The rumored DJI Avata drone has been inching closer to take-off in recent weeks –and the FPV model's launch just got a little closer thanks to a leak of its intriguing new Goggles headset.
FPV (first person view) drones are flown via a headset that gives you a bird's-eye view from the aircraft. And it seems that the DJI Avata's headset will be much smaller than previous versions, with a leak from the reliable @Dealsdrone Twitter account (below) showing the new Goggles 2 being worn by a pilot.
Although a 'DJI Goggles V2' headset already exists, a recent FCC filing revealed that DJI would simply be naming the new Avata-compatible version the 'DJI Goggles 2'. According to that filing, this headset will be technically identical to the current Goggles V2, with the main difference being its design.
DJI Goggles V2, work with DJI Avata pic.twitter.com/V9OxKppC8pAugust 3, 2022
What's interesting about the new headset is how small it looks compared to previous versions of DJI's Goggles. Earlier versions have been face-hugging affairs (see below), but the ones in the leaked photo appear to be less bulky and have fewer antennas.
A separate leak on Chinese social media also compares the headset to the size of a water bottle. This compact form factor could be good news for flying in warmer environments like indoors, which is expected to be the DJI Avata's natural habitat. It's been tipped to be a 'cinewhoop' drone, which are designed to be flown in confined spaces near to people.
What isn't clear from the leak is whether or not the DJI Goggles 2 will be compatible with other drones like the DJI FPV, or are a dedicated model for the DJI Avata.
We'll likely have to wait for the official launch to find out, but that's seemingly around the corner. Another regular DJI leaker, @OsitaLV, has also now claimed that the DJI Avata "has been sent to KOLs for evaluation", with KOL being a marketing term for 'Key Opinion Leader'.
With the intriguing new drone and its headset now leaked and registered by the FCC, it seems a launch is imminent for what would be a new style of flying camera for the world's biggest drone maker.
Analysis: FPV drones ready to hit the mainstream?
FPV drones are still relatively niche, but it seems that both DJI and GoPro are keen to fly them closer to the mainstream.
We used the DJI Goggles V2 (above) during our test of the new GoPro Hero 10 Black Bones camera, which is a bare-bones action camera designed to be mounted to FPV drones. As you can see, that headset is fairly bulky, so it makes sense for DJI to make a more compact version for its rumored indoor-friendly DJI Avata 'cinewhoop' drone.
This hopefully means that the DJI Goggles 2, as the new headset is expected to be called, will also be a little more affordable than current version. The Goggles V2 cost $568 / £609 / AU$999, although you can also buy them in a bundle with the DJI FPV drone. This kind of cost is a pretty big barrier to widespread FPV adoption.
The leaked photos of the DJI Avata suggest that it'll be cheaper than the DJI FPV drone, given its build and weight (which is expected to be sub-500g, compared to the 795g DJI FPV). So a similarly stripped-down headset makes sense, particularly if it's compatible with other FPV drones.
While FPV drones will likely continue to be more niche than mainstream models like the DJI Mini 3 Pro, the DJI Avata is shaping up to be a promising option for beginners and those who can't afford the DJI FPV. And that could make it a strong contender for a spot in our guide to the best beginner drones.