- The Best Headset for DJI Owners: The DJI Goggles
- DJI Mavic Mini
- DJI Tello
- Best Overall FPV/VR Drone: DJI Mavic Pro
- The Best VR Drone Camera Combo: DJI Phantom 4 PRO
- Best All-On-One FPV/VR Drone Solution: The Parrot Bebop 2 FPV
- Best Upgradeable VR Drone: The DJI Spark
- The Best Budget VR Drone Bundle: Sky Viper V2400 HD
- VR Drones In the Hot Seat
Virtual reality is a white-hot buzzword right now, with immersive head-mounted displays that can take you to a whole other world.
The rise of VR has also had an effect on the world of drones. Specifically the art of FPV or “first-person view” flying. We’ve had simple video goggles for years now, but modern FPV gear is beginning to share significant aspects of VR headset technology. Also, don’t forget that cameras that capture VR content, 360-degree videos, are becoming commonplace.
Even if you aren’t using that sort of camera equipment, gimbals are now also pretty much standard on camera drones and it’s really only in the drone racing world where FPV with fixed cameras is the main style.
Let’s look at the top VR drones for next-generation VR-inspired FPV and the hardware that drives them.
Short on time? We put together this list of the best choices:
|VR Drone Model||Price||Our Score||Flight Time||Camera||Range|
|DJI Mavic Air 2 Quadcopter|
Best Buy 2020
|34 min||1/2-inch CMOS sensor 4K Video||Up to 10 km|
|Mavic 2 Goggles Combo|
Best Pro Choice
|31 min||20 MP 1" CMOS Sensor||Up to 8 km|
|Phantom 4 PRO Goggles combo||30 min||20 MP 1" CMOS Sensor||7 km|
|Parrot Bebop 2|
Best Budget Drone for VR
|25 min||14 MP||300 m|
The Best Headset for DJI Owners: The DJI Goggles
Actually, before we get to the VR drones themselves I’d like to highlight the latest DJI drone VR goggles for two reasons.
For one thing, they’re compatible with the Mavic Pro and both the Phantom and Inspire product series. Depending on the specific drone these google support head tracking, full 360-degree video and both 720p/60fps and 1080p/30fps streaming depending on the range.
The latency is also incredibly good given how far the video signals have to be transmitted in the round-trip. DJI says the latency is a blistering 110 ms.
The design of the DJI Goggles have also clearly taken inspiration from current VR devices such as the Oculus Rift and Sony Playstation VR. In particular the DJI goggles have a flip-up feature taken straight from the Playstation VR, which let’s you quickly get a bearing of your surroundings.
The DJI Goggles also support a number of 3rd-party transmission sources, but I suggest making sure it works with the gear you want to use before committing to it.
Camera: 12 MP aerial photos
Flight Time: 30-minute flight time
Range: 1 ½ mile flight range
What We Like
- The 3-axis gimbal provides better stability
- Lightweight option that weighs only 0.55 pounds
- You don’t need to register the drone with the government
- Captures 2.7K HD videos in the air
The DJI Mavic Mini is a lightweight VR drone that can stay airborne quite a long time.
The weight of the drone is only 0.55 pounds in total, and it can fly for up to 30 minutes when the battery has been fully charged.
Mavic Mini Features
This VR drone comes with a camera that captures 2.7K HD videos and offers smooth footage even while moving with the 3-axis gimbal that stabilizes the drone as it flies.
This ensures that you get the best footage possible even if your drone is flying at its highest speed of 29 MPH.
This Mavic Mini is a great for beginners because it comes with a Flight Tutorial that will easily walk you through how to fly the drone.
This will allow those who have never flown a drone before to learn how to properly do so quickly so they can feel confident flying after the first time.
This tutorial will also teach you how to better control the camera for better photos and videos from day one.
Flight Time: 13-minute flight time
Range: 100m flight distance
Camera: 5 MP photos
What We Like
- Stabilising technology for clear photos
- Intel 14-Core processor creates clear footage
- Includes propeller protectors for added safety
The Ryze Tech Tello drone is a lightweight option that weighs only 80 grams in total and allows for an easier flying experience.
The DJI Tello comes with automatic take-off and landing technology that allows you to lift off and land with just the press of a button. This takes away the nervousness from having to learn how to properly land your drone without damaging it for those who are not used to flying drones.
This also makes it easy to get into the air quickly as well.
There is also an added feature that lets the drone land in the event that you lose connection with the drone itself and can’t land it on your own. This will keep your drone from dropping out of the sky if you fly it too far away.
The camera that comes with this drone takes 5 MP photos that are crystal clear even when the drone is moving at high speeds.
The Tello drone is a safe option for those who have never flown a drone before because it comes with multiple safety features that will ensure that you fly and land the model without breaking it. With the automatic take-off and landing and the fail-safe land that happens when you lose connection, your drone will not be damaged easily.
For those who are more experience with flying drones, you can simply toss the Tello into the air to get it started, and begin doing tricks like 8D flips and other aerial stunts with the remote. Or, if you want to have some fun, just use the bounce mode to make the drone move up and down on its own.
Best Overall FPV/VR Drone: DJI Mavic Pro
I think without a doubt the combination of the DJI Mavic and the DJI Goggles provides one of the most advanced FPV experiences today.
The Mavic is a compact yet fairly high-end drone made by DJI has 4K video, a 3-axis gimbal and 27 minutes of flight time. At least, that’s the claim. In reality you’ll probably get a little less than that in real world conditions.
