Review: Fatshark HDO FPV Goggles

The Fatshark HDO FPV Goggles is the latest model from the company in 2018. The new HDO Goggle is the first to use OLED screens, hence the name “HDO“. Fatshark claims the new display technology provides better image quality which we will hopefully find out in this review, along with some other interesting new features.

I am getting the Fatshark HDO Goggles for testing soon, and I will update this post with more information. For now here is all the info I have from discussions with Fatshark.

Product Page: GetFPV | Banggood | Amazon | Racedayquads

Fatshark HDO FPV Goggles

Further Reading: How to Choose an FPV Goggles

Specifications of Fatshark HDO FPV Goggles

  • Resolution: 960 x 720
  • Field of View: 37°
  • Display Ratio: 4:3
  • IPD: 59 – 69mm

The Fatshark HDO FPV Goggles come with the following accessories, pretty much the same as the HD3 Core package.

  • Zipper carry case with updated branding
  • USB charging battery pack
  • DC DIY cable

Fatshark HDO FPV Goggles accessory package

Fatshark HDO vs. Dominator HD3

See this post for a detail comparison between the HD3 and HDO. To sum up:

  • The HDO is $100 more than the HD3
  • You get better displays in the HDO but it has a smaller FOV than the HD3
  • Resolution is improved significantly in the HDO, and HDMI can now support 1080p. However they have removed 3D mode in the new model
Fatshark HD3 Core Fatshark HDO
Price $400 $499
FOV 42° 37°
Resolution 800×600 960×720
Ratio 4:3 4:3
IPD 59-69mm 59-69mm
VRX Modular, Not Included Modular, Not Included
HD Input 720p 1080p
3D Yes No
DVR Yes Yes
Anit-Fog Fan Yes Yes
Diopter Lens Insert Yes Yes
Audio Output Yes Yes
Weight 186g 186g

New OLED Display

The biggest difference in the HDO is the OLED displays. OLED display has the following advantages:

  • More crisp image
  • More vivid colours and higher contrast ratio
  • Better light handling, giving pilots the ability to see better detail under challenging and changing lighting conditions
  • Better clarity in fast-moving images thanks to reduced artifacts from image retention

Remember how people used to complain about blurry edges and corners in some FPV goggles with older screen technology? Hopefully this will get better too in the HDO with better optics.

The latest high TV lines cameras such as the Foxeer Monster Pro, will also benefit from the higher resolution displays.

There are concern about “burn in” and life span of OLED displays. But IMO even if you use these goggles 5 hours a day they should still last years before they hit their lated lifespan. Not to mention the goggles are covered by Fatshark’s warranty so if there is a problem they will repair it for you.

Leather Face Foam Padding

The goggles come with nice foam padding that wasn’t included in previous models. This is great to prevent light leaks and is very comfortable to wear. It also appears to be more durable than the previous foam padding that tends to wear out frequently.

It’s sticked on the goggles by velcro and replaceable.

Fatshark HDO top fan buttons

4:3 Aspect Ratio Only

I am a bit surprised that Fatshark still wants to only support 4:3 in their latest FPV Goggles, since 16:9 is the direction most new FPV cameras are taking.

But for old school pilots like me who are still rocking 4:3 FPV cameras, it’s actually great news.

It’s perfectly fine to use 16:9 cameras with 4:3 FPV goggle, it’s just that the image might appear squashed. The level of distortion depends on the FOV and “fish eye effect” of your camera, yet it can be a matter of getting used to it if that’s what you’ve decided to use.

There are FPV goggles that can support both 4:3 and 16:9, such as the Aomway Commander V1. But when it’s in 4:3 mode, it simply chops off the sides, which makes the FOV extremely small.

For FPV Goggles manufacturers, it really is a painful compromise, and I don’t blame Fatshark for supporting one or the other. However I do think that 4:3 is the better option for the HDO, because I believe the majority of pilots are still using 4:3 cameras and goggles.

Good Old Dominator Shell

Fatshark is taking the safe approach and using the same shell for the HDO as they did for the successful Dominator V3 and HD3. That’s why some specs such as the IPD and weight look the same.

I personally like this old shell because it works for me in my previous goggles and I have been using it for years without any problem. At the same time I wish it was a new design to freshen up the look.

Fatshark HDO FPV Goggles anti-fog fan

Leather Face Foam

The HDO comes with really nice leather face foam, much better and durable compared to what comes with the HD3 which you probably need to replace regularly.

