DJI FPV Drone Review

The DJI FPV Drone is an entirely new product designed by the drone manufacturer DJI. With their latest drone, the Chinese are attempting nothing less than to open up a new market segment and at the same time open up FPV flight to the masses. Find out whether they succeeded in the following review.

Even before the official unveiling, many (okay, most) details about DJI’s new drone have leaked out to the public. But despite all the preliminary information, you can never be sure until you hold the product in your hands: How does an FPV drone from the world market leader fly? This is exactly the question we want to answer for you.

First of all, those who don’t know what the three letters “FPV” mean: FPV stands for First Person View and describes the control of a drone from the drone’s first-person perspective. This is usually done with special video glasses (see FPV glasses) that project the image from the drone camera directly to your eyes. The result: an extremely intense flying experience.

✔️DJI FPV Drone: What is it exactly?

This is exactly the question we have been asking ourselves since the first rumors about a possible FPV drone from DJI. DJI is known for its drones, which are particularly suited for taking photos and making videos.

Sure, you could already fly some of these drones with the DJI Goggles (RE) with a real FPV experience. But for us, FPV flight also has something to do with speed. Perhaps that’s because countless batteries with self-built FPV racers and many hours in front of the FPV simulator have indirectly linked FPV flight with fast FPV racing or FPV freestyle.

It is now all the more exciting to see which path DJI has chosen with its new FPV drone: DJI FPV is a hybrid. The product is meant to combine the benevolent flight characteristics of the well-known Mavic series with a racing drone’s features. As a rule, hybrid solutions mean having to make compromises. We want to clarify for you whether this is also the case with the DJI FPV drone.

DJI FPV is more than just a drone. It is a complete set designed to make entry into the world of FPV as easy as possible. That is why, in addition to the drone, a suitable controller and video goggles are also included.

✔️Design:

The DJI FPV drone looks different. Visually, it is a hybrid of the design of existing Mavic drones with their many curves and an agile FPV speedster’s appearance.

DJI has not opted for a filigree frame made of thin carbon fiber plates but relies on relatively solid-looking propeller arms made of plastic. The drone’s housing, which descends at an angle towards the rear, is also made of high-quality plastic.

The front is dominated by the camera, which sits in a gimbal that can only be tilted. Two camera sensors are also visible at the height of the propeller arms.

At the front, the propeller arms stand on small feet that are fixed to the frame. The back of the drone is covered with a plastic cover that gives the frame a sleek appearance.

On the bottom are two more cameras and an IR sensor to detect the ground. There is also an LED spotlight that provides sufficient illumination for automatic landing in low light conditions. On the underside, there are two more cameras and an IR sensor for detecting the ground. There is also an LED spotlight that provides sufficient illumination for automatic landing in poor lighting conditions.

Since the entire construction is tilted forward at a slight angle from the outset to achieve higher speeds in flight, the flight battery is inserted into the drone from the rear and is therefore easily accessible. Overall, the DJI FPV drone is also very well made and is in no way inferior to DJI’s other drones in this aspect. 

✔️The camera:

Even though DJI is now officially moving into the FPV segment, it is still about creating unique and cool shots. That’s why the camera is, without question, the focus of the new drone.

In this field, the new drone relies on a 1/2.3-inch sensor with a resolution of 12 MP. This makes it possible to shoot still images in JPEG format with the same resolution. However, most pilots are probably much more interested in videos.

Here, the DJI FPV drone comes up trumps with 4K video at up to 60 fps. The whole thing even at a maximum bit rate of 120 MBit/s. The videos are encoded in H.264 or H.265 – so everything is up-to-date.

Those who need even higher frame rates can select FullHD resolution and then record up to 120 fps. The frame rate depends on the selected FOV (viewing angle). At 150° FOV, 4K50p or 1080/100p is the end, at 142°, 60 or 120 fps are available. The FOV is switched automatically when the resolution is selected.

The lens has a focal length of 14.66 mm (35 mm equivalent) and a fixed aperture of f/2.86. The focus is also fixed with this design, of course. The closest focusing distance is 60 cm.

Typically, ISO and exposure time, as well as white balance, are controlled automatically. However, the parameters can also be set manually via the OSD.

Since DJI does not use a mechanical gimbal – the angle adjustment works differently – the RockSteady system known from the Osmo Action is used internally. This stabilizes the videos electronically (EIS) and is supposed to deliver gimbal-like results. This function can be combined with automatic distortion correction when the wide-angle option is used.

The camera can still be tilted vertically, however. This function serves on the one hand, to adjust the camera angle to the factory-angled propellers. This is also necessary to avoid propeller tips in the picture. Secondly, the camera can, of course, be adjusted manually on at least one axis.

✔️Controller: Let’s Play!

The new drone is usually controlled by a completely redesigned controller with two sticks. In contrast to the DJI Digital FPV System (here, DJI used the controller of the P4 series), the new DJI FPV Drone now comes with a GamePad-style controller.

