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Review: The Latest FatShark Googles

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Introduction

It has been over a year since we’ve seen new goggles from the most famous manufacturer of FPV kit.

The last time I saw something new it was the HDO goggles, the first Fat Sharks to use bright OLED screens inside and the pair I got quickly became my daily drivers and I popped in an ImmersionRC RapidFIRE diversity system too. But that’s almost £500 of goggle and receiver so what are the options if you want to get into FPV or upgrade from the goggles you have without breaking the bank?

That looks like it’s a question that the team at FatShark have been thinking about too as they have just released three new goggles to the market. That alone is worthy of note as new releases from Fat Shark as similar to unicorn sightings so to see three new models at once is unheard of.

The latest goggles appear to be aimed at the low to midpoints in the FPV goggle market with the Recon V3 providing a very inexpensive way to own a pair of Fat Sharks. All of these goggles are covered by the robust Fat Shark warranty so if they develop a fault then you can create a ticket and Fat Shark will fix them for you. That may not sound like a big deal but if you’re one of the few pilots I’ve spoken to who spend $200-$300 dollars on other brands to find that there is no backup and support when something goes wrong you’ll know how painful it can be to end up with a $300 doorstop..

Let us get into these new goggles and see what Fat Shark has come up with..

FatShark Recon V3

The first new set of goggles is the Fat Shark Recon V3 goggles. These are the third iteration of the goggles we first saw being shipped along with the Fat Shark 101 FPV kit. At first glance, you’d think that these follow the same layout as all of the other box goggles you’ve seen – screen at the far end and some kind of Fresnel lens between your eyes and the screen to help you focus.

The truth is a little funkier than that.

Despite the far more compact size than similar ‘box’ goggles in this class, the internals of the goggle use a 45-degree mirror in a similar way to what I first saw in the Fat Shark transformer goggles a few years ago. This allows the focal length to be a lot longer than the physical size of the goggle itself while providing an immersive 55-degree view of the 800 x 480 TFT screen.

This means that the lens arrangement can be tweaked so that it provides a crisp image to pilots with a wide range of sight levels. I have a flying buddy who has astigmatism and wears glasses so can’t use binocular goggles. He can see the screen easily in these. In fact, I tested them with as many pilots who wear glasses as I could and found that pilots with glasses ranging from -4 to +1.5 could see the screen easily. Impressive stuff when you consider the lens doesn’t move.

Alongside that focusing magic are the same features that most of the Recon goggles have had for a while; 32 channel inbuilt receiver, DVR, included dipole antenna, auto-scan and an OSD that shows the channel, band, RSSI and battery detail. Speaking of battery – the 18650 you need is included and can be charged using the USB cable.

There are a few things missing from this entry level goggle though.

There isn’t a demisting fan that’s needed in very cold or very hot weather to stop the lenses fogging up. There isn’t a case so you’ll need a safe way to transport them (just keep the box maybe?) and there isn’t room inside the enclosure for spectacles so if you can’t see the screen then you’re stuck.

These goggles feel like they are aimed at those pilots who want to try FPV with a set of goggles from a leading manufacturer but don’t want to spend hundreds. These would also be perfect for those who drive R/C cars, trucks or boats who want a view of the action from ‘inside the model’.


Fat Shark Scout

Costing another £100/$100 than the Recon V3 you could be forgiven for thinking that these are just the Recon V3 goggles with diversity. The Scout is actually something very new and includes technology from Fat Shark that I’ve not seen before.

These goggles are more compact than the Recon V3 but offer an improved DVR, a higher 1136 x 640 pixel screen, inbuilt diversity with an external circular polarised antenna (supplied) and an internal patch antenna as well as a host of other features.


The same tricks regarding focal length are used here. The screen provides a 50 degree view and in the testing here the pilots who needed sight correction found it even easier to focus on the screen. After the initial reviews Fat Shark also changed the lenses to make it easier to focus and the reaction from pilots who have struggled to use other box Goggles was a testament to how well they work. The real boon is that in addition to this focal length, these goggles also support spectacle wearers. There are cut-outs in the sides of the enclosure that allow for all but the largest spectacles to be worn.

But that’s not the most interesting thing about these goggles.