DVR Module

I was hoping they would use better DVR module in the HDO, unfortunately it’s still the same DVR module as the HD3. So we will still get the same bit-rate and frame dropping issue when the signal weakens.

It’s not a biggie, but it can still be annoying at times.

In case you are not familiar with this problem, it’s basically a bug in the existing Fatshark DVR. When you try to sync your DVR footage to your GoPro footage, they get more and more out of sync towards the end of the video. The more signal breakup you get during the flight, the worse it gets.

However we should expect the frame dropping issues get better with modern receiver modules such as the RapidFire, Clearview, Achilles, True-D and Laforge.

Another popular request is to improve the SD card slot, because it requires the users to grow a bit of finger nails to take the SD card out. As far as I can see that part didn’t change.

More Powerful Module Bay

The VRX module bay has been beefed up for more power-hungry receiver modules in the future.

As the next generation receivers are getting so powerful, they can draw a lot of current, some existing FPV goggles are already struggling to meet the demand.

HDMI Auto-Switching

As a user interface improvement, the Goggles can now auto-switch between DVR, HDMI and analog feed when the HDMI cable is plugged in or remove.

Other New Features

There are many requested features to be added to Fatshark’s FPV Goggles. But the HDO has been in development for over a year, so some of the feedback didn’t come in in time. But I was told they will get those features integrated in future models. For example the popular DIY power button mod.

Received the HDO Goggle (23 Apr 2018)

In the box, it comes with the Goggles, a soft shell case, and a 2S 1800mAh battery. Nothing else.

I will upload some pictures later. Now let’s go test it :)

Testing Image Quality (24 Apr 2018)

In the following test I will compare the image quality between the HD3 and HDO.

Here is the comparison of Dom V2 and HDO.

Some very interesting result there.

Both footage were captured directly on the FPV Goggle’s screens using the same camera, under the same condition. I DID NOT changed brightness or colour in editing, they are both original footage.

However, this comparison doesn’t represent the true image quality of both goggles. There are differences when looking at the screens with a camera, and with your own eyes. But this is the best method I can come up with for now.

You can still see some very noticeable differences between the newer OLED display, and older display technology.

It’s pretty obvious that the OLED screen on the HDO gives more vibrant colour and more constrasty image, while the DomV2 looks more washed out. You can really tell the higher resolution and sharpness in the HDO goggle, and how much more detail you can see.

Is 37° FOV too Small? (24 Apr 2018)

I don’t own the HD3 (yet), so I don’t know what 42° FOV looks like. Coming from the 32° DomV2, I do notice a slight increase in screen size when trying them back to back, but the difference is not as large as I imagined.

I see a lot of people complaining about the 37° FOV in the HDO. While it’s a valid point, one has to understand that bigger isn’t always better.

Yes, larger FOV gives you more immersive image, but the problem with screen that is too large, is that you can get blurry edges more easily. Say if you have voltage OSD displayed at the corner, you can’t read it anymore.

It has to do with every person’s eyes, some are just more likely to get blurry edges than others with larger FOV goggles. Sometimes diopter inserts can help with blurry edges if you are near sighted. And the HDO seems to require higher level diopters. I use -2 on the DomV2 and all is fine but I get a bit of blur at the edges. Using -4 on the HDO gives me perfectly clean image. The optics focal length of the HDO probably is different from the previous models.

Your eyeballs also have to move around more with larger screens, probably not that great for people who fly proximity and racing.

So the 37° FOV really isn’t a problem IMO.

Troubles with the Battery (25 Apr 2018)

Calibration

When I was flying with the goggles the 2nd time, the goggles suddenly turned off on me.

Upon closer investigation, it turns out the battery’s internal safety circuit tripped and stopped providing power. But I didn’t hear the low voltage alarm which should normally happen at 6.9V. The safety circuit must have tripped before it dropped to 6.9V, which is a bit unusual.

After discussing with Fatshark, they suggested that my battery’s safety circuit probably wasn’t calibrated. They told me to discharge, and fully charge the battery a couple of times more, which is necessary for calibrating the internal safety circuit inside the battery.

And I did that, now it seems to work properly. I get low voltage alarm at 6.9V, and after a couple of minutes the safety circuit trips at about 6.6V .

So make sure you discharge and charge the battery a few times before putting it to full use.

Resetting

When the battery voltage drops below a certain point, e.g. 6.6V, the safety circuit will trip. This means the battery will not give out any more power, and if you measure the connector it will read 0V.

You cannot charge the battery when this happens.

You can reset (revive) it by connecting the barrel connector to a 9V source. I also tried 7V which also seem to work (a 2S battery).

