Fat Shark FSV1076 Dominator HD3 Review
3 - 3
Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner
- FOV 42°Diagonal
- 59-69mm IPD Range (adjustable)
- SVGA 800 X 600 Native Display
- HDMI input mode 800x480 16:9 ratio
- Support Side/Side 3D
- NTSC/PAL Auto Selecting
- HD media interface720p Support
- Modular Head Tracker Bay
- Modular Receiver Bay
- DCin: 7-13V (2S/3S)
- Power Consumption: 4W
- Integrated Analog DVR (not HD)
- DominatorHD3 Headset with fan-equipped faceplate
- Zipper Case
- 7.4V 1800mAh Battery with LED Indicator
- AV Cable
- Mini to Mini high definition media interface cable (include Mini to Micro, Mini to Standard high definition media interface adapters)
- Faceplate is comfortable
- Built-in fan keeps lenses from fogging
- Built in DVR
- Nice size screens
- Easy to use
- Quality feel
- LOOK GREAT!
- 800 x 600 displays ROCK!
- Pricey for not including a receiver
For this review, I would like to start with a bit of a disclaimer... I am not an expert drone racer, a sponsored professional or anything cool like that. To add to this disclaimer, I will be borrowing some text from my Dominator SE review because a lot of my points are still valid. That said, as you may know, I am a relative intermediate in the world of FPV, but I have owned a few sets of FPV headsets to know what I like and what I don't like and why. I have bounced in and out of FPV goggle forums, but I usually get lost or confused by the overwhelming amount of nerdspeak and stop following them. My review here is more or less aimed at the average RC guy/gal who finds themselves on the fence deciding which headset they want to buy. Most name brand goggles are not cheap, so this is not a decision to make hastily or without doing your homework. My apologies if this is not the technical review you were looking for.
To give you some background, my first set of goggles were the Fat Shark Attitude V2s. They were much better than the Teleporters I had tried on at the hobby shop, but I could never get used to the eye-cups. If I wore them too tightly, my long eyelashes would hit the lenses and make smudges. If I wore them loosely, the felt like they were falling and I had to raise my cheeks to get them to sit properly. I ended up selling them and decided to try a set of HeadPlays. I have really enjoyed the HeadPlays. I like them so much, I sold my first pair to buy the new version 2. The image is great, they are comfortable, and the menus are easy to navigate. My only issues with the HeadPlays are their bulk and the absence of a built-in DVR or video out port. HeadPlay has remedied the DVR issue by including a harness that plugs right into a DVR that is sold separately. In addition to my Headplays, as you know, I got a set of the Dominator SEs. I freaking loved them. I found that I prefer the Dominator goggles for quad flying, and prefer the HeadPlays for fixed wing cruising around.
By the time the HD3s arrived on the market, I was pretty certain I would be in the FPV for the foreseeable future. I figured at this point, I could treat myself and pick up a pair of the arguably best FPV goggles on the market. After chatting with the FB rep for Underground FPV and getting his professional advice, I decided to go ahead and order a set.
I don't like to waste much time in this section as the list of included items above pretty much tells you what's in the box. The box itself is a minimalist design, and gives you a feel that you are buying a new gadget from Apple. I was very pleased with the quality and size of the carrying case. You can put your antenna and battery in there with your goggles without the fear of damaging something. I was glad to see that you get a nice 1800mah 2s lipo with the HD3 versus the 1000mah I got with the SE. It also has the indicator lights built onto it to let you know quickly how much charge you have left. One major note to be aware of... DO NOT BALANCE CHARGE THIS BATTERY! I was about to do just that but I just happened to pick up the manual before I could hook my battery up. The plug that looks like the balance plug is actually just used for powering the fan. Do not try to balance it using that plug. If you don't have the charging adapter, Fat Shark gives you one so you don't have to buy it separately.
