DroneMask 2 review: a straightforward way to turn almost any drone into an FPV drone

Looking for a way to turn pretty much any drone you already own into an FPV drone? One of the easiest and most affordable ways to do that might be with the DroneMask 2. Made by a Norwegian company called Immerse Optics, the second edition of its flagship product, the DroneMask 2, allows you to take your camera drone and turn it into an immersive flying experience. 

Immerse Optics started having nothing to do with drones at all, but instead by making masks to create an immersive movie-watching experience from your phone. After receiving customer feedback and inspiration — including getting wind that drone pilots were ‘hacking’ their product into an FPV tool — the company pivoted to the drone sector. In 2021, they introduced the DroneMask and have recently evolved by adding the DroneMask 2 into their lineup of products.

And for folks like me who have always been curious about the world of FPV (first-person viewing) drones but weren’t ready to commit to the price tag that comes with purchasing an FPV drone, then the DroneMask 2 is a great alternative and a much cheaper option. The product starts at $199

I had the chance to use the DroneMask 2 when flying with my DJI Mini 3. Here’s a review of what happened:

Purchase the DroneMask 2 for $199:

DroneMask 2 with DJI Mini 3
Photo courtesy of DroneMask

What you need to use the DroneMask 2 

The DroneMask 2 is compatible with any type of drone from any drone company — as long as that drone includes a controller that interfaces with a phone that displays the drone footage.

In my case, I used the RC-N1 with a DJI Mini 3 drone. That said, if you have a controller that has the screen already built in, like DJI RC, then unfortunately the DroneMask 2 will not work.  

And here lies what’s likely the biggest downfall of the DroneMask 2. I would not recommend purchasing a controller that connects to your phone simply using the DroneMask 2, as it generally makes more financial sense to consider other options. For DJI users, that includes researching how to turn your DJI drone into an FPV drone using DJI’s products by purchasing DJI FPV goggles.

Lastly, you’ll need a smartphone — and that’s it. Everything else you’ll need is included in your DroneMask 2 kit. The DroneMask 2 comes with:

  • 1 mask
  • 1 linen bag
  • 1 cloth (to clean the lens or your phone with)
  • 1 USB-C to USB-C cable
  • 1 USB-C to lighting cable
  • 1 micro USB to USB-C adapter
Photo courtesy of DroneMask

Getting ready to fly with the DroneMask 2

I live my life with 15% battery life on my iPhone and have a few times planned to head out with my drone for the day then remembered I had forgotten to charge the batteries. So, I was happy to learn that DroneMask 2 is not electronic, so no charging is required. 

I headed out with my DJI Mini 3, my RC-N1 controller, and my DroneMask 2. The DroneMask 2 itself is quite bulky, so I had to change out my normal ‘drone backpack’ for a larger one. 

Setting up the mask was quite simple. You connect your phone to the controller as normal, however, instead of mounting the phone on the top of the controller, you place it inside the DroneMask 2 (using the longer cord provided). Then just zip it right up. 

The DroneMask 2 fits most phones, including, but not limited to, all models of iPhone, Samsung S6-8 edge, and the Samsung Galaxy S21. 

The goggles are quite comfortable and spacious. I don’t wear glasses, but I tried the goggles on while wearing sunglasses and they fit just fine. No need to get prescription lenses or wear contacts.

The DroneMask 2 also has an adjustable side strap and one that goes over your head. These straps are quite thick and again, very comfortable. 

Another thoughtful feature was the two holes at the bottom of the mask. These allow you to have access to your phone without bringing in any light. The holes are covered with a light-proof neoprene cover. This is an upgrade from the DroneMask to DroneMask 2.

 

DroneMask 2 kit

Flying your drone with the DroneMask 2 

Similar to your first few times flying a drone, I would highly recommend flying with the DroneMask 2 in an area with limited to no obstacles and people, especially if you have never flown an FPV drone. And since you’ll have the goggles on your face, bring a friend or co-pilot to serve as your visual observer.

For me, flying with the DroneMask took a little getting used to. 

When flying, you can use gimbal mode or FPV mode (if your drone has these modes). I felt I was more comfortable in FPV mode. An adjustable focus length allows you to further perfect the viewing experience. 

Visuals from the phone through the mask were incredibly high quality. A special lens on DroneMask 2 allows you to see the whole screen. That’s a sharp contrast from stereotypical VR goggles where the screen on the smartphone has to split down the middle when showing the drone footage – one screen on each eye. 

The DroneMask 2 uses a different optical solution, which means that the screen doesn’t need to be split, provided you have a strong screen resolution and will work with any mobile app. This means that you can also use the DroneMask 2 for an immersive movie-watching experience through apps like YouTube and Netflix. 

I flew my drone with the DroneMask 2 on a very sunny day in New Orleans and virtually no light came through the mask as I flew the drone. This was a huge improvement from the glare on the phone when using an RC-N1 controller. Although, the lens did fog up in the heat. Luckily, I did have the linen cloth with me. 

Eventually, I became more comfortable flying with the DroneMask 2 and was amazed by the immersive experience it offered.

DroneMask 2

Who is the DroneMask 2 for?

If you are curious at all about the world of FPV flying, but an FPV drone or goggles are not in your budget, then consider the DroneMask 2. 

Starting at $199, it’s a much cheaper alternative to its competitors. For example, the DJI FPV Goggles V2 starts at $342, making the DroneMask 47% cheaper. A true FPV drone is likely even more expensive (for example, the DJI Avata starts at $629).

There are much cheaper alternatives in the world of VR headsets. For example, the Google Daydream View is $27. But the lenses on the DroneMask 2 offer a far superior viewing experience. Plus most VR headsets, including the Google ones, are not compatible with flying drones.

The DroneMask 2 is the most reasonably priced option for FPV drone flying on the market, making it ideal for someone who loves to fly their drone for fun and is looking for a new adventure when flying without having to buy an entirely new drone or expensive piece of equipment. 

If you only fly drones on the go, the DroneMask 2 might not be the best option for you as it is quite bulky (but still fairly light-weight). Or if you are more serious about FPV drones or racing you may want to look into purchasing an FPV drone.

The DroneMask 2 allows you to have an immersive flying experience, without the hefty price tag of other competitors. 

Purchase the DroneMask 2 for $199:

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