The new Fat Shark Dominator HD / WalkSnail Avatar system is just about to be available. HD video transmission in FPV is a big deal. Before DJI released its video system, FPV videos looked like crap. As good as DJI is, they have a lot bigger things on their mind than our FPV community. This is why a lot of people are wishing that a more FPV centric company would release a great digital FPV system. Can Fat Shark and WalkSnail be just that?
And that is why the Fat Shark Dominator HD and the WalkSnail Avatar are so interesting. Because it is very similar to the DJI FPV Goggles in terms of features, range and penetration but its made by Fat Shark, a company with deep roots in the FPV community. So could this be the digital FPV Goggle so many people are waiting for?
Features and Specs
- Input voltage: HD video output Input voltage is 2S to 5S. 6S flight packs should not be used. Yes that is a disappointment to a lot of people because 6S flight packs are the standard.
- Video out: USB-C to HDMI out, no $700 smart controller needed like with the DJI system. So far, the system does not have the option to have a clean HDMI out for broadcast (OSD is overlaid). Attention: HDMI cable pops-out very easy.
- Transmit power: 25-700mW and a 1200mW hack (see my next blog). Check your local laws for the power level allowed in your country.
- Resolution: 720p and 1080p over the air resolution. There are some performance implications which you see further down under latency.
- Framerate: 60fps (standard frame rate) or 100 fps (high frame rate), high frame rate on the 720p resolution.
- Google Display: Displays are 1080p @ 100 fps OLED Screens. This is huge. OLED is brighter, more saturated and more colorful. The transmitter and protocols support 120 fps, but 120 fps micro-displays could not be sourced at this time. Displays are 16:9 widescreen. If you prefer 4:3, then you are out of luck, sorry. There is an option to change the camera settings to 4:3 but as of today, the only cameras available at launch are also widescreen.
- Field of View: 46°, which is pretty much the gold standard these days. This is a big immersive field of view that fills your vision without having the edges go way outside your peripheral vision. If you prefer a smaller field of view, there is a menu option to shrink it down.
- Canvas mode: All data from the flight controller can be displayed as an full OSD overlay.
- Focus adjustment: The Goggles have built in IPD (interpupillary distance) sliders that adjust to the from 57 to 70mm. If you twist the know, you can adjust the focus from minus six to plus two diopters.
- AV Input: AV input is not present. You cannot use this with an analog system or a ground station. There is also no option for an analog module, but the HD Zero Goggles are supposed to have.
- Compatibility to other FPV systems: The system is not compatible with any other FPV system such as DJI, Caddx, HDZero etc.
- Spectator mode: There is a mode where your friend can also tune in to your video feed but you will not get any of the re-broadcasted footage so this footage will look worse than the one from the primary Goggles. At the time of release, spectator mode is not working but should be fixed in a future firmware update.
- DVR: There are two DVRs at play, one in the Goggles and one in the VTX. That is good to record in 1080p resolution even if your video link is set at 720p. The VTX has built in memory which is 8GB in size. To get the video off, you have to plug in a special cable which is provided with your VTX to your computer. The internal storage of the VTX will then appear as a removable drive. If it fills up while you fly you have the download the video before you continue.
- Bitrate: The bitrate of the DVR files matches the bitrate of the video transmission: 25 Mbps or 50 Mbps. The 25 Mbps per second mode is not active at the time of the release of this blog.
Is the Fat Shark Dominator HD and the WalkSnail Avatar FPV Goggles the same?
Joshua talks in his video that Fat Shark denies making the WalkSnail Avatar but look at it, it's exactly the same. Also the specs, it's all the same. Officially, they are not the same. But Fat Shark said they have a technology partner who made the inside of the Goggles. When I ordered the WalkSnail Avatar, WalkSnail confirmed that the pricing is based on Fat Shark's prices. So it clearly looks like it is the same Goggle.
Range and Penetration
Range and penetration seems to be exactly the same as with the DJI system. Check the video below for a range and penetration test.
Video Transmitter and Camera
At the time of the release of this blog, there is only one video transmitter (VTX) and camera compatible with the Dominator and Avatar system. That is the Walksnail Video transmitter:
The video transmitter comes with diversity transmission and thus two antennas with U.FL connectors, similar to the DJI Air Unit. This should give it better performance in multi-path environments.
The video transmitter, camera and antenna come in at 26g. The spacing of the mounting holes is a weird one, it's not one of the standard 20 or 30mm spacings but rather 25mm spacing. This is commonly used for toothpick style frames. Non of the other frames have mounting holes drilled to mount this thing. So you can mount it with sticky tape and zip ties.
The VTX can take 2S to 6S input voltage (6v-25.2v) directly.
Is the Video Quality on par with the one from DJI System?
It is impossible to show you the image quality with words so I urge you to watch the video below. There are time codes to find the right spot in the video. Since the 50mps mode is not yet available on the Dominator/Avatar Goggles, it is still an unfinished comparison.
Video on the Fat Shark Dominator HD / WalkSnail Avatar FPV
Get more answers while checking out Joshua Bardwell's video: