What features should I look for when I’m buying a new set of FPV goggles?
There are several factors that are important for what FPV goggles are right for you:
The first thing you’ll notice is that there are two main types of FPV goggles: slimline and box.
Slimline goggles are usually more expensive, but they are also lighter and many people find them to be more comfortable. Their screens are also smaller, which means that getting good resolution makes the displays more expensive. There are two screens in this type of goggle, which means that some goggles (for example the Skyzone Sky02X) can support 3D video if you have the required camera and VTX hardware.
Box goggles, on the other hand, are larger and have a larger, single screen. This means that some people find these goggles less comfortable, but this brings the advantage that some goggles can fit a set of glasses inside.
There are different types of screens used in goggles. OLED is generally favoured as looking better with deeper colours, but LCD is usually cheaper.
Many goggles have receivers built-in, and some don’t. There are also different kinds of receivers.
When looking for goggles, you really want a ‘diversity’ receiver. This means that the goggles receive two video signals and either pick the strongest or merge the signals to create a stronger one. This means you can add an omni and patch antenna, two patch antennae or two omni antennae.
Most goggles will have a receiver built-in, but the more expensive goggles, such as Fatshark HDO2 and Orqa's FPV.one, don’t come with a receiver, which means you need to buy your own. This gives you more choice to pick a receiver that best serves your needs, for example adding a Rapidfire module which is widely regarded as one of the best receiver modules out there at the time of writing.
IPD and Diopter settings
Most slimline goggles will have an adjustable inter-pupillary distance. When picking your goggles, make sure that the IPD is suitable for your face.
If you have glasses, it is also useful to make sure your goggles either have adjustable diopters (for example the Fatshark HDO2) or can take diopter inserts (for example the SkyZone Sky02X).
There are three ways that people commonly power their goggles.
The first of these is a built-in battery that you charge through USB. Counterintuitively, it is usually the cheaper goggles that have a built-in battery, as this means that it is either more difficult to replace the battery, or you can’t bring spare batteries with to fly for longer.
The next kind is a Li-ion pack. These generally take 18650 Li-ion cells and are held in the head strap. These usually have larger capacities than the third type of batteries: LiPo.
Many people use LiPos to power their goggles, either through a specialised battery to hold in the head strap, or with a cable to a battery in the pocket. The latter of these has a distinct advantage: you can use your quad’s batteries (as long as your goggles support the voltage) and you can charge them on your balance charger.
I usually would say that brand loyalty shouldn’t play too much of a part, but when looking at goggles you want to buy from a brand that you know will offer technical support if you have a problem with your goggles. So I don’t introduce bias, I’m not going to say which brands I prefer.
DVR is important in goggles, which is helpful to find your quad if it crashes.
Another ‘feature’ is a power button. It sounds odd, but many FatShark goggles don’t have a power button. If a power button is important to you. Make sure to look for that.
Another useful feature is a fan (mainly for slimline goggles) as this de-dogs the goggles during a long flying session.
Light-leak resistance is very important. If light gets into your goggles, this can break the immersion. Take a look at the reviews online to see what people think.
Finally, before buying, take a look online to see if you actually like how the screens look. People such as Joshua Bardwell will actually put a GoPro in the goggles so you can see what they look like in real life.
If you're over 40 or long sighted, or have an unusual prescription for vision, the single most important thing to check is whether you can actually focus on the image, as the screen is quite close to your eyes and you usually can't wear glasses. The built-in lenses help but it's still like reading a book a foot from your face.
A few box goggles are large enough to wear reading glasses but many are not. Older pilots often extend the box to move the screen further from their eyes, or cut some of the box away to fit their glasses inside.
Good twin-screen goggles will offer alternative lenses for those with long or short sight, although this may mean that no one else can see anything in your goggles.
Another important thing to check is how well it fits your face. Sunlight leaking in around the edges can washout the image on the screen, or maybe your nose it just larger than that of the designer!
If you visit a club or FPV meeting, you can often try a variety of goggles to see if they are suitable.