Review: Fatshark HDO2 FPV Goggles

Imagine Fatshark released a new goggles even before Orqa could get their FPV.ONE out of the door. Well, that is happening! 18 months after the release of the HDO, Fatshark finally announced their next FPV goggles, the HDO2.

The new Fatshark HDO2 is going to fully replace the previous HDO goggles. With recent heated competition from the Skyzone’s SKY03O and Qrqa’s FPV.ONE, I think the HDO2 is the answer from Fatshark to retain their dominance in the FPV goggles market. It’s especially interesting to see how the HDO2 compares to the Orqa as they both have the same spec displays.

The HDO 2 will also provide better support to the new Byte Frost HD system with its 1280×720 resolution (switchable 16:9 aspect ratio).

Before we begin, don’t forget to check out my FPV Goggles Buyers Guide to familiarized yourself with all the technical terms.

Where to Buy HDO2?

Fatshark HDO2 New Features (Oct 2019)

If you already have the HDO, you’d be extremely excited about the new features from the Fatshark HDO2:

  • Upgraded OLED screens (bigger, sharper, brighter)
  • The revolutionary power button !
  • Adjustable focus
  • Integrated Fan Control
  • Adjustable Fit Faceplate
  • Supports 2S and 3S LiPo Input (7V – 13V)

Long press the power button can turn the goggles on or off without unplugging the battery. Short press the power button can change fan speed and turn the fan on/off. Previous fan control is only possible by performing the DIY fan control mod on older Fatshark goggles.

Adjustable focus to replace diopter lenses, designed for those who wear glasses, covering +2 to -6 range.

The HDO will come with the carrying case, lens cleaning cloth and a 2S 18650 case (same one you can buy from Fatshark).

User Manual Leaked (Nov 2019)

The Fatshark HDO2 manual was leaked on the internet. From the manual we learned a lot more about the HDO2 specs and features.

Specs

  • FOV: 46°
  • IPD: 54mm – 74mm
  • Focus: +2 to -6
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 and cropped 16:9 selectable (TBC)
  • Resolution: 1280×960
  • Supports AV input and HDMI input
  • Supports Audio output
  • Input voltage: 7V-13V (2S/3S Li-)
  • Power Consumption: 320mA at 7.5V (no RX module), 770mA at 7.5V with Rapidfire
  • DVR supports SD cards up to 32GB
  • DVR record bit rate 6Mbps, MJPG compression, 30FPS, in AVI file format
  • DVR is upgradable via SD card
  • Dimension: 169.2x80x45.5mm
  • Weight: 206.8g

The OLED panels in the HDO2 has the same resolution as the ones in the Orqa FPV.ONE, however we don’t know if they offer the same image quality at this stage yet.

Buttons, Ports, RX Module Bay

HDO2 – the improved HDO (Jan 2020)

At first glance, the HDO 2 might look quite similar to the the HDO, but there are some changes/improvements.

The most noticeable change is probably the optics, which are now circular instead of rectangular like all the older Fatshark models.

Fatshark also managed to extend the IPD range, between 54mm and 74mm. That covers an even wider audience, and it helps to minimize blurry edges. Due to the housing design of the older Fatshark goggles, the minimum IPD was limited around 61mm (I know they claim to have 59mm minimum IPD, but my own measurement is 61mm). Quite a few people complained they couldn’t get the whole screens to focus due to this. Now that shouldn’t be a problem anymore, assuming the number Fatshark provided is accurate.

Image quality is great as expected, so much sharper than the previous HDO. I’d say it’s now on par with the Skyzone 03O, but the FOV is much bigger (how much bigger?). It’s really immersive, and no blurry edges too!

On my first day with the HDO2, I was flying with a cheap camera at first, oh man, the image was just awful, you can almost count the pixels because of the over-sharpening and low-resolution from the camera. But as soon as I switched over to another quad with the Runcam Phoenix Oscar Edition, I was completely blown away by the clear, smooth beautiful image (shameless plug). I didn’t feel this so strongly with an FPV goggles of lower screen size and clarity, but with the HDO2, it seems to “magnify” all the imperfections from bad camera, it just becomes unbearable to look at.

However, the included foam pad in the HDO2 is bad, and it’s just too thin for me. There is light leak in the nose area, and it puts too much pressure on the cheekbone and my eyelash are touching the screens making them dirty quickly. I’ve seen multiple people complained about the same issues online. I’ve heard NewBeedrone is developing an aftermarket foam for the HDO2, which is supposed to address some of these issues.

The focus adjustment is another awesome feature, it basically moves the optics in and out independently so both your eyes can get the best possible focus. However that also means you can no longer use dipoter lenses in the HDO 2. If you have astigmatism, or if you have eye sight outside of -6 or +2, then you might have trouble using these goggles. And you can knock the switches out of position when carrying the goggles in the bag, and you’d have to adjust it every time.

