Our Thoughts of The DJI FPV Drone
Drones have been around for a while now, and just like every technology, there are always improvements and new innovative ideas being incorporated into their designs. The latest trend with these drones is the cinematic first-person view or FPV drones. DJI is one of the world’s biggest consumer drone producers and has decided to try their luck with an FPV drone of their own. The new DJI FPV drone has drawn a lot of attention since its release; however, how good is the drone? We conducted a review on the drone, ensuring to take careful notes of the pros and cons associated with it.
The new FPV drone is bundled alongside the DJI FPV goggles, as well as a new controller, all available at a price of $1,299. You may consider the price to be quite steep, especially if you have never owned a drone before, and are considering this as your starter drone. The truth is that this price is pretty comparable with other drones on the market, especially those that are often sold with goggles, controllers, or cameras, making it pretty reasonably priced.
DJI made these drones with the needs of both FPV professionals and newcomers in mind. Whether you have flown a variety of FPV drones before, or are someone who has been flying standard drones for a while but is now looking to dive into the world of FPV drones, DJI claims that this drone is suitable for your skill level and needs. We have taken some time to assess these claims and determine whether or not they are true. Keep reading to find out how accurate these claims are.
DJI FPV Drone Pros and Cons
Before we getting into discussing the more complicated aspects of the drone such as its hardware and software, let’s take a look at the good and bad relating to the drone. By doing so, we can properly assess what the drone has going for it, as well as whether it is worth the price tag that they are asking for it. We can also determine what sets it apart from other similar drones by doing so. Thus, let’s get straight into the positives associated with the DJI FPV drone. Some of the benefits of this drone are:
• It has fast and reliable syncing between the controls and the drone.
• It is pretty straightforward to learn and get flying.
• A much longer battery life than some other FPV drones has been observed.
Although these are some really great positives, it would not be a fair review unless we considered some of the product’s drawbacks as well. These are some of the negative aspects of the drone:
• The camera is very average for the price of the drone.
• It is expensive.
• Without the inclusion of a case, it is rather big and clumsy to carry around, which is a bit inconvenient
These are the negatives associated with the drone. You can review them before you decide whether or not you want to purchase the drone. However, let’s discuss some of the finer details relating to the drone so that we can gain a better understanding of what it is actually capable of.
FPV Design and Hardware
If this is your first review in relation to FPV drones, then let’s quickly go through what makes them different from a typical drone. The first and most significant difference is that an FPV drone requires the use of special goggles that provide the user with full flight immersion. These goggles are what provide you with the first-person view suggested in the name. The camera of the drones is also fixed into one position, unlike normal drones whose cameras stabilize in order to remain level with the horizon. Finally, most people who have flown FPV drones say that the experience is way more enjoyable. This is due to the fact that they are more responsive when flying, and also move at much faster speeds.
Being the first FPV drone that DJI has made, you can see that they went for an extremely simplistic design. The drone does not require you to have any knowledge regarding the assembly of drones, calibrating motors, getting the transmitters right, or any of the other skills that you may need to have for a different drone. The process of getting it ready to fly is extremely straightforward, this is due to the fact that it automatically connects to both the remote and goggles
It is important to note is that this drone is not as light as other FPV drones due to its large battery. Its battery is one of its best selling points, enabling it to fly for at least 20 minutes at a time. Compared to other FPV drones, the DJI FPV drone has a significantly longer flight time, which generally ranges from three to 10 minutes. In comparison to Mavics, Phantoms, or Parrots, this time is considered short. The DJI FPV also has an intelligent battery, meaning that it discharges after a few days in order to maximize its life span and avoid any pesky swelling.
The sensor used by the DJI FPV drone is a 1/2.3 inch sensor that is pretty good. It does not provide the same image or video feed quality as some of the other DJI photo and video-focused drones, however, this is to be expected. When using the FPV camera in daylight, you should have no problems easily seeing where the drone is going through its camera; however, flying it in darker environments is an issue, with the details of the image being muddied by a lot of noise. The video feed on the DJI FPV drone can use its camera to film in 4k resolution at 60 frames per second, which is quite impressive might I add. You can also slow down the footage to be filmed at a 1080p resolution at 120 frames per second.