The trend to design FPV controllers in-game controllers, like on the XBOX or PlayStation, has been on the rise in the FPV scene for some time. DJI has taken up this trend and presents the new DJI FPV Controller V2, a controller specially adapted for FPV usage.

The controller is kept quite simple and does not have its own display. The ergonomics of the handle shape are very good. The same applies to the workmanship: perfect.

The two control sticks, the power button and the C1 button, are located on the top. The main music plays on the front of the controller. Here pilots will find significantly more buttons than usual.

The entire thing is related to the blind operability of the remote control. Because when the pilot has the video goggles on his head, all buttons must be sensible and quickly accessible.

On the back, we, therefore, find the following buttons and switches:

  • Flight mode selection (see below): 3-position switch on the left.
  • Recording/trigger: shoulder button on the top right
  • Panic button, RTH: shoulder button top left
  • Takeoff/landing: shoulder button down right
  • Gimbal orientation: scroll wheel down left
  • Blink angle selection (+60°, 0°, -48°): 3-position switch right

Also, the new foldable antenna is mounted centrally on the back. As with most DJI drones, the control sticks are removable and stored inside the handles for transport. The integrated battery of the controller is charged via USB-C. So everything is up to date.

✔️DJI FPV Drone Motion Controller:

In addition to the standard controller, DJI also offers a completely new control concept together with the new FPV drone. The optional DJI Motion Controller uses motion detection instead of joysticks.

Some of you may know this type of control from the Nintendo Wii console. Acceleration and gyro sensors detect the new motion controller position in space, allowing you to control the DJI FPV drone with simple hand movements.

What may sound strange to experienced drone pilots is nothing less than a brilliant move by DJI. To reach more potential customers with FPV flight, intuitive control of the drone is essential. Not everyone can cope directly with the two-stick control. The DJI Motion Controller simply wipes away this problem: simply tilt or turn your hand, and the drone follows immediately.

The motion controller has inherited some similarities from the Osmo Mobile smartphone gimbal grips. It basically looks like an Osmo Mobile without the upper part with the gimbal. DJI has also attached all the essential buttons to this design that we find on the stick controller.

The throttle is activated by a pistol switch on the back of the handle. All in all, a very coherent concept that we believe has great potential and that we could also see in other drones in the future.

✔️Package contents: What you get for your money

The package contents of the new DJI FPV Combo are described quickly. You must pay close attention to the designation when buying. “DJI FPV Combo” is the standard model.

The DJI FPV Fly More Kit is the expansion kit. As with the Mavic 2 series, the Fly More accessories are offered as an extra product and not combined with the drone.

The following items are supplied with the DJI FPV Combo:

  • DJI FPV Drone
  • DJI FPV Goggles V2 and four antennas
  • DJI FPV Controller V2
  • 1x flight battery
  • Gimbal cover
  • Drone cover (neon green)
  • 8x propeller
  • Cable and Allen key
  • Charger
  • Spare control stick

The DJI FPV Fly More Kit also includes:

  • 2x flight battery
  • 1x DJI Battery Charging Hub
  • The new DJI Motion Controller is sold separately and is not automatically part of the Fly More Kit.

✔️Setting up the DJI FPV Drone

Setting up the drone is very simple. Since all components are delivered together in one box, the drone, controller, and FPV video goggles are already paired.

To get started, all you need to do is charge the batteries. For this, you will need the supplied power unit, which can charge both the flight battery and the battery for the FPV Goggles V2 and the FPV Controller V2. Alternatively, the motion controller can also be connected.

The propellers must be mounted before the first takeoff (or after a crash – we keep our fingers crossed!!!). As is typical for DJI, this is done with a twist-lock mechanism. The propellers are also color-coded with red and black so that you can’t confuse them.

It is also advisable to insert a microSD card in both the goggles and the drone. Both devices can now handle capacities of up to 256 GB per card for the first time. The memory cards must be purchased separately.

The flight battery is inserted into the back of the drone. The battery for the video goggles comes with a long cable, so you can just slip it into your trouser or jacket pocket. Ultimately, it is a kind of mini power bank to supply the glasses with power. Advantage and disadvantage at the same time. Advantage: you don’t have the battery’s weight on your head; disadvantage because you always have to have the battery and cable with you. If we were allowed to choose, a replaceable integrated battery would be the best solution.

The drone, controller, and video glasses can then be switched on. You do not need an app. The system works with these three components alone.

All settings are made via the OSD of the glasses. For this purpose, the video glasses have a small joystick on the upper right side with which the user can click through the menus. The flight OSD is otherwise very tidy. The focus here is clearly on the flight experience itself.

✔️The Fly App: An optional companion

The DJI Fly App is merely optional in the context of the new FPV drone. You can connect a smartphone with Fly App directly to the video goggles via the included USB OTG cable. This allows, for example, updates to the firmware of all components.