Anyway, with both the focus adjustment and narrower IPD adjustment, I suppose most people would be able to fully enjoy the larger 46 degree FOV without much blurry edge, which is amazing if you never try larger FOV like this before. At least for me I didn’t get any blurry edges.

The DVR in the HDO2 is the same old DVR you get in the HDO and their older Dominator goggles, which is slightly disappointing to be honest. They are using better quality DVR in their Recon 3 (a box goggles made by Fatshark), and there is the PowerPlay (an external DVR), it’s slightly annoying they aren’t using any of these newer technology in their latest flagship FPV goggles.

And the HDO2 is still FAR BEHIND Skyzone SKY03O in terms of settings and user interface. There are only 5 settings you can change in the goggles, contrast, brightness, saturation, sharpness and power (OLED luminance).

For optimal viewing experience, I had to tweak the settings slightly. But I don’t think there is a best for all settings you can just copy. It hugely depends on your FPV camera (and its settings), and the lighting condition. For the Runcam Phoenix (default settings on a sunny day) I am having good result with these settings:

  • contrast 16
  • brightness 13
  • saturation 10
  • sharpness 7
  • power 63

The location of the buttons and connectors remain more or less the same.

There is now a power button that many people have been asking for. It’s not only responsible for turning the goggles on and off, it also controls the speed of the fan (two levels). However it comes with something called “legacy” and “button” mode, which is slightly unnecessarily confusing for the users in my opinion.

Faceplate is smaller, and the fan is now powered directly from the barrel connector (no longer need to plug in the 2S balance port), and the fan turns on as soon as you plug in the battery. However you can’t turn the fan off, though the fan speed can be turned down. Note that the maximum speed is proportional to the battery voltage, e.g. on 3S the fan is faster than being on 2S. The face plate foam pad quality is similar to that of the HDO, also fake leather.

You need to get your own battery for the HDO2. It comes with a case for the 18650 cells, so the best solution is to get two 18650 and you are good to go. This is the 18650 I recommend getting, and how to charge them.

In the HDO, I used to get black screens when hitting / tapping on the battery, i guess it was something to do with battery connector? Anyway it’s no longer an issue in the HDO2.

And finally, you don’t have to update the firmware this time after purchasing the HDO2, it already has the latest firmware installed in the factory. It was a nightmare with the previous HDO, the firmware even bricked the goggles and I had to send it back for repair.

Regardless, the Fatshark HDO 2 is definitely better than the HDO in every way: the improved OLED panels, the wider field of view, the ability to change screen settings, the ability to adjust the focus, the wider and narrower IPD. All of these at the same price as the HDO.

HDO 2 vs. ORQA FPV.ONE

Although the Orqa and HDO2 have similar spec displays, the Orqa is $150 more expensive than the HDO2. Here are some of the major differences in feature between the Fatshark HDO2 and Orqa FPV.ONE FPV goggles.

HDO 2 FPV.ONE
Price $500 $650
Resolution 1280×960 1280×960
Aspect Ratio 4:3 (native) and 16:9 4:3 (native) and 16:9
FOV 46° 44°
IPD 54mm – 74mm 56mm – 74mm
Focus Adjustment +2 to -6 No
DVR Old (30fps, 6mbps) Better (60fps, 18mbps)
Headtracker Not included Built-in
Antennas Included No Yes
Battery Included No Yes

The Orqa is more expensive although the specs of the OLED screens and field of view are similar, but for a reason. First of all, the Orqa has better DVR. If you want to have similar DVR quality with the HDO2, you’d have to spend $90 on the PowerPlay. And the Orqa comes with antenna while the HDO2 doesn’t. But if you prefer to use your own choice of antennas, this doesn’t matter IMO.

With the Orqa, you can buy the FPV.Connect module which gives you additional features, such as OTA firmware updates, head tilt alarm, auto standby, and live streaming your flying on social media.

But the HDO2 has focal length adjustment so you don’t need to use diopter lenses anymore to get a sharper image (for most people), and this feature is still missing on the Orqa.

The two goggles look completely different, so it also depends on which look you prefer.

Did you know that the DJI FPV goggles is also around the price range of the HDO2 and Orqa?

Edit History

  • 29 Oct 2019 – News published about the release of HDO 2 FPV goggles
  • 08 Nov 2019 – Updated specs
  • Jan 2019 – Updated review

20 thoughts on “Review: Fatshark HDO2 FPV Goggles

  1. Finn

    Why why why did they Remove the SBS 3d on HDMI. Seriously, I really hope they add that in a update because it was super useful. These screens are incredible, why can’t I watch 3d movies on them?