There are a couple sets of foam for the face plate to accommodate your face. I liked the feel of the thicker one, so I use that one. It goes on with a velcro-like material, so if you try one on and don't like it, you do not have to commit to it. Comfort-wise, the newer faceplate design is genius! It is such an improvement over the eye-cups that were on my Attitude V2s. The Dominator HD3s have improved on the ergonomics from the SE. It is a slight difference, but it is noticeable. The goggles feel closer to your face.
On item worth mentioning if you didn't see it in the specs is, the HD3s do NOT come with a video receiver or antenna. This is a mostly good thing as you don't pay for an antenna or receiver you'll upgrade anyway, but when you are spending $500, you kinda wish it came with something to make the goggles usable straight from the box. After browsing around and talking to the guys at my local field, I decided to go with the Furious True-D V.3 module (will review this product separately). It is a diversity receiver and it has an LCD screen and 3 buttons for navigation which makes switching channels and bands a breeze. It also drops right into your goggles and fits right into the receiver bay on the left side. No crazy cable running across your headset like the other diversity modules.
Once I got my goggles set up and ready to go, I fired up my brand new Blade Torrent 110. I really, really loved the way the HD3s feel. They feel a lot like the SE, but a bit better. Like the SE, the larger screens actually make it feel like I was flying with my HeadPlays. What I couldn't believe was how much better the HD3 screens look even compared to the SE. I really thought I was flying top of the line with the SE, but these definitely take it up a noticeable notch. Again, unlike the HeadPlays, I don't feel like I have any significant weight on my head. Not that the HeadPlays are really heavy, but the small Dominator form factor feels really nice.
Navigating through the functions of the HD3s is still as easy as ever. I was excited at the additional functionality the HD3s have over the SE, like HDMI and the ability for 3D. Brightness and contrast are also easily adjusted on the fly using the buttons. Recording your flight footage is just a button press away. I know most of our models can carry some sort of action camera, but there is something really satisfying about recording exactly what you saw through your camera and goggles. It is of particular advantage if you are flying a micro quad or plane that can't carry an action camera. I definitely feel the field of view is perfect with these goggles. Not a crazy panoramic view like the HeadPlays, but plenty to see and narrow enough to keep you focused on what is in front of you.
One thing I was concerned about were these "blurred edges" some Dominator wearers have complained about. I haven't noticed anything like that. I don't know if it was ever a real issue and FatShark took care of it, or if people were just spending too much time looking at the extreme ends of their screens. As I wear glasses for seeing stuff at a distance, I thought I would need diopters for to correct my view of the screens but I don't. If you are far-sighted, you may have to buy the positive diopters to clear your image up a bit.
Since getting my HD3s, I have been flying with pretty much every quad I own to see how awesome it looks through the HD3s.
I really can't believe how much I was missing by flying with goggles with specs less than the HD3s. I also can't tell you enough how awesome they feel on your face. As much as I love my HeadPlays, there is a level of distraction when you so obviously feel that there is something on your face and attached to your head. With the HD3s, you really almost forget you are wearing them, they are that comfortable.
There is no doubt in my mind, that if you try out a friends HD3s, you're going to fall in love with them. However, like me, if you have never used something this good, you really don't know what you are missing. In some cases, this is a good thing. I have seen tons of guys buy high-end equipment only to drop out of the hobby months or maybe a year later. If you don't own a set of goggles yet, but you have flown with someone else's equipment and KNOW you are committed to the hobby, then there is nothing wrong with starting with the best goggles around. If dropping $500 on your first set of goggles frightens you or doesn't match up with your bank account, there are tons of great entry level and wallet friendly headsets out there... a few even from FatShark. If you do start with something else and stay in the hobby, I can assure you, at some point, you will want to own a set of Dominator HD3s. Just so you know, this is not a sponsored review, I paid out of my own pocket for these. The video below is just my comparison to of the Furious Module with a standard FatShark module in my interference crazy neighborhood. Also, sorry for the pic of my blurry mug, I definitely felt sexier and slimmer in the black and orange SEs (LOL), but the HD3s rock!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, to catch the latest reviews, follow us on Twitter @RealRCReviews or our facebook page, and please subscribe to our youtube channel when you watch the vid.