There’s a growing “do it yourself” category of drones that give you a first-person view (FPV) of your drone flying in the world of drones. Mount a camera, set up a radio transmitter, and beam the drone’s video to some goggles, and you’ll feel like you’re flying. DJI’s latest $1,300 drone does all the hard work for you and even includes the goggles and remote.
Building your FPV drone will always come with its advantages, but DJI’s pre-built offering is compelling for anyone looking to get into FPV flying. It can last 20 minutes on a single charge, which may not sound like much compared to a standard drone but is much longer than most FPV drones. Those often last as little as five minutes and max out at 15 minutes.
The FPV drone also has three flight modes to ease you into things. Normal mode limits your speed to 31 mph, enables auto-leveling, and will maintain altitude for you. Sport mode increases the speed to 60 mph. And manual mode pumps the speed up to 87 mph and turns off all the assistance. It’s the most difficult mode, but it’s also the only one that will let you pull flips and tricks.
Most DIY FPV drones rely on an analog signal to get drone videos to your goggles. Analog has less range but lower latency. DJI’s FPV drone uses a digital signal, which gives it more range—you can fly the drone further away in FPV mode. But the drone uses the company’s OcuSync technology to keep latency low, at least compared to the usual digital transmission.
You can also adjust the goggles to lower the resolution and increase the frame rate (from 60 fps up to 120 fps) to help with reaction times. In normal mode, the drone uses sensors for object avoidance to help prevent crashes. The kit comes with the drone, goggles, a standard controller, and a motion controller.
The camera is capable of 4K, 60fps footage in a super-wide view of 150 degrees and uses a single-axis gimbal to stabilize the image. When you want, you can turn on super slow motion to show off close calls or that terrifying crash.