We got our hands on two pairs of DJI Goggles Racing Edition, so we thought what better way to put these First Person View (FPV) Goggles to the test than to take them to the Lime Rock Park Racetrack and fly the DJI Mavic Air against the DJI Mavic Pro over the track and through the turns!
Track-tested, the DJI Goggles Racing Edition
For our review, DJI had provided us with two pairs of the recently released DJI Goggles Racing Edition. So, I had these two boxes sitting on my desk and I thought, what would be an interesting way to review these FPV Goggles? And then it struck me, why not contact Lime Rock Park to see if they will allow us to fly the DJI Mavic Air and the DJI Mavic Pro around their racetrack using the racing goggles? I mean, what better location to try out these bad boys, right? Luckily for us, the people at Lime Rock appreciated the idea of two drones racing around their track (much less wear and tear to the asphalt) and since the season hadn’t opened yet, the track was available to us. The next day, Mark Chamberlin, a fellow Crotonite and drone filmmaker (Mark flies a FreeFly Alta 6 most of the time), and I drove up to the track to review the DJI Goggles RE. It turned out to be a beautiful day and we had a blast experiencing the first-person-view as we were racing our drones around the track.
Getting the Goggles RE race-ready
The night before, I used the DJI Assistant 2 app to update the firmware on the Goggles, activate them, charge them and test the connection with the drones. All in all, this took some time but it was a fairly painless process. The DJI Mavic Pro can be connected wirelessly to the Goggles by using the controller and the OcuSync connection. The DJI Mavic Air does not have OcuSync instead, you use the USB cable supplied by DJI, to connect the controller to the Goggles. Of course, a wireless connection is nicer but this worked just fine.
About the DJI Goggles RE
DJI launched the original (white) DJI Goggles about a year ago and the Matte Black DJI Goggles Racing Edition (RE) are a nice upgrade from the previous model. Most notably the new goggles are more comfortable with a thicker and nice red leather cushioning and a redesigned facial pad. The RE version comes with an improved video transmission latency. Now 50ms instead of 110ms. Especially when you are in the middle of a drone race, that makes a big difference. On the downside, the new Goggles RE are a tad more expensive than the original.
Compared to other FPV racing goggles such as the FatShark, the DJI Goggles are obviously larger and heavier, but they also provide a much better view. The dual 1080p screens are much larger and have a higher resolution, which helps a lot when you are flying your drone around or through obstacles. Or as we did, around the turns of Lime Rock.
As we were flying our drone over the track we had, for the most part, a very solid video transmission. We did notice that the range and the quality of the video transmission were better on the Mavic Pro using Ocusync, than on the Mavic Air, which uses Wi-Fi. I have to point out though that most likely the transmission suffered from interference because of the metal guard rails, an overpass, a sizable hill and some buildings.
The Goggles RE work on both 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands. They use digital video transmission and can choose between 12 different channels to find the one with the least interference and thus the best quality. You can connect up to two pairs of Goggles or an extra controller to one drone. A microSD memory card can be inserted into the device for recording purposes.
On the right side of the DJI Goggles RE are the on/off button, battery indicator, and a touchpad. By using the touchpad you can access the menu, various flight controls, and Quickshot modes. You can, for instance, control the gimbal with the movement of your head when your drone is airborne and you are wearing the goggles. The screen displays all kinds of relevant flight information, such as battery level of the drone, controller, and goggles as well as signal quality. The goggles can use both digital as well as analog transmission and can be used with drones that are not made by DJI.
OcuSync Video Transmission & Camera Module
Together with the Goggles RE, you can also purchase the OcuSync Video Transmission & Camera Module. This consists of a camera and OcuSync transmission unit that can be mounted on any other type of vehicle. For instance a custom-built racing drone, an RC car, boat or airplane. Anything really. This unit comes equipped with a range of features such as 1280×960 HD transmission (720p @ 60fps and 480p @ 50fps transmission are also supported), and automatic Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum transmission. The camera has a 148-degree field-of-view lens and uses a 1/3″ image sensor, which will give you a much higher image quality and resolution compared to the traditional analog cameras. The DJI Camera Module also uses a global shutter to reduce the jello or rolling shutter effect.
DJI Goggles RE come with a set of three compatible antennas for different scenarios:
- Pagoda: This circularly polarized antenna performs best at 5.8 GHz.
