DJI has finally brought FPV into the high-definition era. Until now, FPV pilots settled for a low-resolution, blurry image that turned into static when signal got weak. So why did we all use analog? Previous HD FPV systems all disappointed with excessive cost, high latency, unreliable link, and poor build quality.
The DJI digital high-definition FPV system is the first to actually make HD FPV “just work”. Range is about the same as typical 5.8 GHz analog systems, but in glorious HD resolution. Latency is excellent at best and tolerable at worst. Setup and installation are simple, especially with new flight controllers that are designed for one-plug connection to the Air Unit. The goggle screen is huge, bright, clear, and colorful. The menus are intuitive and easy to use. Everything about the system has the polish and performance that DJI customers have come to take for granted.
The DJI system is legitimately good. But it’s not perfect. What are the drawbacks? Compared to a ultra-premium analog system, the DJI system is not too much more expensive. But a budget analog system can get you into the air for a fraction of the price. The DJI system is bigger than an analog system, so installing it in a frame can be tricky (see below on this page for frames specifically designed to fit the DJI Air Unit).
The biggest caveat when deciding whether to buy the DJI FPV system is how it interacts with other pilots using traditional analog systems. If you’re using DJI goggles, your friends using analog goggles can’t watch your FPV feeds. (You can still receive analog signals using a receiver module and the DJI goggles’ AV input.) Another drawback is that the DJI system can only show some of the flight controller’s on-screen-display information. This means some important troubleshooting information is not available. However, DJI has been adding more OSD elements in each firmware update, so this may change in the future.
All that being said, the emotional impact of flying in HD is profound. The more I fly the DJI system, the more I love it, and the harder it is to go back to standard-definition analog. Unfortunately, this is impossible to convey via a web page or YouTube video. So if you get the chance to try out the DJI system yourself, do it. But be careful, because you might find yourself pulling out your credit card when you didn’t mean to.