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DJI Spark Review - Small, Smart and Simple
This post was updated on: Saturday, January 1, 2020
When it comes to drone making, the latest trends seem to be leaning towards a smaller and more compact size. The DJI Spark is one of the high performing small drones you’ll find in the market today.
But make no mistake; what the DJI Spark lacks in size, it makes up for with an array of quality features to give it a superior performance than its rivals. The Spark somehow manages to stuff many of the features offered by its more expensive siblings into a compact and affordable DJI drone.
Despite its small and super-portable design, the standout feature in the Spark has to be its various intelligent flying modes. Apart from the standard stuff you get on your average drone, the spark comes with a handful of new modes.
16 minutes of maximum flight time
12 Mega Pixel Camera on a 2-axis gimbal
50km/h (31mph) with controller
2 km with controller - 100 m with phone
According to DJI’s official specifications, the maximum flight time of the Spark (with the battery fully charged and the flying conditions optimal) is 16 minutes. However, the story is actually different in real-world performance.
When we let our Spark hover around and timed it with a stopwatch, it actually took around 14 minutes and 10 seconds from takeoff to touchdown. And during normal flight, while fully utilizing the drone’s sensors, motors, processing power, etc, the flight time we recorded was around 13 minutes.
Although this is not the 16 minutes that DJI promises, the 13 to 14 minutes of flight time is a decent period to have fun with this device and capture wonderful scenes on your camera. It also betters its competitors such as the Hover Camera Passport- 9 minutes, and Yuneec breeze- 11 minutes. The DJI Spark comes with two batteries, meaning you can fly the drone for around 26-28 minutes per outing.
If you want to recharge the battery, it will take you around 45 minutes to get it back up to 100%. This is the amount of time it will take when you fully exhaust the charge so that your Spark does a low-power emergency landing.
On the other hand, if you land your Spark after the initial low-power warning, 30-35 minutes should be enough to get it to a full charge.
I found the 100-meter range of the DJI Spark to be a little impressive. However, the phone I was using kept on losing the connection on a handful of occasions. Luckily, there is a safety net that allows the Spark to reset to home function every time it loses connection for more than a couple of seconds, ensuring that you continue taking your pictures or videos in no time.
Another safety attribute you’ll appreciate is the built-in “No Fly Zones” feature in the app that sounds an alarm when you fly the drone in a restricted area. This will keep you from getting into trouble for flying over areas like airports. In fact, the drone simply won’t take off in such a situation!
This drone is also fitted with a 12-megapixel camera that can shoot videos in 1080p at 30fps. Although the quality may not be to a professional standard, the images are still good enough for personal use. The Spark also features a two-axis gimbal.
The gimbal functions to mechanically stabilize the camera, as well as eliminate any shaky and jarring movements. This ensures that you get smoother and better-looking footage; an edge over its competitors. Most competing drones use a single-axis for mechanical stabilization.
The camera on the Spark also has an array of shooting modes that you can use for still photography, including auto exposure bracketing and burst shooting. “Shallow Focus” is another new feature that utilizes the drone’s vision system for blurring the background to create an artificial depth-of-field effect.
Perhaps one liability I should mention on the Spark is that it lacks a 4k camera or the capability of shooting raw photos. This is where the drone plays second-fiddle to other portable competitors such as the ZeroTech Dobby, Yuneec Breeze, and Hover Camera Passport.
The Spark’s lightweight, aerodynamic, and sleek design ensures that it can soar through the air with little wind resistance. If you are using the optional remote control, this enables the Sport mode option to be unlocked and will bring the drone to a maximum speed of 50km/h.
This is a tad faster than what the smartphone app allows. With the remote control, the drone also has a range of 2km. The advanced flight control system on the Spark ensures that flying is as fun as it is intuitive.
You can get the Spark with or without controller, but we definitely recommend getting the controller as well as a spare battery and some extra rotors.
DJI Spark vs Mavic Air and Pro
I did an in-depth analysis of the DJI Spark vs Mavic Range in this article. I decided just to include the table below, (also from the article linked above) as it summarizes the differences between the DJI drones nicely.
DJI Mavic Air
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
4 km (2.4 miles)
8 km (5 miles)
So...What Do We Like?
What struck us about the Spark is its remarkable overall design! This drone is, sturdy, portable, and compact enough to fit in a small bag. But what’s even more impressive is the high number of exciting features it manages to fit on its small frame.
You will also like its obstacle avoidance feature that gives it the ability to sense objects and avoid crashes or collisions. Normally, this is a feature reserved for larger and more expensive drones like the Phantom 4 or Mavic Pro.
The gesture control is another fun feature that enables you to control the movement of the drone by moving your palm in specific directions. An additional external controller ensures that the drone responds more effectively.
If you are buying the drone to play with as a hobby, you’ll most likely appreciate the Quickshot mode that makes the drone to spiral around and vertically to capture images automatically.
What Don’t We Like?
Although the flight time is longer than its competitors, DJI could do more to improve it. Most users feel like the 16 minutes does not offer enough flying fun time.
The range also doesn’t allow you to fly the drone too far. This is because the connection is lost to the phone when this happens. But then again, the drone was actually designed for selfies. Also, unlike its bigger brothers, the Mavic Air and Pro, the Spark is not a 4K drone.
Advice to Buyers
DJI should be commended for somehow finding a way to fit all these useful features on the limited frame of the Spark. This ensures that users get to enjoy all these innovations when flying the drone.
If you are shopping around for a portable drone that will be practical when you take it out to the field; you can never go wrong with DJI Spark. It has all the specs you’d expect from a drone in its price range.
Just make sure that you are not planning to use it professionally!
The DJI Spark is easily among the best portable drones you can find in the market right now! It is a pocket Hercules that packs a high number of exciting features to provide you with the ultimate drone experience.
Aside from the 4k video resolution, the Spark edges its competitors in almost any other category you can think of. It is smarter, faster, more reliable, and can fly for longer periods in its class of drones.
If you are trying to find a portable and functional drone that you can carry to your next outdoor adventure, the DJI Spark is a splendid choice that won’t disappoint you!
Last update on 2020-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API