Skyzone Sky03O OLED FPV Goggle - Better than the FatShark HDO?

By Whiffles on Sep 18, 2019

1  563  2

When the FatShark HDOs hit the market in 2018 the FPV community rejoiced for the new Sony OLED displays. While they lacked further upgrades like an updated DVR and power button they were still a market success. With the 2019 announcement of the Orqa FPV.One the community finally had a potential HDO killer on the horizon. With only weeks before the release of the Orqa FPV.One Skyzone came out of left field with the newly redesigned Sky03O, but can it take the crown from the reigning FatShark HDOs?

Where to buy

Features

  • 1024x768 OLED displays
  • 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 35 degree field-of-view (FOV)
  • Internal diversity receivers
  • H.264, 30fps DVR
  • Built in head tracker
  • Graphical user interface
  • Defogging fan

Alt Tag

Build Quality

This is a high quality goggle. The exterior plastic has a smooth glossy finish similar to the Aomway Commander V2, but It's a fingerprint magnet. I chose the "Super Glossy Metallic Black Rose" color and I really like it. It's a very high quality finish and I can't imagine it'll degrade any time soon. The top buttons don't wiggle and offer a satisfying click, but the power button wiggles and has a mushy click. This isn't the lightest headset. It weighs 252g while the HDOs weigh 228g with the Rapidfire module in the bay. Keep in mind that this has internal receivers, a front facing camera and a head tracker, so that somewhat explains the weight.

The headstrap is great. It's much wider than the typical FatShark strap and it's got some good quality stitching. It's got a pocket for a battery on the side and it can hold a normal FatShark battery firmly in place. The buckles are plastic, but they're pretty thick so I don't expect them to fail. The face foam has a leathery texture, but the texture feels somewhat thin. It's still very comfortable.

Alt Tag

Image Quality

The image quality of the Sky03O is outstanding. I've been using the FatShark HDOs for about a year and the richness and contrast of the Skyzones blew me away. They're substantially brighter and the colors are vibrant. It's like a grey haze has been lifted. The displays are 1024x768, so the pixels are virtually indiscernible. This is debateably the best image quality of any FPV headset on the market.

Other than brightness is a setting called OLED Luminance. It's tucked away under the LED bar settings. The default value is 3 and even then the displays appear brighter than the HDOs. Bumping this up to 6 or 7 makes the displays very bright, and not in a way that blows out the picture. This is a fantastic feature that makes a huge difference.

Blurry edges are always a concern on high end goggles. FatShark seemed to hit a sweet spot with the 37 degree FOV of the HDOs. On the Skyzones I find that I do get a little bit of blur toward the right side. When I insert my -2 diopters it nearly disappears. I gave these to a couple other folks and they didn't notice any edge blur, so it really depends on your eyes and the shape of your face. I tried the Skyzone -2 glass diopters, but they didn't seem to work very well for me. They were very blurry compared to the FatShark -2 diopters. At least there are some options and ultimately it's not an issue at all during flight as your eyes don't focus on the edges of the screens.

Alt Tag

IPDs

The IPDs let you adjust the interpupillary distance between the two displays. They range from 57.5 to 69.5mm. This puts them on par with most goggles, but they do accommodate a slightly more narrow IPD than most. The adjustment is made by independent sliders. They slide pretty smoothly, but my right slider does get stuck at times. This seems to be a common problem among nearly every brand of goggle though. Once you've set the IPDs they hold their position and don't require further adjustments.

Alt Tag

Comfort & Fit

These are very comfortable, in fact they fit better than my FatSharks. What really helps is the two faceplate options included in the package. One is slightly wider than the other so you can choose the one that works best for you. I have no problem with the nose relief and feel no pressure at all. Also, there's nearly zero light leak! The headstrap is nice and thick so the pressure is better distributed across the back of my head. Skyzone really nailed the comfort and fit.

Alt TagAlt Tag

HDMI

While we don't typically use HDMI for FPV it's a neat feature to have. It really helps demonstrate the quality of the displays. I hooked these up to my Macbook Pro and the displays are beautiful. Unfortunately they don't switch to 16:9 like the FatShark HD3s, but neither do the HDOs. They squish the picture horizontally into a 4:3 aspect ratio. Also absent is a 3D mode, so you cannot play 3D games. You can certainly use these to play a simulator on your PC, but unless it supports a 4:3 resolution you'll get a slightly squished image.