Now you can charge it as normal.

Charging

You are meant to charge it as a 2S LiPo battery, using the “Fast Mode” without connecting the balance lead. The internal circuit will balance the cells for you automatically so you don’t need to worry about it.

However I can’t seem to fully charge it to 4.2V, as I always get an error on my iSDT charger when it gets to around 4.1V and it stops.

I am not a big fan of the battery that comes with the HDO goggle to be honest, it just difficult to use and 1800mAh capacity is a bit small.

I prefer using a 2S 2500mAh LiPo. Check out my article about the different battery options for FPV Goggles for more ideas.

Face Foam Padding

It’s very nice of Fatshark to include these nice “leather like” foam padding. But it gave me light leak in the centre and just didn’t fit my face well. Everyone has a different face so it might or might not work for you.

My solution is to get the Foam pad from NewBeeDrone (buy: http://bit.ly/2IelSpF) and modify it with a pair of scissors. It now becomes super comfortable to wear, and there is zero light leak.

Pixelated Line

I was asked by multiple people if I was getting a pixelated line at the bottom of the screen. I didn’t really noticed at the time. But when I went through all my quads, I think I saw what people mean about the pixelated line.

It didn’t really happen until I was flying my BeeBrain Tiny Whoop. It rarely happens and it was quite random. But when it does, I can get rid of it by entering HDMI mode and then go back to analog mode. Very bizarre issue, but not a biggie.

After talking to Fatshark they told me they “have a fix in the work”.

Update (10/May/2018): Fatshark released a fix to this issue. You need to flash the Goggles with a firmware update, following the instructions here.

HDMI Video-In Resolution

So according to the spec, the HDO supports 1080p via the HDMI port. However I couldn’t get it to display 1080p from my Windows 10 gaming PC. I got an error saying “resolution exceeds the maximum bandwidth capacity”. I can only display 720p, both 960×720 and 1280×720 worked.

I checked with Fatshark and they said 1080p worked for them with Apple devices, and I didn’t get a solution from them.

However, they added, despite the HDO supports 1080p input, the display down-scales 1080p to 720p. That means whether you feed the HDO 1080p or 720p, it will look the same, so this really doesn’t matter after all.

Conclusion

The OLED screens are an improvement from LCD in terms of image quality. The contrast is way better allowing you to see more detail in dark areas of your picture. The higher resolution also helps see objects that are far away.

For those thinking about the field of view, if you’ve used the Dominator V2 in the past and you like it enough, you will like the HDO even more. FOV is smaller in the HDO comparing to the HD3 (42), but I have always found them to have blurry edges. making OSD hard to read.

I do recommend the HDO after using it for a few weeks now. But if you are still undecided I strongly recommend to give them a try, borrow from a friend or people in a race. Seeing is believing :)

26 thoughts on “Review: Fatshark HDO FPV Goggles

  1. Eduardo Neto

    Nice post as always!
    I need an advice.
    Which camera would be a perfect pair for this goggle?
    I only do freestyle (at least I try to…)
    Best regards!

    Reply
  2. Vojtech

    Hi!

    Is it possible to combine fatshark hdo with the FPV camera runcam 2 for live HD video? Sorry for the novice question, I am pretty new into that and thanks!

    Reply
      1. Vojtech

        Thanks for the reply Oscar. So the solution would be to use another goggles which supports Wi-fi for Runcam2 or to use another cammera supporting 5.8Ghz VTX/VRX, right?

  3. Aaron G

    Regarding the HDMI port – it works fine with iPhone 6s & Tello and also Falcore.

    But I cant get it to work with 2017 macbook pro & Velocidrone – has anyone had any success with this?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      I don’t have the Cinemizer to compare to, but I remember the Cinemizer has a very small FOV, probably similar or even slightly smaller than the Dominator V3. And it wasn’t very comfortable to wear for long duration (20 mins+). The HDO is a much better option for FPV.

      Reply
  4. PeteDee

    Tried a set of the HDO’s last weekend side by side with my HD3’s, have ordered a set of the HDO’s they are so much nicer for me, easier to adjust and sharp and vibrant and better all round, loved them. HD3’s are for sale.

    Reply
  5. fpvscout

    Hi Oscar,

    I want to get these HDO’s together with dual bay LaForge receiver but the thing is it requires this ugly wiring connection running across the font of the goggles, I know I about the possible mod to hide it but I’d like to avoid doing that to “my” brand new expensive toy.