The Mavic Pro is not a big drone, which is sort of the point. For one thing, the Mavic Pro folds up for easy transport and it’s an all-in-one design with the camera and gimbal encapsulated within a clear housing.
The coolest aspect is directly controlling the gimbal with just the motion of your head while wearing the VR headset. It’s an almost-instant 1:1 movement of the camera with your head, which means that you can now easily control both the camera and the flight controls at the same time. That’s a big advantage over the traditional approach where one person gets the shot while the other flies.
While it’s not as fast and robust as a DJI Phantom, the Mavic beautifully walks the line between a professional drone and one for mainstream consumers.
The Best VR Drone Camera Combo: DJI Phantom 4 PRO
I think most people want to try FPV/VR flying to experience flight in a more personal way. It’s a very different experience to watching a screen on your controller and most of us will never get the chance to sit in the cockpit of a real aircraft. At least not more than once or twice.
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a real advantage to VR flight for those who are interested in making great clips for professional use.
For one thing, when you wear VR goggles you don’t have to worry about your LCD being invisible in bright outdoor light. Yes, shade visors help, but LCD displays just don’t fare well in the outdoors.
Secondly, by using head tracking to control the camera gimbal, you can eliminate the need for a second person to split the camera and piloting duties. So head-tracked VR is about more than just being cool.
This means that in some cases you’ll really want a great photographic platform and that’s where the Phantom 4 Pro from DJI comes into play.
This drone is probably the best photography drone before we get to the big industrial units that can carry SLRs and other custom camera equipment.
With a one inch Sony EXMOR 20 megapixel sensor and up to 30 minutes of flight time it’s hard to think of a better machine for the money.
You have a 7 kilometer range, plenty of intelligent flight features such as obstacle detection and the ability to take 4K footage at 60 FPS.
If you want to be a one-person photography monster, this is the way to go unless you have the sort of cash to stump up for the Inspire or better, but for most people the sweet spot is right here.
Best All-On-One FPV/VR Drone Solution: The Parrot Bebop 2 FPV
You’d be forgiven in thinking that Parrot is no longer around. The company started out right at the beginning of the camera drone revolution with the original AR Drone, but since then has been fairly low-profile as the like of DJI get all the attention.
Make no mistake however, Parrot is still making some great consumer drones and if you want something that will just work out of the box then this Bebop 2 FPV is pretty hard to beat.
In the box you’ll find the Bebop itself, the Parrot Cockpitglasses and the Parrot Sky Controller 2. They’re all made to look like a set and it’s a very futuristic design overall. The Bebop 2 can shoot 1080p videos or 14 megapixel photos.
There’s not gimbal, but you do get 3-axis digital stabilisation which ends up looking pretty good for amateur footage.
The Cockpitglasses don’t contain any video hardware, but need your smartphone and the appropriate app to work. You slip the phone into the case and then the video is beamed there via wireless transmission.
While this is no Mavic Pro, the Bebop 2 has an excellent 25 minute flight time, is compact and doesn’t weigh much at all. It’s pretty much the perfect park flyer for those who want a decent drone, but don’t want to splurge on the FPV hardware.
Thanks to the Skycontroller 2the Bebop can fly out up to about 1.9 kilometers, which is OK but not really a platform for urban exploration.
Best Upgradeable VR Drone: The DJI Spark
The Spark is a revolutionary new mini-drone from DJI that we quite liked, but there has been a lot of misinformation when it comes to the FPV abilities of this little wonder.
One big question has been whether it would work with DJI’s premier VR/FPV Goggles. On the DJI site itself the company has confirmed that compatibility with the DJI Goggles is coming “soon”, but plenty of YouTubers have demonstrated that the latest update is fairly compatible with the Goggles, it’s just not officially sanctioned yet.
The great thing about the Spark is that it’s affordable, but has some pretty good specifications.
One of the way DJI have kept the cost down is by now including a dedicated radio in the standard retail package. In this case you mainly use the automated flight features or take control using the DJI app.
Buy the Spark now and enjoy one of the best small drones on the market and when you have more money, but the radio and goggles. Easy terms indeed.
The Best Budget VR Drone Bundle: Sky Viper V2400 HD
Not too long ago the only way you were going to have any sort of first-person flying experience was to shell out a small mountain of money. Now you can get a basic FPV experience for chump change and the Sky Viper is the perfect example of that.
How does it achieve this feat? By stealing an idea from the mobile VR industry. You’ve certainly seen those VR goggles where you slip your phone into a head-mounted case and then experience a basic VR app. This uses that same principle, but instead of a VR roller coaster or something similar, you’re looking at the live feed from your drone.
So saying that this FPV drone is affordable comes with the caveat that you already need to own a compatible smartphone, otherwise it won’t make any sense.
The Sky Viper has some pretty advanced features for a budget drone. It has 720p streaming, which can also be recorded to an (optional) SD card. Surprisingly there are also some intelligent flight features too, which includes auto launch, hover and landing.
Also, as an added bonus, it seems you can use the headset as a standard mobile VR unit when not flying.
VR Drones In the Hot Seat
Keep in mind to check out our article on FPV Goggles as well. As you can see, the age of the VR drone is finally here for everyone. What used to be a luxury for the professionals is now an experience you can get even in the budget drone segment.
I think these are some of the best examples today, but clearly there’s nowhere to go but up from here!
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