    My V3s had SBS 3d and the only issue with it was the bright blacks ruining it (and non uniform lighting/colour)

    Reply
  2. Ron Curry

    I originally posted this as a comment to a video review by Bardwell who had made a comment about fears that DJI may drive Fatshark out of business but it seems relevant here as well….

    Just a couple of comments, DJI won’t drive the others out of business only us, the customers, can do that. If DJI produces products that have better tech at appropriate prices such that we buy their products instead of products based on 10 year old, old school analog vtx tech (yes, while OLED screens are current tech, analog NTSC/PAL vtx is 10-15 year old tech outside of FPV land) it’s not DJI fault that Fatshark has stayed with old school tech for too long. I mean, is the better option not to buy the better products(assuming they are) so we can help the old school companies stay in business? No, that’s not how it works.

    Most people will make the right choice for themselves and simply buy the best products as long as it’s at a price they can afford. Some will continue to buy old school technology stuff for a time due to brand loyalty and also because it’s high quality and the best of the older generation but eventually they’ll Be compelled to move on as fully digital video FPV takes off. That’s not DJIs fault (or whoever is selling the best products at an affordable price at the time) it’s just reality and the way markets work.

    Fatshark, for instance, builds a super high quality product and has a reputation for great support but they are fundamentally old tech and have done very little in the last 10 years to improve their core video technology. They threw together Byte-Frost because DJI forced their hand with a truly modern fully digital (but still not the most current technology at only 720p) but Byte Frost isn’t even a committed product. Fatshark even issues a caveat to that effect in their ads claiming it’s essentially just an experiment. Check out the description on GetFPV. That’s what it says! Even so, what it truly is is part of a marketing strategy to distract diehard Fatshark users from jumping ship to DJI while Fatshark is scrambling to hire new engineers and advance to the current state of digital video technology. The Fatshark CEO Has written this hims of on a public forum. In any case, HDO2 are REALLY nice goggles – the nicest there are for old analog video.

    One of the most difficult things about all this for me and perhaps for many of you is it’s pretty clear we are at a transition point where digital video is FINALLY coming to FPV but it’s just not quite mainstream or ubiquitous in the fpv world yet. The DJI product is good and appears to have a bright future but it’s big, power hungry, lacks some of the features we expect/need (but, via firmware updates they seem to be regularly adding them) and it’s heavy and still a bit on the pricy side, although the camera/transmitter combo was somewhat of a bargain at their Black Friday sale price.

    So, I really like the HDO2 goggles as the pinnacle of analog NTSC goggles but with no roadmap showing a path to full digital HD and 4K video and vtxs I’m hard pressed to spend $500+ plus on what appears to be a relatively short term interim solution to hang on to market share while Fatshark catches up with current digital video technology. I believe the current DJI solution has longer legs than Fatshark via new firmware updates ( because it is a fully digital system) and especially since they’ve now licensed Caddx to build a 20×20 mount fully digital VTX compatible with the DJI goggles. That’s definitive proof that while Fatshark is the best there is for what is likely the last generation of analog NTSC stuff, with multiple vendors competing to sell lower cost DJI compatible fully digital cameras and VTXs it may not be long until we see used Fatshark HDO 2 selling at a fraction of the new price on eBay and RCGroups classifieds. If Fatshark could show me how my investment in their HDO 2 goggles will get me to fully digital FPV at an affordable price and supported by multiple vendors (at least for the VTX) it would get me off the fence however this latest development with Caddx has me leaning towards DJI goggles but I think there is more to come in the coming months so I’m salivating but not pulling the trigger yet.

    Reply
  3. Gil Lopez

    Supposedly The HDO 2 Sharpness Control Is Supposed To Go To 20 According To The Manual. Mine Only Goes To 15 ! That’s It.. Can Someone Please Help Me To Verify If Their HDO 2’s Go To 20, Or 15 Like Mine, Thank You So Much…

    Reply
  4. =SUBROA=

    wait…ORQA FPV One has NO FOCUS ADJUSTMENT!?!?!? and people bitch that FS was quick to market? after all of the trials, and input, they have no FOCUS ADJUSTMENT!? so glad I pre ordered HDO2’s. It had to have taken at least a year to design, and create the mold for the HDO2 alone, and then implement a new focus and diopter adjustment mechanism along with different ventillation/ air flow scheme. Inside the plastic is black, which is awesome, no one is talking about this, or coated glass optics in addition to better screens at the same new price as HDOs were. Coming from Dom V3 this is what I have been waiting for…now I am hopeful for a Bytefrost diversity goggle module with an unlockable 800mwVTX output. would be sweet if TBS made a bytefrost compatible VTX. ooh and I expect there to be an upgrade board for the DVR so I can mod my goggles in the future. Everything you have done with the HDO2 is a big improvement. Some of us totally get that you needed HDO2 to break and possibly ship, before ORQA shipped. lets be honest, if you installed ECX339A OLED SONY Microdisplays and charged 500 more for HDO3 alot of people would just buy them. (but they better have the DVR updated to 50-60FPS at 1080P at the least)