    Since you’ve mentioned that they come with stronger bays for more power hungry receivers, I’d like to ask if you maybe heard anything about LaForge working on an updated version for HDO’s without this wire?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      I think LaForge will continue their split design. If you want a plug and play solution i think you should go for the True-D or the Pro58 with Achilles firmware. These should have comparable results anyway.

      Reply
  6. LvV

    I am looking forward to seeing some latency tests of these goggles. Being Fasharks, I assume they will be perfecty fine. Still, with the higher resolution screens, there will need to be some (digital) upscaling going on. And we all know how that worked out in e.g. the EV900’s ;)

    Just guessing here, but lack of 16:9 / 4:3 switching *might* be due to scaling / latency issues as well? Can’t think of any other reason to omit it, otherwise.. Then again- my cheap, low latency box goggles have no problems with either format, and you can perform horizontal scaling in analog.

    What else could be a reason for omitting 16:9? A future 1280*720 version, perhaps??

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      From the info i gathered, the decision on 4:3 was user feedback driven. I think most users are still using 4:3 cameras and prefer 4:3 ratio.

      Reply
  7. John Hendry

    Well as this review shows Fatshark built these for the majority of people’s eyesight, not max performance with large FOV that cause many people to complain. Really need two sets… one 50 degree FOV like DomHD2 for people who eyes work with the larger FOV, and a smaller FOV for the majority to keep them happy. Am I happy? Yes that they are 4:3, no on smaller FOV….

    BUT…. it ain’t over until Fatshark says it’s over. Amazing difference going higher res with OLED… in 50 degree FOV would be getting closer to perfection for my eyes…

    Reply
  8. DaEmpty

    Let’s compare it to VR Googles: Rift/Vive have around 110 degree diagonal FOV. The sweetspots are not really a problem, the edges are sharp, the angular resolution is even lower than what we have, but everybody is crying for more FOV and resolution…

    Reply
  9. ZaksterBlue

    Great to see your comparison of the Dom V2 with the HDO, as I still fly the Dom V2 as well. This is despite previously owning the HDV2, and testing the HDV3, SE, Commanders, etc.

    The issue for me with most FS goggles since the Dom V2 is both IPD and dynamic range. My physical IPD is around 57mm. The Dom V2 specs say they are 57mm, yet if you were to get a ruler and measure the distance between lenses (corner to corner is easier than centre to centre), the Dom V2 is actually a 61mm minimum. So Fatshark’s advertising of 57mm for the V2 is on the basis that the smaller lenses, and distance from pupil to lens, allows enough fudge factor that most people with an IPD of 57mm will not have issues. Thankfully for me, that does hold true, though I wonder how much clearer the image would look for me if it were truly 57mm and not 61mm.

    Subsequent HD2/3/SE/HDO goggles are all based on the same casing and physical IPD limitation; though with bigger lenses, comes wider IPD minimums. So the 59mm IPD advertised of the HDV2/3/SE/HDO is really more like 63-65mm physically, which my eyes’ 57mm IPD simply can’t cope with.

    Dynamic range. So I had the Attitude V1, HDV2, Dom V2 on my back deck looking at a high contrast scene of trees, shade, and sunlight. The Dom V2 saw it all – details in the shadows, colour of the sky, and with plenty of vibrancy in colours. The Attitudes were okay but less clear. The HDV2 though… compared to the Dom V2, colours were slightly muted, and you could either adjust the settings to see details in the trees (with washed out sky around them), or adjust for sky (and trees were all blackened blobs). The dynamic range was terrible compared to Dom V2, and this unfortunately held true for the HDV3 and SE when I compared those later.

    So it’s great to see FS finally coming out with something bigger, clearer and more vibrant than the Dom V2… but alas, the physical IPD min would probably be around 62mm.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Thanks for the great comment.
      Yes I agree the DomV2 was one of the best value option in Fatshark’s offering that’s why I kept it for years and didn’t upgrade.
      For whomever enjoyed the DomV2, should enjoy the new HDO even more. Not saying it’s an necessary upgrade, but if you have a chance to try it, try it :) You might be surprised!

      Reply
  10. SyzygyFPV

    I was waiting for the new Fatsharks. I sold my commanders and bought the HD3 Core today despite reading a lot of stuff about HDOs. I really wanted to be able to buy an HDv2 but unfortunately only one I could find was the same price of the HD3 Core brand new. I don’t want to be on the same boat with HD3s. I don’t want to try to buy an older product just because it has bigger FOV.

