Eachine recently released a new pair of FPV goggles – the Eachine EV100. These are Eachine’s first attempt at making true FPV goggles and directly compete with other low-end goggles like the Fat Shark Teleporter and Attitude. How do they line up? Let’s find out..
To best demonstrate the capabilities of the Eachine EV100, I’ve put together a table of relevant features which you can use to compare them with Fat Shark branded goggles:
|Feature||Eachine EV100||Fat Shark Teleporter||Fat Shark Attitude||Fat Shark Dominator v3|
|Antenna Connector||RP-SMA||SMA||SMA||Not Included|
|Focal Length Adjustment||Yes||No||Not Included||Not Included|
As you can see, in the specs race, the Eachine EV100 is comparable with the Fat Shark Attitude v4 goggles but has a price that is more comparable with the low-end Fat Shark Teleporter. Pretty compelling. Of course, when it comes to goggles, there are quite a few more considerations outside of just features.
Build & Fit
My initial impression of the Eachine EV100 goggles was extremely good. These goggles are easily the most well-built, ergonomic FPV headset I’ve tried under $200, and might just be the most comfortable headset I’ve ever tried, period.
The build quality is great. The plastic feel great to the touch. It does not bend easily or feel flimsy at all. The face seal is made of a soft, thick and comfortable foam which is easily removable / replaceable owing to a velcro backing material. The seal is excellent against my face – letting absolutely no light in whatsoever. This is actually better than even my $350 Fat Shark Dominators. The one let-down is the mode switch button, which requires too much force to press and looks pretty shoddy. On the EV100 goggles I received, one direction on the button (it is a 5-way button to allow adjustment of contrast and brightness) was broken, meaning I could not adjust contrast.
Eachine provides two adjustments for each eye with the EV100. Like Fat Shark goggles, IPD sliders allow you to slide the screens in and out of the goggles to adjust for the distances between your eyes. Like Fat Shark Teleporters, I had to adjust the both IPD sliders to their outer limits and still do not get a perfect fit. For some reason, both the EV100 and low end Fat Sharks put a plastic “screen” with a circle in it in front of the built-in displays. This screen moves with the IPD adjustment assembly and makes it difficult to view the displays without some occlusion. Check out the picture in the next section to see what I’m talking about.
The Eachine EV100 really shines with it’s adjustable focal length. This extremely cool feature allow you to adjust the focus of the screen for each eye. What that means is that if you need glasses to correct vision deficiencies, chances are you will be able to adjust the Eachine EV100 goggles so that the image is crystal clear. These adjustments work between -4D and +1D, which covers a good portion of the visually impaired population. I love this feature. It should be in all FPV goggles.
Like Fat Shark goggles, the Eachine EV100 battery is mounted inside of a sleave in the headstrap and plugs into the side of the goggles. The battery includes a charge indicator, just like Fat Sharks. Unlike the Fat Sharks I have used, the EV100 includes a battery charge status indicator which shows up on-screen when you don the goggles. You will never accidentally run out of batteries while wearing these goggles. Also, the battery can be charged via a micro USB port on the side of the battery. One complaint I have is that the on-screen charge indication drops from 40% to 0% almost instantly, so keep that in mind before going to the field on a partial charge. Overall though, Eachine did a great job with the battery.
The EV100 has a few basic modes and adjustments available to it. All of these things are accessible using a black 5-way button on the top of the goggles. Pressing and holding the button will cause the goggles to cycle through the available modes. The first beep will indicate the EV100 entering a “race” mode which automatically picks a channel spread for you. I don’t see this getting much use. Continue holding the mode button down to the second beep to enter the channel scan mode.
The channel scan is extremely slow compared to other goggles I have used and is inaccurate. It consistently picked the incorrect channel which, while picking up video, would cause significantly reduced range if used. Once you start a scan you cannot do anything with the goggles until it is completed, which takes at least 10 seconds. Hopefully Eachine will be able to fix these issues with a firmware update someday.
Holding the mode selector up or down will adjust screen brightness. I did not notice much brightness difference when turning it up from the default. Holding left or right will adjust contrast.
Eachine claims that the displays in the EV100 goggles have a resolution of 720x540px and a field of view of 28 degrees. I’m not sure if I’m buying into this. By the specs, that is very close to the resolution and field of view of my Fat Shark Dominators (800×480 and 30 degrees respectively) but in when I place both headsets on my head in quick succession, the EV100s appear to have almost half the screen size.
This carried through to my flying. It was more difficult to pick up small branches, twigs and leaves when flying with the Eachine EV100 goggles. I imagine the same could be set of certain race course obstacles like small gates or cones. This screen difference is perfectly fine by me – I’m comparing the EV100 with goggles that cost more than twice as much – I just don’t understand why the specs say that the field of view is bigger than it actually seems to be.
The visibility of the display can be enhanced by removing the foam face seal. This significantly affects comfort and allows light leakage, but makes the display bigger and reduces the effect of the circular “screen” covering the display. If you are having trouble with small image size, give this a try.
One other important note on the Eachine EV100 display: for some reason, we are observing that it crops off a significant portion of the video image. This means that OSD elements on the fringes of the display will need to be moved inboard to be visible. This may sound like a simple solution, but it is very annoying if you ever use more than one pair of FPV headsets such as when sharing flight footage with friends and family. It also reduces the field of view. We’ve seen this issue before with other cheaper goggles – it just happens to be particularly bad on the EV100. Fellow writer Michael put together a graphic showing the display size of the EV100 compared to that of other goggles, which can be viewed on the right.