The smartphone can also be used as an additional screen for other viewers by transmitting the drone’s live image directly to the smartphone. This is a cool way to share the flight with friends. Overall, we really like that you don’t have to rely on a smartphone and app to have fun with the DJI FPV drone.

✔️DJI FPV Goggles V2 & OcuSync 3.0 (O3): 

Although many pilots naturally look first and foremost at the drone, they are flying. It is actually the components you come into direct contact with as a pilot that significantly determines the flying experience.

We have already talked about the two possible controllers above. But for us, the focus is clearly on the new DJI FPV Goggles V2. The new video goggles share many similarities with the first generation.

However, one new feature is that the full horizontal image resolution of 810 pixels can now be used. The refresh rate is still a maximum of 144 Hz.

Hand in hand with the new video glasses goes the introduction of O3 (OcuSync 3.0). DJI has once again optimized its popular OcuSync transmission system and made it fit for FPV applications. This manifests itself in latency of only 28 ms at a transmission rate of 120 fps or 40 ms at 60 fps. OcuSync 3.0 can now transport an astonishing 50 MBit/s through the air.

The range is unchanged compared to OcuSync 2.0. For CE operation, the maximum range is 5 miles under optimal conditions. In our test, flawless image quality was available up to the view of the spotter. Suppose you fly with a digital FPV system for the first time and have only flown analog before. In that case, you will find it hard to believe what the new DJI setup can do at first glance.

The DJI FPV Goggles V2 are powered by a separate 2S LiPo battery with an energy content of 18 Wh. However, an alternative voltage source with 11.1 to 25.2 V can also be used.

The reptile look with the four antennas has remained the same. The head mount with the rubber band is also identical to the V1. The contact surface for the face has been improved so that the video glasses can be worn very comfortably. And that even over a more extended period.

The adjustment options for the pupil distance are standard in the FPV segment. All in all, these components of the new FPV system also have a high-quality finish.

✔️Performance: Racer or Cruiser?

Let’s move on to the most exciting part of the review: The experiences we had with the drone in the air. Of course, we also want to address the question from the beginning of the article: Did DJI manages the balancing act between racer and cruiser?

Controlling the drone is easy for experienced drone pilots with the standard controller. The rotors are started by pulling both sticks inwards and downwards.

In S mode (hybrid mode), the DJI FPV drone is already very maneuverable on the move. It succeeds almost instantly good shots with the typical FPV style. The front-mounted C1 button allows you to easily switch between shifting roll angles.

M mode must first be activated in the menu. In our view, DJI was quite right to include this precaution. In M mode, the DJI FPV drone then really takes off. Full manual acro mode, perfect for freestyle action.

The drone actually manages a good balance between relaxed flying in N or S mode and real FPV action in M mode. However, the weight of 800 g cannot be ignored. You’ll notice that when it gets really tense in M mode.

In FPV filming (i.e., cruising and recording), however, the weight is rather advantageous in some wind conditions and stabilizes the drone in the air.

We achieved just under 15 minutes with some reserve and a relaxed flying style in terms of flight time. If you really push it in M mode, you can empty the 6S battery with 44 Wh in just a few minutes. 

Takeoff and landing are more relaxed with the new drone, by the way. The drone can take off and land automatically and then initially hovers at the height of about 1.2 m above the ground. This makes handling more manageable, especially for beginners, if you have the FPV goggles on your head. Augmented reality elements in the OSD, such as the drawn Home Point, are marked with a large “H” – round off the drone’s operation.

By the way: If you want to try out the drone virtually before your first real flight, you can now also use the new DJI FPV Simulator app. This allows you to get to know the flight behavior of the drone in advance without breaking anything.

✔️Conclusion

The DJI FPV drone belongs to an entirely new product category. Thus, drawing a simple comparison with similar models on the market is out of the question.

Overall, the drone can be well described with a single word: WOW!

Since the first rumors of a possible FPV drone from DJI, the question has been set: can DJI do real FPV? The answer is yes. And in a way that has not been seen before.

On the one hand, this is due to the good camera, which delivers super images despite relying on electronic image stabilization. Secondly, DJI shows off all its skills in the seamless integration of video goggles, controllers, and drone. This makes operation as simple and intuitive as we are used to from drones in the Mavic series.

The positive picture continues in the flight experience with the surprisingly good flight time. Assuming you take it easy in the air. If you prefer to heat up, you simply need more batteries. The Fly More kit’s total of three flight batteries is a good starting point there.

Is the drone something for die-hard racers? Tough question. The DJI FPV drone CAN be flown extremely fast and agile in M-mode. However, the weight of just under 800 grams cannot be ruled out even in this case. Nevertheless, the drone is fun to fly even in this mode. For us, however, the focus is clearly on the creative area and creating cool shots with an FPV drone as a useful tool.

And in this aspect, the DJI FPV drone is currently unparalleled. From us, there is a very clear recommendation if you are a drone enthusiast looking for something completely new!

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