    I’m not convinced neither to the price nor the upgrades. Looks like HDv2 and HDv3 still will be the most sought after models

    Reply
  11. Brquad

    LOL…think only current FS users get that! Same shell, so same SD slot so leave that nail at length (I use my pinky nail)

    Sucks that they really could have made a new Flagship, but missed the mark. There is little reason for people like me to upgrade. I’ve been using my HDV2 for almost 2 years, but at the moment there is no compelling reason to “upgrade”.

    Reply
    1. Ron

      HDO are first interdting replacemnt for me – I still use FIRST DOMINATORS with 4:3 ratio and OFV only 30. Ichecked HD3 – to big FOV for me.
      So OLED, 4:3, and FOV 37 – I now have good replacement for my old FS.

      Reply
  12. Jackson Q

    The problem with FOV is that it’s a very subjective topic. It depends on the person and their individual likes/dislikes, ect. In my opinion, bigger is better . On paper and in person as stated by many reviewers on the goggles, the FOV is less than say the HD3s. I personally think that FOV is more important than image quality that I cannot attest for myself.

    And that is the selling point of these goggles, and the hardest part to compare with to other goggles (as of now with the current reviews out there on the HDOs).

    The image quality of OLED vs the old screen is better. That is proven by now. But how much better? I do believe if I had the goggles in my hands and tried them on, I would see a more crisp and vivid image than the HD3s. But how much better image quality would I see? Is it enough to completely change the FPV experience? No one knows, and that is the thing. I would rather spend less money on more FOV then more money on premium image quality.

    These goggles have a specific niche in the market. If you do not have experience with FPV goggles larger than 37 degrees, then these are perfect for you. If you know that you like larger FOV, then the image may not be enough to consider these goggles.

    Many people look to these goggles as the new “flagship” of the Fat Shark company, and want to see major improvements over the HD3s. The OLED is a major improvement, but minimizing the field of view is a big price to pay (no pun intended). Second, many of the problems plaguing the HD3s were not fixed, such as the bad DVR, DVR on/off, the Fan, and ect. Maybe if those were implemented than the HDOs would look a little more like HD3 killers.

    The reason I don’t think these goggles are worth paying $499 is because of that. Flagships are supposed to branch off of earlier models, to evolve from them. Innovation is the name of the game for products such as these. And when innovation is sticking a sharper, yet smaller screen into a old shell, especially after a YEAR AND A HALF, the HDO just doesn’t cut it.

    Once again, I am not trying to ridicule Fat Shark as a company. I am not saying that their product is bad, which it isn’t. The HDOs are a quality pair of goggles. Fat Shark’s quality of product is very, very good. It’s just that the HDOs don’t seem as hyped up as they seem to be, after a year and a half of waiting for the next pair of Fat Shark goggles.

    That is why I am looking for other goggles on the market. I am moving from box goggles to a smaller form factor, so I would like to retain as much FOV as possible. And currently, the HD3s or the Aomway Commander v2s have my money.

    Reply
  13. RCSchim

    Seen the review video from JB – and I agree that while the OLEDs might have better picture – I’m not so sure if I would downgrade to 37°FOV (from my current 45° on the old DomHDs).
    New users (that do it right – and spend some cash on their first goggles right away) will maybe really love this compromise 37°.

    I remember that I once used the Attitude SDs (and they had 35° – and ugly screens). Back then I thought – ok 35° is really the lowest FOV for me personally.
    looking forward to your review,
    thanks,
    Schim

    Reply
      1. Fry FPV

        I’m a new Fatshark user and I bought the HDO goggles. I think they’re great but I wish it had more improvements too, just to justify the price from not getting some second hand HD3 at £250. The mini SD card slot is a pain in the a**. Also, I don’t have an external recorded and not planning on getting one. I fly Tinywhoops so no gopro footage for me and I don’t want the extra weight of the cyclops 3 cam. So I do wish the DVR was much better quality, at least to show off to friends: “hey look, this is the quality I see in the Goggles”. This is how you convince people to get onto FPV (or anything really… ), by sharing with them the experience and the fun you’re having. It’s the same for everything. Let’s hope Allen Evans and Greg French see this comment and decide to improve the DVR in the next versions… unfortunately for me, I’ll have to find a solution for me as the 640×480 recording is not good for me and doesn’t make the goggles justice on my YouTube videos.

  14. Jackson Q

    I am ready for your Aomway Commander v2 review Oscar. Let’s finally declare a pair of goggles that topple the fatshark throne :)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you Robot? *

For prompt technical support, please use our forum IntoFPV.com. I check blog comments weekly.