Fat Shark has released a new generation of FPV google utilizing organic light-emitting diode screens. These screens allow for much more fidelity through higher resolutions and a higher contrast ratio. In fact, these are the highest resolutions FPV goggle that Fat Shark has ever produced! However; despite the use of the OLED screens, the Fat Shark HDO FPV goggles have not launched free of critical feedback from the community.
What’s New in the Fat Shark HDO FPV Goggles?
To start out with, the best improvement on the Fat Shark HDO FPV goggle are the dual Sony OLED screens. The OLED technology has been in use for several years, especially prominent in high end televisions and smartphone screens. The HDO’s have a 960 x 720 pixel resolution, bringing the highest resolution image to grace the Fat Shark line. The OLED also brings a high contrast ratio by not requiring a backlight like the LCD screens from older generations. This provides deeper blacks and brighter whites. OLED technology brings a more robust color gamut, providing a rich spectrum for our eyes to take in. Last, but not least, faster refresh rates are possible, which for our use case, is nothing but an advantage.
Criticism of the Screens
The choice of screen however has been the topic of much debate within the FPV community. The biggest issue deals with the size of the screens, which offer a 37° field of view. For those coming from the Dominator HD line of goggles, this results in a fair reduction in size. Some comment that it reduces the immersion offered from the HDO. There is also the question of the potential reduced lifespan of the OLED that is inherent in the technology. Additionally, there is a history of OLED screens developing burn in after a time, which may be an issue for pilots who use OSD on their models. Lastly, there has been some discussion of the screens being locked to a 4:3 ratio, especially with the increasing popularity of wide screen capable cameras.
Beyond the Screens
Another new addition to the Fat Shark HDO FPV goggles include the enhanced power handling system for the module bay. Many of the latest generation of modules require a high power draw, which can cause some issues with older generations of FPV goggle. With the ImmersionRC Rapid Fire and Iftron Clear View module on the immediate horizon, this will be even more important! Also up for improvement is the user interface when it comes to switching between HDMI and analog inputs, which it now does automatic upon detection of a source input.
Upon opening up the Fat Shark HDO FPV goggles, I was immediately impressed with the classiness of the look that they have gone with. The contrast with the white shell of the goggles mixed together with the black faceplate, and black accent stickers really makes them stand out. Fat Shark has also changed the font of their logo, which I think is for the better. The goggles come with the foam pre-installed, which is a nice touch. I think Fat Shark finally heard the pilots when they released the vinyl covered foam, and that’s what comes with the goggles.
The only accessories to come with the goggles are the zipper case, cleaning cloth, and battery. This is a little disappointing for those who want to use the HDMI input, as they will have to source their own cable. The diopters are also not present here, so if you require those, make sure to pick up a set.
I’ll admit, I got a little excited to check out the screens, so I pulled the goggles on and plugged in the battery. The screens take a moment to turn on, which is something I was not accustomed to with my Fat Shark Dominator HD2’s. As soon as they powered up, I was instantly blinded by an extremely bright flash! I highly recommend plugging them in and letting them power up before pulling them over your eyes.
Testing the Fat Shark HDO FPV Goggles
Before we even begin, I have to be honest. I was set to try these goggles, then instantly go back to my Fat Shark Dominator HD2’s. Like many others, I was in the camp that felt that the 37° FOV was much too small. The 50° FOV of the HD2’s have never had an issue with blurry edges, and really enjoy the enhanced immersion that they bring. I have used many different goggles, and just could not accept the HDO screens on paper. Then I put them on.
Of course, I brought along my HD2’s and even flew them first to give myself a control to compare the Fat Shark HDO FPV goggles to. But the second I put the HDO’s on, I didn’t even notice the screens were much smaller. Suddenly, I could see things through my FPV feed that I had never been able to see before. The colors were amazing, the contrast was beautiful, and I found myself really enjoying the experience. My OSD had clean, crisp graphics and text, and then entire image was so clean and clear.
Throughout my flights, I continued to alternate between the HDO’s and my HD2’s. However; I found myself wanting to just set the HD2’s aside. After the initial amazement wore off, I did start to notice the smaller screens, but it really didn’t bother me at all. My HDO’s suffered from the line of blurry pixels that have been plaguing some of the units. A quick swap to the HDMI source and then back again fixed the issue. I know that this is something Fat Shark is working to correct, and hopefully there will be a solution shortly.
What Did Fat Shark Leave Out?
There are some things not present in the Fat Shark HDO FPV googles that the users have asked for. Firstly, the DVR is the same unit that have been in the Fat Shark line of goggles for the last several years. There has been issues with this DVR unit from the beginning, and while it works, mostly, there is room for improvement here.
Secondly, the overall basic nature of the power system leaves some users wanting. Fat Shark is still choosing to omit a power switch or button to turn the goggles off and on, leaving that up to plugging the battery in. Over time, this induces wear in the pigtail for the battery, which I have been a victim of myself. However, I have yet to mod my HD2’s to incorporate this, as it’s really not that big of a deal to me. They are also still forcing the user to power the fan in the faceplate with the goggle balance lead. There is also no way to turn the fan off once it is on. Instead the user has to wait for the timer to expire, or unplug the balance lead.
Lastly, the IPD adjustment range is still the same, so if you are among those that couldn’t use the Fat Shark line of goggles before, there’s still no hope here. However, the smaller field of view may open these goggles up to you, so if you know someone with a pair, try them, they might work for you!
Keeping Your Eyes in the Goggles
I’ll be the first to admit, I never thought I would like the Fat Shark HDO FPV goggles. On paper, they just didn’t feel right to me. It didn’t seem like the improvement of the screens was going to be enough. I can say, though, I was wrong. These goggles bring analog signal to a level I didn’t think was possible. The FPV feed is smooth, crisp, colorful, and immersive. The reduced size of the field of view doesn’t change my mind on this. I feel there was something I was missing for the last few years. The HDO’s bring that to light. If you are even remotely on the fence about these goggles, I urge you, give them a shot. You might find that same something that will enhance your FPV experience and bring your flights to the next level.