- Cylindrical: Also circularly polarized, this antenna operates at 2.4 and 5.8 GHz for fully integrated performance.
- Dipole: Linearly polarized, this antenna operates at 2.4 and 5.8 GHz and is lightweight, allowing for a clear video feed at close distances.
Using the DJI Goggles Racing Edition
We had a blast flying our drones around the Lime Rock Park Racetrack. Hooking them up to the Mavic Pro was really easy and once you have activated them, it is really straightforward. For the Mavic Air, they work as well, even though it doesn’t say so on the DJI website, but you have to use a USB cable to connect the controller directly to the Goggles. That may sound like a nuisance but it really didn’t bother us while flying. Since you can’t see the cable when you are wearing the Goggles, you simply forget that it is there. We did notice though that the connection is better using OcuSync on the Mavic Pro than it is with the Mavic Air. We were surrounded by metal guard rails and other structures that may have hurt the connection. When you do lose the video feed from the drone for a split second it is a little unnerving as you have nothing visually to fall back on. Instinctively, I would flip up the goggles and look for the Mavic Air but that was not easy to spot as my eyes had to adjust from a dark goggle environment to a bright and sunny one.
Compared to other racing goggles such as the FatShark, the DJI Goggles are much larger, bulkier and heavier. However, in return, they offer much better video transmission and screen quality with higher resolution as well. This is important when you are racing a drone and need to control your unmanned vehicle (UAV) precisely. We didn’t wear the Goggles for an extended period of time. I can imagine that if you do, the size and weight may eventually put some strain on your neck. The Goggles are very easy to adjust with a dial on the back of the headband and also the focus of the screen is easily adjustable for your eyesight. The touch panel on the right-hand side in combination with the function and back button makes it easy to work your way through the menu. I did not experience and light leaking in from the side, although Mark wearing his glasses did notice a tiny bit.
The biggest takeaway for us was the totally immersive experience when flying a drone with a set of DJI Goggles. It felt as if I was onboard as I was racing the drone, in sport mode obviously, through the turns. It was a blast, I am seriously considering to buy a faster race drone now.
We found that the Goggles RE worked better with the DJI Mavic Pro, most likely because of the OcuSync connection. The goggles were very comfortable to wear but may start to feel a little heavy after a prolonged session. We LOVED the immersive FPV as we were racing our drones around Lime Rock. The Goggles are easy to adjust and use with the touch panel on the side and the dedicated function and back buttons. All-in-all we can highly recommend them if you are looking for a new drone-flying experience or you want to take somebody onboard to show them the world from a new perspective.
Pricing and availability
The DJI Goggles Racing Edition are available now at DJI.com, DJI retailers and various other online and brick and mortar retailers. The are priced at $549 USD. DJI Goggles RE Combo, which includes the goggles, one DJI OcuSync Air System and one DJI Goggles Carry More Backpack, is priced at $859 USD. The regular DJI Goggles retail for $449 but you can get $100 off if you use the coupon code at the end of this article.
|Weight||DJI Goggles RE Body: 502 g; Headband: 500 g|
|Dimensions||DJI Goggles RE Body: 195 × 155 × 110 mm; Headband (folded):255 × 205 × 92 mm|
|Screen size||2 x 5-inch|
|Screen resolution||3840 × 1080 (single screen: 1920 × 1080)|
|Transmitter Power (EIRP)||2.4 GHz: 25.5 dBm (FCC); 18.5 dBm (CE); 19 dBm (SRRC) 5.8 GHz: 25.5 dBm (FCC); 12.5 dBm (CE); 18.5 dBm (SRRC)|
|Live View Modes||1080p30, 720p60, 720p30|
|Video Format||MP4 (H.264)|
|Supported Video Play Format||MP4, MOV, MKV (Video format: H264; Audio format: AAC-LC, AAC-HE, AC-3, DTS, MP3)|
|Battery Capacity:||9440 mAh|
|Operating Temperature Range||32° to 104° F (0° to 40° C)|
|Charger Input||100-240 VAC, 50 / 60 Hz, 0.5 A|
|Output||5 V 3 A / 9V 2A / 12 V 1.5 A|
Coupon for $100 discount off the regular DJI Goggles
DJI is offering the readers of DroneDJ a $100 off coupon bringing the price of the regular DJI Goggles down to $349. The coupon does not work on the DJI Goggles Racing Edition, unfortunately. You can buy them here.
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