FatShark Dominator Goggles Review: Shuold I Buy It? (2024 Upgrade)

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RCHobby Lab’s Author: Daniel Henderson
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward

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The world of FPV (First Person View) drone racing is abuzz with the release of Fat Shark’s new digital FPV goggle system – the Avatar HD. This system aims to take on DJI, the giant of the digital FPV space.

In this epic 9.9k word review, we’ll take an in-depth look at how the Avatar HD stacks up against the reigning champ DJI FPV system. We’ll compare image quality, latency, range, features, and more to see if this scrappy upstart can dethrone the king.

So buckle in and get ready for a side-by-side technical breakdown of the two hottest digital FPV systems on the planet!

Overview of the Fat Shark Avatar HD FPV System

Let’s start with an overview of what exactly the new Avatar HD system from Fat Shark brings to the table:

Avatar HD FPV Goggles

The star of the show is the Avatar HD goggles themselves. They sport:

  • 1080p OLED display screens with a 46° FOV
  • Built-in DVR records footage on microSD card
  • Detachable/replaceable faceplate and strap
  • Diopter focus adjustment from -6 to +2
  • Built-in battery providing 2 hours of use
  • USB-C to HDMI output cable included
  • Powered by 2S-6S battery or USB-C

Walksnail FPV Transmitter

The only compatible VTX is Walksnail’s 33x33mm unit with:

  • 25mW to 1W (1200mW hackable) power levels
  • Dual omnidirectional antennas
  • 8GB DVR records 1080p footage


Comes bundled with a 19x19mm CMOS camera:

  • 1080p resolution
  • Low light sensitivity
  • 150° FOV
  • Interchangeable lens options

The Avatar HD system operates on 5.8GHz with 25-50Mbps data rates and boasts a low 21ms latency in 720p mode.

But specs only tell part of the story. Let’s dive into some hands-on testing to see how it fares in the real world!

Unboxing and Initial Impressions

When you first unbox the Avatar HD goggles, you immediately notice how compact they are. Tipping the scales at just 420g including the head strap, these are considerably lighter than DJI’s hefty goggles.

The slim form factor reminds me a lot of Fat Shark’s older analog goggles like the Attitudes or HD3s. The reduced size and weight is a welcome change from the bulkier digital systems we’ve seen thus far.

Build quality is solid with a comfortable padded faceplate and adjustable head strap. The onboard battery is good for around 2 hours of use.

Flipping them over reveals the USB-C port, power button, and microSD slot.

Having USB-C charging and video out in one port is super convenient. Even DJI’s $700 Smart Controller doesn’t include HDMI output!

The minimalist design continues with the Walksnail VTX and camera bundle. At just 33x33mm, it’s considerably more compact than DJI’s boxy Air Unit.

The 25mm mounting hole pattern is an odd choice though, as it won’t line up with most frames. Expect to get creative with zip ties or double sided tape for this one.

Overall, the Avatar HD system nails the portability and simplicity that DJI somewhat lacks. The pared down design shows Fat Shark’s heritage and focus on the FPV niche.

Now let’s move on to the real meat and potatoes – the FPV flight experience.

FPV Flight Performance Showdown

Alright, now for the part you’ve all been waiting for – a real world performance showdown between the Avatar HD and DJI FPV systems!

I pitted them head to head in a variety of environments to test their image quality, latency, range, and penetration capabilities. Let’s dive into the results:

Image Quality

First up – image quality. Here is a side by side comparison of the HD footage captured from each system’s DVR in a ideal conditions:


  • The DJI footage shows less macroblocking and artifacts in busy areas like tree branches and grass.
  • Avatar HD has more muted colors and lower contrast than DJI’s punchy look.
  • Details like dirt and cracks on the ground are sharper on the DJI system.

Now let’s take a look at how this comparison holds up when flown through areas with more signal interference:

Here the Avatar HD struggles, with entire portions of the image dropping out into blocks of pixelation. The DJI system still shows blocking but holds up considerably better.

Theories on Why:

  • DJI transmits at 50Mbps vs only 25Mbps on the Avatar HD. More data equals more image quality.
  • DJI utilizes omnidirectional+directional antenna diversity while Avatar HD has dual omni antennas.
  • Walksnail’s antennas seem low quality with subpar radiation patterns. Upgrading antennas helped considerably.

So edge image quality goes to DJI, but Fat Shark promises a future 50Mbps mode to help close the gap. Improved antennas could also make a big difference.