The Eachine EV100 goggles include two RP-SMA connectors for antennas. This is deceptive as these antennas are attached to the same receiver, meaning they do not provide the advantages conferred by a real diversity set-up. A “dual antenna” configuration like this can provide a slight improvement to range, but mostly just means you spend more money for two antennas with very little performance improvement.
I’m a little peeved by Eachine’s decision to use an RP-SMA connector. “Normal” SMA connectors have all but become the industry standard for miniquad video transmission connectors. I do not understand why Eachine decided to go against the grain on this one. As a result of this decision, pilots will be forced to choose to purchase antennas which they cannot use on their quadcopters or other FPV gear or to use RP-SMA to SMA connectors, which can seriously affect FPV range.
My first test at the field was a range test. To do this, I pitted the Eachine EV100 goggles against my Fat Shark Dominators with a LaForge module in non-diversity mode. The La Forge module uses the industry-standard RX5808 5.8GHz video receiver chip, making this a good test for comparing the EV100 goggle’s receiver with a wide range of other popular goggles on the market. I placed the quadcopter on the ground and drove down a straight road until the Dominator goggles lost reception. I then put the same antenna onto the Eachine EV100 goggles and drove back towards the quadcopter until I got reception again. In order to use the same antenna, I had to use a RP-SMA to SMA converter with the EV100 goggles. I attempted to offset this disadvantage a bit by equipping my Dominator’s with a 90 degree adapter – but take this informal test with a grain of salt for that reason.
The EV100 goggles did have slightly less range performance by about 20 feet. Both goggles reached over half a mile, which is fantastic performance considering I was transmitting video at 25mW. Overall, this means my EV100 goggles have range performance within about 2% to an RX5808 receiver in this test.
Next I took to the skies in my Bolt 210. I noticed immediately that the EV100 goggles have an issue with multipathing, especially at low transmission power. This means when you fly low to the ground or behind trees, fences or poles, you will lose signal. This wasn’t unexpected due to the lack of true diversity, but it was noticeably worse for me than other non-diversity receivers I have used in the past. This is perhaps due in part to the next issue:
The EV100 goggles performed far worse than other goggles when at the limits of range. The image flickered constantly, often going from a decent image to full static with no intermediate state. Re-acquiring the signal at this point normally took at least 1 second, often more. This contrasts to the Dominator goggles which smoothly faded from a good image into static. Even at the limits of reception, the Dominators are quite usable, whereas the flickering I experienced with the EV100’s while flying in areas of poor reception caused me to crash several times.
Here’s the bottom line: you probably will not be able to fly at low transmission levels (below 200mW) or at congested race events with the built-in receiver in these goggles. The consequences of signal drop-off are simply too severe and the lack of true diversity makes it occur too often.
Note: later research has shown that the issues I observed for this review may have been due to the antenna switching algorithm Eachine is using in the EV100 goggles. The short story is this: if signal quality drops below a certain threshold, the Eachine goggles will begin to switch from one antenna to another ever 500ms, regardless of the signal quality of either antenna, until the signal quality goes above that threshold. What this means is that if you are using only one antenna (like I was), the goggles will repeatedly be switching to an antenna input with no antenna, causing a total signal loss for 500ms at a time. TLDR: Always use two antenna with this headset. Ideally, use two of the same antennas.
Luckily, there is a(nother) solution if you have a bit of DIY-spirit and don’t mind hacking apart your new goggles. YouTube user “Drone Mesh” has put together a video series showing how you can add a far superior Fat Shark receiver module to these goggles – even including the ability to change channels with the built in buttons!
The target market for the Eachine EV100 goggles is pretty obvious: any pilot who is just getting into the hobby and doesn’t feel comfortable dropping $300 or more on an FPV headset but wants goggles. If you must have goggles on a budget – pick up a pair of EV100s. You will like them a lot more than you will like Fat Shark Teleporters – the only other decent option at this price point.
Eachine got really close with these goggles. I like the way they look, they fit great, and they have a couple of cool features that even high-end Fat Sharks lack. The truth is, though – I would have a hard time using these goggles in my day to day flying. The reason really boils down to the receiver. From major issues like the total video cut-outs that happen too often, to the lack of true diversity, to the minor things like the RP-SMA connectors, there is just too much wrong here to live with as is from the factory. The good news is that you can mod the receiver chip to get rid of pretty much all of the problems we found in this review.
So, as an off the shelf product, I have a hard time recommending the Eachine EV100 goggles over some of the really nice (and cheap!) headstrap-mounted displays on the market. In particular, I am still infatuated with Eachine’s own EV800D, which remains our “Propwashed Recommended” pick for inexpensive headsets. If you want something that you can buy and fly – get one of those.
- Great price for what you get. (At least while it’s still under $160)
- Surprisingly good build quality and comfort.
- Built-in optical adjustment corrects for vision deficiencies – and works well!
- Non-diversity dual-antenna receiver system is very susceptible to multi-path interference and causes more problems than it solves.
- Field of view of the screens is very small compared to higher-end goggles. It can be difficult to see small obstacles as a result.
- Vertical screen cropping reduces field of view further and requires you to adjust your OSD.
- Crummy mode selection button that was broken from the factory on my goggles.
- Auto-scan feature doesn’t work properly, similar to other Eachine headsets.
- RP-SMA antenna connectors when the industry has been moving towards SMA.