DVR

The DVR is pretty standard. I wish they had used a more modern 60fps DVR, but this is perfectly sufficient. My DVR was skipping frames, but there is a firmware release that solved the issue. It records at a peculiar 688x480 resolution and the colors don't do the displays justice. The video looks substantially better in the goggles. I do like how it handles the audio though. I normally don't fly with a mic, so my DVR footage usually features a loud hum through the entire video. This footage has no hum and you only hear a slight crackle when you see static on the screen.

Reception

These goggles have internal diversity receivers. They don't do any video blending like the high end modules, but the reception is good enough. I don't find them particularly noisy even after using the Rapidfire module for several months. For most pilots these receivers offer more than enough range paired with a decent omni-directional and patch antenna.

Now if you fly indoor environments with a lot of RF noise you'll want to use a high end module like the Rapidfire. The Skyzones use an older RSSI switching diversity system, so you'll get more static flying behind walls and obstacles. This is the biggest shortcoming to the Sky03O, but I have heard rumors that they're working on a fixture to attach a Rapidfire module to.

Alt Tag

User Interface

Skyzone did a marvelous job with the user interface. While learning the buttons takes some trial and error, the on-screen menu system looks great. It's got multiple tabs covering: the headtracker, picture, DVR and a couple more menus of misc settings. There's also a really nice frequency scanner that shows you the entire spectrum in the form of a bar graph. It's fairly accurate and you can easily fine tune if it doesn't land directly on your frequency.

Alt Tag

What impressed me was the OSD settings. The OSD is a bar that appears at the very top. It shows the DVR recording status, remaining space on your microSD card, your channel, band and frequency and the battery voltage. You can adjust how transparent this bar is, how long it should appear for and even move it up and down the screen. Some other noteworthy features are DVR auto-record, OLED Luminance, battery voltage warning and the customizable front-facing LED bar. I can't think of any other FPV headset that gives you this amount of control.

Sky03O vs HDO

Now the big question is whether you should consider these over the FatShark HDOs. If you want a module bay then you're limited to the HDOs. You might want to ask yourself why you want a module bay though. Of course you can buy high end modules like the Rapidfire or the TBS Fusion, but are those really necessary? I've been using the Rapidfire for the past year and after switching to the Skyzones I don't particularly miss it. Sure, there might be a little more visible breakup, but breakup has never looked so good! These displays are fantastic! When the HDOs were introduced they received a lot of acclaim for the excellent contrast. At the time I was using the HD3s and saw an improvement, but nothing like the improvement I see now over the HDOs. This is just another level of OLED technology.

Another consideration is cost. The HDOs range from $50-$100 more than the Skyzones, yet they don't include a receiver. They include a battery, unlike the Skyzones, but that's not a major expense. You can even use a spare lipo to power these using the included adapter. If you plan to buy a high end receiver then expect to spend as much as $200 more for the popular HDO + Rapidfire combo. For the quality the Skyzones are a great value.

In terms of features the HDOs are very limited. There is no OSD and no menu system. You can only adjust the brightness and contrast. There is a separate DVR menu which lets you play back footage and enable auto-record but that's about it. Both goggles have a de-fogging fan, but the Skyzones let you adjust the fan speed, unlike the HDOs. It's a very bare-bones headset. The price is only justified by the displays and the FatShark brand.

Concerning warranty and support FatShark is second to none. They have service centers all over the world and will repair your goggles for free in most cases. Skyzone has a lesser known track record. I'm not aware of any service centers, but I've heard good things about their product support. When they released the original Sky03 last year it had problems for which they issued a recall. They had their customers ship them back for replacements. I can't say I've ever seen a goggle manufacturer do this, so it's good to know they support their products.

Final Thoughts

I love these goggles! They're my first Skyzones and while I've been aware of them for quite some time I never really felt inclined to try one of their products. The Sky03 showed a lot of potential, but with so many launch woes I was a bit wary. It seems Skyzone has a hit on their hands and this may just be the best new goggle of 2019. We'll see how the Orqas turn out, but at $650 they're almost in a different league.

Disclaimer: This headset was provided courtesy of Banggood.com in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. This article utilizes affiliate links and purchasing any product mentioned here will help support RotorBuilds.com

Photos

Discussion

Sign in to comment

egervarc   3 days ago  

Thanks for the nice review. I am wondering how it performs indoor, for example comparing to rapidfire + hdo. Could you tell something about this please? I am mainly flying with tiny whoop style drones indoor, so that's why I am curious about this.

Whiffles   3 days ago 

I've been flying it around the house and it's just fine for a traditional diversity set. It won't filter out as much noise as the Rapidfire, but it's still perfectly fine.