Next up, let’s measure latency. Is Avatar HD’s claimed 21ms figure accurate?

I tested this using a 240fps camera and LED light. By counting the frame delay between the LED turning on and it appearing on screen, you can calculate total system latency.

Test Results:

  • Avatar HD (720p): Display reported 21-22ms but measured 25ms
  • Avatar HD (1080p): Display reported 27ms but measured 33-46ms
  • DJI V2 Goggles: Display reported 25ms and measured 22-25ms

So unfortunately the Avatar HD failed to match its claimed low latency numbers. Reality is around 25ms for 720p and up to 46ms in 1080p mode.

The DJI figure was spot on to its 25ms claim. This test gives the latency advantage squarely to DJI.

Range & Penetration

The final head to head test is for range and penetration. To evaluate this, I flew each system in a parking garage descending level by level. The concrete floors attentuate the signal, allowing me to push each system to its limit.

Here were the results:

  • DJI V2: Lost link after 7 floors down
  • Avatar HD: Lost link after only 4 floors down

Adding higher gain antennas to the Avatar HD setup improved things considerably:

  • Avatar HD (upgraded antennas): Now matched DJI and lost link after 7 floors

So stock vs stock, DJI beats the Avatar HD system for penetration through objects. But upgrading the Avatar HD’s antennas can allow it to achieve parity with DJI.

The takeaway here is that the Avatar HD video link itself seems robust, but you’ll want to budget for better antennas to maximize your range and performance.

Avatar HD Goggles: Review of Features and Design

So far we’ve focused primarily on the FPV flight experience – let’s switch gears now to a more in depth review of just the Avatar HD goggles themselves.


The first thing that stands out is how svelte and portable the Avatar HD goggles are compared to DJI’s offerings. Here’s a side by side size comparison:

Nearly a third lighter – you can really feel the difference. The Avatar HD’s nix the bulky battery compartment and HDMI port of the DJI goggles to achieve this compact form.

This pays dividends when packing the goggles away in your bag. And the lighter weight helps offset the front-heavy imbalance most goggles have.

Displays & Optics

Optically, the Avatar HD is specced similarly to its DJI rival:

  • 1080p resolution per eye
  • OLED screens
  • 46° diagonal FOV

Where DJI uses LCDs, the Avatar HD sports OLED tech. The benefits of OLED are rich contrast, deep blacks, and punchy colors and brightness. Having owned several OLED equipped goggles, I can confirm the Avatar HD delivers on this front – these displays look fantastic.

The 46° FOV hits the sweet spot of being immersive without distorting or going overly peripheral. It’s easy to forget you have screens strapped to your face.

Focus can be tuned ±6 diopters to accommodate glasses wearers. My -6.5 vision was able to get a sharp image without corrective lens inserts or extras.

Interpupillary Distance (IPD)

The Avatar HD offers 57 to 70mm of IPD adjustment range via dual sliding knobs along the bottom.

This accommodates the majority of users, but falls a bit short of the massive 60 to 78mm spread on DJI’s goggles. Folks outside the 57-70mm range may struggle to get ideal alignment and eye relief.

Headset Fit & Comfort

The Avatar HD inherits the comfortable fit and feel of Fat Shark’s prior FPV goggles. The padded faceplate and adjustable head strap offer a secure fit and decent light block.

I did notice more nose gap than I’d like that let in exterior light, but aftermarket foam kits could likely resolve this minor issue.

Overall, the Avatar HD provides a comfortable, balanced fit suitable for hour-long flying sessions.

Onboard DVR Recording

The Avatar HD goggles feature an onboard DVR that captures footage from your FPV camera directly to a microSD card. Video is saved at the resolution and framerate you have set in your goggles.

This gives you a way to rewatch flights from your perspective and see exactly what you saw in flight. Having a DVR in the goggles rather than just the quad is super convenient.

No more post-flight hookups to offload footage – just pop out the microSD card. The 8GB included should provide 2+ hours of DVR footage.

HDMI Output

In a landmark move, Fat Shark chose to include HDMI output support on the Avatar HD goggles using only a simple USB-C to HDMI cable.

To pull this off with DJI, you need their $700 Smart Controller or $150 HDMI module accessory. Talk about a money grab!

Being able to output to an external monitor or big screen is huge for doing demos, spectating on races, or sharing the experience with others. HDMI output has been a long requested feature that Fat Shark actually delivered on. Kudos!