    Reply
  5. TheMightThor

    Glad to see others recognize fatshark miscues here. To me, as i look at specs and see/read reviews, all i see is a rush to market of the old standards plus new panels. Fatshark does have a well oiled machine when it comes to production but they always seem to strive for good enough and not the best. Logically thinking here, yes they can mass produce very quickly providing the following: they use parts available in other models of their goggles, the make very little adjustment to the goggle mold, they only test the panels and nothing else, there fore selling customers an HDO with new panels to compete with Orqa, in other words a Just good enough product, not the best product they could have researched and refined. then they social media the heck out of it to drum up hype. i am sad for their customers who fall for this. i think the biggest give away on how much they did or did not research this, is the exclusion of a really good DVR like Orqa is going to offer. this in and of it sells screams, rush to market, no research, just sell the same old snake oil and claim it cures cancer.
    I’d love to see some one compare the internal parts against the old HDO and lets see how much they have in common. Orqa at least is trying to bring a new fully flexible module to market with accessories Fatshark never thought of. ok thanks for reading i feel better getting all the out.

    Reply
  6. sidjej

    These are all reasonable updates to a proven goggle, with the typical fatshark-facepalms (legacy-mode power button?!?!?!). However, fatshark really needs to think about its distribution channels to Europe. Whereas the goggle costs 499USD in the US it’s price jumps to somewhere between 650 and 700USD in Europe, which is makes the goggle far too expensive, especially considering that the goggle is obviously manufactured somewhere in china probably shipped from there to the local distributors. And yeah, i know, the Orqas are even more expensive…. which is why they will fail eventually, if they ever get produced in mass.

    Reply
  7. Paul Hope

    Ok, some of the improvements are what people have being doing for years but I dont understand all the strong negativity here. Better late than never to address these things Imo. What is wrong with the new HDO2’s that makes them so meh exactly? Are you guys pissed off due to pre-ordering the Orqas? Remember you can still cancel your order for a refund.

    I’ve been looking forward to Orqa releasing their goggles with the possibility of buying them due to the higher res and wider FOV… but now that the HDO2’s are coming out.. and being 150 dollars less, this is really great news for me… and my wallet.

    These will most likely be my first pair of fatsharks.

    Reply
  8. ChrisP

    Alright.
    All these new upgrades on the HDO2 are what hobbyist have already implemented to their Fatshark goggles while voiding the warranty in the past. I think it’s impossible for Fatshark to think of something new and innovative.
    This is Fatsharks rendition of a day late and a buck short.
    The power and fan button are upgrades that us hobbyist in the FPV community have already done to their goggles.
    This explains why it’s taking FatShark so little time to release these HDO2’s to the FPV Market. Because it requires very little re-tooling and no field testing.
    Yeah,the 60fps DVR would have been nice but that would require Fatshark to actually change the original mold to their Dominator series.
    The only good thing about these goggles is how they’ll be compatible with the Byte Frost system. That’s about it.

    Reply
    1. Philip G Thayer

      They had to change the mold for the new optics adjustments. Best thing about these is improved OLEDS and Focus control. Would have loved a better DVR like the SKY030 and I could care less about a power button (which isn’t on DJI either).

      Don’t forget FS came out with OLED almost 2 years ago so this is 2.0! Nice job FS, I ordered this morning.

      Reply
  9. Robert L Beaubien

    Amazingly, their stupid statement that people wouldn’t notice a 37° FOV, now they are back to a more reasonable 46°. I might actually purchase these.

    Reply
  10. Mark Pfeifer

    The adjustable focus lenses sound good…unless you have an astigmatism or need a RX with prism in it. Frankly, adjustable lenses with no slot for diopters is an unwanted “upgrade” since I already have lenses in my prescription for my hd2s.

    Reply
  11. flexd

    “It seems kinda dumb, but we did it anyway” should be Fatshark’s official slogan.

    I like my HD3s, but there is so much that could have been done better.

    Reply
  12. peter pan

    why oh why fatshark….such a mess…. power button with “legacy mode”?! battery depending fanspeed?! low power alarm that doesn’t really work on 3S? same old murky DVR (with the same annoying slot)? feels crusty. well, let’s see how positive things like adjustable focus plays out….

    Reply
  13. Isaac

    It’s a shame they didn’t include the new 60fps DVR in the Scouts in the new flagship, seems kinda dumb that $200 goggles have a better DVR..

    Reply

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