Pressing the menu button brings up the goggle menu and for the first time ever in a set of Fat Shark Goggles there is one menu for EVERYTHING inside. Until now Fat Shark goggles have been a collection of separate discreet parts that work well together, the lack of an integrated OSD system in the majority of the goggles shows how separate those pieces are. Until now.

You can access the DVR the receiver, goggle and options setting all from one place. This makes the goggles a breeze to use and setup. Venture over to the Device and General sections of the menu and you’ll find options to turn off the beeping they make when pressing a button or setup the auto-power-off function that uses an inbuilt accelerometer to figure out when you’ve put them down and warns you with some beeping before turning the goggles off to preserve the battery.


The DVR in here is also new. This is a 60fps DVR that creates a .MOV file and is a significant improvement over the ones found in almost every other Fat Shark goggle. Finally.


Sadly the RSSI values you get in the Recon ‘OSD’ are missing here but I hope they are added with a firmware update soon. On the sides are AUX ports as well as the USB 3.0 connection allowing for the connection of external AV inputs.

These are a joy to use, the screen is bright and clear and easy to see. The receivers are sensitive and the diversity seems to work well. The menu system makes setup a breeze and the inbuilt fan keeps the lenses fog free in use and the supplied case keeps them safe from harm when not in use.
These goggles feel like the most ‘modern’ goggles I’ve tested in a long time.

The Attitude V5

The last release in the recent update is the new version of the Attitude series. The new Attitude V5 is the second goggle in the Fat Shark range to offer an OLED screen. The screen is a SONY unit with a resolution of 640 x 400 pixels and the optics provide a 30 degree view and diversity.


The last release in the recent update is the new version of the Attitude series. The new Attitude V5 is the second goggle in the Fat Shark range to offer an OLED screen. The screen is a SONY unit with a resolution of 640 x 400 pixels and the optics provide a 30-degree view and diversity.
The screen is an unusual aspect ratio, not 4:3 and not 16:9 but somewhere in-between. There isn’t a choice to change the aspect ratio in the menu so it stretches both image formats to full the screen. That sounds horrible but in reality, it works well with 4:3 video being stretched slightly horizontally and 16:9 being stretched vertically slightly. It provides a nice image for both while not noticeably deforming either.
It would have been nice to have the option to change the aspect ratio, I’m still waiting for Fat Shark to implement that feature now I’ve seen other FPV goggle manufacturers do it.
Alongside the new OLED screen (and the change in the plastics to the snazzy green) the rest of the goggle is very similar to the V4. Features include a demisting fan, external battery, analogue DVR, earphone jack, diopter support and AV in/out.

The diversity system works well but takes up both modular bays in the goggles so the option for adding a head-tracker isn’t available on the V5. Even if you replace the supplied diversity the little head tracker out port underneath the right-hand side for the cable has disappeared.
IPD adjustment remains the same at 59-69mm and the one key auto-scan on the receiver works well.
One thing I was worried about was the small resolution of the OLED screen in these goggles. I’m pleased to report that I found the image to be clear and easy to use. Comparing the image from these to goggles with a higher resolution LCD panel I found that the image still looked clearer in the OLED screens (thanks to the OLED ability to show excellent contrast and colour fidelity).
The only time you may feel the effects of the lower resolution is if you like to use an OSD inside the model you’re flying with the smallest fonts. When using a setup like that you can run into a slight loss of clarity with these lower resolution screens.

Summary

The testing of these goggles didn’t go as planned for me. I expected to spend a little time with the box goggles and then move onto the star of the show – the Attitude V5.


That wasn’t the way it panned out.


The Recon V3 is a great entry level goggle for those who want a set of Fat Sharks for less than $100. There are other box goggles that feature diversity but are a lot larger for similar money.


The Attitude V5 has taken the excellent Attitude V4 and added a lovely OLED screen inside that provides a bright, clear colourful image as well as adding a decent diversity setup out of the box.


The Scout was the star of the show in this line-up for me.


There are lots of ‘firsts’ in these goggles for Fat Shark. That all-in-one menu system, awesome focal length and features like auto-off all make these goggles feel very modern.


It’s interesting to see so much innovation from Fat Shark in these ‘cheaper’ goggles and I hope to see the improved DVR, menu system and cute features like auto-off and goggle setup appear on the next generation of goggles we see from this leading manufacturer.


If I had to choose only one set of goggles from this bunch I’d not choose the most expensive. I’d choose the Scout.

Written by Painless360


 

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