module, which can run anywhere from $30 for a simple receiver all the way up to $80-100 for a diversity receiver. You’ll also need to get antennas, which are about $15-20 per antenna for a decent quality one.
So at the end of the day you’re actually going to spend closer to $600 or $650 to fully equip your goggles.
Is it worth the $500?
If you’re hardcore into the hobby and fully committed to it, and you try to fly every day or as often as possible, yes, it’s worth it – goggles do make a BIG difference in your flying experience.
When I ditched my Dominator V3s for the HD3s, I was blown away by how much bigger and more immersive the larger FOV on the HD3s was compared to the Dom V3s.
Considering that the Dom V3s are just $100 cheaper than the HD3s, I should have gone for the HD3s from the get-go. Or in this case, the HDOs – the better quality goggles.
The differences between the goggles are small on paper. 30 degree FOV vs 47 degree FOV, or LCD vs OLED – but these small differences actually do have a big impact, especially when they’re related to the screen size.
If you’re still toeing the line in the hobby or can’t justify dropping $600, then there are plenty of other goggles you can buy to get into the hobby, then save up and eventually pick up a better pair.
Do I think Fat Shark has justifiably priced the goggles at $500? Hell no. There are still some features like a better DVR and an on-off switch that have been missing from their lineup for years but they’ve just not added, and that irritates me.
But given the current availability of goggles on the market, the HDOs are indeed right up there with the best of the best.
If $500 is steep for you, but you still want a high-quality pair of goggles, consider getting the HD3s – you’ll save $100.