Note: This article was first published on 9to5mac on June 18th, 2017.
Last Thursday I finally got my hands on the super-portable $500 DJI Spark and, as a photographer and drone enthusiast, the DJI SPark is probably the most exciting iPhone accessory of the year. The DJI Spark is such a small drone that you can take it with you anywhere and anytime, while it also has optics and stabilization features along with some impressive AI that produces impressive imagery and video.
They say that the best camera is the one you have in your pocket. Having a drone that you can easily bring along on trips opens up a whole new world of possibilities. That’s what gets me the most excited…
DJI Mavic Pro
The Spark redefines small
Over the last two days, I have been flying this baby a lot, and I have to say that when I now go back to my Mavic Pro, it feels large and complicated. Back in the fall of 2016 when I received my Mavic Pro, I thought it was the smallest (and coolest) prosumer drone on the planet, but now with the arrival of the DJI Spark, the whole definition of small has changed dramatically. The Spark is so small, it is almost cute.
Flying characteristics of the DJI Spark
DJI positioned the Spark as its entry point of the DJI product line. It is the cheapest at $500 and most simple drone to fly, with DJI having put a lot of effort into making this drone easy to fly and easy to control. You can fly it out of the palm of your hand (and land it) and control it with hand gestures. There are no legs to fold out and no iPad that needs to be attached to a controller. The Spark you can fly straight from your phone if you so desire and it is very easy to do so. Correction: It does not come standard with propeller bumper guards. I got the Spark Fly More Combo for $699 that gets you: the prop guards, spare propellers, the remote controller, a battery charging hub for up to 3 batteries, an extra battery, and a shoulder bag.
For more range, however, you will need to switch to the Spark controller. Not only will the controller increase the range to 1.2 miles, it will also allow you to fly up to 31mph in Sport Mode. Unlike the Mavic, you do not connect the controller to your phone with a wire, but instead, you connect through Wi-Fi. In my experience, this is easy to set up works very well. Furthermore, all the different flying modes are very similar to the Mavic Pro and Phantom 4. The main difference when flying the Spark, again, is its size. It is so small and lightweight that when you put it in Sport Mode, it behaves like a drone on steroids. It is not too hard to fly in this mode but it responds so quickly to your input that you better make sure that you are awake and know what you’re doing. To be honest, I had a blast flying it in Sport Mode, and it made my Mavic feels sort sluggish afterward.
Pros of the DJI Spark
- Small & Lightweight
- Many different intelligent flight modes
- Obstacle avoidance
- Easy to fly and great in-air handling
Cons of the DJI Spark
- No 4K video
- Reduced flight time (16 minutes)
- Only two-axis gimbal
- Limited flight range compared to Mavic Pro and Phantom
The DJI Spark compared to the Mavic and Phantom
The biggest differences between the Spark and its bigger brothers are price, reduced size, reduced weight and lack of 4K video recording.
Photo taken with the DJI Spark
The DJI Spark is a great drone for people just getting into flying drones as it is affordable and easy to fly. It is also a great drone for people who value portability above everything else. This little guy you can take anywhere, anytime which opens up a whole new world of possibilities. However if range, video quality, and battery life or flight time are important to you, you will be better served with either the Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 or Inspire series.
What do you think about the Spark? Are there any features you are missing? If so let us know in the comments below. Please be sure to check in with us soon as we are working on a full review of the DJI Spark.
Ready to pull the trigger and get a drone yourself? You can use the links below to buy one today:
…and stay tuned for something exciting coming soon in the drone media space ;)