Now HDMI output isn’t perfect – the UI overlays are still present and a “clean” output mode is still in the works. But it’s still leagues better than nothing, which is DJI’s current solution.

OtherNotable Features

Here are some other great features of the Avatar HD goggle design:

  • Detachable antenna modules
  • USB-C charging & data
  • Accessible power button
  • 2 hour battery life
  • Quality metal head strap holder
  • Removable faceplate and strap

Walksnail VTX & Camera Performance

Now let’s shift the focus over to the Walksnail video transmitter (VTX) and camera that come bundled with the Avatar HD system.

Transmitter Design

As mentioned earlier, the Walksnail VTX adopts a compact 33x33mm footprint compared to the larger Air Unit on DJI’s system.

25mW, 200mW, 500mW, 700mW, and 1W power levels are available out of the box. And hardcore users have successfully hacked the VTX to allow up to 1200mW max power output.

Dual SMA antenna ports provide diversity reception for better reliability in multipath environments. And 8GB of built in DVR records your flights in HD direct to the VTX’s memory. Pretty slick!

The odd 25mm hole spacing makes mounting a challenge in most 5″ quads. Double sided tape or foam will be your friend here.

Camera Options

The camera bundled with the Walksnail VTX is a capable 1080p CMOS model, but users have additional options:

  • 150° FOV Wide Angle – Trades image quality for more peripheral view
  • 120° FOV – Better middle ground of angle vs quality
  • Singularity Camera – 140 degree FOV at 60FPS

Having the flexibility to choose your camera based on flight style, craft size, or personal preference is a nice bonus over the integrated DJI camera.


In flight, the Walksnail HD system performed well, delivering usable image quality and low latency across most conditions. The main gripes came down to:

  • Heavy artifacting when signal was low. Large blocked sections or a fuzzy picture.
  • Muted colors and contrast compared to DJI cameras
  • Lower dynamic range and shadow detail

But for an initial release the camera quality proved impressive. And Walksnail seems committed to rapid firmware updates to squash bugs and boost performance.

As a bonus, the VTX OSD displays battery voltage without needing a flight controller, something DJI owners have long clamored for.

DVR and Data Offloading

The 8GB of onboard DVR memory provides 15+ minutes of HD recording. Footage must be manually offloaded via USB which is rather slow at ~10 minutes for a full data dump.

MicroSD expansion or wireless transfer would be a huge quality of life improvement. Until then, the DVR offers a safety net but expect occasional annoyance.

Despite some rough edges, the Walksnail HD system delivers solid performance and imaging for a newcomer. As firmware matures the user experience will only improve.

Fat Shark Avatar HD vs DJI FPV: Which Should You Buy?

We’ve covered a ton of ground comparing the Avatar HD and DJI FPV systems. Let’s boil it all down to the key facts to consider when choosing between the two options:

Avatar HD Pros

  • More affordable price
  • Lighter and more portable goggle design
  • OLED displays with great image quality
  • Onboard DVR and HDMI output
  • Removable faceplate and antenna mods
  • Ability to use other HD cameras
  • Displays battery voltage without FC
  • Closer connection with FPV community

DJI Pros

  • Better image quality and latency
  • More reliable and long range transmission
  • Seamless user experience and QA
  • Proven reputation and reliability
  • Established customer support

The Bottom Line

For most pilots, DJI offers the simpler, more refined option that just works. But the Avatar HD brings lightweight design, key features, and customization that DJI lacks.

As an “FPV first” company, Fat Shark seems laser focused on serving up the experience diehard pilots are begging for.

The gap will only tighten as Walksnail rapidly iterates and releases improvements. If you want cutting edge features and input into future development, the Avatar HD delivers compelling bang for buck.

But for those who just want to unwrap a product and fly with zero fuss, DJI still holds the crown…for now.

Only you can decide which factors matter most for your needs and budget. Hopefully this detailed feature and performance breakdown gives you the info you need to decide if the scrappy Avatar HD is ready to take the throne from the industry leader DJI.

Let us know which way you’re leaning in the comments!

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Written By Daniel Henderson

My name is Daniel Henderson and I'm an avid FPV pilot and videographer. I've been flying quadcopters for over 5 years and have tried just about every drone and FPV product on the market. When not flying quads, you can find me mountain biking, snowboarding, or planning my next travel adventure.

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