This is a very small drone. I mean, compared to high tech consumer drones as we’ve known them the past few years. Before big, camera-toting products like the DJI Phantom came out, tiny remote control helicopters and quadcopters were already everywhere – you can buy them at the dollar store!… and then buy another one when it breaks on the first flight. But THIS tiny flying machine is different. It brings many of the high-end features found in prosumer drones like the Phantom 4, released in March last year, into an even smaller form factor than the already compact Mavic Pro, released back in October. So – let’s find out if the brand new Spark is anything worth getting excited about. Even though it is very, very small.
So just how small is the Spark? At about 5.5 inches square, it’s around half the size of the Mavic pro when folded up, and and is less than half the weight at 300 grams. It’s also around half the price of the Mavic, making the Spark the most affordable drone DJI has released. Add in features like gesture controls with no need for a controller and easy battery charging via microUSB, and it’s clear DJI is trying more than ever to get their drones into the hands of the average consumer, not just pro and semi-pro videographers.
The Spark is kind of like a dialed down Mavic in other ways as well, with a top speed of 31 mph, maximum range of 1.2 miles, 1480 mAh battery fetching you 16 minutes of flight time, and a 1080p camera on a 2-axis gimbal. But the Spark keeps the bar high with features borrowed from its larger siblings, including obstacle avoidance, Tap to Fly, active tracking, and Gesture mode. The Mavic also features gesture control, but something new added here is the ability to control the drones movement with the palm of your hand. The sensors on the front and bottom allow you to launch and land the drone from your hand, and send it up, down, and side to side by simply moving your outstretched palm, although do not do what I did, and attempt to manually launch without propeller guards if you don’t want to chop your fingers into diced sausage.
Once in the air, a wave of your hand will send the drone about 10 feet away, where it will track and follow you, and making a picture gesture with your hands will prompt the Spark to take one, although the timing takes some getting used to. Originally, only photos could be taken with gesture mode, but as I was making this video, DJI pushed a firmware update that added the ability to start a video by holding your arm at a 45 degree angle, and it worked pretty well. It looks like the Spark can’t really be beat for easy, quick drone selfies. Or dronies. Which also sounds like drones who are fans of My Little Pony. Hm.
Now of course, the Spark can also be flown with a controller, which you’ll have to buy separately, but if you don’t want to dish out, the Spark can also be controlled with only your smartphone, just like the Mavic. This is where those tracking features come in, or you can use the on-screen sticks. You can manually control the two axis camera by dragging on-screen, but it’s hard to get a smooth shot, which will be disappointing to video people looking to get nice pans. This mode only uses WiFi for the connection, so there’s a bit of lag, and you’ll have to fly with caution. As you should be doing anyway. The Spark does an impressive job of maintaining stability and position, although it was clearly struggling when we flew it in a bit of wind, which you SHOULDN’T do, but we did, because if it broke, then we could say, don’t fly it in wind, which… we’re still saying regardless. Hm.
We didn’t have the controller on hand, but it’s pretty much the same model as the Mavic’s, minus the built-in screen. And from other info that I’ve seen online, it’s responsiveness is also very similar. And it’s kind of unfortunate, because while the Spark is comparatively cheap, it’s still expensive enough that justifying its purchase without having a truly reliable way to control it is difficult. There’s also the fact that Spark’s lightness and speed make you think it might be well-suited to drone racing, but it’s not compatible with the DJI Goggles.
So what is the Spark well suited for? If you’re a budding filmmaker, and you’re looking for something to capture sweeping vistas and smooth aerial shots, you’re probably better off going with the Mavic, or Phantom, if you don’t care so much about portability. The 4K, 3-axis cameras, greater range, and smoother control of those drones lend themselves to creating professional looking videos and photos. Now that’s not to say you COULDN’T make professional looking content with the Spark, you could do anything you put your mind to, I believe you, shoot for the stars, etc. But, it’d a bit more of a challenge. The Spark should appeal more to hobbyists and people looking for a fun drone to take care of some light documentation for your adventures. And to maybe convince bystanders you have Jedi powers. But that’s just a bonus.
If you’re interested in the Spark, or the Mavic or Phantom, or any other piece of electronics you could think of, you can click the link in the corner or the one in the description to head over to NCIX.com. But, that is it for this video guys, thank you so much for watching. Click over here for previous videos and check us out on twitter over here. But as always, like the video if you liked it, comment below for fans with benefits and subscribe for more videos like this from NCIX!