After much speculation, leaks and excitement, DJI finally unveils their latest offering, the DJI FPV Combo. FPV racing and freestyle drones have always been an exciting but extremely difficult hobby to be involved in. From learning how to build your own drone to becoming a decent pilot required the type of time and patience that many people just didn’t have. DJI has crafted a product that can give you all the excitement of FPV drone flying, without the steep learning curve and expensive crashes, but is it the ideal offering for your hard-earned dollars?
The DJI FPV Combo comes with everything you need to get started. Done, Remote, FPV Goggles and all the accessories. The remote in the box is a game controller style that many drone owners will be familiar with. It’s comfortable and has adjustable gimbals for feel and a few programmable switches. The DJI FPV Combo’s controller has several dedicated switches for the camera control and flight modes. It even has an emergency brake button that will bring the drone to a halt and hover it in place.
The goggles the FPV Combo ships with adjustable straps and lenses. They will fit over glasses and have HD 810p resolution screens with a max refresh rate of 144hz. The antennae attach to the front and there are several buttons that can be used to control the menu features. There’s a usb Type-C port for firmware updates and to allow it to link with the DJI Fly app on your smartphone. There’s a sd card slot so you can record your flights. The FPV Combo’s goggles also have an analog input so you can hook up an analog receiver for your analog drones.
The DJI FPV Combo drone itself is a rigid plastic frame drone with 5” tri-blade propellers, similar to a traditional FPV racing drone. The battery is a 6s 2000mah lithium polymer battery which can deliver enough power for speeds up to 140 km/h. There are 3 flight modes. N or Normal mode which maintains altitude for the pilot and has obstacle detection / warning / avoidance features. Speed is limited and controls are somewhat simplified. S or Sport mode still has altitude / position hold abilities but no longer brakes for obstacles and allows for much faster flight. M mode is for seasoned pilots who know how to manually control a drone. This allows for maximum speed and manoeuvrability. In any mode, there is an emergency stop button which will bring the drone to a halt. If that button is held, the DJI drone will return to it’s recorded home point automatically.
DJI FPV Combo has a 4k camera that is capable of 60fps recording. It’s stabilized on a 1 axis gimbal and there is software stabilization built in. The gimbal angle can be controlled via the remote, which is unique for FPV drones. There’s an iOS app for flight training and an android / iOS app that will allow you to view your flights in real time as well as access some camera settings.
The DJI FPV Combo drone promises to offer the best of both worlds. All the safety features of DJI’s consumer / professional camera drones like GPS, obstacle detection, Return To Home when the link is lost etc. while giving the speed and immersive experience of FPV flight.
For testing the DJI FPV Combo, I ran it through its paces on several occasions. Sadly due to weather conditions in Ontario, there was a limited window for test flights, but I managed to make the most of my time before the embargo hit. I tested in a variety of settings, including: Different lighting, different pilots, different weather conditions. I wanted a beginner to try it, and an FPV hobbyist. I also wanted the opinion of a cinematographer who uses drones a lot, just to get the best sense on whom the DJI FPV Combo is for.
Flight characteristics: For beginner with drone experience – excellent. Easy to use, intuitive. Flies just like the drones you’re used to and allows you to immediately get into the FPV mode and not worry about getting into too much trouble. For Expert: Not that much fun. It’s a heavy drone that isn’t tuned the way a racing drone is. Very analogous to the difference between a sports car with street tires and a race car on the track.
Camera Characteristics: For a typical person.. Amazingly good — clear picture and great video. Even good enough in the right setting for the pro content creator etc. Not versatile enough for true cinematic work. Lacks 24p shutter speed and the propellers are annoyingly in view.
Goggles: For beginner and pro who wants to stay within the DJI family, they are the best image quality on the market.
At the end of the day, the biggest question about the DJI FPV Combo is who is it for. As a package deal it doesn’t get any easier to get into FPV. It’s pretty expensive for someone who isn’t sure about it but its wonderful value if you consider that you’re getting the goggles which are compatible with all their other FPV gear and cost $750 CAD on their own. I don’t think many hobbyists will want it. This is mostly for the person that flies a camera drone and always wanted to get into FPV, but didn’t want to go through the hard way.
But at the end of the day, the DJI FPV Combo is an exciting offering, and a great entry into the drone FPV space. While it is expensive, and a bit much for the person only looking to jump into drones, it offers a lot and is an easy entry point into FPV drone flying. I wish the documentation and features were a bit more ironed out, but as a full package it delivers where it needs to, even if you have to pay out to get that experience.