The camera of the DJI FPV drone is mounted on a one-axis gimbal and has a very wide view of 150 degrees. This camera angle is so wide that you can even see your own propellers in the footage; however, this is not great for the overall aesthetic of the video. If you wish, you can easily deal with this by editing the post or applying lens correction in the goggles’ menu, this gets rid of any heavily distorted edges. Although I do wish that they used a better camera for the drone, it is the first DJI FPV drone, and it is safe to assume that future renditions should have better equipment.
The biggest difference between the DJI FPV drone and most other FPV’s is the transmission of the image. The DJI FPV relies on digital transmission to get the job done, whereas most other basic FPV drones make use of analog transmission. This makes a major difference to the drone. One of the major downsides associated with using analog transmission is that it does not allow you to fly for long distances. However, the upside is that it has extremely low latency, which is much better for longer ranges.
DJI’s drone is still a great option. There is a bit of interference on occasion where the image comes to a stop. Should this occur, you just need to stop for a few moments, and this usually fixed the issue. Other than this, the drone is a joy to use.
The goggles used by FPV drones were first introduced in 2020. It is to be noted that the goggles are pretty comfortable, and you should have few complications adjusting to having them on while flying the drone around. The controller has a five-directional joystick on its top, a back button, as well as a record button. The displays have 810p screens that do a great job at making the video pretty crisp and detailed. As you can imagine, this is pretty important when trying to avoid branches and other obstacles and high speeds.
There is also a new controller that is about half the size of other controllers used by FPV drones. DJI has also developed an optional motion controller that is available for the price of $199. The motion controller could be a great option for new users; however, the standard controller is still the one that I find most comfortable. The one frustrating point about both of these controllers is that they both charge with USB-A to USB-C cables. However, the controllers do give you pretty good control over the drone. Control is probably the most important thing, as a lack of control could be pretty catastrophic, especially for a beginner.
As previously mentioned, the entire drone kit should set you back $1,299. In comparison to some of the other drone options, you could get away with spending a lot less than this until you feel comfortable with using an FPV drone. However, should you be at a level where you already feel pretty comfortable flying, then you may find that this price is pretty similar to many other similar options out there.
Why Flight Simulator Training is Important
Many people feel that they can simply pick up the controller and put on the FPV goggles, and then they should be ready to fly the DJI FPV drone. If you subscribe to this belief, you are sorely wrong. Before you fly any FPV drone, it is important that you get some hours in on a drone flight simulator. You may ask yourself why you need to do this as you are only going to be flying a DJI FPV drone, not a plane. The truth is that the view that you get while the DJI FPV drone is in flight is very similar to the view of a plane racing through the sky.
Getting some practice in a flight simulator can help you become more comfortable with the FPV as well as the visual line of sight that the FPV goggles provide you with. The line of sight is very different from a normal drone, as with the DJI FPV it is as if you are sitting in the drone. By spending a few hours in front of the flight simulator screen, you should find yourself becoming more comfortable with the wide-angle video feedback, as well as the speeds that you may be racing through the air.
How the DJI FPV Drone Comes
The standard DJI FPV drone comes already assembled for the most part, apart from some of the propellers that you need to attach yourself. It is pretty big compared to some of the other FPV options out there; however, this does not affect the performance of the device at all. The motion when flying the DJI FPV drone is still extremely responsive, and it is able to move at extremely high speeds, making it ideal for racing. Should you wish you can also download an app for the DJI FPV drone to access any of the live videos or to download the video from the drone.
Before you buy the DJI FPV, you should be comfortable with the fact that you have to wear the FPV goggles and use the remote controller efficiently for the best results. The drone is built for really fast speeds. The live feedback can be a bit overwhelming if you are not prepared for the speed of the DJI FPV unit.
The DJI FPV also does not have any antennas that act as receivers due to the technology implemented into its standard receiver. The latency is a bit of an issue over long distances; however, you do not need to worry about this too much. The FPV goggles do a great job of providing an excellent wide-angle image, that makes racing through the air much easier than you may anticipate it to be.
The Bottom Line
When you do decide to buy a module, choosing to buy a DJI is a choice that won’t regret. It is relatively straightforward to fly and offers you many options in terms of the mode you want to fly it in. After you read the manual and become comfortable with the FPV goggles, you should find that you can fly it very comfortably.